Rob's 1998 gaming year in review

Pentium 300
64 megs of ram
ATI Xpert 98 8 meg agp
Creative Labs Voodoo 2 8 meg
Creative Labs Sound Blaster 128 pci
32x cd rom

Best Action Game: Half Life - Oh this is a surprise. Probably the first FPS to do everything right since Wolf3D. I could list all the merits of this fantastic game, but I would be simply repeat what as been said a hundred times before. Now it would have been better without that stupid Won net authentication.

Most disappointing Action game: Unreal - Sure looked pretty but man it was dull, dull dull. Oh the first 3 levels were good but after that the game was so bland and lack of style. There is nothing really bad about Unreal, it just failed to met the hype that the Epic PR machine has been pumping out for the past four years.

Worse Action game: Trespasser - They should have titled this game "Hoover" considering how much it sucked. Now I should of just return the game after playing it for a few minutes but something in me wanted to see just how bad of a train wreak Trespasser really was. The interface is a disaster, the graphics are so far below par it isn't funny, the level designs were so embarrassingly stupid it hurt, and worse of all, your character is just a single arm and a pair of hover tits. Just plain gross. What really catapults Trespasser over horrible trash such as Titanic Adventures out of Time is the hype. Trespasser was hyped to be a quantum leap over anything before it. Most of the promised features never made it to the final product and those that did were screwed beyond belief. Another betrayal were the screen shots that were handed out to magazines for the past few years. Nothing in the game looked like those screen shots. Not a single damn thing. Trespasser gets my vote for the worse game of the year.

Best Adventure Game: Grim Fandango - I have never been depressed when a game was over. Until now. Grim Fandango drew me in like no game has done in a long time. It's the only adventure game I can remember that I played twice in a row. The world, the characters and the story were polished until it shined like a bright diamond. While others disagree, I found the game pad interface to be a perfect fit. A game so good it makes all other games seem weak and pale in comparison. Grim Fandango is my game of the year.

Most disappointing adventure game: Kings Quest 8 - KQ8 isn't a bad game. In fact it might be a lot of fun. The problem is, it ain't no adventure game. If anything its an action rpg. The nice, puzzle solving, character interacting KQ has been replaced with an ultra violent Tomb Raider like game. I guess with this new type of Sierra "adventure" we can look forward to the next Leisure Suit Larry game to have lots of cock fighting. :(

Worse Adventure game: Titanic Adventure Out of Time - Yes I was one of the billion people who bought this game after seeing the movie. Imagine if you can, a VR movement from circa 1992, with graphic from 1994, with characters that move EXACTLY like the Monty Python cartoons, you have the style of the game. Now if you think you can get past that, you wait. The story is so drawn out and uninteresting that after a few hours you want the ship to strike a iceberg and sink just to put you and the rest of the crew out of misery. Lucky for me that game crashes quite often and I was able to convince myself not to play it anymore,. BTW, to the person I traded this game too, I'm sorry!

Best Flight Sim: European Air War - I simply can not believe how well this game turned out I enjoyed EAW more than any other flight sim, probably in the past five years if not more. I can not pin point exactly what features I loved. I just felt the style that was missing from all other WWII sims was finally there in EAW. Another case of a game just doing everything well. Now let me warn ya, since I was a beta tester for EAW, I'm probably biased.

Most Disappointing Flight Sim: Microsoft Combat Simulator - I was drooling when I saw the preview on GameSpot TV. Got it home and WTF? Devoid of any personality, the whole game just felt clunky and barren. Lacked polish I guess. Lacked fun for sure. 

Worse Flight Sim: iF/A-18 Carrier Strike Fighter - Why do I buy games from Interactive Magic? I seem to always end up hating the game and returning it, especially flight sims. While I didn't find iF/A-18 to be as buggy as some, it had a great many other faults. The missions seemed to require ESP at times, your wing men apparently were taught by Maniac from Wing Commander, the graphics look at lest two years old and over all its missing a big old fun factor. Oh it did crash on my quite a bit but since I wasn't involved with the game that much, I didn't seem to mind. 

Best RPG - Return to Krondor - Overall this was the most enjoyable RPG I played this year. A good, well paced story, pared with god graphics and an enjoyable combat system. Some feel it was short but I feel it was the right length.

Most Disappointing RPG: Might & Magic 6 - I bet this is a big surprise to everyone considering I was the big Might & Magic cheerleader on the net. Well part of the problem was, I bought my own hype. While MM6 was the best medieval RPG released in years, it had some big faults. The biggest one was that combat was a huge drag. Oh it was handled nice but there was simply too much of it. By the time I was questing for the Control Cube, I just wanted the game to be over but anyone who played MM6 knows, the hardest dungeons were yet to come. I still liked MM6 but I can't help but feel it could have been better.

Worse RPG: Ultima Online - Didn't play it till this year. The graphics engine was nice, everything seem set for a good RPG, but once you enter the world, you're entering a world gone mad. No one was role
playing online. That is unless you think being a complete dick is role playing. 

Best strategy game - Railroad Tycoon 2 - This is the best game I haven't bought. From just playing the demo, I can tell that RRT2 a well made strategy/simulation game that takes forgotten art of polish and adds new goodie features. I especially loved the African map were you have to negotiate with each country to build your railroad. The graphics are wonderful and will bring a tear to any model railroader's eye. The problem with RRT2 which caused me not to buy it is that Take 2 distributes the game and I refuse to allow Take 2 to profit from my money. At some point I'll buy the game used. Until this, it should be noted that this demo beats out all other strategy games that I bough this year.

Most Disappointing strategy- Starcraft - Starcraft has one thing going for it; character. The game knows it has style and uses it. Too bad that game itself isn't all that fun. Pretty much the whole game feels of a "been there, done that" sort of deal. Except for the ship combat seems out of placed and unreal.

Worse Strategy Game: Knights and Merchants - Another lovely gem from the folks at Interactive Magic. Did they wake up one day and say "Lets copy Settlers and copy it badly." Bugs, not the computer opponents are
the foe you'll face the most. That is when your not struggling with an interface that is more than happy to ignore you and your wishes.

Best Sports Game: Grand Prix Legends - I'll admit it, I'm not even very good at this game but I sure do enjoy racing the classic sports cars. I see myself playing this game well into 2000. GPL is a complete package. Style, fun, challenge, graphics and sound all tune to perfection.

Most Disappointing Sports game: NHL 99 - I loved NHL 98. NHL 99 brings virtually nothing new to the table (except team updates and so forth). I guess I shouldn't get hyped over and EA one year updates but I was hoping for more.

Worse Sports game: Gameday 98 - Not really a horrible game, but its more of an action game pretending to be a football game. Not really satisfying, know what I mean?

Notable mention Puzzle Game: Supper Puzzle Fighter II Turbo - Weird ass name but that game is quite cool and very under rated. It's a puzzle with strategy and action rolled into one package. Yes it's a tetris variant but it has a hook. Your fighting another opponent. This was the only puzzle game I played this year but it was so good, I had to fit it in somewhere.

Notable mention Best game I couldn't fit into a category: Vangers - Ok so I don't hate EVERYTHING Interactive Magic puts out. This cute but quirky game is totally original and has some of the most endearing game play features seen lately. Now its not perfect. The game is way to wordy for its own good, but once past that, the game is enjoyable.

Game from last year's list that still on my Hard Drive: Grand Theft Auto - This is the only game on my list from last year that I still have on my computer. Now I no longer actually play the game to get the
mission. I just cheat to get all the weapons and go on a murderous rampage every once in while.

Notable games that I really, really, liked but didn't make the list:

Action: Carmaggedon 2, Klingon Honor Guard, Asteriods, Centipede, Gex, Enter the Gecho, Addiction Pinball, Sin, Shogo, Thief (demo), Get Midieval, Mortal Kombat 4

Adventure: Sanitarium, Tex Murphy Overseer, Heart of Darkness

Flight Sim: Janes F15, Red Baron 3d, 

Strategy: Rebellion, Populous: The Beginning, War of the Worlds, Worms 2, Chaos Gate, Caesar III, Warlords 3 DLR, 

Sports: NFL Blitz, Ultimate Racing Pro, Links 99

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