Saturday, 7 October 2017
Between 1992 and 1997 over 60 books were released in R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series. During this time, a television show, a board game, several game books and as much merchandise as a Disney movie came to market. In 1996 at the height of that media blitz, Dreamworks Interactive in partnership with Microsoft gained the rights to develop a video game for Windows. The result is Escape to Horrorland, an FMV adventure that boasts Hollywood production value and the involvement of Steven Spielberg.
Monday, 2 October 2017
It is now officially Halloween season, it's time to indulge in the horrors video games can bestow upon us. One of cinema's greatest scare-fests is Alfred Hitcock's 1960 thriller Psycho. The film remains evergreen, but what of the 1988 computer game adaptation by Starsoft Development Laboratories?
Saturday, 30 September 2017
It's been a while since I've posted an update, so before October creeps up on us (literally and figuratively), I thought I'd take the time to tell you what's new around here. Read on to see what games have had updates, what's been added, and what's been changed.
Monday, 25 September 2017
Other than the sport of Football that's such a misnomer the rest of the world puts the country of origin in the name, there's nothing as quintessentially American as monster trucks. It's loud, supersized and full of competitive spectacle. In 1996, Terminal Reality in partnership with Microsoft developed Monster Truck Madness for Windows '95. If you though world of trucks with really big wheels couldn't get any crazier, you've not seen nothin' yet.
Saturday, 23 September 2017
To my developing young mind in the 90s, there was something alluring when a game proclaims itself as being 'adult', and not in the Lula: The Sexy Empire kind of way. With its adult themes, dark subject matter and propensity for swearing, the sci-fi meanderings of Divide by Zero's The Orion Conspiracy peaked my pre-pubescent interests when I saw the adverts around its release in 1995. As a fully formed adult, I can now get my hands on the adventure game without the threat of warping my mind. So is it any good?
Wednesday, 20 September 2017
With the rise of indie developers we are all used to a release that thrives on nostalgia, but the 90s was a different matter. If a game took inspiration from an old classic, it was often seen as derivative. Case in point: Mageslayer. This top-down action-fest from Raven Software was an obvious retro throwback to the likes of Gauntlet but reviews at the time tended to see this as the game's biggest flaw. Would we be kinder to it in 2017 than we were in 1997?
Thursday, 7 September 2017
Disney's gaggle of villains are probably just as memorable as their heroes. Or princesses. At around the turn of the millennium, the entertainment giant tried to morph them into their very own brand. And with their need for cross-promotion, a few games came along too. Among them were Disney's Villains' Revenge, Disney's Hades Challenge & Disney's Arcade Frenzy! Check them out after the jump.
Tuesday, 5 September 2017
Of all the licenses to base a computer game on, director extraordinaire Alfred Hitchcock wouldn't necessarily be the first choice. I'm not talking about a specific movie license like Psycho or The Birds but the man himself. Arxel Tribe's 2001 effort, Hitchcock: The Final Cut, confounded game-players and did just.
Thursday, 31 August 2017
All throughout the 80s and 90s, edutainment games were at their prime on PC and Mac. Series like Reader Rabbit, Jumpstart, and Carmen Sandiego truly shined out of the slew of kids’ titles. Most were quite tame in their content, to obviously be appropriate for children. Although, there was one title released in 1997, under the name of Grossology.
Friday, 25 August 2017
What do you get when Robert de Niro, Aerosmith, Superman, Jim Belushi and Cher collaborate with the twisted art of Mark Rydan to make a point-n-click adventure? The answer is one of gaming history's most notorious financial bombs. Nevertheless 9: The Last Resort (1996, Tribeca Interactive) is still a fascinating surreal head-trip of a game.
Monday, 21 August 2017
You don't need a president to tell you Nazis are bad, but the big 'what if...?' has haunted many an author, historian or citizen of Planet Earth. What would our world be like had Nazi Germany won the war? Kronolog: The Nazi Paradox, a graphic adventure released in 1993 by Castleworks Gameware, attempts to do just that.
Wednesday, 16 August 2017
Acclaim's answer to the short-lived - and often missed - 6DoF (Six Degrees of Freedom) style of shooter is often denigrated as simply a clone of Descent. The truth is that Forsaken had - and still has - a lot going for it beyond the similarities in gameplay. So strap in, get your sick bags ready and let's get dizzy.
Friday, 4 August 2017
Until fairly recently, fighting games for computers have had a pretty bad reputation. For some reason, the arcade thrills of a fighter battling it out on the streets or a virtual arena didn't translate so well. That's not to say desktops went without a number of system exclusives in the genre. Battle Beast, a 1995 game for Windows from 7th Level, was one of them. Does it change the tide for melees on a monitor? Or will it continue on the trajectory of terrible tussles?
Sunday, 30 July 2017
Monday, 24 July 2017
With the success of the Windows '95 launch title Fury3, a sequel to the MicroSoft published space shooter was not far behind. Hellbender (1996, Terminal Reality) sees very little changed from the DOS days of Terminal Velocity but what it lacks in originality, it certainly makes up for it with sheer bombast.
Friday, 21 July 2017
There was a time in my youth when I was obsessed with The X-Files. I had all episodes on VHS (official and recorded from TV), then later on DVD and now Blu-Ray. I had the comic books, the novels, the episode guides, the action figures, the collectable card game, two board games and - as is the topic today - the video games. Coming out at the height of its popularity in 1998, The X-Files Game was an epic FMV adventure spanning a whopping 7 discs. But does it do the show justice?
Saturday, 15 July 2017
With Spider-Man: Homecoming in cinemas now, what better time to revisit one of the superhero's most obscure PC Game tie-ins. Spider-Man: The Sinister Six (1996,Brooklyn Multimedia) is a simple adventure aimed toward young children. It features some nice animations and a branching storyline, but can the gameplay offer much for anyone over the target age group?
Tuesday, 11 July 2017
The Book of Watermarks is a Japanese adventure game for the PlayStation that's been heavily inspired by the works of William Shakespeare, The Tempest in particular. For a game that never made it out of its native country, it's surprisingly all in English, save for the easily decipherable menus, making it very playable for western audiences.
Friday, 30 June 2017
Those who follow me on Facebook or Twitter will know that this past month has been dedicated to reader requests. I have an ever-growing list of requests, of which many have sadly not been so successful in getting them to work. If you haven't seen your suggested game in the last month, keep reading after the jump to hear if it was one of my failed attempts. There's also the usual site news and a couple of game updates in there too!
Thursday, 29 June 2017
There was a great mini-resurgence of classic noir in the mid-90s. While Devil in a Blue Dress and L.A. Confidential hit out cinema screens, the computer monitor saw a couple of gems come to light (or dark as the case may be). I've already covered Noir: A Shadowy Thriller from 1996, but a year earlier The Dame was Loaded unearthed from the underrated Australian developer Beam Software.
Monday, 26 June 2017
Eastern Mind: The Lost Souls of Tong Nou, a Japanese adventure that came to the west in 1995, was developed almost entirely by one man - Osamu Satu. If you're unaware, he's the man behind the trippy PlayStation game LSD: Dream Simulator. Consider that a warning - things are about to get weird...
Friday, 23 June 2017
SEGA are the king of the arcade, and they were on a high in the golden era of the 90s. Virtua Cop (or Virtua Squad in some territories) was their magnum opus for the on-rails light-gun shooter. Arguably the best home conversion at the time was not on the SEGA Saturn - their own console hardware - but the impressive 1997 PC ports.
Thursday, 15 June 2017
What would you do is your explorer father disappeared on an arctic expedition 30 years ago? Well, if you're the nameless hero of Soap Bubble Productions' 1998 adventure game Morpheus, a content and normal life is not an option. Time for a life-threatening adventure!
Monday, 12 June 2017
After all the events that's been happening in my little country known as the United Kingdom (in you're unaware there's been a lot of terrorism and politics), it sure would be nice to have a holiday. A quick look at my bank balance would suggest that Sunflower's 1996 management sim, Holiday Island, is my best bet at having one.
Monday, 22 May 2017
Tuesday, 16 May 2017
Ah, the 80s. Everything was bigger in the 80s. The hair. The fashion. The action movies. Developed by Dynamix and released in the last year of the decade, David Wolf: Secret Agent encapsulates all of those things and more besides.
Sunday, 14 May 2017
The videogame adaptation of Alien Resurrection really missed the boat. The movie came out in 1997 but it wasn't until the new millennium that the tie-in came out on the original PlayStation. Was the additional 3 years in development well worth the wait? Hell yes it was!
Friday, 12 May 2017
It's been a long time since the Alien franchise was known as a trilogy. And with Alien Covenant hitting cinemas (not to mention Prometheus), we can throw away the made up word of "quadrilogy" too. But way back in 1996, Ridley Scott's seminal sci-fi horror was still three movies and this was when Acclaim Entertainment published a FPS decidedly known as Alien Trilogy.
Saturday, 6 May 2017
History buffs among you should know who Temüjin is. Everyone else knows him as the feared warmonger Genghis Khan (that goofy guy from Bill & Ted). In 1997, SouthPeak Interactive released Temüjin: A Supernatural Adventure. It threw history out of the window and made the warlord into some sort of practitioner of dark magic. It's an alternative facts version of our past.
Thursday, 27 April 2017
Wednesday, 26 April 2017
Released in 1991 by New World Computing, the folks behind the Might & Magic franchise, Planet's Edge: The Point of No Return was certainly a unique game for its time. With its non-linear gameplay, free space exploration and an epic RPG storyline, one could even consider it to be the Mass Effect of its day. And with the huge number of planets to explore accross the universe, it certainly rivals it in scale.
Sunday, 23 April 2017
For us adventure gamers, the huge popularity of Myst is something of a catch-22. On the one hand we had some amazing games that used the formula to great effect. On the other hand, it also spawned a huge number of quickly produced copycats that flooded the market that did nothing but sully the genre's name. Rocket Science's expensive 1996 effort, Obsidian, failed in the marketplace perhaps suffering from the expectation that it could be the latter. It is in fact the former and has since gained a following for being a shining example of what storytelling in video games can achieve.
Sunday, 16 April 2017
Let's celebrate Easter this year by talking about the world's second most famous egg: Dizzy. Not only was he the unofficial mascot of the Commodore 64, he's also the poster child for bedroom coders everywhere. So that begs the question: after a plethora of sequels and spinoffs why did Dizzy disappear?
Wednesday, 12 April 2017
Bombuzal, also known as Kablooey or Charlie Blast's Territory was a great little puzzler. The bomb-busting blue blob seems to have been forgotten since it's 1988 debut, but if there's one puzzler that tugs the nostalgic heart-strings for me, this is it.
Monday, 10 April 2017
Friday, 31 March 2017
When a pen and paper RPG gets adapted for a video game, you'd expect it to follow certain conventions such as a complex fighting mechanic, character stats and the like. Based on the short-lived French series, Dark Earth by Kalisto Entertainment doesn't do that. It was released in 1997, the same year as the first Fallout, but by contrast it ignors its stat-heavy origins and follows the formula of another one of its contemporaries: Resident Evil.
Saturday, 25 March 2017
The crude grifter Jack T. Ladd returns for another space adventure. This time he's Guilty! Released in 1995, this sequel to Divide By Zero's Innocent Until Caught adds an unwitting companion by the name of Ysanne Andropath: Space Cop. Does this extra playable character add to the experience, or just Jack's innate sexism?
Tuesday, 7 March 2017
In the age before polygons were able to give us fully realised environments, I wasn't too keen on the racing genre. Back then, I felt the limitations of 2D weren't able to adequately recreate the sensation of driving a car, at least not in games that positioned the camera behind the vehicle instead of a top-down viewpoint. The one exception (at least in my collection) was Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge.
Saturday, 4 March 2017
Disney were incredibly prolific in the 90s with their computer edutainment titles. Most followed a pre-set theme such as the Animated Storybooks, Activity Centres or Print Sudios but there were a few titles that stood on their own. Be Our Guest, Timon & Pumbaa's Jungle Games and Topsy Turvy Games compiled a collection of 5 mini-games each and tied them to a Disney animated classic (Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and The Hunchback of Notre Dame respectively).
Wednesday, 1 March 2017
Cyberdreams continuing ethos of publishing games with the clear voice of a named artist behind them was an admirable, if short lived one. In their fifth and final game released in 1996 a director by the name of Jeff Blyth joined the development crew of TSi to create Noir: A Shadowy Thriller. While his work isn't as well-known as H.R.Giger's alien landscapes or Harlan Ellison's sci-fi stories, he has had an interesting and rather unorthodox film career.
Sunday, 26 February 2017
Today is Oscar day. I'll be staying up 'til 6 AM to see if La La Land or Moonlight gets the golden statuette (edit: turns out it was a bit of both!) but 44 years ago arguably the 'Best Film of All Time' won; The Godfather. But we're not here to talk about that. We're here to shoot some gangsters in the 1991 video game adaptation by US Gold.
Sunday, 19 February 2017
In 1993 FMV was the future of gaming. Back then any attempt at a cut scene was jaw-dropping but to include actual actors was something else. The problem was that a video stream didn't allow for much in the way of interaction so way before the decade was up the fad died with a reputation as bad as Pauly Shore movie. Critical Path, according to PC Gamer, was not just one of the worst of its genre but the 9th worst PC Game of all time! Is that dubious honour really justified?
Tuesday, 7 February 2017
As someone who proudly calls himself a movie-nerd along with retro-gamer, I find the FMV craze of the mid-90s to be extremely fascinating. The data storage of CD-ROMs allowed for compressed video files to be part of the narrative. Many failed, falling into the trappings B-movies had learned to stay well away from but others had Hollywood in their sights. In 1996, Cryo Interactive took on an ambitious project called Hardline, a bombastic on-rails shooter with minor adventure elements that boasted over 2 hours of footage and 200 special effects.
Saturday, 28 January 2017
The first Whale's Voyage was something of a surprise. I was not aware of it before a recent search for something interesting for this site and it turned out to be a good time despite some major flaws. Whale's Voyage 2 released in 1995 can be summed up in one sentence: it's the exact same game.
Thursday, 26 January 2017
Dynamix, the classic Sierra owned developer, have an obvious love of Hollywood movies. This is especially true of their adventure games of which Rise of the Dragon is their first. I've already covered their 1991 release Heart of China which is their take on the globe-trotting adventuring of Indiana Jones, but one year earlier it was another Harrison Ford movie that gave them inspiration: Blade Runner.
Monday, 23 January 2017
The Last Dynasty, released in 1995 by Sierra, looks like it could be a cool action packed sci-fi adventure. And with that Star Wars meets Star Trek cover and strategic use of the word 'sizzling' on the back of the box why wouldn't you? In actuality the 'action packed' and 'adventure' elements are mutually exclusive leaving us with a game that, while enjoyable in parts, has something of an identity crisis.
Saturday, 21 January 2017
Exploring the depths of space has long been a favourite theme in science-fiction storytelling, and games have taken up this trope pretty much since its inception. In 1993, a trade-heavy RPG from the little known German developer 'neo Software Produktions' continues this tradition. Despite its age, can Whale's Voyage bring some new and interesting ideas to the table? Read on to find out...
Saturday, 7 January 2017
I've not played many current games this year. That's party down to time and expense, but also due to the fact that very few have interested me. Thank goodness the Collection Chamber primarily deals with old games. Follow the jump to get my view on the past year of gaming...