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Posts Tagged ‘pc games’

RUNAWAY: A ROAD ADVENTURE

Developer: Péndulo Studios

Release: May 2007 (July 2001 Spain)

Genre: Point and Click Adventure

Format: PC

Pack your bags and fasten your seatbelt, because you’re in for one hell of a road trip with Péndulo Studios’ Runaway: A Road Adventure. This point and click adventure game is one for determined and savvy players who enjoy solving genius puzzles.

Runaway tells the story of Brian Basco, a student of physics who has just been accepted to do his PhD at Berkley, University of California. On his departure from New York he accidentally runs over a fleeing girl who blacks out immediately. Being the nerdy gentlemen he is; Brian drives her to the nearest hospital, where she tells him that she witnessed a mafia murder and is now being hunted by two hit men. Brian reluctantly agrees to help her and what ensues is a chase across country, featuring drag queens, one-eyed gangsters and sleepy ghost towns. During this 12+ rated adventure Brian will witness violent stabbings, smoke narcotics and become possessed by angry ghosts – not the best example of judgment by the PEGI rating system.

Runaway is not the easiest of adventure games. Many times the player will be outwitted by puzzles, which actually have ludicrously simple solutions. Excluding the cut-scenes, the graphical look of the game is impressive for 2001 standards, producers have given the game a traditional cartoon look, whilst enabling real-time lighting and shading effects.

This is an adventure game that will annoy and conquer those who are not familiar with the genre, but with perseverance and a ‘let’s do it’ attitude, some could make tracks rather quickly.

Runaway: A Road Adventure is a colourful and cheerful game that quickly turns annoying and difficult due to some puzzles requiring trial and error methods or unthinkable simple solutions. Patience is a must.

6/10

This article was originally published in Issue 18 of Thirteen1

All games are available from gog.com

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PSYCHONAUTS

Developer: Double Fine Productions

Release: February 2006

Genre: Platform

Format Reviewed: PC

Other Formats: Xbox, PlayStation2

Here’s a game that will surely blow your mind. Psychonauts is a psychedelic and colourful platform game that will wow anybody who plays it.

Released in 2006, Psychonauts follows the exploits of a young boy called Raz. Being gifted with psychic abilities, Raz joins a summer camp for those with similar attributes in order to become a Psychonaut. However, he discovers something sinister at work in the camp and does everything in his power to stop it from happening. The game progresses with Raz exploring the minds of his fellow campers and other beings; inside their brains he finds places that symbolically represent the characters fears and emotional baggage. Each mind has its own unique visual design and plenty of puzzles and challenges for Raz to overcome. The gameplay design, along with the imaginative narrative, makes this a strong and memorable game, and credit must go to the games creative director, Tim Schafer (Grim Fandango, Manic Mansion: Day of the Tentacle, and Brutal Legend).

There is very little room for error in Psychonauts. The voice-acting is top notch, the character designs are extremely creative, and the music is fun and exciting. Despite all this Psychonauts was a commercial failure, but it was strongly received by critics, and there’s no exception here.

If you’re looking for a game that’s fun, easy to play, witty, aesthetically pleasing, and wildly imaginative then Psychonauts is for you. So why not take a journey through the subconscious and play one of the best video games of the Noughties?

10/10

This article was originally published in Issue 21 of Thirteen1

All games are available at gog.com

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EMPIRE EARTH: GOLD EDITION

Developer: Stainless Steel Studios

Release: November 2001

Genre: RTS

Format: PC

 

Why not journey back to the beginning of time and see how the very first civilizations formed and conquered the world? Stainless Steel Studios’ Empire Earth allows you to do just that.

The first in an epic trilogy, Empire Earth is yet another real-time strategy game that offers a choice of several different campaigns in different epochs of time. Beginning with the rise of Ancient Greece and ending with the reconstruction of the Russian Federation in the year 2018, the game gives the player a civilization to command in order to conquer. It’s a winning formula thanks to countless other RTS games, but what does Empire Earth have different to offer? Not a great deal unfortunately. The gameplay is very repetitive with only a few different features to that of other similar games in its genre. These include a ‘morale’ system where certain buildings and characters affect how your civilization functions and prospers, and superb 3D models that bring an excellent aesthetic look for a 2001 game. For beginners Empire Earth is perfect stepping stone into the RTS genre; the game isn’t too complicated or overwhelming to play and becomes more challenging as the player advances.

Empire Earth is an interesting concept and seeps potential, but lacks any substantial originality that makes it stand out from other RTS games of its time. However it can be enticingly addictive and fun, which is fundamental for any videogame.

For those who relish the path of time then why not indulge some into Empire Earth: Gold Edition, a classic game that offers a history lesson you won’t forget.

8/13

This article was originally published in Issue 17 of Thirteen1

 

All games are available to download at gog.com

 

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FALLOUT

Developer: Black Isle Studio

Release: September 1997

Genre: Turned-based RPG

Format: PC

If you’re intrigued to see how this series started then why not walk the wastelands again?

The Fallout series, which was originally developed by Black Isle Studio before the rights became Bethesda Softworks’, began in 1997, and is branded as a real-time role-playing-game with turn-based combat. The story takes place in the late 22nd century and has a post-apocalyptic setting. Despite being set in the future, many of the games concepts and much of the artwork is heavily influenced by nuclear war paranoia from 1950s America. The game begins in Vault 13, an underground bunker where survivors have been living for generations. The player is asked by the vault’s Overseer to go out into the wastelands and find a new part for the vaults water recycling system. That’s the initial objective, but countless side quests and missions make up a rather remarkable plot.

Many of the games mechanics that feature in all Fallout games make their first appearances here. Most notably is the morality meter – better known as Karma – which awards and subtracts points for good and bad deeds respectively. The game is relatively challenging, and it would be wise to level up your combat skills early on.

It wasn’t until 2008 that many gamers were introduced to the Fallout series for the first time with Fallout 3, which had players across the world stunned at its immersive gameplay and striking presentation.

Fallout is a game that demands respect. It conveys strong political messages and also includes plenty surprising popular culture references. Whether you’ve played Fallout 3 or not, experience the beginning of the end of the world.

9/10

This article was originally published in Issue 19 of Thirteen1

All games are available to download at gog.com

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EVIL GENIUS

Developer: Elixir Studios

Release: September 2004

Genre: RTS

Format: PC

If you’ve got sadistic and tyrannical tendencies, then unleash them with Elixir Studios’ Evil Genius.

A 2004 real time strategy and simulation game, Evil Genius is a satirical take on the James Bond series, which requires the player to take over the world.

To succeed in conquering the world, the player must construct an evil lair; complete with henchmen and traps.  The objective is to defend your Island Base from the Forces of Justice, who will annoyingly and constantly attempt to impede your plans.

The player must follow a set of simple objectives and slowly but surely cause world chaos. The game is divided into two sections; the Island Base and the World Map. On the Island section of the game the primary features include constructing a cover story, interrogating captured spies, and forming alliances with other evil geniuses.

On the world map the player can assign minions and henchmen to perform ‘Acts of Infamy’, which involve the cronies engaging in criminal activities in order to receive certain rewards. These rewards could be a piece of stolen technology, a hostage or a great deal of money. The ultimate goal calls for the player to build a menacing Super Weapon that will cause the world to submit to the evil genius’ will.

Evil Genius is a facetious game fueled with hours of frivolous gameplay and excellent in game music that deserves the BAFTA it received. If you’re a fan of God games, then why not take the time out to flip the genre on its head with this devilish work of genius.

10/10

This article was originally published in Issue 17 of Thirteen1

All games are available to download at gog.com

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COMMANDOS: AMMO PACK

Developers: Pyro Studios

Release: July 1998

Genre: RTS

Format: PC

Load your guns and throw on your combat gear, because it’s time to sneak around with Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines.

This 1998 real-time stealth tactic game and its 1999 expansion, Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty, were developed by Pyro Studios and it’s a daring and intriguing game to play. This Ammo Pack has 28 different missions set in many locations, including Germany, Greece, Russia and Yugoslavia.

Now for a very brief history lesson, in 1940, after Britain’s evacuation of its forces from Dunkirk, Lieutenant Colonel Dudley Clarke created a small unit of men who could penetrate enemy lines and sabotage communication and military targets. Approved by Churchill, volunteers from the Territorial Army, British Police Force, and the Royal Marine Division began intense training to become the very first ‘Commandos’. After many successful missions, Hitler declared that any commando found in Europe and Africa should be swiftly killed, no excuses. So why the lesson you ask, because this is the premise of these games. Throughout these two classic titles, you will be taking part in some of the most famous moral-boosting missions ever carried out by the commandos in World War II.

The game has an isometric view of each mission map in entirety, allowing the player to prepare infiltration and extraction plans before instigating any moves. The missions begin fairly easy, but do grow considerably harder, especially in the second game.

These games are fun and simple to use, however you should run the tutorial on your first play through. An immersive game, Commandos: Ammo Pack gives a swift boot up the arse of the Nazi regime and a respective salute to those who paid for our freedom with their lives.

8/10

This article was originally published in Issue 20 of Thirteen1

All games are available to download at gog.com

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