Rob's 1999 gaming year in review

Celeron 466 oc to 525
EFA 440 bx mother board with 370 adapter card
256 megs of ram
Creative labs 32 meg TNT2 agp card oc to 150
3DFX brand 12 meg Voodoo 2
Creative Labs Sound Blaster 128 pci.
56k modem
Twin 4.5 Quantum bigfoot hard drives
24x cd rom
Win 98 with permanent 512 meg swap file.

My Favorite games of 1999:
10: Star Fleet Command - Originally this was on my disappointments list. When it first came out, there was a nasty save game bug that pretty much destroyed the enjoyment of the game for me. Also it doesn't like TNT cards which annoyed me to no end. However, while I was making up this years list, I decided to reinstall SFC and get he latest patches. This game is virtually the prefect space battle game. A game that I've been waiting to play since I first laid hands on a TRS-80.

9:Dungeon Keeper II - The original game was my favorite game of 1997. While I really like DKII, I can't help but feel I did it all before. The graphic update was the best part. The AI was suppose to be improved but I didn't see it.

8:Prince of Persia 3D - Manages to capture my youth of playing the original POP during computer science class on the school's Apple 2. So, basically my nostalgia is probably the major factor as to why I like the game so much. It is an attractive, still damn hard, and the controls sometimes goofy but I got a kicked out of. I also liked the ad campaign quite a bit.

7:Revolt - The cute little RC car racer kept me coming back for another lap. The graphics were very well done. From the environments down to the highlights on the little cars.

6:Jagged Alliance 2 - While we didn't get a new Xcom game this year, JA2 was very close. The combat engine and the character building is prefect. Heck, it even has aliens if you want! The only real weakness
is the campaign is kinda vague and overly challenging towards the end.

5:Midtown Madness - I just love rushing through traffic, humming Blues Brothers tunes as the cops chase me in this title. It was rather doggy when it came out on my old PII 233 with 64 megs of ram, but on my current system, it flys. Wish it had a city editor though.

4:Baldur's Gate - I know some will say this was a 1998 game. A few copies made it to stores a day or two before the end of the year but you really couldn't find the game in stores to mid January. Baldur's Gate is, at lest for me, the end all, be all of computer based D&D.

3:Unreal tournament - I'm really surprised at how much I like this game. I had written it off because of the disappointment that was Unreal. Net place is great. My best friend and I play with each other against bots via the modem and the game is playable. Our pings are in the 300s but the game is still playable. Can't say that for anything else. Plus that play options built into the game are great. The music I though was particularly nice for a multiplayer game.

2:Roller Coaster Tycoon - I'm a big fan of roller coasters and amusement parks in general. I geeked way the hell out on this game. It was fun, easy to get into, and deep. The best part is designing your own roller coasters. I appreciate what the designers of real coasters have to through more.

1:Team Fortress Classic - I know that team fortress is old but I never got into Quake all that much. When TFC came out for Half Life, my life was over. 80% of my gaming time was filled with TFC. I can't pinpoint exactly what is it about TFC that made me such an addict. The variety of classes and the team objectives are of course part of it. Also I think the community is a bit more mature than the standard
death match fair that exist even in Unreal Tournament. Another big draw is the "Matrix" factor. Knowing the laws of that reality and figuring how to bend them. Things like Conc jumping medics and floating sentry guns added to the experience. Needless to say, Team Fortress 2 is on the my must buys for next year. I just hope it doesn't come out when my wife goes into labor. ;)

My most disappointing games of 1999:
10:Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun - C&CTS wasn't a bad game, its just one of those games that would have been oh so good three years ago. However the genre, and its fans have evolved. The FMV, while nice, seemed out of place. Stale if you will. Better luck next time.

9:Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation - There was a time when I liked Tomb Raider. Two and Three were just ok. I had hopes that Core would have designed a new engine, maybe throw Croft into a new direction.
But alas, it didn't happen. The same four year old engine was put out, with game play and concept limited because it was co-developed on the aged PSX.Eidos is the house that Laura built. Apparently she is going
to tear it down as well.

8: Gabriel Knight 3 - It's a shame that the only classic graphic adventure game released this year was such a bugfest. When the game wasn't stuttering, locking up, giving exception errors, or blue screening the os, the experience was marred by Tim Curry as Gabriel Knight. I'll make no secret that I didn't care for the other two GK games. However back then there were other games from the genre to play and compare them to. Being desperate times for adventure game fans, I'll relax my preferences. Besides that the 3D engine is really good and the story very interesting. Like SFC, I imagine a patch will make all the difference in the world. Still, don't think there will be a patch to remove Tim Curry from the game.

7: Mortyr - The truth is, all I wanted to see an updated Castle Wolfenstien 3D. So even though the previews looked crappy, I ignored the warts because I wanted this game to be good. It is in fact a poorly made shooter on the order of the old Capstone "classics". Of course it hasn't officially been released in the US yet. I traded for an Eastern Europe version. So its possible there will be an improved version but I doubt it.

6: Kingpin - This could have been a great game if they didn't just shove it out the door. There was a lot of style but nothing was done with it. A lot of adult language but the game play was simple and child like. There were lots of features that were never used in any useful way. I hope that one day we'll find out what went wrong.

5: Sim Theme Park - For some reason I got it in my head that Sim Theme Park was going to be Roller Coaster Tycoon with 3D graphic. It isn't. There is no meat, no bone, its just a rice cake compare to the sea of juices and flavors that is RCT. The 3D graphics weren't all that good either.

4: Abomination - Thanks Eidos! I love the idea of naming you games after their level of quality. Now if you would have only called Tomb Raider: Same Crap, Different Year we would have it made. Abomination is a squad based real time strategy game that wants to be the next Xcom. However its just not there. The maps are less interactive than the now 5 year old original Xcom. The combat system plays more like Syndicate on crack than anything as quality as Xcom 1-3 or Jagged Alliance 2. The only nice touch are the super powers. I desperately want a squad based super hero strategy game or rpg but when its easier to just shoot than to attempt to use your powers, it's a waste.

3: Interstate 82 - Someone needs to pay for this one. They could of just taken I76, made the models look like 80's cars, did a few different movies in the same style as I76 and missions and it would have been cool. If they updated the graphic engine, even better. Instead they copied Twisted Metal, used a graphic engine on par with the ones on the PSX, and (I'm only guessing) hired some preschoolers to produce movies on par with the Misfits of Science TV show. Oh and the game is buggy. Not buggy as in it crashes. I mean buggy as the game logic falls apart and weird crap starts happening.

2: Ultima IX: Ascension - Actually this isn't a bad game. At lest as far as I can tell. It feels like a deep Ultima game. The disappointment come from the bugs that prevent the game from running. Also the game engine is a dog. Look at my system specs, even in glide mode on my voodoo2 with all the details down I would see frame rates in the single digits. Then there is monster AI. For some reason the monster AI got the tree AI instead and they just stand there. I'm just glad this is that last Ultima since the series would have been if this was the first.

1: Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine - Oh the mighty have fallen. LucasArts put out my favorite game last year, Grim Fanadango. Just 11 short months later, they put out this travesty. The only good thing could say about this game is that its stable. The graphics are down right primitive. For a hardware only game they manage to use less polygons and worse texture quality than the original Tomb Raider game in software mode. The animations are some of the worse I've seen this side of a Walmart bargain bin. The music, except for the good old Indy theme, grates on my nerves with in 30 minutes. The worse feature is the control. They couldn't have designed a worst control. Actually, I'm wrong. They did design worse controls. The mouse control method had to be designed by someone on crack. Luckily it isn't the default method. I had more fun playing the Atari 2600 Raiders of the lost Ark game.

I would like to take a moment to recognize the fallen. The amount of layoffs and killed projects are mind boggling. It seem like every day some bad news was been put on the game pages.

Sierra - They had two rounds of layoffs that killed off many great projects and killed forever many other potential ones. We will never see Babylon 5, Orcs, Leisure Suit Larry 8, another Dynamix sim, another Quest game, and many others.

Microprose - Their owners closed down two studios. Games that were effected include Xcom6 Genesis, Master of Magic 2, the Falcon series, and etc. Also probably means then end of any hopes of an Agents of Justice game being built on the Genesis engine.

Williams Pinball - WMS closed down the pinball unit leaving Stern the only maker of pinball machines. This meant the end of the Pinball 2000 series that showed great promise.

Access - was gobbled up by Microsoft and now produces just golf games. No more Tex Murphy

There are more games and company layoff that I'm forgetting. Many good people lost their jobs. I hope they all find happiness this holiday season.

Lastly, I would like to list some of the games I'm looking forwards to in the year 2000:

The Sims
Duke Nukem Forever
Team Fortress 2
Black & White
Floigan Brothers (dreamcast)
Good & Evil - Ron Gilbert's RPG
Simon the Sorcerer 3D 
Force Commander
Gilbert Goodmate and the Mushroom of Phungoria 
X-Com5: Alliance 
American McGee's Alice
Max Payne
Planet of the Apes
Sid Meier's Dinosaurs

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