All Metal Gear Solid Demos
All Metal Gear Solid demos have been amazing. A great amount of content, solid gameplay and enough replayability to tide fans over until each launch. Memories of time spent in the demos can be just as strong in the games.
Say what you want about Kojima, he knows how to create a vertical slice.
Fight Night Round 3
Fighting and sports games often give you a tiny selection from the roster and a single arena in which to do battle. But for Fight Night Round 3, the first Fight Night on the Xbox 360, this was more than enough to leave our collective jaws gaping.
The game looked astonishing, and still holds up to this day. The boxing was meaty, punches had force, and it was immensely satisfying in local multiplayer. If you still need convincing that this was a good demo, we're off to buy Fight Night at lunch.
This was one of the rare occasions where a demo was released way in advance of the full game hitting stores. In a brilliant move from Microsoft and Capcom, after showing off Lost Planet for the Xbox 360 at its E3 conference it announced a demo would be available for everyone to play. Not a month before release, but right now. It was great to have access to a new game so early and it gave the feeling that we were part of E3, despite watching most of it from a bed in the early hours of the morning.
Famous for essentially being the free game bundled with the £40 Halo 3 beta, Crackdown's own demo was a thing of beauty. Giving players a massive area to explore (going so far as to let them climb the Agency Tower, one of the game's highlights) and accelerating progression and power acquisition while capping playtime at 30 mins, it's one of the best demos of all time.
Resident Evil 4
Resi 4 has become defined by its opening moments of horror. The introduction was something gamers got to enjoy in the demo; that terrifying, seemingly never-ending run around the village, trying desperately to avoid the deranged inhabitants created a genre-defining experience.
Resi 2 (Resi Director's Cut version)
Arguably as memorable as the village in Resi 4 is the opening of Resident Evil 2. The demo gives you the start of the game, pulling no punches and dropping you right in the thick of it, following a giant crash and surrounded by zombies.
Learning to survive was a good primer for when we picked up the game, and you can't put a price on surviving the apocalypse.
The freely distributed shareware version of Doom included the nine-level Knee-Deep in the Dead episode. At the time Doom was a revelation and not only would we have paid for it, but also bought a PC to play it. This free demo is home to some of the most iconic maps in video game history.
Skate/ Skate 3
These demos were great because of the design of the Skate games. While only giving you small portions of the game, the entire trick system was available for you to learn and mess about with. Hours and hours could be wasted trying to link a few simple tricks together inbetween a grind.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
As a new Batman game, naturally gamers were skeptical about how good the Arkham series could be. 20 minutes in the Asylum was enough to show us all that Rocksteady knew exactly how to build an amazing game around the Caped Crusader.
The chance to experience all the games mechanics: detective mode, combat and sandbox takedowns as well as the overarching plot hooked us all, and spawned a series.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater
Two minutes inside the Warehouse level of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater might not sound like much, but it provided what seemed like an endless amount of fun. Playing alone was great, but going to high scores against your friends was even better. This was our first taste of one of the great games franchises of the PlayStation era, and we couldn't get enough.