Somebody once told me that Christmas is all about the effort. The effort to once in a year give your best in order to do some good to other people – and yes, of course, also to yourself. Personally I love making presents the most: From finding the fitting one to wrapping it up in nice paper and giving it some kind of special touch to finally putting it under the Christmas tree and waiting impatiently in childlike anticipation until the unwrapping begins. Yes, sometimes the present is not as ingenious as I thought it would be, sometimes I am not quite sure whether the presentee really likes what they got. Yet more often than not I get the feeling that it was worth it, that I brought a little bit of joy into this persons life and with that to myself. And all it took was a little bit of effort, a bit of time dedicated to make somebody happy.
So, why not take a bit of time to make you, our dear readers, some presents? You read that right, that is a plural. This year you get a whole bag full of Christmas gifts! And in order to not spoil the fun, I am even going to wrap them, so you can have a bit of fun opening them.
Gift #1 is something festive suiting to the season to be jolly. Gift #2 is an overdue update to something for the ears. And Gift #3 might be a review for a very commendable game.
Happy Holidays from the Good Old Folks at TGOD!
LostInSpace revisits his primary genre – adventure games. The Testament of Sherlock Holmes comes from a time after the resurrection of the genre, when everything was 3D rendered and well known characters and subjects from other media, such as films or literature, were often used as a basis. As with most Holmesian material, this one only takes a couple of characters from the real source, however.
Another belated candidate for Anniversary Fighting Games Special 2017 is Ninja. Yes, just Ninja. Or Ninja Mission on a few other platforms. Not exactly the best beat-em-up game, but essential to complete the row of clones, some of which I have reviewed earlier. As such, the closest relative to this game is Karateka, which could easily pass for a prequel. Now let's see how different these two games really are...
Time has come for me to step in and continue where I left off. The following game was supposed to enter the Anniversary Fighting Games Special 2017, however, at some point I got jaded and dropped out. I haven't written any reviews for almost 2 years ever since. Now I'm back in business and will try to do my best to contribute more or less regularly. I am now proud to present to you Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior for ZX Spectrum, a Sword'n'Sorcery-powered fighting bestseller, which most of you should be familiar with.
There is a certain visible pattern to the games LostInSpace covers. This particular one wasn't even out at the time this website has been launched. Unbelievable, has it really been that long? And nevertheless, the review talks about how old Space Taxi 2 is already. What does this tell about us, still here doing the same old thing?
magicman continues his obsessive quest to complete all those SSI (A)D&D games with an entry which definitely is not among the well known titles. Shadow Sorcerer actually seems to be based on quite a sound conceptual idea. Execution may be lacking, but nevertheless – this makes it a much more interesting candidate for re-discovery from a historical perspective than the nth solid, but almost identical standard RPG, doesn't it?
Passing the ball back to magicman, we carry on with Dragon Wars. Sporting one of the most laughable title screens in gaming history. But no real complaint here, as it fills another gap in the severely under-represented RPG genre. Lately, it has been catching up quite well on this site, thanks to the various contributors. Yay for variety!
nobleEightfold continues his activities as well, with a console-style game, but ported to the IBM PC. Thexder is not exactly the sort of game one associates Sierra Online with these days, but back in the 1980s, the company was actually acting as a publisher with a much more widespread portfolio.
Fast forward to the 25th century, still riding along with magicman. Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed, in my view, is an amazing title for work of fiction! The game attempts quite a bit of fan service – an appearance of Killer Kane to name just one. Nevertheless, it doesn't have the best reputation. Probably because it was released near the end of the Gold Box series, when it was already seen as technologically outdated etc. These days, we don't really care about that anymore, do we?
Next in the line of newcomers is magicman. He takes us back to explore The Secret of Inner Sanctum, i.e. the first part of the Might & Magic series. Historical importance does not always equal good playability by today's standards. Nevertheless, it seems he enjoyed it.
Emperor of the universe, eh? Good for you! Don't think I'll treat you any differently for it, though. All weapons: fire!
Silpheed arrives in our collection from nobleEightfold again. It's the last of his contributions. Thank you, it's been a nice ride!
Sure, a Math Rabbit, why not? nobleEightfold seems to have quite a bit of nostalgia for this one. Which may be necessary, considering it's one of those CGA games which are at least strongly suspected to cause eye cancer Anyway, none of this should deter you from finding some good gameplay inside, of course!
Welcome to our newest contributor nobleEightfold who, as his very first task, took it upon himself to cover quite a complex roleplaying game. Curse of the Azure Bonds comes from a time when those were still really, really hard and required almost endless patience to play. That's not how you remember it? Well, when was the last time you actually played one of those SSI games? Now's your chance
LostInSpace is currently responsible for the majority of all our new contents. His latest pick is a freeware amateur game from the beginning of our millenium. Also… let's say… "inspired" by a better known commercial game already found in our collection. You should be able to guess which one by the name alone: Airtaxi.
Taking the publication of the freely available full version of Die Sage von Nietoom as a cue, I will add my view to Mr Creosote's. Since April 2019, the complete game can be downloaded with official approval of the developers from the website kultmags.com. Apart from the original CD, box shots and manual, the package also contains a walkthrough, sketches and drafts from the design phase of the game.
Here is one of those games which I've been playing on and off for… yes, actually decades now. For almost the same timespan, I have been planning to give it a review for this website. It is one of those games which always sat on the TODO list, but never jumped out as having super high priority. Now I finally did it, and it gives me the interesting opportunity to look back. If I had written about it back in the early days of the site, I certainly would have come to quite a different conclusion. After all, time hasn't stood still in the last 20 years. It may not have been only kind to Imperial Conquest 2.
This is Circus Games… oh, wait! That's actually not its name. Although it really should be. Instead, it calls itself Fiendish Freddy's Big Top o' Fun, which is really quite a mouthful. And it's not even true in-game, as the titular Big Top o' Fun is not owned by Fiendish Freddy. Ludwig von Tökkentäkker is not one to judge a book by its cover, though. So step inside!
Sure, you have all played those Apogee or Epic shareware games, but have you ever heard of Jack Flash: The Mutiny of Things? Probably not, at least I didn't. Nevertheless, it is a game in a style pioneered by those other mentioned companies. Does it live up to the high expectation of those much beloved best of kind? Or is it rather a forgettable entry, like many of those companies' games, too? LostInSpace brings us all up to speed.
Here we are, finally at the end of the road. Really this time. This is the last computer conversion of a Fighting Fantasy book we're going to cover. For now. Until anyone decides otherwise. Because, you know, there is a quite tempting one from the late 90s…
Anyway, with The Forest of Doom, we actually return to the early beginnings of the series. It was the third book, and also the third computer game. I.e. in the overall picture, it belongs to the second stylistic batch of games. After the first, arcadey entry, we got two almost literal adaptions, of which this is one. Finally, the games transitioned into more traditional parser-driven text adventures. The first one still retained the randomized combat which was subsequently dropped as well.
Each approach had its merits, but also its very own set of issues which I believe have been identified fairly well in our coverage. So now the ball is on your side again. Which of these games have you played? What's the "right" way to attempt such adaptions? For sure, we'd be interested in your feedback.
There we are at the zoo… not exactly a stereotypical setting for a cyberpunk game, is it? Yet if you decide to play Nightlong: Union City Conspiracy, it is where you will spend quite a bit of overall game time. LostInSpace complains quite bitterly about this. One such aspect doesn't necessarily break a whole game, though, does it? Read for yourself - and what do you think?
Yup: it's Wings of Glory! telecommand goes back to the times Origin tried to extend their market from space action towards other genres by applying the same soap opera formula to historical scenarios involving flight. Some years back, this game was a prime candidate on my own list to be reviewed, as it is set in 1916, and the challenge at the time was to find a review a game exactly with that parameter. Things went differently back then, and poor Wings of Glory went back to the drawer. Thanks for digging it out!
LostInSpace dared to enter The Forest of Doom all alone. My own recollection of this forest is indeed that it was quite a horrible experience. So I'm extremely grateful I didn't have to enter it with him again. Surprisingly, he survived. His testimony even talks of minimum danger, the thrills of adventure and enjoyment of the overall experience. That was unexpected for sure!
Extreme Assault is a game I have nothing to say about really. I guess I've been periphally aware of its existence in the past, as those screenshots don't look completely unfamiliar, but I neither played it ever, nor did I actively follow reports on it at the time.
Good that there are other knowledgable people able and willing to fill such gaps. RetroBunny will be our guide to discover uncharted territory today. Or is it even re-discovery for some of you?
The expected follow-up to the last update is here: the computer adaption of Temple of Terror. It is actually the final computer game adaption of a Fighting Fantasy book made during the original run of the line of books. Sales were too low, so the remaining games already announced never saw the light of day. Looking at the game today and also back then, it is not hard to see why this one didn't sell.
Nevertheless, it is not the end of the line for our coverage of this series. It's just that we picked the books/games out of order. So there is actually one more to go…
Slightly slower days than usual around these shores. Nevertheless, we are getting where we planned to go. Slowly, but surely. Several years ago, but nevermind that
Temple of Terror comes from the pen of one of the founders of the most successful gamebook line of all time. So it must be a great one, right? LostInSpace and me can't quite agree. Which is funny, because although our observation about what is noteworthy about this book match almost exactly, they lead us to different conclusions.
SB1988 reminds us King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella used to be one of the first games to feature a female protagonist. Well, not counting text adventures, I guess. Though if you go graphical, isn't it a bit of a pity that this first female protagonist has to be… Barbie? Not exactly empowering towards female audiences, is it? Though for sure, it is interesting that the game applies the same strategy of today's Barbie animated movies: simply featuring the same base character in all roles, with just the hair exchanged.
All kidding aside, this is a beloved installment of probably the most iconic graphic adventure series ever. Sorely missing in our collection this far. Thank you, SB1988!
Wait, didn't we forget something there? Almost… indeed, the plan was to cover those gamebooks and their respective computer game conversions. Even if most of these haven't been all that amazing this far. So here we are, let's go swashbuckling in Seas of Blood once more!
Now is the moment of the real experts. Surely, those will notice: isn't this the same game all over again? Indeed, The Colonel's Bequest. Obviously a huge Sierra fan such as SB1988 has been just waiting for this game to be added to our small database. Lurking in the shadows to jump on the opportunity to add his own view on top of the first review. Thanks for your comprehensive write-up – and why not consider just adding those other "missing" games yourself?
For sure, it is a bit funny to have this game appear on the site now, so many years after its sequel. Though that's the nature of a platform which allows for personal preference to dictate programme. It even makes some amount of sense. The Colonel's Bequest is the much less accessible game compared to the second one featuring the same main character. For those who want to know where and how it all started, here we go – thanks to beranmuden.
Ouch, that didn't go as planned! Instead of boarding unsuspecting merchant ships and slaughtering their unarmed crews, we have been surprised by a sea monster which is now in the middle of eating some of my own men. Well, thinking about it, it doesn't need to be for the worse. After all, if we survive, there will be fewer mouths left to feed and even more importantly, fewer greedy hands to share the gold with.
Everybody loves pirates, obviously. The book Seas of Blood lead to some controversy between LostInSpace and me, however.
Happy birthday to us!
Celebrating our 19th anniversary, the site is now well into its adult phase. Some traditions never change, however. One of them, if you browse our news archive, is delays in redesigns.
So, yes, I've been working on and off on a visual and functional refreshment of the site over most of last year. Unlike the 2015 attempt which never went beyond concept stage, this one is actually going to happen. Although not finished, it's all well advanced. Far too advanced to abandon now. Basically, to summarize, it's already done from a pure browsing perspective, but all interactions, like entering new contents or editing existing ones, are still missing.
It's done when it's done is a sensibile concept in our case, I believe. So no big promises. We'll get back to this topic later this year – in the meantime, we'll continue providing some fresh contents, of course.
zodiac's next review concerns that game which everybody mistakes for a sequel. Millennium 2.2, however, only uses the number in its title as a plot point. Making it the Genesis II of the computer gaming world, in a way.
Oh no, the Joker is lose! Get the Shark-Repellent Bat-Spray!
Actually, Tim Burtons movie was as far from 1960s silliness as could possibly be imagined, and beyond. The mixture of film noir characters meeting a futuristic city design, a world fallen out of time (well, until those awful Prince songs start to play at least) was an artistic triumph. And it made a shitload of money, so the merchandising machine started running quickly as well. Ocean (who else?) snatched the computer game licence. How did their Batman: The Movie turn out? zodiac gives us his account.
Still in vertical mode, but this time for another reason. It just happens to be the regular format of printed books as well. As if nothing has happened, we just pick it up where we left off in 2015 with our coverage of gamebooks. Rebel Planet was the logical choice after recently reviewing the computer game conversion. This makes it our first non-fantasy gamebook. Let's see how far we get this time!
Back in the vertical dimension, but otherwise in familiar waters. Shattered Pixel Dungeon takes long established gameplay patterns and a likewise familiar graphical style, but translates it onto a modern-day platform to make it available on the move. Adaptions sure are necessary, especially in a genre which is basically known for being controlled through 100 and more different key combinations. How did this turn out?
Going boldly where no man has gone before… well, not quite. Many people have played Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday before me. Nevertheless, it was quite a step to put this on my list of games to be reviewed, as I have a longstanding love-hate relationship with it. The reason being that thematically, it has always strongly appealed to me, but genre-wise, I'm practically repulsed. I've thrown the game into a corner in anger, frustration and disgust quite frequently, but in the same way, I've reliable picked it up again every time. Maybe pouring some of my thoughts on it will finally break that circle.
A happy new year, everyone! I'm sure everybody's full of energy to fulfil all those new year's resolutions, I'm sure. Like giving something back to the community by putting a lot of time into this website
Ironically, we begin the new year with something hanging over from the last. LostInSpace submitted this review right on New Year's Eve. My own unavailability to do the finishing editing touches led to this delay of a week. Rebel Planet sort of picks up the grand plans some of us had a couple of years ago concerning the coverage of game books. Hm, maybe there is a new new year's resolution in there?