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Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares

SimTex / Microprose 1996
Genre: Strategy
Rating: 5/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

Master of Orion... one of the best balanced strategy games ever made. Also one of the first to successfully simulate diplomatic relations (albeit with a limited set moves). One of the very few games in the explore and expand genre in which the bureaucracy of each turn (i.e. taking care of the basics) stays manageable. How can Battle at Antares possibly improve on that? There are two levels to that answer. The first one is how they tried improving it. The second one is what works and what doesn't.

Math Rabbit

The Learning Company 1987
Genre: Puzzle
Rating: 3/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

This is a solid educational math game from my childhood. Rather than being just a single game, the game includes multiple mini-games. The games are great fun for a child to play and are nice introductions to counting, addition and subtraction. There are some additional concepts introduced besides basic arithmetic such as musical tones and memory.

McDonald Land

Virgin Interactive 1992
Genre: Action
Rating: 2/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Amiga

Don't know about the rest of the world, but here, Ronald McDonald and the accompanying cartoon characters have been pretty much retired as promotional mascots. Even in the early 1990s, they were already on the way out. Which is easy to say in retrospect, but at the time, some managers may have believed it to be the right time to release a promotional game set in McDonald Land.

Mean Streets

Access Software 1990
Genre: Adventure, Action
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Amiga, PC (DOS)

Einstein was wrong: the people living after World War 3 (which happened in 1998) aren't fighting with pointed sticks and stones. It's still guns. The whole world is in fact still very much the same as we know it. If it weren't for a few details: Half of the population has mutated because of the high radiation and people are using flying 'speeders' instead of cars.


Activision 1989
Genre: Simulation
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

You start out as a character named Gideon Braver Vandenburg. His family was murdered and the chalice that proves he is the heir to the throne of the planet Anders Moon was stolen and without it he is exiled. He becomes a mercenary to seek revenge and sets out on a quest in the innersphere to search for clues to find out who killed his family and get back the chalice to reclaim the planet.

Mega Lo Mania

Sensible Software 1991
Genre: Strategy
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Amiga

Imagine a mixture between Populous, Powermonger, The Settlers and Civilization. What you get is Mega Lo Mania. This is of course not overly correct. Some of the games are older than the game we're talking about here (Populous, Powermonger) and can therefore be classed as role models. Civilization was developed at the same time and The Settlers was released significantly later, so it was inspired by Mega Lo Mania and not the other way round.


Software Visions 1994
Genre: Action, Adventure
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Shareware
System: PC

MegaZeux is not a game in the strictest sense of the term; it describes itself as "a game system which allows you to play almost limitless worlds". This type of program is more commonly referred to as a "game maker" and it couples together a ready-made adventure-esque game engine with a level editor and scripting language in a single user-friendly package. The killer-feature is not the game play that it provides but the ability for end users to create their own games and other content on top of it without the need for advanced programming or, optionally, any programming at all. This is not unique or even original with respect to this particular title but, arguably, MegaZeux is better than most of its contemporaries and has its own unique points of interest that make it noteworthy.


SSI/Dreamforge 1994
Genre: RPG, Action
Rating: 3/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

You know that for getting on a quest the simplest excuses are more than enough. This time it's rescuing a village you was sleeping on what makes you travel deep deep below to meet the evil guys, and spread goodness on their head with a big hammer.

Metal & Lace: The Battle of the Robo Babes

MegaTech Software 1993
Genre: Action
Rating: 2/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

Unless you happen to speak the Japanese language, you probably only get those rare glimpses into their entertainment culture (like me). Oh, of course, I've watched Akira and I have played the Street Fighter games. Thinking about it, this whole game console world is very Japanese (which is maybe the reason why it always stayed alien to me), and, granted, Italian plumbers getting high on mushrooms to fight turtles are fairly weird. Though Nintendo is just the "family friendly" side.

Metal Gear

Banana Development 1990
Genre: Action, Strategy
Rating: 3/6
Licence: Freeware
System: PC

Metal Gear for DOS is a very obscure port of the original Metal Gear game. It is not known by nearly enough people, and the same goes for its Commodore 64 counterpart. Surprisingly, these home computer ports are conversions of the NES port, not the original MSX game.

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