Out of the ones we played, anyway.
1. NINJA GAIDEN
If you didn't "get it", we pity you. If you didn't play past the second level, we pity you and the idiot children you will raise. There are another 14 levels, each exponentially amazing, each offering more impressive enemies and environments. To play it that far requires thought, cunning, skill and BALLS OF STEEL. Ninja Gaiden's proud majesty brings a lump to our throat. It's hard, but easy once you've mastered it. The combat is perfect, the atmosphere unequalled, the bosses phenomenal masterpieces, the Xbox Live "entire new game" download inspirational. We normally get bored after three levels of most games -- all of Ninja Gaiden was completed three times. For fun. Fantastic.
We fear this is the last, great Sega game that'll ever be made. Surely new-Sega/Sammy won't sanction the pumping of vast amounts of cash into Yu Suzuki's staggering arcade follies, instead we'll see safe, steady Sega franchises that are updated in a timely and pre-Christmas fashion. Just. Like. E. A. A beautiful driving feel that perfectly combines car handling with track design, it's all Sega ever was in one wonderful game. Typing this is making us cry. Please don't let it be over! We don't know what we'd do with ourselves.
3. PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 4
We can't think of a better one-on-one video game*. If you're bent and don't like football it's still great, thanks to fast, precise controls that let you master the basics within minutes. We resisted playing Pro Evo right up until this version came out for Xbox -- we now realise the error of our ways, but sadly, can't get those Pro Evo-free years of our life back. Don't make the same mistakes we did.
4. GRADIUS V
Top (that's top-down and occasionally side-on) developer Treasure's fiery-phoenix reworking of Konami's age-old shooter series stunned us with its harsh-but-fair play and dynamic new look. A phenomenal improvement on the miserable Gradius IV, this takes the mighty Silvergun and Ikaruga stylings and squeezes them perfectly into PlayStation2. It's the best shooter since whenever Ikaruga came out on Dreamcast!
5. BURNOUT 3
Here's the thing about Burnout 3. When we first sat down and played it, we were stunned. Proper blown away. We spent three whole days doing nothing but playing Burnout 3, enthusing about the speed, look and excitement of it all. We loved it! We then went off and wrote a review of it and gave it 10/10 (thankfully no one has noticed this). But then, a few days later, after the excitement of getting a game out of EA had subsided, we went back to it and were bored shitless by the "no skill required" bouncing-off-the-sides play and ultra-repetitive crash nonsense that lay behind its glam look. How did it trick us?! We'll never know. OutRun2 is the better driving experience, but Burnout 3 cheated us into giving it a better score with its fireworks. We feel quite stupid about this.
A straightforward racer but with an irresistable slidy off-road feel that makes us think happy Sega thoughts. Its passenger-flinging mini games and online play took the biscuit. It was just a very nice little game and was cheap to buy new. There's no punchline. It's great. THE SHIT LIST
Watching our poor old PlayStation2 clunk and whirr its way through the way-too-demanding GTA San Andreas was an embarrassment -- as was the game's pathetic "gangsta" style. Halo 2's great if you like team games (we don't) and haven't already played Halo 1 (we have). The disappointment of seeing a Nintendo DS for the first time was so crushing it felt like we were having a heart attack. That'll do. The therapist says we should try to be more positive about things.*Apart from maybe Virtua Tennis, but we really ought to start trying to get over the whole Dreamcast thing.