Developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts in 2009, Dragon Age: Origins is a hardcore, third-person Role-Playing Game in the style of Knights of the Old Republic (also developed by BioWare), Vampire: the Masquerade – Redemption, and Neverwinter Nights.
This classic one-on-one basketball game on the Commodore 64 originated on the Apple II in 1983 and was later converted to other systems courtesy of Electronics Arts.
One on One: Dr. J vs. Larry Bird is remembered as one of the best basketball games of all time and does indeed have a lot of subtlety to it that isn’t obvious until you play it.
The full title of this 1995 sequel is Magic Carpet 2: The Netherworlds, and it is an excellent continuation of the series.
Magic Carpet from Bullfrog was first released in 1994 through Electronic Arts. It is a DOS-based, first-person action game with you – the player character – flying a ‘magic carpet’ around a series of islands, fighting evil wizards and monsters and collecting ‘mana’ to increase your magical powers.
I do enjoy a game of FIFA Street 2 on my XBox from time to time. It doesn’t have all the pompous dramatics of a regular FIFA game, although it does have the players.
General Chaos is a memorable multiplayer strategy/action game, developed by Game Refuge Inc. and published for the Sega Megadrive by Electronic Arts in 1993.
The game is basically a real-time, single-screen tactical action game, with two teams of soldiers fighting it out for overall domination. You can either take on the computer AI, or another person, and must capture your opponent’s base to win the game.
Known affectionately as ‘Indy 500‘, this high octane race game broke new ground when it was first released in 1989.
Zany Golf was released by Electronic Arts in 1988. It originated on the Apple IIGS but was quickly ported to 16-bit computers, including this fine Atari ST version.
Zany Golf is a crazy golf simulator, with simple controls and complex courses. Up to four players can compete at once.
You make a shot by left clicking and dragging on the ball, then letting go of the button. If you’re skilled (and lucky) the ball will go where you want it to go. Invariably, though, things do go astray…
There are nine holes – plus a bonus hole – in total. Some holes have weird animated objects on them (like the iconic giant hamburger) which you have to deal with, and some have special abilities (like the magic carpet, which allows some control of the ball with the mouse). You have a limited number of strokes per hole, but can pick up extra by touching fairies or hitting certain other targets. Getting to the ninth hole can be quite an achievement.
Zany Golf is a classic physics-based golf/maze game. I have fond memories of playing it back in the day, and still find it fun to play now.
The 1996 sequel to Crusader: No Remorse, Crusader: No Regret is more of the same, but with more new weapons, more new enemies, more new moves – more of everything, really.
Again: you again control The Silencer – a futuristic trooper turned renegade – and who can now use as many weapons as he wants (in the first game he could only carry three), and can also roll forwards, as well as strafe while crouching, making the gameplay even more tactical than before.
Graphically, No Regret is better than No Remorse. The isometric graphics are again a mixture of pre-rendered 3D tiles and drawn 2D graphics. The murky stippling effect is still present, but it’s not as noticeable as before. Characters and animations are all very well executed and the background graphics vary more as you plough through the missions.
No Regret is non-stop action from start to finish. Guns; rockets; explosions; hidden secrets; lots and lots of collateral damage… I’d say that it probably just pips No Remorse in terms of fun.
If you like tactical shooters, the Crusader series are well worth picking up and playing.
Crusader: No Remorse was first released by Origin Systems in 1995.
It’s a violent, isometric shooter with a futuristic setting. In it you play a kind of ‘super soldier’ called a Silencer (how poetic…) who changes sides when his superiors try to have him killed after a botched mission.
Crusader: No Remorse hasn’t aged particularly well. The graphics suffer from a throwback stippling effect (probably used to make the game appear to have more colours than it actually had), and the gameplay is imprecise and finicky. Furthermore: the screen flip effect doesn’t always flip when it needs to, leaving you off-screen (and probably dead) in the process.
When you master the (over-complicated) controls, you can do some decent things, like strafe, or roll, which makes things more interesting. Even better: when you find one you can take control of an armed robot which can run around and kill things for you.
Making headway is frustrating at best – especially at the beginning. Mostly due to the frustration of navigating the landscape, and not getting stuck on it. Once you’ve gotten a foothold then things do improve. Remembering to make use of the ‘Z’ key, to keep yourself centred in view, is helpful, although I couldn’t help but curse the programmers for being too lazy to make the screen scroll! That’s really what this game needs…
Special mention must go to the music, which I think is horrible… I turned it off straight away. It reminded me of Claudio Simonetti‘s cheesy, Eighties score for the film Cut & Run. Totally out of place, in my mind, although it does have its fans (there’s no accounting for taste – mine or anyone else’s).
As I so often say: it is what it is. And Crusader: No Remorse is a decent shooter that is a little hamstrung by its fiddliness, but does have its moments. The game did well enough commercially to spawn a sequel.
Note: I can’t help but think that Crusader: No Remorse is something of a tribute to Beam Software‘s classic Shadowrun on the SNES. Even the digitised screams of your opponents sound like those in Shadowrun. The targeting and combat are also very similar to Shadowrun. And I mean that as a compliment.