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Benny's 90s PC game obscure crap corner. Sometimes awesome


Benny
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What a great thread, waves of memories are hitting my brain going through this thread :wub:

 

I played a lot of DOS games during the 90s and apart from the obvious big hits like Monkey Island, Simon the Sorcerer, Command & Conquer, Doom etc there were loads of lesser known titles I played a lot. Here's a selection of some of my favourite gems (some hidden, some obvious)

 

BloodNet: Cyberpunk vs Goth Vampires in a classical point'n click adventure style game. This game was really interesting to me as it explored a genre that wasn't overused at the time. 

 

 

 

Warlords 2: Turned based strategy game in the same vein as the more popular Heroes of Might and Magic games

 

 

 

Wing Commander: Privateer: The classic Wing Commander series went trade sim in this overlooked gem!

 

 

 

Syndicate: The mighty Bullfrog studio churned out hit after hit for PC and Amiga during the 90s and this futuristic strategy action game was no exception. 

 

 

Gobliiins: Point 'n Click puzzle adventure with charming graphics. These games did my head in at times but loads of fond memories: 

 

 

 

The Incredible Machine: As above, this puzzle game could do my head in but I loved the freedom you had in solving the puzzles

 

 

 

 

Jagged Alliance: I didn't discover this franchise until after I'd rinsed Xcom 1 and 2 but I found them really well made and loved the setting

 

 

 

Jones in the Fast Lane: Somewhere inbetween Little Computer People and The Sims we got Jones in the Fast Lane, a charming life sim. 

 

 

 

Dr. Drago's Madcap Chase: A PC game designed like a board game. A fantastic multiplayer game with loads of charm. 

 

 

 

Monopoly Tycoon: My favourite digital take on the classic Monopoly game. It was a big hit on the LANs I attended and I've always wanted a modern sequel or remake of this absolute gem of a game!

 

 

Wacky Wheels: A fantastic Super Mario Kart clone for the PC with great music and super smooth graphics

 

 

 

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90s PC gaming was all about nerdy turn based strategy games for me. 

 

Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate

 

Squad / platoon level based in the 40k universe. Played this to death. Great game but I think it's one of the first times I came up gaibst a serious bug in a game - in v1.0, the vehicles wouldn't move. I also found a way of cheating after a while - the unit and weapon stats, plus the starting equipment were. dat files that you could use a text editor to change so you had super soldiers with super guns. Interestingly (or not) in doing this, I discovered it was based on the table top system - they used the basic WS, BS, S, T etc. 

 

Epic Warhammer 40,000: Final Liberation

 

Division level this time. Really good TBS, let down by ballance issues. The human controlled Imperial / human race had really good artiliary, who h would just smash everything it hit, the cpu orks didn't, so you could just turtle your big guns behind tanks and infantry and steady hammer the irks as they came towards you. There was an issue with the difficulty as well. The cpu would match what you had to varying degrees. What this meant was that there was no point taking the massive titan units, because the cpu would take them as well and they were harder to kill. Still a great game with some amazingly awful fmv cut scenes. 

 

Warhammer 40,000: Rites of War

It's the Panzer / Allied General engine with Warhammer 40,000 units. What's not to love? 

 

Speaking of which, I was a sucker for the SSI General series. Loved them all. 

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16 hours ago, PeteJ said:

I-War

Although The X-Wing / Tie Fighter games were better, I-War had a very impressive Newtonian physics flight engine that they and everybody was at pains to tell you was Newtonian. It was hard, like a proper flight sim but set in space, which made it rather memorable. 

As I mentioned in the 90s thread, the space combat of Expanse reminds me of I-War.

 

I-War was amazing. great feel of a complex ship with lots of systems to manage, and a well-thought out universe and physics, and interesting mission design.

 

But it was sooo hard, and I got totally stuck on one mission (defending a jump point as laser mines are activated around it) and never got past it despite trying for weeks. (and this is after finishing all the Wing Commanders to that point , X-Wing, and TIE Fighter) - this was so early in the campaign that Spoiliers for a 1997 game ahoy...

 

Spoiler

I never realised you actually swapped sides for most of the story

 

 

My sister and I had a term for the situation where you know a game is great but the difficulty curve is off the chart to the point you don't want to play it- Syndicate Wars Syndrome...

 

The sequel is prettier but I didn't like it all.

 

 

Quote

SWOTL manual Video

 

I remember buying LucasArts Air Combat Classics on dec 27th 1993 with pooled xmas money between me and my sister and it had SWOTL, all the expansions, Their Finest Hour and Battlehawks 1942. and an even bigger manual covering all three games. That golden age of PC manuals that were actually useful reference books into the subject the game depicted. The manuals for Crammond's GP games aere also amazing.

 

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Do you think it's time for some Star Trek? It's always time for some Star Trek:

 

 

A bit ropey by today's standards but I remember really liking this, even if the puzzles were a bit crap.

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The king (well, the general secretary) of 90s chopper sims has to be Hind:

 

 

I used to love DI's sims. I think I played Apache Longbow more, but Hind was better. the Afghanistan campaign was super-hard.

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When I think of 90's PC games, for some reason the first thing that springs to mind is Dark Earth.  I don't think it's necessarily obscure, but I don't think I ever see anyone mention it.  I first had it on a dodgy CD with multiple games, and it had all the cut-scenes stripped, so you had to try to figure out what the hell was going on.  Still got the (proper) CD version somewhere.  At the time, it felt like a pretty engaging story.  I remember you could kill certain people too soon and it would basically leave you completely stuck (like killing Ratpouch at the start of Lure of the Temptress!)

 

 

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Allegiance

This was a hit in the i series of LAN parties I visited a couple of times.  Allegiance was a large-scale space combat, RTS, strategy, resource gathering, researching, PVP epic, with a steep learning curve and unfortunately far to small an audience to survive. The game was immensely ambitious and they - Microsoft believe it or not -  nearly pulled it off. On a full server a massive 156 players would be tied up in this weird space race to gather resources, build, advance tech and then destroy. It was utterly epic in scale, utterly confusing and once you figured out how it all worked it was utterly brilliant. 

I've never played anything like it before, or since. I guess Eve Online could be described as being similar, but this had a proper flight model and pretty good space combat. 

 

It looks like the game continued in development after MS abandoned it so this version is slightly more polished than the one I played, but it gives an idea of what it was like

 

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54 minutes ago, Benny said:

Do you think it's time for some Star Trek? It's always time for some Star Trek:

 

A bit ropey by today's standards but I remember really liking this, even if the puzzles were a bit crap.

An ex-girlfriend hunted a boxed copy of this down for me a few years back (I still have it, never played it). I don't even know why, I don't care much for Star Trek and had never mentioned it (I don't think). I might play it one day.

 

@Rayn I was always curious about Jones in the Fast Lane - never once saw it for sale. Would it still be playable today?

 

Also, seeing Home of the Underdogs mentioned upthread - wow, that brought back a ton of memories. That was my first real experience of PC abandonware and it was a great place to find out about loads of games. I can't believe it's still going!

 

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It closed down years ago, but was reborn. Sadly/thankfully its old forum is long dead, so my earliest significant bulletin board involvement (from 1997/8 onwards) is no longer evident on the web.

 

But yeah, a significant portion of my familiarity with earlier/more obscure PC games comes from years spent trawling HOTU back in the day; a fantastic site.

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1 hour ago, ravnaz said:

 

 I came in to post this, and it’s superior successor Pacific Strike. Origin were churning out loads of games in this period that were always seemingly built for the next generation of hardware.  I think my 486 DX 33 managed about 10 FPS on Pacific Strike - still loved it.
 

Bioforge (as already mentioned), the Ultimas (especially Underworld 1 +2), System Shock, Shadowcaster - all chilla , no filla.

 

Then came Cybermage and it all went to shit.
 

 

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15 hours ago, SeanR said:


 

[edit]
image.png.5054f76808f95536202caa5244f1f1b9.png

 

 

They got sued by Carlsberg because in the game they had a drink called Cybrew with a similar logo.

 

 

 

 

So many great games mentioned in this thread, lets see if I can find at least a couple of titles. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I noticed some Warhammer 40k stuff had been posted so that requires:

 

 

One of the most atmospheric games of the time and I think for my money still the best videogame implementation of Space Hulk

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1 hour ago, Benny said:

I noticed some Warhammer 40k stuff had been posted so that requires:

 

 

One of the most atmospheric games of the time and I think for my money still the best videogame implementation of Space Hulk

NATHANIEL!

 

AZRAEL!

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Trying to stick to the 'obscure' requisite, Scouser's comment about turn based games made remember an obscure turn based air combat game I used to play. I only had a demo of it from some cover disc but I was really hooked on it for a while. I've had some to do some googling to find out what it was called. It was this. I might have to download it and give it another go. I really enjoyed it.

 

 

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Lets get really niche! Here's one of the example games that was included with The Games Factory game creation software:

 

 

I used to spend hours with that software trying to recreate versions of games I'd only seen in screenshots rather than played.

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5 minutes ago, Benny said:

Lets get really niche! 

 

It's the worst game of all time (well... I guess me as a teenager didn't think so, back in the day) - but certainly fits your requirements there @Benny

IIRC I ended up working out how to get the game to go straight to the "right house", first time.

 

Video is SFW.  Don't worry.

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4 hours ago, Benny said:

Do you think it's time for some Star Trek? It's always time for some Star Trek:

 

 

A bit ropey by today's standards but I remember really liking this, even if the puzzles were a bit crap.

 

Never heard of this. It looks and sounds great! Although I'm not sure why Riker looks so weird.

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I flipping loved Spycraft: The Great Game when we first got a family PC:

 

 

...though I remember being genuinely horrified by the assassination footage early in the game (at 20:50 in the above video). Seems rather quaint now!

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Return to Zork

My phone auto completes it to Return to Work, which is rather fitting. We were the first amongst our friends to get a CD ROM drive, so our house suddenly became very popular as people came to see this. Actual people....talking! It was quite the thrill. I think between my brothers and I we finished this, but quite honestly I don't remember much. 

Interestingly in my mind I still think of it as looking great, so this video was a bit of a shock. 

 

Starship Titanic

This game made noise for two reasons. 1) Douglas Adams was involved in the design and writing, and 2) the input was text driven and you could type in anything, and the game would respond accordingly. Obviously not quite as advanced as you'd like but it just about worked if you were logical. Some weird puzzles frustrated me but I enjoyed my one and only play through. 

 

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32 minutes ago, PeteJ said:

Return to Zork

My phone auto completes it to Return to Work, which is rather fitting. We were the first amongst our friends to get a CD ROM drive, so our house suddenly became very popular as people came to see this. Actual people....talking! It was quite the thrill. I think between my brothers and I we finished this, but quite honestly I don't remember much. 

Interestingly in my mind I still think of it as looking great, so this video was a bit of a shock. 

 

Starship Titanic

This game made noise for two reasons. 1) Douglas Adams was involved in the design and writing, and 2) the input was text driven and you could type in anything, and the game would respond accordingly. Obviously not quite as advanced as you'd like but it just about worked if you were logical. Some weird puzzles frustrated me but I enjoyed my one and only play through. 

 

 

 

Hey! I remember that game! (timestamped)

 

 

and also this one

 

 

 

while on the subject of cropping expensive video recordings into games

 

 

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