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Obscure game favorites


Robot Monkey
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More from the "Are you the only one?" series of LCVG topics! Collect them all!

 

Does Strike Commander do it for you? What game do you continue to regard highly that fell by the wayside? And why do you like it?

 

Here's one on my list

 

Master of Magic, Microprose (DOS). Linkage to screens. This game was like Civilization, but so much more fun (after fighting with autoexec.bat and config.sys to get it to work). It's fantasy themed. There were a couple neat features.

 

When enemy units met up on the world map, you'd be taken to a tactical view. The battles took place on a tactical grid and featured turn-based strategy (not unlike Advance Wars).

 

You'd pick a school of wizardry (and could win by researching the ultimate spell). You could use spells for all kinds of different things. A "Nature" combat spell might grow roots to entangle enemy troops. Another might make a wall of wind to nullify enemy missile attacks. You could even use a Sorcery levitation spell on a frigate to sail onto land.

 

You collected mana to cast spells by controlling mana nodes, scattered on the world map. Controlling a node aligned with your magic type gave you more mana per turn.

 

There were many different races, each with its own special units and attributes. There was also a mirror dimension you could access to conquer.

 

Special items were scattered around the world map, including heroes (with their own special attributes) that could lead armies.

 

I loved the game because there was so much to do, many ways to go about it, and the tactical combat added a great dimension to the Civ formula.

 

I'd mention Scorched Earth, but was it obscure? A lot of time was wasted on that one in college.

 

-j

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I don't necessarily pride myself in going for the obscure game, but I do like to maintain a broad interest set.

 

Master of Magic was a fantastic game. Loved the multiple paths and the darkside world that had the ultra tough baddies. This was one of the first strategy games to use the concept of "hero" characters, I think, wasn't it? Man, nothing beat pumping up your guys with artifacts and sending them out.

 

One game I love that not a lot of people played (besides the entire Gabriel Knight series :green:) was Eric the Unready, one of the Legend text adventures. That game was absolutely hysterical, lots of good jokes and pop culture riffs. Shame they never made the sequel.

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Oh, yeah, thought of another couple good ones :P.

 

System Shock's 1 & 2. Well-known only in that a lot of people know a small portion of us love them to death. The second one is a very good game. The first one is nothing less than a classic. The CD version has amazing voice acting and tells a horribly compelling story of the doomed fight of the residents of Citadel Station as they struggle versus SHODAN. All games should be that compelling.

 

Interestingly I am quite fond of a lot of Origin's output from that time. Crusader: No Remorse is one of the best damn action games ever made and not enough people played it either. Great story, awesome action, wicked fun weapons. I really wish they'd at least get the originals working under today's systems. The levels were so huge too. Fond memories.

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I'll cast another vote for Master of Magic, that was a great game.

 

Hahah...Strike Commander was sooooooo hyped before it came out. Then I remember spending hours installing it and then 20 minutes when I started a level for it to "Generate the World" or something. And then once the game actually loaded it ran at 4 FPS and blew chunks, I gave up on it so fast.

 

Off the top of my head regarding games nobody really remembers, I really liked The Syndicate. It was a bit simplistic and devilishly hard at times, but there was something really great about just walking around with your armed-to-the-teeth squad to do battle against the locals (and mowing down any civilians that got in the way). Flame gun...mmm.

 

I spent gobs of time playing X-Com too, but that isn't exactly forgotten, I think a lot of us remember it fondly.

 

How about one of the ORIGINAL graphical MMORPGs? And I don't mean the MUDs...I mean the original Neverwinter Nights on AOL (back when AOL wasn't the crapfest it is today). Hourly fees! I used to play with my friend on his account, we would rack up hundreds of dollars in bills per month. But he was kind of rich, so his parents would yell at him and then not do anything about it. So we'd play late into the night...oh the memories. On the same note, I spent quite a lot of time playing all manner of things on The Sierra Network which later became ImagiNation Network or something. Good times.

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I was going to mention X-Com, but yeah, that's a classic too, and a well-known, well-played one.

 

The original game was so amazing it's a shame the others never really came close to recapturing that magic. It doesn't seem like it should be that hard, but apparently it was. Man, gunfights in the produce section of grocery stores, those damn chrysalids, and those freakin' atomic grenades that would level half the map. Talk about wicked fun.

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time to do it right with turn-based multiplayer

 

Didn't somebody do this? I'm sure I saw a thread in the PC section, hell I might have posted it. I think the designers of the original did something multiplayer along those lines. If I wasn't about to pass out from exhaustion I'd go track it down, but you can look for it if so inclined ;).

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My obscure favorite has to be Tranquility, its obscure is every sense. It's not a traditional game (to put it mildly), and it's also not very well known.

 

It is one of the most unique games there is, and despite appearing rather simplistic on the surface, it's very technologically sophisticated and easily one of the most subtle and rich games I've played.

 

Originally it was programmed by one guy for SGI's OS, IRIX, as a kind of experiment and learning tool, eventually it became a showcase for SGI that shipped with all of their workstations along with other demos that showed off the power of the hardware. Nothing much happened over the next decade, except that home computers got a lot more powerful.

 

The original programmer hooked up with another guy and they rewrote the entire engine to run on Mac and Windows. They also added fancier dynamics and a theme for the game that revolved around a ranking system.

 

It's very hard to describe Tranquility, it fits into none of the established gaming categories, it's sort of like a puzzle game you fly around in, it's an exploration game where the journey is the goal, it's art. It utilizes the internet in brilliant fashion, a game server generates levels on the fly based on how you play the game and sends them to you in a couple seconds. The game server also composes a soundtrack for you on the fly, using samples in the game itself (most of the downloaded executable is audio samples). As you play, the game tracks your mouse movements and analyzes them to see if you are playing fluidly or haphazardly, and assigns you a score based on the analysis (the analysis is also what it uses to judge how to build levels for you).

 

There's a lot of new-agey stuff on the website for the game, I think that turns some people off. I fell in love with the game, and basically ignore the new age stuff. After playing so many games that offer very little that is truly new, to find a game that is almost nothing but new ideas is refreshing.

 

P.S. I do run the one and only forum for Tranquility, but I do not make any money from it.

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Originally posted by Pharmboy@Apr 12 2004, 09:58 PM

Interestingly I am quite fond of a lot of Origin's output from that time. Crusader: No Remorse is one of the best damn action games ever made and not enough people played it either. Great story, awesome action, wicked fun weapons. I really wish they'd at least get the originals working under today's systems. The levels were so huge too. Fond memories.

You might want to check out DOSBox for playing older DOS games on a new machine. I haven't tried it with Crusader, but it looks like both of them work with the latest version.

 

 

I was a huge fan of Origin in the 90s so any of their titles would not be obsure to me. I loved the original Privateer, Strike Commander, the early Wing Commander games (before FMV), the Crusader games to name a few :)

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I'll second the original Syndicate, which was a brilliant, brilliant game, though rather easy until you reached the final level. Its not that obscure in the UK, though, as it was a big hit here on the Amiga. One of these days I'll work out how to get my PC copy of Syndicate Wars (the sequel) running under Dosbox or similiar.

 

Anthony is bang on the money with Bangai-O, though as a Treasure game I don't think its completely obscure either. Great fun, with a lovely dynamic for the smart bomb feature - its power goes up with the number of enemy bullets you manage to get onscreen at once. Fortune really favours the brave here.

 

My vote for mostly-forgotten classic was mentioned by Brian the other day, actually - Spindizzy Worlds on the Amiga. Its probably the ultimate version of the isometric Marble Madness style of game, until Nagoshi came along a decade later and shoved the camera behind a Ball with a Super Monkey in it. Devilish puzzles and near-perfect cotrol combination, while at the same time making it actually possible to complete - unlike the original Spectrum Spindizzy, which has one of the harshest time-limits I've ever seen. Even to this day I've never made it more than about 40% of the way through Spindizzy without an infinite time cheat.

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Thanks Peter, but unfortunately my computer doesn't have a huge amount of speed and the problem with DOSBox is that it requires you to have a ridiculously fast machine to run older games. I believe you need around 1.4 ghz and up just to get Gabriel Knight 1 running (and I've tried, it's slow as hell) so those of us on the older comps are SOL for now ;).

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Originally posted by iainl@Apr 13 2004, 02:54 AM

I'll second the original Syndicate, which was a brilliant, brilliant game, though rather easy until you reached the final level.

Yeah, I never did finish the game because I just kept getting annihilated on that last level. Tried every strategy I could think of, had my guys totally borged up, and still could only last one minute at the longest :)

 

A friend of mine with a C-64 had plenty of now-forgotten games that we used to love playing. Law of the West was always fun, since you could kill just about anybody you pleased. And Beachhead 2, which had some hilarious voice synthesis. "You...can't...hurt...MEEEEE!"

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Aztec on the Apple II. Loved this early 2D adventure game. Was horribly difficult but addictive. I'd die every other screen but kept going. Screenie

 

Dark Castle (Macintosh SE). A black and white adventure game which was perhaps the first to use the mouse as an aiming device. Had kick-ass monochrome graphics that looked like a comic book (at the time). An early version of Price of Persia or Ico, perhaps.Scroll down to see.

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M.U.L.E. is another one. Someday someone will put a 4-player multiplayer version of M.U.L.E. up online and it will bring people in droves. Or at least me. It's one of the best multiplayer games ever made and it really ought to be updated.

 

Can you tell I used to game a lot when I was younger? ;)

 

MicroProse's old Airborne Ranger was another great one. Not exactly high brainpower but it was a helluva lot of fun.

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Secret and Mark, the game you're thinking of is Laser Squad nemesis.

 

So was it any good? Did anybody actually play it?

 

I'll second the original Syndicate, which was a brilliant, brilliant game, though rather easy until you reached the final level.

 

Funny, I don't remember it being that easy. But maybe I just sucked...or maybe my computer sucked even worse. :cry: The poor old days of the 386/486 heh.

 

Dark Castle (Macintosh SE). A black and white adventure game which was perhaps the first to use the mouse as an aiming device. Had kick-ass monochrome graphics that looked like a comic book (at the time). An early version of Price of Persia or Ico, perhaps.

 

I *LOVED* that game. I didn't have a Mac, but my friend did and we used to play that game to death. The control was great, and actually the best part of the game was the SOUND. Really great digitized sound effects. I remember being pretty disappointed when I bought the C-64 version for my own computer, it was just not the same even though it was in color. I don't remember, but I don't think I ever finished that game even though I got pretty far. Another one I loved on the Mac was the original Wizardry.

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stencil,

 

One of my friends and I still make the noises from some of the characters from Dark Castle.

 

"Neah,Neah,Neah,Neah,Neah,Neah,Neah,Neah,Neah,Neah,Neah,Neah,YOW!!!"... as he is hit by a rock. :)

 

That game was so much fun.

 

My obscure game favorite was NFL Football by XOR for the Mac SE. I played entire seasons with that game, printing out screen shots of the stats screen at the end of the game. Watching those little X's and O's move all over the screen was great.

 

Also, add to the list... Strike Fleet for the Commodore 64. Developed by Lucasfilm published by EA. A really fun Naval simuation back in the day.

 

http://www.mobygames.com/game/sheet/p,27/gameId,6859/

 

Glen

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Originally posted by secretvampire@Apr 13 2004, 03:45 PM

I'll second the original Syndicate, which was a brilliant, brilliant game, though rather easy until you reached the final level.

 

Funny, I don't remember it being that easy. But maybe I just sucked...or maybe my computer sucked even worse. :cry: The poor old days of the 386/486 heh.

The real trick was to spend some time building up an army of zombies, using the persuadatron. Once you had a few cops along for the ride too, you were virtually unstoppable - no-one could even get close enough to hit you due to the amount of human shielding. Which is why the final level was so much of a step up - all of a sudden no-one to persuade to do your dirty work for you, and its a slog though each and every memorised death-trap.

 

Actually, its probably the greatest accolade I can give the game that I actually remember all this.

 

On the subject of Bangai-O, its a 4-way scrolling shooter from Treasure with (as I mentioned before) a great risk-reward setup for the bomb power, and a deliberately incomprehensible, insane story. Add in some mazes and puzzles and you've got mad 2D classic written all over it. The N64 version is more 'hardcore' (read expensive, rare and slightly more difficult) but the Dreamcast version is far easier to track down.

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My obscure game favorite was NFL Football by XOR for the Mac SE. I played entire seasons with that game, printing out screen shots of the stats screen at the end of the game. Watching those little X's and O's move all over the screen was great.

 

Ah yes, I had TOTALLY forgotten about that game. My friend and I played many, many games of this against each other back in the day as well.

 

The real trick was to spend some time building up an army of zombies, using the persuadatron. Once you had a few cops along for the ride too, you were virtually unstoppable - no-one could even get close enough to hit you due to the amount of human shielding. Which is why the final level was so much of a step up - all of a sudden no-one to persuade to do your dirty work for you, and its a slog though each and every memorised death-trap.

 

Man, this is making me want to play it again. I remember the persuadatron now hah.

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Play it again, you know you want to. If only for the sheer evil power on an assassination level of walking in surrounded by a crowd of 30 people all natural-like, then when you get close enough opening up with the glorious chain-gun and mowing down half your own 'team' in your attempt to hit the one guy you need to kill. Or just running straight through them as you escape in a car.

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