49 - It Came From the Desert (Amiga)

The Cinemaware games always seemed to me to be a bit style over substance, with little actual game in among the gorgeous visuals. ICFtD changed all that. It's one of the most engrossing games I've ever played, and the sheer atmosphere is still unbeaten.

Any lover of 50s B-movies would get a kick out of this affectionate homage, and the pacing is perfect - from early initial sightings of giant ants being brushed aside by local authorities to a full-blown military operation to defend the town from invasion the plot builds steadily, becoming more desperate and perilous until the player ends up traveling deep into the ant lair itself to deliver the final blow.

Who could forget the 'escape from the hospital' mini-game? The player, wheelchair-bound, scooting along corridors under pursuit from determined staff. With the clock ticking down all the time you can't afford to lie in bed recuperating for days. Everything takes time in the game, and time is in short supply so everything needs to be planned carefully. After 15 days of game time the ants will directly attack the town, and if the player hasn't mustered up enough defences and the means to take the fight to the ant queen it's curtains for the locals.

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