Posts Tagged ‘retro reviews’


Developer: Sierra Entertainment

Release: December 1993

Genre: Point and Click Adventure

Format: PC

Is Gabriel the Dark Knight of the point-and-click genre?

The folks at Sierra truly were the master of adventure games, and it’s no more apparent in their 1993 classic, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers. An award winning point-and-click thriller, GK is the first of three instalments in a much loved series from the 90s.

The game follows the exploits of used book store owner and aspiring writer, Gabriel Knight, as he tries to uncover the truth regarding the grizzly ‘voodoo’ murders that have taken place in his hometown, New Orleans. Knight wishes to use the investigation as a basis for a book he’s writing, but he is eagerly drawn deeper into the mystery as the murders have an uncanny link to his nightmares and family history. It’s an immersive plot with some sensational voice talent, including Mark Hamill and Tim Curry. The game plays over a sequence of days; players have to complete a number of tasks in order to progress to the next one and so on. Unlike more recent adventure games, which have context-sensitive cursors, GK adopts the use of ‘dumb cursors’. The player has to select one of several action icons; such as walk, talk, open, and pickup to name a few, and click the object they wish Knight to interact with. It’s a frustrating method, but players will soon warm to it.

The Gabriel Knight series is one of Sierra’s better achievements, and Sins of the Fathers kicks it off brilliantly. Assume your best Sherlock Holmes attitude and enjoy a game of murder and mystery.


This article was originally published in Issue 23 of Thirteen1

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Developer: PopTop Software

Release: April 2001

Genre: ConstructionSimulation

Format: PC

Why not start your own banana republic?

We’ll never grow tired of being El Presidente in PopTop Software’s hot simulation game, Tropico. This colossal Caribbean based game gives players the chance to rule like Fidel Castro or revolutionise like Che Guevara.

Set firmly in the Cold War era, Tropico is a tongue-and-cheek management and construction game that requires the player to stay in power of their civilisation. Players can devote time to constructing schools, better housing and healthcare, and boosting the economy. The citizens “Happiness” is a fundamental gameplay factor, if they’re not happy then they may vote you out of office, or even stage a coup d’etat – which is not a pretty site. The satirical elements of the game are ingenious and will have you chuckling from the get-go.

Politics play an integral role to the gameplay. Most Tropicans are aligned into several political factions, including Communists, Capitalists, Religious and Intellectuals. Obviously they all conflict, and pleasing them all is no easy task.

Tropico 2: Pirates Cove is based on the original, but the gameplay is completely different. The player is a “Pirate King”, and rules a pirate island. The objective is to collect as much booty as possible, and the player must kidnap workers, called Captives, to carry out the labour. Not unlike the original, the player must keep the Captives “happy”, otherwise they might try to escape and inform others of your island, who in turn send warships to put an end to your despicable regime.

Both games in Tropico: Reloaded are crude, entertaining, and time-consuming. Pour yourself a Mojito and cause some corrupt mayhem.


This article was originally published in Issue 22 of Thirteen1

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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.


This article was originally published in Issue 18 of Thirteen1

All games are available from gog.com

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