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


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I used to like the pure cheese of the Wing Commander series once it went full FMV and I own Privateer 2 both on GoG and the original disc (though I never really played it).

 

Some other not-classics-but-still-good: Tilt!, Star Trek Elite Force (I know it was 2000, but we'll let that pass), Syndicate Wars, Fantasy General...So many games!

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Now lets get really obscure on the forgotten PC games stakes

 

 

 

The Sentinel was an absolute Speccy/C64/CPC classic, and I remember actually really liking this sequel. It maintained a really foreboding and weird atmosphere and was quite smooth to play. And the soundtrack was by John Carpenter!

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Just looking through gog now (sorted by oldest first) to trigger some memories. Did anybody ever play Starlord, and old Microprose space-sim? My brother's PC at the time just couldn't run it at anything other than slideshow speeds, so I never really played it, but it was essentially a 4X game but you could take part in the space fights. Only £1.19 on currently, too...

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I remember Dark Reign being good (I completed it back in the day, when I didn't completely suck at RTS's) and I recall it had some gimmick that made it slightly more advanced than Command & Conquer at the time, but I don't remember what.

 

Requiem: Avenging Angel was a decent FPS, too, where you fought with angelic powers in addition to your guns and it had a great atmosphere.

 

Nox was a good action RPG too and available on EA Play too (or it was).


I can't deny that there's a real temptation to buy a load of these from gog, but I just know that most are going to struggle to hold up well (either due to mechanics or QoL aspects). Anybody else getting the urge to play anything again?

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45 minutes ago, Benny said:

Now lets get really obscure on the forgotten PC games stakes

 

 

 

The Sentinel was an absolute Speccy/C64/CPC classic, and I remember actually really liking this sequel. It maintained a really foreboding and weird atmosphere and was quite smooth to play. And the soundtrack was by John Carpenter!

 

Incidentally, this one is a particular favourite, as I was invited round to the house of a girl I had a crush on to "hang out and play some games", and when she put this on I got so engrossed she eventually got understandably very bored and went out, leaving me to it.

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33 minutes ago, Gabe said:

Anybody else getting the urge to play anything again?

 

I've specifically bought The Dig to do just that. Also tempted to get Freespace 2 to mod the hell out of it as I never got into that aspect of the now open source elements, like Babylon 5 mods etc.

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Crusader no remorse was great too, clever little control system. 

image.png.38c4b1c8c62129852372200eb0230267.png

Not really that obscure for here I don't think but I seem to remember it didn't sell nearly as well as it should. 

(And I think has had a crap sequel too iirc)

 

That character is so clearly a rip off I'm amazed they got away with it, although technically it came out before phantom menace so... :P

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The PC introduced me to so many awesome 3D racing sims, starting with Indy 500 (who didn’t love driving the wrong way and causing carnage?!), but for me the ultimate one was Car & Driver. Early SVGA graphics, shaded 3D models and incredibly wonky physics ftw!

 

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Alright, now we're talkin:

 

Incubation: Time is running out

I believe this was the fourth game in Blue Bytes 'Battle Isle' series. It was a squad based turn based strategy where human soldiers would get overwhelmed by aliens. You know, like Aliens. Or UFO Enemy Unknown. 

It was great! Tricky, great style and I seem to remember bastard hard at times. 

 

 

I should also special mention to Battle Isle, which was a great series in its own right. The original games were larger in scale than Incubation, and I seem to remember had a split screen multiplayer mode, but I did like the latter title more. 

 

 

 

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. 

 

 

Bioforge

Not Biogeorge as I first wrote. I mentioned this in the 90s thread as a standout title of the decade and, although it actually wasn't that great it still left a mark for me. It creates a neat sci-fi world using amnesia and data logs to slowly unravel the plot. System Shock 2 did everything better but I still liked this, and as mentioned in the 90s thread it had a lot to do with the graphics. As shown in the video below, when your health was low you limped and got covered on blood, and that was bad ass. Famous for giving you the option to beat a follow prisoner to death with their own arm in the opening minutes. 

https://youtu.be/edJPKwpeHh4

 

 

Hi-Octane

Ah, our old friend Peter Molyneux again, this time taking on the future racing genre. Its Wipeout, basically. 

Apparently the game was made in eight weeks in order to fill a hole in a release schedule, pretty impressive. 

https://youtu.be/nh58lqd0PLg

 

Project I.G.I.

(I'm going in)

A tactical FPS with massive open world settings, made this pretty unique at the time. You could tackle the levels in some inventive ways though it turned out the levels were also practically empty

 

 

 

Hidden and Dangerous 2

This game never quite took off, probably because it never quite got the implementation right...but my god if they had done a third game and polished it like crazy it could have been a major gaming franchise. 

This ww2 tactical FPS was really intense, difficult and different to most other game. It really looked the part as well. 

https://youtu.be/pBgDRkmILfs

 

 

Outcast

This was one of those games that was in development forever. Famously used voxels and gained massive hype for its visuals alone pre-release, but many were disappointed with it's somewhat wobbly nature even if it reviewed reasonably well. 

The tale of a bloke getting pulled into another world, and learning of a whole new civilization and culture was actually rather well realised. The sense of scale in the landscape was pretty great and the music was wonderful. 

 

A sequel was in development but was never released, but the original game eventually got a remake a few years ago. 

 

 

The Quake modding scene

I'm cheating! Everybody remembers quake but I have stupidly fond memories of CTF, with grapple hooks, and also the amazingly underrated Jailbreak. The best version of which came from Quake 2. The team, or other modders in Unreal or later Half Life, never got it right again. 

Of course Half Life also did some amazing things, of course everybody knows Team Fortress Classic and Counter Strike, but does anybody remember Front Line Force? It should have been the next big thing in team-based FPS - it was basically like Rush mode in Battlefield Bad Company 2, but way before that was a thing. 

 

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Just now, Down by Law said:

Realms of the Haunting. I got really far in it but never finished it. Gothic horror fps with live action bits. 

I've got that (again, the original disc and on gog). Only ever played a bit of it, but it seemed decent. I *will* play it at some point!

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10 minutes 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. 

 

I-war 2 was much more forgiving; I actually completed it.

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1 hour ago, b00dles said:

Crusader no remorse was great too, clever little control system. 

image.png.38c4b1c8c62129852372200eb0230267.png

Not really that obscure for here I don't think but I seem to remember it didn't sell nearly as well as it should. 

(And I think has had a crap sequel too iirc)

 

That character is so clearly a rip off I'm amazed they got away with it, although technically it came out before phantom menace so... :P

 

A game blessed with one of the all time great theme tunes courtesy of Necros/Andrew Sega:

 

 

Necros was also responsible for the frankly undeservedly good soundtrack to the execrable, and definitely obscure 90s PC game, In Pursuit of Greed. He was a real talent from the demoscene, and it's a shame he never became a regular soundtrack composer.

 

 

 

And on the subject of (slightly less) obscure and (considerably) better games with great title themes from ex-demo-scenesters who would sadly disappear from the industry shortly thereafter:

 

 

A belter by C.C.Catch/Kenny Chou, composed for what is assuredly the best PC-exclusive fighting game ever released.

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1 hour ago, Dark Soldier said:

I was absolutely obsessed with this as a kid. My life was basically CM2, this and Carmageddon for about two years.

 

Looks trash now, but back then it was amazing to me.

 

 

I was going to post this! I only had the demo courtesy of a coverdisc, but I played it for hours. Really need to play it again. 

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1 hour ago, b00dles said:

Crusader no remorse was great too, clever little control system. 

image.png.38c4b1c8c62129852372200eb0230267.png

Not really that obscure for here I don't think but I seem to remember it didn't sell nearly as well as it should. 

(And I think has had a crap sequel too iirc)

 

That character is so clearly a rip off I'm amazed they got away with it, although technically it came out before phantom menace so... :P

 

I liked both games. Not clear from that image, but weren't they from Origin Systems? As in, Wing Commander and Ultima?

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1 hour ago, PeteJ said:

The Quake modding scene

I'm cheating! Everybody remembers quake but I have stupidly fond memories of CTF, with grapple hooks,

 

Yes! That was called Threewave CTF and it was fucking brilliant.

 

 

It always confused me why it didn't become a popular esport and the (much, much more boring) 1v1 duelling did.

 

They added it as a gamemode in Team Fortress 2 a few years ago called Mannpower

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2 hours ago, Benny said:

Incidentally, this one is a particular favourite, as I was invited round to the house of a girl I had a crush on to "hang out and play some games", and when she put this on I got so engrossed she eventually got understandably very bored and went out, leaving me to it.

 

That's a hell of a pick for an icebreaker. :D 

 

I didn't play it on PC but I think it was on an old PSX demo disc we had...

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3 hours ago, Benny said:

Oh mid 90s PC gaming you beautiful warty decade:

 

 

:lol:

 

I remember playing a demo of this though and thinking the actual space bits were very atmospheric and had cool sound design.

I had this and never had the patience for  the space travel. It had Clive Owens in it for the FMV sequences!

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I loved Quarantine but I'm not sure if it was necessarily obscure?

 

image.png.6c5cc7ba1d982945d777bc896cde6a58.png

 

And I'm pretty sure even at the time I thought Time Commando was a bit weird and janky and crap, but I've still got fond memories of it :wub:

 

 

 

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