5 DAYS A STRANGER / Yahtzee Croshaw / PC
The first game in the Chzo series introduces you to "gentleman thief" Trilby, and seems to be a bit inspired by 1995 Japanese horror game Clock Tower, though the interface here is more reminiscent of classic Sierra and Lucasarts adventures from the early to mid 1990s.
Trilby gets a hot lead on a mansion recently vacated due to the sudden death of the owners, and no doubt still loaded up with their various valuables. Upon entering, however, Trilby soon finds that all the exits are sealed by some mysterious power and various other people have also been trapped inside. Over the course of the ensuing five days you'll explore the house, attempt to come to grips with whatever supernatural force is imprisoning you, and avoid the inevitable stabbing that seems to accompany situations like this.
This adventure is pretty short — the titular five days encompass only maybe two hours of gameplay at most (perhaps three if you get REALLY stuck). The game is also wholly linear, and you are pretty much led by the nose to puzzle solutions, the only real challenge coming from the occasional pixel-hunt.
What makes it work is the strong dialogue and believable character personalities, which involve you in the story in spite of the very basic graphics. The horror ambiance is also pulled off remarkably well for using such basic graphics and borrowed sounds.
* Download (Yahtzee's official site)