PC DOS A-C

Alien Brigade – By Atari

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 Apple Panic – By Broderbund

In the days before Mario, Sonic, and all the rest, platformers were a lot simpler. In fact, you were lucky at all if you had a jump button. More often than not, like in this particular curiosity, all you had was a shovel and a bunch of ladders. Apple Panic’s a lot more like an action-focused Lode Runner, a game based more on quick reflexes than strategic planning. You control a farmer, out to bury a bunch of weird looking things that the game assures us are apples. Apples that are trying to kill you, but apples nonetheless. You kill apples by digging holes in the ground with your shovel, and waiting for an apple to fall in one. Once you’ve got them trapped, you bash their heads in with a shovel for points. The more holes that they fall through, the more points you’ll earn. Once you destroy all the apples, you get a time bonus and go on to the next stage. It’s a decently fun game, although there are a few issues. Your farmer is constantly moving, which can make it hard to put holes exactly where you want them. You also want to make sure you don’t hit the fire button more than once when digging holes, or else you’ll fill it right up again. If you’re into these sorts of classic-style arcade games, this more than likely won’t bother you, but if you’re the type who feels naked without at least 16 colours, you might be into something a little more modern. It’s not a terrible game, just very… old-fashioned.

Review by Bobinator

5/10

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 Battle Chess 4000 – By Interplay

A lot of people know about the original Battle Chess, but not as many know that it actually got two sequels. One was based off of Chinese Chess, while the other was a traditional chess game with a new theme. Unlike the original game, which had two medieval armies in a war in each other, here your pieces are science fiction clichés, like spear-wielding aliens. If you’ve played any kind of chess game, there’s nothing that really changes the game up, and there are not really any new features from the original Battle Chess. The AI puts up a good challenge on the higher levels of difficulty, though, even if it takes a while before it’ll actually make a move. This is a game you play less for the actual chess gameplay, and more watching the pieces fight, and you’ve got a lot of funny animations for when it happens. Some of these include the knight grabbing the pawn by the snout and blasting it, while the rook distracts another piece by playing Rambo on its screen. Once you see all of the animations, though, the game starts to lose its shine. If you enjoy chess, you’ll probably enjoy this, and if you don’t, you probably won’t. That’s all there is to say, really.

Review by Bobinator

6/10

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 Blake Stone: Aliens Of Gold – By Apogee Software

Shortly after the release of Wolfenstien 3D, Apogee would go on to publish this game, which uses the same engine with a few improvements. Instead of the World War II setting of the original game, Blake Stone is basically James Bond in space. You, as Agent Blake Stone, are sent in to destroy the six facilities of the evil Dr. Goldfire, while killing as many of his minions as you can. You start off with a silenced laser pistol, which handily auto-charges itself, and as you progress through the game, you’ll pick up better and better firepower, ending with a plasma cannon that fires a huge stream of energy balls. Much like Wolfenstien, you’ll spend most of your time wandering around the levels, shooting up enemies, looking for key cards, and pushing secret walls open. There are a few new features, though, like friendly scientists who will offer you advice, ammo, and tokens to buy health from vending machines. You’re going to need all of these, too, since enemies have the tendency to take off about thirty percent or more of your health with one shot. Quick saving is definitely advised. There’s also barriers that you have to switch on and off. The best feature of all, though, is probably the auto map you can access with the Tab key, which means that unlike Wolfenstien, you won’t be wandering around aimlessly looking for a door you haven’t explored yet. The problem, though, is that besides the new features, it feels like more of a mod for Wolfenstien than its own unique game, so this is best played if you either really loved Wolfenstien and want more of it, or if you’ve never played it. You won’t be missing too much if you decide to skip this for Doom, though.

Review by Bobinator

7/10

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 Blood - GT Interactive

After the Build engine ended up being popularised by the release of Duke Nukem 3D, a few other developers would use it to make their own projects. Some of them, like Redneck Rampage, didn’t turn out so well. Blood, on the other hand, is just as much of a classic shooter as Duke was. At first glance, Blood is a lot like Duke Nukem 3D. You’ve got a protagonist who constantly lets off one-liners while collecting keys, power-ups and increasingly powerful weaponry. The difference is that while Duke is mostly based around 80’s action movies, Blood has a lot more of a horror bent to it. You travel through places like morgues, train stations and demented carnivals. You are constantly under attack by zombies, cultists and giant spiders, just to name a few. You only start off with a pitchfork to defend yourself, before moving onto more powerful weaponry like shotguns and tommy guns. The further you get, though, the more unusual your weaponry gets, as you start finding things like skull staffs, voodoo dolls, and a deadly combination of a can of hairspray with a lighter. This is also one of the first FPS’s to feature an alternate fire mode to each weapon, giving you two ways to use each weapon. Keep in mind however, that this is a hard game and enemies can kill you in just a few lucky hits. The difficulty’s worth it for the sheer atmosphere the game gives though, the game is called Blood for a reason! Try decapitating a zombie and using his head as a soccer ball! The levels are big and detailed enough that some of them almost feel like real places, with a few extra secret passages here and there. Keep an eye out for these, and you might see a special surprise appearance. (“Ooooh, shake it, baby!”) Caleb’s also a pretty entertaining protagonist, mostly because he doesn’t even pretend to be heroic. He laughs maniacally as things explode, blows away hapless bystanders, and sings show tunes to himself when you sit still for long enough. Overall, if you enjoyed Duke Nukem and you want more shooting action, Blood’s a great choice if you can handle the difficulty.

Review by Bobinator

9/10

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 Bubble Bobble (also featuring Rainbow Islands) – By Probe Software

Finding a well-made port of a classic arcade game isn’t always easy. This collection, however, brings in not just one but two great arcade games that look and play nearly identical to their original arcade versions. In Bubble Bobble, every level has a bunch of enemies that you have to fire bubbles at, trapping them inside. Once you do this, you have to pop the bubbles before they escape, killing them and dropping bonus items. There are also powerups to collect, like a bubble that unleashes a flood of water that takes out every enemy in its path. It’s a pretty tough game but it’s still pretty fun, especially with a second player. Rainbow Islands, the game’s sequel, changes your goal to making it up to the top of each level while avoiding or killing enemies with rainbows you can create at will. You can also use rainbows as platforms and bridges or you can jump on them to drop them on enemies. Like on the original game, there are plenty of powerups lying around to make your rainbows faster, more numerous, and more deadly. Sadly this particular port, much like a lot of the home ports of this game, is missing the secret levels you could uncover by finding all seven diamonds on each of the islands. Just like Bubble Bobble, it’ll take a lot of time and practice to get to the end. There’s also an ‘enhanced’ version of Rainbow Islands on the disc, but since all this does is make the graphics look a little more ’16-bit’, it’s best left skipped. Overall, while it’s not pixel-perfect to the arcade, this is a nice port of two great games on one disc, and if you’re looking for a good port for home computers, you’ve found it.

Review by Bobinator

8/10

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 Chex Quest – By Ralston Purina

Back around 1996 or so, certain specially marked boxes of Chex cereal came with a CD in them, which came with a free game you could install and play. So, you’d be expecting this to be some cheap shovelware, possibly a mediocre platformer? Well, here’s the odd thing: it’s Doom. As in, it’s literally Doom. To be more specific, it’s the Doom engine, with all the Doom weapons and monsters, with all the graphics, sounds, and levels entirely redone to make it more kid-friendly. You play as the ‘Chex Warrior’, using Zorch-powered weaponry to send evil slime aliens back to their home dimension. There’s no blood, guts, or anything that could remotely be considered objectionable, so if you happen to have young children interested in classic FPS’s, this would be a good place to start them. If you’ve played Doom, you can quit reading the review right here. If you’re some sort of insane hermit who hasn’t, however, what both games basically involve is moving through each level, fighting monsters and collecting keycards, ammo, and new weapons to increase your firepower. You start off with only a plasma spork and a Mini-Zorcher but, as you progress, you’ll find new Zorch weapons that work just like the original weapons. Since Chex Quest is a game meant for younger players, you’ll probably want to pump up the difficulty to its highest setting to give yourself a challenge. Overall, if you’re a fan of Doom, everything you loved about is here, just a little more child-safe than usual.

Review by Bobinator

8/10

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 Civilization – By Microprose

From the mind of Sid Meier. The game takes its inspiration from an old board game. Taking control of an ancient race(e.g. Greeks, Romans, English, French, American, Aztec, Mongol, Indians, Chinese, etc.), your task is to build an empire. You can either destroy all of the other races or be the first to travel to Alpha Centauri. The games requires a lot of management. The tasks are : city management, warfare, scientific research, exploration, diplomacy, trading, tax collection and balancing your finances. Hey – no one said it was going to be easy! There is a “tree of progression” to the scientific discoveries, city improvements, “Wonders of the World” and your own military units. Knowing what to research, to get a particular military unit, could help you out a lot. Likewise with knowing what city improvement to get next. The “Wonders of the World” take you through ancient times (e.g. Pyramids, Colossus of Rhodes, etc.) to more modern ones (e.g. Apollo Program, Hoover Dam, etc.). They can provide your civilisation with an advantage; for example, if you build the “Colossus of Rhodes”, then it will provide you with more trade. You'll also be subject to random attacks by “Barbarians”. These are a group of a couple of units with no specific nationality, that attack your people. The scope of the game is vast, as such my review might not even scratch the surface of what it has to offer. The graphics are fairly simplistic, but in keeping with the sort of game, only some of the cut scenes for building your cities' improvements, add any colour to the game. The sound effects are relatively limited as well. This is a game that tends to suck hours from your life – you have been warned!

Review by Katzkatz

10/10

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 Crusader: No Remorse – By Origin Systems

Origin Software are best known for the Ultima games, a series of high fantasy RPGs that have their philosophy on morality and generally being a good person. So the last thing you’d expect from them would be an action-packed shooter about blasting away corporate goons in a dystopian future. And yet, here we are. As The Silencer, who we swear is NOT Boba Fett, you give up your job as an elite super soldier for the World Economic Consortium after their atrocities grow too much to bear. Now you’re with the rebels, who will hate your guts until you can prove yourself by destroying key WEC targets, and everybody in them. The story’s told through live action FMV cut-scenes, which is an interesting way to show the plot, even if they aren’t always well acted. You’re generally given a few simple objectives to accomplish for each mission, and there’s generally a little more brainwork involved than your average Doom map. There are security cameras to take out, alarms to disable, and terminals to read. That’s not to say there won’t be murdering, of course. Once you come to grip with the controls (Be sure to hit F1 to see them), you’ll be rolling out around, taking out WEC goons, robots, and the occasional bystander in no time. You start off with the standard shooter arsenal of pistols, machine guns, and shotguns, but if you preserve, you’ll start getting new hardware like the Unifier, which flays your enemies into a pile of bones. You’ll need this weaponry, because this is a tough game. Enemies can drain your health quickly, and the game isn’t afraid to pull dirty tricks like having walkways over toxic sludge fall out from under you. This game was meant for quick saves, so don’t be afraid to use them! Another tip is to use the environment to your advantage. A lot of things in this game explode when you shoot them, so use this tactic to take out tougher enemies. If you want a shooter with a bit more depth than most, and you can handle the challenge, Crusader’s definitely worth looking into.

Review by Bobinator

8/10

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