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What is the best game demo(s) so far?

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What is the best game demo(s) so far.... other than the SC2 Starter Pack? That starter pack may be the biggest demo ever like as if Blizzard gave away most of the game with a 7GB download.

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That really depends on your criteria of rating the demos, but personally I've always liked those that have unique content in them (even made up a list - incomplete as usual - a while ago).


Another criterion could be the demo size - that is, how much you're allowed to play. Most Scott Miller model shareware games of old qualify in this respect. Spiderweb Software is known for large demo versions of their games. Some other notable demo versions are:


o A demo of the first Heroes of Might and Magic (DOS version) which was published on a Computer Gaming World Magazine CD. You can play on any of the numerous maps in custom game mode (IIRC all maps from the game are included), as any of the four Hero classes. The catch is that on each map, playing time is limited to about three months (in-game time that is :)). Saving and loading is not disabled. The campaign mode is locked, but otherwise there are no limitations. Very cool, but I think I'd rather prefer one map, but playable without any limitations whatsoever (as in the HoMMII demo).


o The so-called Betony demo of Daggerfall (also CD-exclusive). You can play on the small island of Betony (hence the name), which has a capital, a few towns and farmsteads, and several dungeons. There's a limit on your character level, some other features are disabled, and there are only a few random quests (a decent number of quests total but only about three for each quest-giving faction, so it gets repetitive soon). It also counts as a unique content demo as the same island in the full game only has one town, no capital at all, and (I think) different dungeons. You can get this demo here.


o The C&C CD demo found by Nyerguds :)


o The demo of Age of Kings gives you the entire tutorial campaign.


o The WarCraft III demo has a nice unique campaign, albeit somewhat short.


o Same goes for WarCraft II and StarCraft, but the full-length demo campaign for StarCraft was only available as the "StarCraft Shareware CD" (the downloadable version is shorter).


o The levels in both Serious Sam: The First Encounter and The Second Encounter are pretty expansive. The first demo also comes with a somewhat unique level (it was heavily modified for a level late in the full game), and also the early "Test" versions have other differences (textures, monster modesl) as well.


The third criterion that could be used is replay value. Some games (mostly strategies) give you the option to play skirmish battles, sometimes on randomly generated maps. Demo versions of Age of Kings and HoMMII have one skirmish map each (in AoK there's an additional limitation in that you only play as the Britons against Britons - or as Celts against Britons on a different map in the exclusive CGW demo). The demo of Tzar: The Burden of the Crown has two skirmish maps. The demo versions of Rise of Nations, Rise of Nations: Thrones and Patriots, Age of Mythology, Age of Mythology: The Titans, Ancient Conquest, Submarine Titans allow skirmish battles on random maps (there are some other limitations though like the tech tree being limited only to tier 3 in AoM, or a limited set of nations available in RoN).

Edited by MrFlibble

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