Heimdall is an isometric adventure game developed by The 8th Day and published by Core Design in 1991.
The Temple of Elemental Evil [ToEE] is a licensed Dungeons & Dragons RPG that was first released in 2003 by Atari. It is based on the Greyhawk campaign setting and uses the D&D 3.5 edition ruleset.
One look at The Temple of Elemental Evil and you’re going to think: “Baldur’s Gate“… Because it very much looks and plays like that particular game. That said: the game does have some heritage in the Fallout series, because Tim Cain (the lead designer on the original Fallout games) was also director of this.
Developed by Team Ninja and published by Tecmo in 2004, Ninja Gaiden is a continuation of the famous 1990s Ninja Gaiden series, only this time in third-person 3D.
An involving, multi-character isometric adventure set in an Egyptian tomb, Pyracurse was written by Mark Goodall and Keith Prosser and published by Hewson in 1986.
Sam & Max Hit the Road, released by LucasArts in 1993, marks the video game debut of the infamous dog/rabbit crime-fighting duo.
Created by artist Steve Purcell, Sam & Max are “freelance police” and basically engage in a series of surreal mysteries involving bigfoot, and a whole host of other weird characters and strange situations.
This is the original 1993, VGA, MS-DOS version of Day of the Tentacle, with graphics presented at a fairly low-resolution 320 x 200. They still look great to me though.
Compare this to the high def Double Fine remake of 2018 and there is no contest – the high def version wins every time – although there is still a perverse nostalgic thrill to be had from playing the original VGA version.
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis was initially published by LucasArts in 1992 and was immediately recognised as something rather special – at least better than what most of the competition were doing at the time.
What makes Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis so good is the melding of the Raiders of the Lost Ark movie mythos, and the great writing, art and animation talent of LucasArts.
This excellent LucasArts point-and-click adventure game was first released in 1989 (to coincide with the film of the same name) and preceded the classic Fate of Atlantis by three years.
I have to admit that this one passed me by until now, and I’m still recovering from the shock of discovering a new SCUMM adventure from the same core team who gave us Fate of Atlantis, Day of the Tentacle, Monkey Island, and Sam & Max…
The actual, full title of this 1986 adventure game from Lucasfilm Games is Labyrinth: The Computer Game, but I’ll refer to it from now on as Labyrinth.
Labyrinth was the very first Lucasfilm Games adventure game and is based on the fantasy film of the same name – the one written by Terry Jones, directed by Jim Henson, and starring David Bowie in a big white wig.
This 2003 remake of Namco‘s SNES classic Tales of Phantasia was the first time the game had been officially translated into English.
While much of the game remains the same, there are a few differences. Firstly, the screen ratio has been changed from the 4:3 of the SNES original to the ‘widescreen’ 240 x 160 of the GBA screen. Which makes it look more modern, even if the resolution is actually lower (the resolution of the SNES version is 256 x 224). The lower resolution of the GBA is not an issue though as many of the in-game characters have been re-drawn to make them look bigger in the play window. This becomes most apparent during combat, when all the figures appear significantly larger than in the SNES version. This is not a problem, though, because most combat is fought horizontally, and not vertically, so making the main characters larger has not had a detrimental effect on gameplay. Quite the opposite, in fact.
The only real criticisms I’ve read about this game are that the random battles are too frequent (didn’t seem too bad to me), and the combat system is “unrefined” compared to the ‘Tales‘ sequels. Well… No sh*t, Sherlock. That’s bleedin’ obvious. And a bit unfair.
Tales of Phantasia is a lovely game that still has a lot of appeal now and is worth a play if you can find a copy. With this GBA version being an official translation, and with its updated graphics, I’d give it a higher rating than any of the fan-translated versions of the SNES original.