Developed by an American satellite studio of Sega and published for the Megadrive/Genesis in 1995, Comix Zone is a unique and interesting single-player beat ’em up in which battles are fought inside the pages of a comic.
Conker’s Bad Fur Day was a surprising 2001 release – on the Nintendo 64 – for British developer Rare, in collaboration with Nintendo.
What is surprising about it is that it is an “adult” game – meaning: it contains cartoon characters behaving in ways that you don’t normally see in a Nintendo game, like vomiting on people’s shoes, making sexual innuendo, and using mild swear words.
Thimbleweed Park is a point-and-click adventure, released in 2017 by Terrible Toybox, and co-created by ex-LucasArts employees Gary Winnick and Ron Gilbert.
In case you didn’t know: both Gilbert and Winnick have been involved in the making of some of the best games of all time, including (but not limited to) titles such as: Ballblazer, Maniac Mansion, The Secret of Monkey Island, and Day of the Tentacle.
A little bonus, on the back of our Sam & Max Hit the Road feature published today: not grabs, but a small selection of high quality Sam & Max comics, as written and drawn by LucasArts veteran and all-round master of the paintbrush, Steve Purcell.
I love Purcell‘s artwork so much – not to mention Hit the Road itself – that I had to share these with you.
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…
Released in 1987 for the Commodore 64 and Apple II, Maniac Mansion was the birth of SCUMM (Story Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion), the game engine that defined LucasArts point-and-click adventures for a decade. Actually, back then they were called Lucasfilm Games, and they were breaking new ground in a number of different places.
Simon the Sorcerer is a very fondly-remembered, British point-and-click adventure game published by Adventure Soft for the Amiga in 1993.
It looks and plays similarly to the classic LucasArts adventures of the late 80s and early 90s – Loom, Monkey Island, and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis – and has the same verb/icon system as pioneered by those games.
It also has a similar, dry, satirical sense of humour to the aforementioned LucasArts games, which is somewhat surprising because Simon the Sorcerer was written by a teenager – specifically Mike Woodroffe‘s son, Simon. Mike was the director of Simon the Sorcerer and Simon, his son, was the writer. His “big break” you could say, and he didn’t let his dad down…
Simon the Sorcerer has a lot of great scenes in it – all beautifully drawn and coloured by pixel artist, Paul Drummond. All the characters are nicely animated too. Overall it is a top quality production. A ‘talkie’ version (with full voice acting) was later released on CD-ROM and I would say that that’s the one to play if you’re going to play this game. Word of warning though: it’s quite a difficult game, so be prepared for some frustration, unless: A. you’re an adventure game genius and have no fear, or B. you’re happy to use a walkthrough…
A 25th Anniversary Edition of Simon the Sorcerer was released in April 2018 to mixed reviews. I haven’t played it yet so can’t comment. These screenshots are from the original 1993 Amiga version.