News Archive - 2022


Just one more Swordquest chapter to go, let's dive into Waterworld. If after the previous one, you don't feel like checking this one out at all, let me assure you this one isn't just the best of the three, but by any standards quite solid. Now, if only the final chapter, Airworld, would finally appear! Well, the game is out, but what about the comicbook? We demand to know what became of Torr, Tarra and Tyrannus!


Wait, She-Ra, He-Man's twin sister, appeared in an Atari game? Sure looks like it. Just that Swordquest: Fireworld pre-dated the Princess of Power by several years. If anything, were these games an inspiration for Mattel?

Such side-observations aside, Fireworld once again was the basis of a $25000 contest. This time, the winner received a gold chalice. An actual one. Just that the game actually proved completely useless to aspiring contest winners, due to being an unfinished mess. Hard to believe, considering what was at stake for Atari.



It is the year of Atari's 50 year anniversary. Well, today's Atari celebrates the founding of the original Atari, whatever the link may still be beyond the name. One way or another, as part of an anniversary documentary/game collection, they released Swordquest: Airworld. The long-awaited conclusion to the series abandoned back in 1983. What an opportunity to dive back at the beginnings of the series, taking a look at Earthworld, where it all began. Those who don't remember/never knew what the big deal about Swordquest was: prepare to be amazed!



Isn't that the guy from A Clockwork Orange? Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger raised the bar of recognisable faces being involved in computer game productions. Behind the scenes, it is pretty much the same game as its predecessor. Not that there was or is anything wrong with that.



Is Theme Park the best game of 1994? Back in 1994, this would have been a defensible position. The game was immensely popular at the time of its release. Not surprising after Bullfrog's previous hits and based on the incredible first impression this one left. With the benefit of hindsight, it is of course very far from being the best of anything. How much of its appeal the game loses when played longer could not be easily perceived at the time. Showing how important such retrospective looks really are.



Staying with robots, but a good ten years later, MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries should have been the ultimate game for all BattleTech fans. And indeed, it occupied me once again for much longer than I anticipated. In spite of all the frustration associated with it.



It is watching you… The Sentinel (released as The Sentry in the US) was the very game which showed me just how immersive first person perspective could be. For the first time, I had this nagging feeling of not having any clue what is going on on most of the playfield, i.e. behind my in-game avatar. Sweaty hands while moving around this three-dimensional chessboard were just the least of my worries. Technology aside, this game has stood the test of time.



Yes, yet another obscure, completely forgotten game. I'm not going to pretend it's a hidden gem. On gameplay side, it sports some good ideas at least. On top, it is a historically highly interesting one. Enjoy!



Yes, Iridion is sort of Uridium, or rather it wants to be. But on the Amiga, where the original didn't exist (yet). With games like this one, I would be really curious about sales statistics and marketing strategy…



Uh, yes, you have probably never heard of C.P.U. Bach. Or if you have, you have likely forgotten all about it. Believe it or not, this is what legendary designer Sid Meier committed himself to after Civilization. Not entertaining on the long term in the classic sense, but a highly interesting piece of software!



You know those games which were incredibly fascinating in their time, but revisiting them, it is really hard to still see the appeal? Castle Master is one such game. I gave it a rather lukewarm review already in 2009. This time around, I want to be fair and explain its historical context at least. Distinguish a bit between what it meant then and how it plays now.



You try that, buddy! Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi has ace pilot Splunge face off with the cats again. But he also gains a feline friend. And keeps himself busy looking for a killer on his carrier. Also, he is seduced by his commanding officer. Those were innocent times when such plot motifs were still considered acceptable…



Jeep or chopper? This remains the key question in any game of Hunter. Of course, you will want to try both. And the tanks, the speedboats, the trucks, the… bicycles? Yes, believe it or not, the latter are quite useful in your military operation. Don't let the dated graphics and the daunting first impression fool you. The game isn't nearly as complex as it looks at first glance.



Yes, they do! And, by the way, believe it or not, this is the game's good guy. Inferno: The Odyssey Continues followed hot on the trails of Epic: The Adventure Begins. Those who did experience the first part may not actually be all that keen on going head to head with the Rexxons again, but let me assure you that Inferno did introduce some really noteworthy features in its scope, its mission design etc.



Wild Cup Soccer is the lesser known sequel to the surprise hit Brutal Sports Football. It is good that it is lesser known, because it is also clearly the lesser game.



Invasion of Taiwan? Oops, too real? Europa Universalis II took me some time to get on here. Not easy to collect my thoughts in spite of knowing it inside out. Have been playing it for a good 20 years by now, after all. Quite intensely, too. And I have no intent of stopping.



Yup, it was easy to get young guys to buy a game in the mid 1990s. Just put the face (and body) of a semi-known, attractive female actress on and in it. Luckily The Daedalus Encounter wasn't horrible.



Yup, some urgency, indeed. A huge army of undead warriors is being assembled nearby, by a powerful mage. His devious plan being… to rule one small city. Uh… a bit of an anticlimax, isn't it? Eye of the Beholder 2: The Legend of Darkmoon is the pinnacle of the trilogy. Nevertheless, not everything in it has aged all that gracefully.



There is a little bit of a hint in that intro picture already. Your typical suggested AD&D party, consisting of a burly human fighter, a stocky dwarf, a mage and a cleric. Not the worst of choices when tackling Eye of the Beholder. Don't be disappointed if the game is not exactly as you remember it to be…



Once again, Mario and Luigi go on a mushroom trip. They even find a nice hotel to sleep it off. If only their sleep went undisturbed, but no – those monsters keep opening those doors! Hotel Mario is a rather nice game which you may have heard about, but likely never played yourself. Give it a go and make up your own mind!


Another victory for the vikings! Earned with a lot of bloodshed, as normal in Brutal Sports Football. Don't worry, though. They are only androids. Aren't they? I'm sure they are. And this makes it all much more tolerable, doesn't it?



Woohoo, James Pond, the hero of Amiga's best jump'n'run is back! This is going to be great. It must be. It will be. Come on, don't disappoint me, pretty please?



The early/mid 1990s with their butt ugly render graphics… Fortunately, the in-game graphics of Walker are much more pleasant. It is a rather unique one for sure. After all, how many right-to-left shooters do you know?



Just having returned from our trip to Sherwood Forest, beranmuden and I share our account of the journey. The nice sights as well as the usual complaints about trains running late, ants invading the picnic site etc. The Adventures of Robin Hood are all about good companionship.



Sometimes, the simplest concepts can nevertheless lead to a lot of fun when executed right. Zenith has you controlling a bouncy ball on its path over various obstacles on a purely linear route. And yet, it's motivating in its own casual way.



Yup, this is the one you've actually been waiting for, isn't it? Brutal Deluxe is what Speedball and its creators will always be remembered for. Ice cream!



You know Speedball, don't you? Though then, maybe you're just thinking of the second part? Although clearly overshadowed by the successor's huge legacy, the first one is a nice game on its own right.


Back in my childhood, we owned an electric model train. I fondly remember those times me and my brothers spent in the attic, assembling it into new shapes and routes every time, and then playing out our stories in this tiny worlds we had created. Of course, this was decades ago. Back then, something on the scale of Simutrans was unheard of and even more so unthinkable. It would have required much, much more physical space than anyone could have realistically had for such purposes. Admittedly, the haptic sensation is missing when operating in such virtual worlds. Nevertheless, a dream come true!



Wooohooo, race won! Stunt Car Racer is still as much fun as it was 30+ years ago. Maybe even more so these days, thanks to various fan patches available. I just keep wondering how the one driver, the one with the eye patch, can actually compete… ;)



I see you! Rather than the eyes, you should really pay attention to that nose. It is the truly deadly part of that face.

Steel Machine is an very cool Uridium clone with good visuals, great music and challenging difficulty. Too bad it stayed confined to hardware which completely failed on the market. Completely unknown even then, it is now completely obscure. Ready to discover something new? Just in case you haven't made up your mind yet, I've also recorded a video playthrough.



"Save me, my hero!"

"Don't despair princess, my paddles will heroically shoot this metal ball upwards to the bad guy's lair and set you free!"

Plunderball is injected with exactly the dose of weirdness I do enjoy.



A jeep and a helicopter assaulting a fortress with a giant, incredibly cool looking cannon. Boy, did that sort of thing appeal to me in 1991! Behind all this, SWIV is actually a really good game which has stood the test of time. If you like hard shooters, that is. Well, there are no easy shooters, are there?



"This is our last Amiga product and perhaps our best." stated Team 17 in the manual of Worms: The Director's Cut. They were right on both counts. Regular readers will know I'm hardly their greatest fan. Though putting all this effort into this final game, in spite of limited marketing potential on the already dead platform certainly was an act of love. Thank you for going out with style!



His name is Pond, Underwater Agent. Wreaking havoc among the human world for the good of fish-kind. This game was the start of a series which had what was considered for some time as a signature mascot-like jump'n'run hero for the Amiga. That is, until Zool pushed hard to claim this title. Neither of the two, of course, really made it into the long-term collective memory of the general public.



Princess Zelda is back, in another installment of one of the most beloved gaming franchises of all time. The Wand of Gamelon has her picking up her sword and shield, rescueing her father and her boyfriend, both of whom got themselves kidnapped. Seriously, those guys are lucky to have her! A large number of levels which can only be passed with a lot of fighting and solving some puzzles wait for the player. As usual in the series. Yet, everybody hates the game which, on the other hand, hardly anyone has played.



Would you date this guy? Maybe not anymore after you've heard him talk about his conspiracy theories concerning school cafeteria food. Luckily, another 29 cover boys stand ready as well, just waiting to be picked. Because, you know, they have no standards and will go out with anyone. Girl's Club may not win a price for emancipated gender roles or avoid any other clichés. Yet, it does show that even 30 years ago, there were experiments performed beyond the then already established forms of video game entertainment.


You may think enough has been said about Rise of the Robots. Though in all honesty, I was very dissatisfied with my previous treatment of it. It was just restating popular, unreflected opinion. Not very useful, is it? The point now is not to excuse, not to defend. After all, it is an awful game. Nevertheless, it is not an intentionally awful game. So it does deserve some respect.



Awful lettering aside, this title screen actually represents the game it belongs to pretty well. In Arabian Nights, you can expect not just a magic carpet, but you will venture deep into a mine, meet flying enemies, underwater dangers… Though is it any good?



Eh… yeah, sorry about that. Believe it or not, the in-game graphics look much better. BadLands is the second sequel of the venerated Super Sprint. Graphically significantly improved (yes, really!) and set in a cool post-apocalyptic world, it should be great, right?



Another Mech game, but with a decidedly different focus. MechForce may not look all that spectacular, but around the turn of the decade (1980s/1990s), it was a sensational way to experience the tabletop without the requirements of physical space and much less financial investment. In fact, even without the blessing of an official licence, it's still the closest computer adaptation available.



MechWarrior 2 was a game which in the mid/late 1990s, pretty much everybody played. By virtue of being bundled not just in numerous compilations, but also with various pieces of gaming hardware – from joysticks to early 3D accelerators – it found its way into most PC gamers' homes. For a long time, the prospect of trying such a large game again felt daunting. Turns out my memories were misleading. The original game is actually rather on the short side. So I went on to the expansion. And now I'm in the middle of playing the final expansion/sequel which came from Activision (and which I'm going to give its own coverage at a later date). The fact alone that I'm still playing should tell you something about its enduring qualities.



Here we go again. Revisiting a game which, I fear, will not generate a huge amount of interest. Looking beyond graphics and rather slow input/output mechanism, Sherlock Holmes: Another Bow is really more attuned to today's player expectations than it was in 1985.



More HERCs? Indeed, Battledrome was the ugly duckling of the Metaltech line. Just that it never turned out to be a beautiful swan after all. It wasn't just different, but actually ugly. Maybe rightfully forgotten these days? No, even missteps deserve a record of their existence.



May not look like much these days, but back in late 1994/early 1995, this was considered quite impressive! Metaltech: EarthSiege was Dynamix'/Sierra's attempt to jump on (or stay on) the giant robot simulation bandwagon. As customary at the time, there is a completely useless outside camera view. Luckily, that's not all the qualities it offers ;)



Staying within the adventure genre, Spider-Man is widely regarded as the finest hour of Scott Adams' ill-fated Questprobe series. This collaboration with Marvel came to an all too early end, unfortunately. Just imagine what such a licence would be worth these days!



wemr97dl fills a glaring omission in our database. Ten years ago, when I wrote about Joust, I covered the awful Atari 2600 version in detail, leaving the arcade original as a stub. Here is the game as it was originally intended.



Our website's anniversary upcoming, we are going back to the roots. Balance of Power: The 1990 Edition was the very first game covered on the site. Along with three others, but my recollection is that it was actually the first review written. As this was 22 years ago, I do feel I have a bit more to say about it now. With age come new perspectives, new thoughts.



In 1997, Grand Theft Auto was released. Barely 25 years later, it has been ported to the Spectrum. Well, not quite. Rival Gangs probably comes as close as anyone will ever get, however. Enjoy!



It's been thirty years now since Cryo and Virgin released KGB. Has it really been this long? I remember reading the magazine reviews very well. I always found it a highly fascinating game. Highly fascinating until I give it a try again. Gameplay-wise, it's rather unwieldy, cumbersome. Yet, I return to it from time to time.



I don't think I need to say much more, do I? Diablo is a game everybody has played. For many, it was one of the first and most intense gaming experiences in their lives. But then, when this website was started, it was still quite new, and even back then we were celebrating the game's of yesteryear. What was current then can now be considered "good old".



That looks promising, to say the least, doesn't it? A pirate, treasure, a trap, an evil skeleton getting ready for a swordfight… what's not to like? The game, appropriately titled Traps 'n' Treasures, does deliver on what it promises. Apart from the in-game audiovisuals maybe. Also, it's actually rather brainy for a platformer.



A cesspool of iniquity full of hopeless characters, a metropolitan moloch covered with constant rain, a dystopian world choking on crime and corruption. Scenes like that are often quoted by the cyberpunk genre. But recently a series of extremely brutal and inexplicable murders went down. Can DreamWeb provide good food for the future-pessimistic player?


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