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Games you bought (or nearly did) on the strength of a Demo or Beta (or shareware for the old)


Benny
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20 minutes ago, AK Bell said:

The Project I.G.I. demo was fantastic. One little compound, and dozens of ways to break in. 

 

The game itself was terrible and boring. 

 

We definitely need a good demos for bad games thread.

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I'm trying to remember covertapes on Your Sinclair and Sinclair User but I guess they were mostly full old games rather than demos of upcoming ones. Or I just forgot all the demos. Outside of the usual suspects like Wolfenstein 3D and Doom then, I remember how sometimes a good demo coming out way before an actual game would actually end up being a bit of an anticlimax. Me and my schoolmates absolutely hammered the demos for Worms and Micro Machines 2, and when we finally had all those extra tracks/weapons/levels it didn't seem to have quite as big a draw as we'd expected.

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20 hours ago, StoooTube said:

Hidden & Dangerous on PC. I played the hell outta that first level demo…

 

When the full game was finally released, I didn’t like the later levels nearly as much as that opening one, in the rain with the bridge.

The coop campaign PC local multiplayer on Hidden and Dangerous was the most fun I've had in MP.

 

It had plenty of bugs but doing those missions together was absolutely brilliant

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2 hours ago, milko said:

I'm trying to remember covertapes on Your Sinclair and Sinclair User but I guess they were mostly full old games rather than demos of upcoming ones.

Same. The only demo I remember was Batman: The Caped Crusader on a Crash covertape, which admittedly was before the Covertape Wars really kicked off (and not long before our family ‘upgraded’ to an Amiga). The presentational gimmick of displaying the game windows like a comic strip I still find memorable and rather appealing. Worked very well with the Speccy’s near-monochrome graphics mode as well, IMO. The Amiga version of the game which I later played just didn’t have the same charm.


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I remember there was a Official PlayStation Magazine with both Colony Wars and G Police on it. 

 

I bought both the day they came out. 

 

PlayStation demo disks were amazing. 

 

A few more PS1 games I bought because of demos

 

Music 2000 (fuck I adored this) 

Legacy Of Kain: Soul Reaver

TOCA Touring Cars

Ridge Racer Type 4

Rage Racer. 

 

There's probably a lot more I bought due to demos but these stand out. 

 

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The one that stood out for me was Startopia on the PC - a space-station management game. IIRC, the demo was on one of those packed covermount CDs, and I remember trying it somewhat reluctantly expecting very little. The moment the demo started and I found myself in a doughnut-shaped space station, and panning the camera sideways rolled the station I was sold. Honestly - like ten seconds in, and I hadn't even started actually doing anything yet. The fact that the rest of the game was so charming and lovely only cemented that first impression. I still go back and dabble with it at regular intervals.

 

(Googling it just now, I've just discovered there's a recent sequel - how'd I miss that? Doesn't sound like it adds enough to make it worthwhile right now, mind).

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I played a lot of the Kurushi demo at a friend's house, then found a copy of Kurushi Final at Gamestation over 10 years later, so bought it. And a PSOne.

 

Then years later, on discovering it was available to play on PS3 digitally, bought a PS3.

 

Kurushi is brilliant.

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I must've played the Jedi Knight demo for a year before finally being able to afford the full copy. What a game though, even now I feel like FPS games don't really have the sense of scale it did.

 

The other one that springs to mind is NiGHTS because I had no idea what it was or how it played so the demo actually helped me understand wtf was going on. Still one of my favourite games of all time.

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On 02/08/2021 at 22:03, loathsomeleopard said:

Settlers for the Amiga. One of the mags of the day - I want to say it was Amiga Format but I could be wrong - had a demo that didn’t let you save, but would keep going as long as the power stayed on.

 

My A500 did some heroic work back in those days, sometimes staying on for days at a time… or until the next guru meditation error. 

This is the one for me, I seem to remember playing that all summer.  It also included the two-player split screen mode which me and my neighbour spent hours enjoying.

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I can’t believe I forgot about Outrun 2?!

Game handed out a demo disc when you pre-ordered the game with a small deposit.

 

I think it was the first three stages of the easy route in the demo. I spent hours playing that, it was incredible!

 

I didn’t buy it from Game though, even though the deposit was £3/£5 (I can’t remember?) the game was significantly cheaper from Shopto / Play.

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Just remembered another one. Sinclair User (I think) gave away a tape with the first level (or maybe two levels) of Skate Crazy, and I played that so many times over until I could get near perfect scores from the judges. I bought the game when it finally came out and I think I played about four levels and got fed up with it. Kids, eh!

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If I recall, Unreal Tournament (or "UT99") had a pretty decent demo - offering a bunch of playable maps in various game modes (including awesome maps such as DM-Morpheus and DM-Phobos.) Even when we had a lowly 56k connection and were left with bot matches it was still a lot of fun.

 

I think Q3 also had one or two demos - the one I remember had Q3DM1, Q3DM17, one of the Q3TOURNEYx maps and maybe something else. DM17 on its own provided a lot of fun. :) 

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Ultimate Underworld. I had read nothing about it when I went into local games shop where it was running on the demo PC.

 

Having been used to the turn-based dungeon-crawlers like Dungeon Master and the D&D titles like Eye of the Beholder, picking up the little red ball and throwing it down the stairs was :omg:.

 

It was like a cross between a flight sim and an Ultima game!

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