Rob's 1997 gaming year in review
For reference sakes, my current system:
Pentium 166mmx 32 megs of edo ram 512k pipeline burst cache
Intergraph Intense 100 (Rendition v1000)
Diamond Monster 3D (3DFX Voodoo1)
2.5 gig ide hard drive
1. Dungeon Keeper - (PC)This may anger many but Dungeon Keeper was the best game of 1997. Assuming the AI worked (it did for me) the game was challenging, fun, and quite humorous. A truly original game.
2. Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II - (PC)Leave it to a Star Wars game to teach Quake a thing or two. The best first person shooter I've ever played.
3. GoldenEye - (N64)If I was king, I would take any game programmer even contemplating a first person shooter and make them play GoldenEye over and over to some of it rubs off on them. Its amazing, the first good 1st person shooter since Duke Nukem 3D and it was on the N64 console. Almost tied with Jedi Knight which is only ahead because of the "Star Wars" factor.
4. Crash Bandicoot 2 - (PSX)A very nice improvement to the original. I figured that the Playstation's power had been pushed to the max with Crash 1 but I was wrong. Crash 2 is superior in graphics, freedom of game play and character. Probably my favorite platform game of all time. Easily my favorite Playstation game of the year.
5. Soul Blade - (PSX)My favorite fighting game of all time. The graphics, control, theme, everything was in tune with me. Plus adventure mode was a pleasant addition to the standard fighting fair.
6. Colony Wars - (PSX)This game was COOOOOOL! Graphically this gamewas amazing. I have never seen anything remotely close on a console. Hell, it almost matches Wing Commander Prophecy. Game plays it was a little thin but still worth the price.
7. Herc's Adventure - (PSX)This game caught me by total surprise. I really hadn't been looking for this game at all. Then I tried the demo that came with one of the CDs and I was hooked. The game play harkens back to the 16 bit era but the graphics are 32 bits all the way. Having a choice of three different characters enhanced replay
8. Curse of Monkey Island - (PC)Aren't we all a little like Guybrush at heart. This marks the third game for the good hearted, but bumbling, pirate wanna be and while its not the best, its pretty darn good. A true gem.
9. Fallout - (PC)Finally a good SciFi RPG game. I was beginning to get worried because the decade is almost over and all the good SciFi RPG were from the 80's! However if your not a fan of SCiFi, Fallout is still a great RPG. Something to hold you over to Might and Magic 6.
10. X-COM: Apocalypse - (PC)The best squad based game available this year. Surprisingly enough the real time mode was done very well. However Xcom 3 lacked in many other areas such as style. This game shouldn't have been on the favorites list but alas it is.
Honorable mentions for games I have only played the demo
1. Quake II - (PC)Finally someone at Id woke up. The demo was truly enjoyable. Graphically it beats Jedi Knight, the game play was a little weaker but still far better than Quake. While I only got a taste, the demo left me wanting a lot more. I didn't buy it since it was released too close to the holidays.
2. Wing Commander Prophecy - (PC)The test and the full demo left me in awe. I simply can't believe my PC was able to produce the graphics this game has. If you haven't found a reason to get a 3DFX card (or a
good D3D card like a Rendition 2x00) this is it. Another game I couldn't buy because it came out after I spent all my money Christmas shopping.
3. Grand Theft Auto - (PC)This demo is a blast. Despite having a horribly crippled time limit, I played this demo more than some of my favorite games. The game harkens back to the days of the Commodore 64. Basically a 2D car game, its spiced up with good graphics and random violent. I didn't buy this one because the US release date keeps getting pushed back.
4. MotoRacer - (PC)It took long enough for the PC to get a good arcade racer. Its slick, smooth and very nice. All the things you want from an arcade racer is here in this package. My problem is that I own a Playstation with better racers already.
5. MDK - (PC & PSX)A 3D platformer with attitude. The graphics, especially with a 3D card, were outstanding and the design and theme gelled well. However I had troubles with the controls. Being limited since birth to the use of only my left hand, many complicated moves needed to even complete the demo were impossible for me.
6. Hexen II - (PC)The first game to make something useful with the Quake engine. The graphic were good and the theme was excellent, but I was just more in the mood to shoot something.
7. Fighting Force - (PC)Now here is a cool fighting game that captures the feel of movie fights. I replayed this little demo for hours. Great 3D accelerated graphics too. Too bad it isn't going to be released in the US.
8. Shadows of the Empire - (PC & N64)Great looking game. The game play was on the thin side but fun. I plan to pick this game up when it hits the bargain bins.
9. Twinsen Odessey - (PC)I'm not sure why I haven't bought this game. Maybe I'm waiting for it to hit the bargain bins. Maybe I didn't care for Relentless. In any case, the demo was really good and fun.
10. Mageslayer -(PC) A cool concept of Gauntlet meets Quake. Because of its cheap price, I placed it on my Christmas list. I didn't get it but I should pick it up in a few weeks.
1. Streets of Sim City - (PC) I may very well be responsible for this mess. A loooong time ago, Maxis asked for game ideas for add ons to Sim City 2000. At the time I was a beta tester for Maxis, I talked to everyone I knew that I thought some sort of combat racing game would be cool. The papers were filled with head lines on how motorist were taking up arms in my little sim city, I just wanted to be involved. I fear that my idea took root but it was a bad idea. The game, when released was absolutely horrible. Easily in the top 10 worse games of all time. Besides the fact that there isn't much of a game to start with the graphics are amazingly bad. On my Pentium 166 with 3DFX, its
a slide show. Heck, on a Pentium II its still a freaking slide show! I know its trite but this game didn't ship, it escaped.
2. Postal - (PC)My god what an over hyped piece of crap Postal was. The theme didn't bother me. In fact I like the idea of mowing down people in a murderous rampage. In a game of course. However Postal looked and played like an early 80's Nintendo game. Only the sound effects gave you a hint that some thing evil was going on. 16 levels
of lameness that could have been done better by a 12 year old using Klik & Play.
3. Star Fleet Academy - (PC)What the hell was Interplay thinking? This game was in development for 3 years and it came out looking and playing like a lame Wing Commander clone. Nothing like the Star Trek series.
4. Shadow Warrior - (PC)This game was ok. Duke Nukem 3D was better though. Didn't live up to the hype and I never once thought I was playing a ninja.
5. The Neverhood - (PC)This game could have been good but the puzzles were lame and way too much reading was required for a graphic adventure.
6. Interstate '76 - (PC)I'm a child of the 70's. I'll admit it, I like Disco. I like retro. I want to like this game but can't. The cut scenes are good, the music was done well, and the graphics were acceptable. However the frame rate was horrible, the AI was all but useless, and the game was terribly short. Maybe multi player was cool but I don't like multi player games.
7. The Space Bar -(PC) A classic case of the world was lost because of the want of a nail. Dang it the disk swapping was painful. That alone killed what could have been a great adventure game.
8. X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter - (PC)What was the point of this game? Why are they releasing games with worse engines than their old games? Even with the 3D patch this is a dust collector. I would be happy with a Tie CD 3D patch. Hell I wouldn't mind paying for that.
9. X-MEN: Children of the Atom - (PC) I should of known. Any game published by Acclaim is certain death. It would take way to long to explain what was wrong with this port. I'll sum it up by saying that I believe that the programmers never played the original in the arcade.
10. FINAL FANTASY VII - (PSX)I've never understood what is the fascination with Japanese style rpgs. There is so little thought involved they make Myst look like an interactive RPG tour de force! The game play is ultra linear. The RPG elements are almost nonexistent. Lets face it, its an early 80's adventure game with combat and stats. The game can be complete in a few days and no challenge is ever provided. The graphics, while nice, aren't all that
good. All we're left with is "the story" which isn't all that great. The story isn't bad but not worth the mindless droning called playing.
Disappointments that I've only played the demo
1. Balls of Steel - (PC)I love Pinball. I wish Epic would get off their butts and release another pinball game. Anyway Apogee has released a game called Balls of Steel. After trying five different computers which were above recommend specs, I have yet to get the game running smooth. I really disappointment. It looks like it might have been fun.
2. Dark Reign - (PC)I was psyched about this real time strategy game. With advance troop controls, I figured this was going to be a game of advance tactics. Not true. The extra controls are useless. Its another C&C clone with extra and unusable options.
3. Total Annihilation - (PC)All the game magazines were hyping this real time strategy game for months. Yet another dumb C&C clone but this time with 3D graphics. Weeeee.
4. Myth: The Fallen Lords - (PC)This game could have been great but the demo levels seemed to be too much puzzle like.
5. Falcon 4.0 - (PC)Falcon 4.0 has been a really long time in the making. Which explains why the graphics, even with a 3DFX card, seem old. The demos mission and game play is ok, but I hopped for more.
6. Carmageddon - (PC)I may give this game a second chance when it hits the bargain bins. I disliked the control a lot.
7. Redneck Rampage -(PC) A 12 meg demo that let me play a whole 1/3 of a level. I dislike things that take less time to play than to download. I refuse to even look at Redneck Rampage until a proper demo shows up.
8. 7th Legion - (PC)Ahh.. the only game Epic has released this year and its a stinker. I can't imagine a worse real time strategy game being created even if someone tried. The interface is completely unresponsive, the graphics are early 1990's despite the MMX, and the game play is pure C&C ripped. This project should have been killed.
9. Pappra the Rappra - (PC)This isn't a bad game but it failed to live up to the hype. It was this original game from oversees that all the game magazines praised. No other game like it. When it show up, it turns out to be Simon Says with some creativity aloud. I guess game magazine writers didn't play with other kids a lot when they were young.
10. Pitfall 3D - (PC)This demo screams "Playstation can't do a 3D game like N64 came." A bad 3D engine and poor level design kills a really good game concept. Well lets hope for the best.
Disappointing no shows
1. Guardians Agents of Justice - (PC)The wait for this game is painful. I can't take much more. Look at this list of release dates. It was due summer 96, Christmas 96, then it was canceled, then revived for summer 97, slipped to fall 97, and now planed for Spring 98. According to a graphic designer, the game was completely done when
they decided to "update it." Goodness they could of released it last year and released a sequel next summer in that time. Plus the update has reduced the frames of animation to 400,000 from 700,000 frames. It
doesn't matter too much, but still. Any ways, this Super Hero strategy game, along with MM6 and Overseer are the only three titles I'm willing to buy without first reading a review or playing a demo.
2. Unreal - (PC)What the heck is wrong with Epic? I really need to drive down to them and see what is up since they are only a 25 minute drive away. Unreal is the first game that I've seen that a company has bought ad space, shown screen shots in the ads and not one single line of code was written. Due last Summer as well, this Quake killer has been a moving target. Features keep getting thrown at it and it keeps getting pushed back further and further. It has a lot of nice features I crave, but then so does Half-life.
3. Jazz Jackrabbit 2 - (PC)Another game from the company that just wouldn't release, Epic. This 2D platformer has been almost done since last summer. Latest word is that Jazz2 should be out by Christmas (but it wasn't) and it was being "updated" for the Pentium II.
4. Battlesphere - (JAG)No Battlesphere. Gee that is a big surprise. Originally due out Christmas 95, this game has become a holly grail for owners of the Atari Jaguar. Sadly, 4Play, the developers of Battlesphere, apparently are the Derek Smart of the Atari community. I'm not sure why I keep looking out for it. I played it at last year's Toad fest and it played like a day glow Xwing vs Tie Fighter clone. I guess seeing development abandon or the game released would bring closure to the whole Jaguar farce which is a thorn in my soul since I bought one in 94.
5. Baldur's Gate - (PC)I'm not really love sick over this puppy but it looks like a really good AD&D game and it would be nice to be able to play it now instead of next year.
6. Tex Murphy: Overseer - (PC)I have never been disappointed by a Tex Murphy game and I've played all four of them. I can't wait for the next chapter but alas, I have to.
7. Might and Magic 6 - (PC)Its the next chapter in the greatest computer RPG series of all time, nuff said.
8. Half-Life - (PC)This Quake based game looks like it could be the GoldenEye of the PC world. However it was delayed and that is almost always been the sign of a trouble game in retooling.
9. StarCraft - (PC)I like Blizzards games. It would be nice to see them release something every year.
10. Star Trek: Secret of Vulcan Fury - (PC)This game looks like a Trekker's wet dream. Digital actors with the voices of the originals. Looks hot. Too bad this adventure is due in star dock next spring instead of last fall.
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