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Test Drive

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Accolade 1987
Genre: Action, Simulation, Sport
Rating: 3/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

Test Drive is both a driving simulation and an action game rolled into one package. This is one the first games I played for the IBM/PC platform in 1987. By this point I already owned a Nintendo Entertainment System, so I had become accustomed to games with full color and a 4-channel soundtrack. Nevertheless the 3-D POV aspect coupled with the authentic attempt to simulate the subtle differences between each of the vehicles made this one a winner in my estimation. At the time I received this game, the unit my family owned was an Acer/Multitech 710 PC/XT clone, with a Samsung 12” amber monochrome display. This display adapter was an ATI graphics solution plus (CGA, MDA, Hercules, Plantronics) which did a great job of determining which mono mode to use, and in this case used CGA mono (which is way better than the unfortunate purple and blue pastel patterns that the CGA mode generates on a color monitor). The screenshots I have included display both mono CGA and EGA modes, respectively. Also, this game does not look very good in Hercules so I am thankful the graphics adapter had the good sense not to use this feature.


Testament

Testament01.png
Insanity / APC&TCP / Islona / Signum 1997
Genre: Action
Rating: 3/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Amiga
Sometimes, aiming low is the key. Most of the attempts at creating Doom clones on the Amiga had more or less failed. One of the best, relatively speaking, had been Gloom, clearly one of the simplest ones in many respects. Another two years later, the number of active developers on the system had dwindled even further. Testament is even more basic than Gloom. Is that a good or a bad sign?

Tetris

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Nintendo 1989
Genre: Strategy
Rating: 5.7/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Game Boy, PC (DOS)

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=Game Boy
If there is one game that has been played by almost anyone that got close to any kind of computer, it has to be Tetris. It is everywhere: From key-chains, over mobile phones, TV set-top boxes and pocket calculators to high end PCs. Think of any platform and you can be sure this game runs on it.[1] If there ever are refrigerators with Internet connections, you will certainly be able to stack some blocks while checking your milk re-order. Tetris is one of those rare games that have outgrown copyright struggles and has become a commonly shared idea, which massively contributed to its success. Still, under this myriad of clones and copies, there are some versions many people consider the definite version. Like Spectrum Holobyte's Tetris – which often is (wrongly) thought of as the first – and the probably most famous one, which we are going to talk about today: Tetris for Game Boy.


Tex Bonaventure and the Temple of the Water of Life

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Jim Warrenfeltz 2013
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 4.5/6
Licence: Freeware
System: Interpreter

[Herr M] It is time again: Equipped with the classic fedora and the good old whip in your hand, you are standing in front of an ancient temple to figure out one of mankind's best kept secrets. If you are now thinking about a well-known leather jacket salesman, I am afraid that you are mistaken: We are not talking about the escapades of Indiana Jones, but about Tex Bonaventure on the search for the water of life.


The 7th Guest

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Trilobyte 1993
Genre: Puzzle
Rating: 3/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

[Wandrell] In 1992, the European Computer Trade Show let people take a look into the future of the game industry. While most of these games would seem to be a clear evolution of what already existed, a few decided to take advantage of the new technologies creating what, for some years, would be seen as the future: CD-ROM games. And among the very first was the mind challenging The 7th Guest.


The Activision Decathlon

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Activision 1983
Genre: Action, Sport
Rating: 2/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Atari 2600

Virtual sports should be physical exercise, too! No, this is not a review of a modern-day Wii title – the idea goes back to much earlier time. The first game to famously follow this premise was Activision's Decathlon.


The Addams Family

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Ocean 1991
Genre: Action
Rating: 3/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Game Boy

Talking about games that deal with films or series, sooner or later the phrase "licence crap" will come up. Many more or less common titles, for example almost every Simpsons game, do give reasons for this: The brand name itself is selling most of the copies, so why spend money on a complex production? Quickly design some sprites, that remind of the original characters and warm up some old games idea and the way into the shelves is paved.


The Barber of Sadville

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Tim Browse 2007
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 1/6
Licence: Freeware
System: Interpreter

There's this TV series called The IT Crowd. It's quite funny. Probably the best current series. It's about these two IT support people (Moss and Roy), their 'relationship manager' (Jen Barber) and (occasionally) other people from the company. The series sets are full of all this so-called geek stuff (posters, comicbooks, old computers,...) - and on the series 2 DVD, there was a hidden contest to find some hidden easter eggs. Some of these were hidden quite well (one, for example, involved recording and decoding a flickering bar code). One of these easter eggs turned out to be a little text adventure... which this review is about.


The Bard's Tale II: Destiny Knight

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Interplay 1986
Genre: RPG
Rating: 5/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

If you enjoyed the first game, Tales of the Unknown: The Bard's Tale, you'll enjoy this one as well. The play style is almost completely identical. The artwork, though limited to 16 colors, was well done in my opinion. The music was much better on the alternate systems (Amiga, Commodore 64, Apple IIgs, etc...) but they did the best they could with the PC's speaker.


The Bard's Tale III: Thief of Fate

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Interplay Productions 1988
Genre: RPG
Rating: 5/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

Bard's Tale III – Thief of Fate is the third and final chapter in the original Bard's Tale saga. Again, the play style remains the same but the world has been expanded. The music choices have been expanded to include AdLib or Roland MT-32 (the best IMHO.) If you are using DOSBox to play, you will need mount the necessary MT-32 ROM files to utilize the latter, or a real MT-32 with a compatible interface. Reading the Reference Card will tell you how to set for the non-default values (PC Speaker & EGA Graphics.)



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