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The Blackwell Legacy

Wadjet Eye Games 2006
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 3/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

Episodic formats are very convenient for marketing purposes, because you can milk your customers which are already hooked repeatedly. After all, who will just quit after playing through half of a story? Right, people will pay for the next part, the one after that and so on for the rest of time. In theory. As tempting as it may seem to take advantage of this, you're also taking two big risks designing your game in an episodic fashion. First, you actually need to get your audience hooked. Second, you need to design your narrative to work on two levels: the small story of each episode which needs its own beginning, arc and resolution as well as the global plot spanning over all episodes.

The Bugs Bunny Hare-Brained Adventure

Hi Tech Expressions 1990
Genre: Action
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

Bugs Bunny, hero of countless episodes and movies - one of the most popular cartoon characters - is the protagonist of this game. Now you might have played one or the other game based on a cartoon before and usually those games are just not... good. But in this case - trust me on this one - you get quite a nice game.

The Carls Lewis Challenge

Teque / Psygnosis 1992
Genre: Action, Sport, Strategy
Rating: 2/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Amiga

Carl Lewis might have been the athlete of the 1980s, but by the 1990s, his star was sinking. For the 1992 Olympic Games, he only qualified (and won) in his favourite discipline, the long jump. In the sprint distances, he did not even compete. In the 4 x 100m relay, he gave a solid, but unimpressive performance (by his former standards). It became clear that he was turning into a thing of the past. Not unlike this game he 'endorsed'.

The Case of the Cautious Condor

Tiger Media 1991
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 5/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Amiga, PC (DOS)

It's been many years since you've last heard from your old war buddy Bronson Barnard. You two had been flying together over France in 1917, you even saved his life there once. After the war, your lives drifted apart. He became a successful industrialist, you joined the police first, and became a private detective later.

The Chaos Engine

Bitmap Brothers 1993
Genre: Action
Rating: 5/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Amiga, PC

The Chaos Engine – a steampunk take on the Gauntlet concept. Let's say it's not that far fetched to assume there were fans of William Gibson's The Difference Engine among the Bitmap Brothers at the time. Though where said novel, although imaginative, is still well grounded into an alternate reality which does not sound all that far fetched, this game presents a scenario more akin to an apocalyptic horror movie: A Victorian scientist has built a machine able to influence the very fabric of time and space. That being fairly shaky anyway, what he unwittingly causes is the world turning into a surreal, monster-infected mess.

The Chaos Engine 2

Bitmap Brothers 1996
Genre: Action
Rating: 3/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Amiga

Chaos Engine. The epitome of an Amiga game. Made by the Amiga company. The immensely popular first part actually found its way to the PC more than a year later after the initial Amiga release. But then there was nothing.

The Child Murderer

Michael Zerbo 1994
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 1/6
Licence: Freeware
System: Amiga

Michael Zerbo used to be one of the most infamous authors of 'adult' (meaning violence, not sex) interactive fiction. His games always had some sort of gruesome theme, and the solutions to his puzzles were often equally gruesome. He alienated the classic target audience by utilizing commands such as USE (a mortal sin in the IF scene), yet his games were huge hits as their download counts exceeded those of more 'accepted' authors by more than an order of magnitude at times. This went so far that he even released some of his games as Shareware, i.e. expecting to make money from them (more info on that in the final paragraph).

The Citadel of Chaos

Puffin Books 1983
Genre: RPG
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Gamebook, C64

[Herr M.] If you were to judge a book strictly by its name, today’s title sets the bar quite high: The Citadel of Chaos frankly sounds rather cool. It promises whimsical magic, rolls of the tongue and hints at even greater things to come. So, the question we are going to ask today is: Does the content match its wrapping?

The Clue!

neo Software 1994
Genre: Strategy, Puzzle
Rating: -
Licence: Freeware
System: Amiga
The English version of Der Clou! The translation might raise some eyebrows.

The Colonel's Bequest

Sierra 1989
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 5/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC
What’s up with the testosterone overdose in Sierra games? Most of their games only have playable male characters. There are some exceptions of course, like King's Quest IV, in which you control Princess Rosella, as well as several Leisure Suit Larry games, in which you can control (although briefly) Passionate Patti. Luckily this time, Sierra sure managed to please the ladies! It’s high time for some additional girl power with this mystery detective adventure game called The Colonel's Bequest.

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