5 Must-Play Classic PC titles

5 Must-Play Classic PC titles

I was thinking (when I think its never good) we always anticipate and try to play the latest releases, but what about turning the clock back and playing some old PC titles which still hold up fairly well today?

I've narrowed it down to 5 titles with the oldest ones being released in 1998 and the newest in 2004.

First on the list is an influential must-play classic that won over 50 game of the year awards and spawned numerous single- and multiplayer expansions. Everyone who enjoys storytelling and good first person shooters should at least play through this game once in their lives. That game is...

1. Half-Life

Released in 1998, *Half-Life *was one of the first immersive shooters unlike any other of its time. The game plays out entirely through the eyes of silent protagonist Gordon Freeman during one of his worst work days ever.

You are occasionally assisted by non-player characters like security guards who will sometimes fight alongside you, and scientists who will assist by opening locked doors and the like.

The game tells its story mostly through scripted sequences, and unlike all the "shoot everything you see" FPS titles back then this game requires you to handle situations with a bit more thought.


Half-Life is a 20 year old game, but does run fairly well on modern PCs and operating systems. If you are going to play through the original, though, it's best to download the high resolution pack that was released alongside the Blue Shift expansion that upgrades the weapons and NPC models drastically.

You won't have Wolfenstein II: The new Colossus level of detail, but it does improve the game.


If the visuals really make your eyes bleed, you can always cheat a bit and play Black Mesa — a reimagined, more modern interpretation of the original Half-Life. It was developed by the Crowbar Collective, and its really good despite not being made by Valve.


2. Grim Fandango

Second on the list is a game which, unlike Half-Life, was a commercial failure. So why is Grim Fandango on here, then?

Firstly, Tim Schaefer made it (let's not talk about Brütal Legend) and even though it failed commercially, it was a really good game. It received heaps of praise and is actually listed as one of the greatest video games of all time.

This is like the Shawshank Redemption of games. (I am pretty sure the Disney movie Coco was also inspired by this game.)


Due to the Resident Evil-esque high reslution pre-rendered backgrounds, the game holds up extremely well, though the original version is pretty much unplayable on modern PCs.

However, Double Fine has released a remastered version of the game, which is the one to get if you want to experience the land of Manny.

3.Thief II : The Metal Age

Set in a steampunk Victorian-like city that's also creatively called "The City," the Thief series were a breath of fresh air in the flooded FPS genre on PC. Thief relies heavily on stealth and less on combat. Instead of shooting, you do looting.


The Dark engine that Thief and Thief 2 are based on do look pretty dated, but there are numerous graphical mods available which improve the visuals.

The HD Texture Mod on ModDB, and a highly praised community expansion called Thief 2X: Shadows of the Metal Age which was released in 2005 are recommended.


Thief 2 runs mostly fine on Windows 7, but to play it on Windows 10 you will have to use the Tafferpatcher unofficial complete patch.

4. Deus EX

The next title on the list was named the greatest PC game of all time by PC Gamer in 2011. Deus Ex is first person shooter peppered with role-playing game mechanics, and it combined the two genres very successfully.


Deus Ex is a game so good it shouldn't really exist. I mean ION Storm made it, the same ION Storm that made Daikatana. Luckily Deus Ex was the dream of Warren Spector and not John Romero, who would have made everyone playing it his bitch again.


Deus Ex is based on the first version of the Unreal Engine, and runs fairly well on modern PCs, but looks ugly as hell. If you're going to play this masterpiece, I would recommend getting the revision mod that improves the game both graphically and gameplay-wise.


5. The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay

This is the last title on the list but also the newest of the lot. The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay truly is one of those rare instances where a game based on a movie property does not suck. More than that, it turned out to be really, really good.

Instead of being based on the movie, Starbreeze Studios opted for putting Riddick in an original story — which worked.


Chronicles of Riddick is an action/adventure with stealth elements that is influenced by the Half-Life and Splinter Cell series of games.

The game has received numerous awards on both PC and Xbox, and was also named by IGN as one of the greatest first person shooters of all time in 2013.


The game runs fine on Windows 10, and looks excellent for a port of an original Xbox game.

That said, instead of getting Escape from Butcher Bay, I recommend getting the sequel, Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, which includes a remastered version of the original Game.

Random trivia: key staff members that worked on Chroncles of Riddick moved on after the first game and formed Machine Games, which now makes the Wolfenstein titles for Bethesda.