PC DOS O-R

Alien Brigade – By Atari

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 Operation Carnage – By Beaucomm Interactive

DOS never got a port of Smash TV. A port of Total Carnage, sure, but barely anybody ever talks about that game, even though Hitler’s giant head was a boss, sad. To get to the point, it’s perfectly fine that Smash TV never got a port, because we got Operation Carnage, instead, and it’s even better. So, there’s this alien alliance that’s more or less enslaved all of humanity. You, as the last free man on Earth, have to decided to blow up each of their bases, because why not? Much like Smash TV, you’ll move through a series of interconnected rooms, fight hordes of enemies, build up your weaponry, and fight a big boss at the end of each stage. Your fire button doubles as a strafe key, so your character will keep shooting in whatever direction you’re facing when you hold the button. You also have three different ammo types to use on your enemies, which you can switch between by hitting the Shift key. The cannon has unlimited ammo and a fast fire rate. Plasma works the same way, doing more damage for the trade off of using ammo. Fire has a short range, but it does a lot of damage and destroys enemy projectiles, which is pretty useful. You’ve also got a few scatter bombs on hand, which are good to use when you’re overwhelmed. The game plays at a pretty quick pace, and unlike Smash TV, which was more or less built to extract as many coins as it could from you, Carnage is a lot more manageable. There are a lot of enemies on screen to deal with, to be sure, but not so many you won’t be able to hold them off with a little practice. You also get a health bar, too, and while you can’t take too many hits, it does help. What’s really nice about Operation Carnage is just how fast it goes. Instead of speaking stuck in a single room for 20 minutes at a time, you’re constantly moving forward, which makes repeated play throughs a lot more fun. So, yes, Operation Carnage might not have the control set up of Smash TV, or that goofy host, but it’s still aged a lot, lot better.

Review by Bobinator

8/10

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 The Oregon Trail Deluxe – By Mecc

A long time ago, way back in the 70’s, there was a game that spread across schools all across Minnesota. By the early 80’s, it had spread to Apple IIs all over the nation. With the rise of the 90’s came a brand new version, with new graphics, music, and gameplay elements. The basic concept is the same, but with the mouse based interface, it’s much more fun to play. The thing about The Oregon Trail is that it’s actually based on real history. In the 1800’s, hundreds of pioneers made their way from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon’s Willamete Valley. As a wagon leader, it’s your job to lead your party through the treacherous trail to reach Oregon… or die trying. You’ll face all sorts of challenges, from deserts, to snowstorms, to treacherous rivers, and you might even learn what ‘dysentry’ means. When you start the game, you’ll choose your occupation, which will determine how much money (and how much extra score) you’ll get to start out with. Then you’ll buy supplies, like clothes, bullets, and oxen, and hit the trail. For the most part, the game involves just sitting and watching your wagon move across the map. You do have a few decisions you can make, however, like what kind of rations you’ll have and the pace of your wagon, as well as when you want to hunt for food. You’ll also be able to choose with paths you want to take, or who you’ll talk to when you reach a fort for a rest stop. Just keep in mind that making the wrong decisions can and will result in the sickness and death of party members, and total destruction can be only one failed ford of a river away. Even for an educational game, this game doesn’t really pull any punches, and it can be difficult to make it to Oregon if you don’t know what you’re doing. The graphics are decent for an educational game, with a lot of nice art for the various events that can occur. If you’re an American history buff, however, you might enjoy it.

Review by Bobinator

7/10

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 Pea Shootin’ Pete – By Pack Media Company

Pea Shootin’ Pete is a an arcade game that, to use a cliché, is easy to pick up, but quite difficult to master. You’re this kid in a baseball cap who has to destroy all the bouncing balls on the screen that are threatening to crush his tiny skull. To do this, you spit out projectiles at the balls, dodging out of the way whenever they hit the ground. When you pop a large one, it splits into two smaller ones, and so on, until the screen is cleared of them and you go on to the next stage. The longer you take, the less the balls bounce, which makes dodging them more and more difficult. You also have to deal with robots falling out of the sky. On the bright side, there are a few different power-ups you can collect, like shields, extra shot power, extra lives, and an item that will temporarily slow the balls down. The game is split into 24 stages, and the further along you go, the more difficult the ball patterns will get, along with the enemies that occasionally drop in. There’s also a boss fight every 8 levels, each of which will test your pea shootin’ ability to its limit. If you’ve ever played Pang or Buster Brothers, you’ll more than likely like this. It’s not the prettiest DOS game out there, and there are times when the difficulty can get pretty nasty. The use of digitised sound is great, though, and it’s definitely a good time waster.

Review by Bobinator

7/10

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 Pinball Fantasies – By 21st Century Entertainment

This game is the sequel to “Pinball Dreams”. Made by Digital Illusions, who also developed the original game. It is a far more technically accomplished game when compared to its predecessor. This time around, the tables have three flippers(with one table exempt for that) compared to two; also the pinball tables are now three screens high compared to two. Like in the original game, there are four tables. Those are : Party Land, based on a theme park; Speed Devils, based around motor sport; Billion Dollar Gameshow, based on a TV style game show and Stones 'N Bones, with a haunted house theme. Gameplay is much like the prequel game, with you having to use ramps and multipliers to get a high score. Remember not to over do the use of the “tilt” function – otherwise you'll be in trouble. The game is quite a treat on the graphics front, a 286 PC with a VGA card will run this game at decent speed, helped out by its use of “Mode X” for the VGA standard. The colour palette is also quite wide and varied, with particular note to the “Party Land” table for its use of pink! The music and sound effects are very good as well, even if you use the PC speaker option, through a soundcard it is even better. The pinball tables each have different musical scores. A superb pinball simulation that added a few extra features. My favourite table from it is “Party Land”. You can now become a virtual pinball wizard.

Review by Katzkatz

9/10

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 Pipe Mania – By Lucas Arts

Sure, you might know Lucas Arts for all their adventure games, that, and the Star Wars games. But when they diversified, we got stuff like this arcade puzzle game. Pipe Mania is, to use a cliché, easy to learn, but difficult to master. You start each level with a grid, which contains a pipe that, in a few seconds, will begin leaking green ooze. Your goal is to make sure the ooze doesn’t spill out of the pipe by building a path of pipes for it to travel through, keeping it flowing until the distance meter reaches zero. The challenge is that you don’t get control of what pipes you want to place down, instead you’re given a preview line of the next few pipes you’ll be able to place down. This means that you’ll have to find a way to work with what you’re given, and since the ooze flows pretty fast, you’ll need to be quick about it. If you don’t like where you’ve put a certain piece, you can replace it with another piece. This will cost you precious points, though, along with any piece on the board that the ooze didn’t flow through. The further you progress, the more problems you’ll have to deal with, like obstacles where you can’t place any pieces. You also get a bonus stage every few levels, where you place down pieces Tetris-style to try to earn extra bonus points. The 16-color graphics look nice, and the look of the board changes every once in a while for variety, but the PC speaker effects can get rather grating. It’s still pretty addictive though, if you have the quick thinking skills needed.

Review by Bobinator

7/10

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 Pray For Death – By Virgin Interactive

So what would happen if you took Killer Instinct, and ripped it off wholesale while taking away everything that made it fun to play? You’d probably end up with something like Pray for Death. You’ve got some interesting character concepts, at least, like a Viking, a robot, and Cthulu. Yes, that Cthulu. The good news is that the game is very pretty for its time, with a camera that moves in and out of the screen as the characters move around, and a very nice reflecting water effect on Cthulu’s stage. The problem is that the actual gameplay, to put it bluntly, is complete ass. The controls are so stiff that it takes nearly a full second after you press up for your character to actually jump, and trying about anything else goes about as well. The game also freezes for a full second whenever you actually hit somebody, which ends up slowing matches down to a crawl. Another thing stolen from Killer Instinct is the combo system, only here, all you have to do is hit three directions and a button while you’re watching your character do the initial part of the combo. And of course, you’ve also got finishing moves. Deadly Moves are all incredibly boring because they all involve hitting the opponent, who shakes around for a moment, spews blood, and falls over. Idiot Moves are basically Friendships that kill the opponent, and these are the ones that actually had effort put into them. Unless you desperately need a fighting game for the PC and you can’t play One Must Fall for whatever reason, it’s best to stay far, far away from this one.

Review by Bobinator

4/10

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 Psycho Pinball – By Codemasters

Think that only Digital Illusions can make a pinball simulator – well think again! Codemasters made this game for both the Megadrive and DOS platforms. Much like other games from the genre, Psycho Pinball features 4 tables. Those are : Wild West, based on the American Old West; Trick or Treat, with a Halloween theme; Abyss, with an aquatic Caribbean theme and Psycho, with an amusement park theme. There is the usual pinball stuff here, but also some rather unique features. For instance, there is “multi-ball” play(except for the Psycho table), think of it as like juggling – except on a pinball table! Another unique selling point for the game, is the fact that the “Psycho” table is connected to the other tables; hit a certain jumper and then launch the ball into one of the “tents”, where it will transfer to another table, only returning to the “Psycho” table when the ball is lost in play. There are also “mini games” for each table, which are activated by hitting certain triggers and manoeuvring the ball to a specific part of the table, then they are played out on the score display panel at the top of the table. Each table has a different mini game. Both visually and sonically the game is to a high standard, on a par with its competitors from Digital Illusions. When you add in the distinct features, it makes a more than worthy additional to list of pinball games available for the PC.

Review by Katzkatz

9/10

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 Railroad Tycoon – By Microprose

Yet another game from Sid Meier. Think of it as a virtual train set. The task on hand, is to build a train network in a part of the world. The locations are : Great Britain, Europe, East Coast America and West Coast America. There is a limit of 32 stations and trains, which you are allowed to build in the game. That is okay, but in the later stages of the game, it does become a bit of a constraint. Various facilities can be added to the stations, for example a Post Office, to encourage more mail traffic. Trains are built at stations with an “Engine Shop” (which is also handy for the maintenance of your trains). The trains start off as steam engines, then move on to diesel and electrical power as time progresses. There are other train companies in the same territory as well. You are in direct competition with them. Fighting over a train station to deliver a better service, means that you have to provide it with more cargo (which can be either passengers or freight). Other businesses can be built as well (e.g. breweries to make beer from hops), and these can help out with your freight movements and bank balance. To top it all off, you can play the stock market as well, by either buying and selling shares in your own company or your competitors. Both graphically and sonically this is quite a limited game, only a little music here and there really adds any zest. It is all about controlling the management details of your company and its various component parts. Once you start getting to grips with parts of the game, then it can become quite engrossing. A superb game on any system.

Review by Katzkatz

10/10

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