Saturday, October 13, 2018

William Shatner's TekWar (1995) (Short entry)

Date: 1995
Developer: Capstone Software
Publisher: Capstone Software

System Requirements:
 - 486SX
 - 8MB RAM
 - MSDOS 5.0 or higher
 - VGA Compatible video card

Where to purchase?
 - TekWar is not available in digital form anywhere so check Ebay or Amazon for original hard copies.

TekWar is a FPS game developed and published by Capstone Software in 1995 that is a tie-in to thespian and national treasure William Shatner's TekWar universe.  Besides this game, the TekWar universe spans 9 novels, 4 TV movies, a TV series, and a comic book series.  Given this extensive background from which to draw lore and the pedigree of  William Shatner's genius and Capstone's stellar track record of PC game development in the 1990s, I fully expect this game to be a milestone in PC game history, taking a place alongside other greats like Doom, Civilization, Command and Conquer, and Operation Body Count.  

I remember playing the demo of this game off a PC Gamer demo disk when it originally came out in 1995, but other than that I have no experience with the game.  I also know nothing about the TekWar universe, so I'll be experiencing the rich and nuanced stories that make up the tapestry of legends that is the TekWar lore for the first time as well.  I am excited to get started, so let's fire up William Shatner's TekWar and get going!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Settlers 2 Gold Edition (1996)

Date: 1996 (1997 for Gold Edition release)
Developer: Blue Byte Studio
Publisher: Blue Byte Studio

System Requirements:
 - 486DX/2 66 MHz
 - 8MB RAM
 - 30MB HDD space
 - 2X CD-ROM
 - SVGA capable video card

Where to purchase?

The Settlers 2 Gold Edition is a real-time strategy game with elements of city building and management.  I've never played any of the Settlers games, but I am a fan of similar modern games such as the Tropico series, the Anno series, and the Sim City games, so this seems like the kind of game I should love.  I'm surprised I never got around to playing a Settlers game as the series has been quite popular.  The original was released in 1993 and sequels were released fairly regularly, the most recent of which was in 2016 (renamed to a new IP).  The original Settlers 2 was released in 1996 and the Gold Edition, released a year later, added a new campaign, over a hundred custom maps, and a bunch of gameplay and graphics improvements.  I'll be playing the Gold Edition version without any other mods or changes.  There was 10th Anniversary edition released in 2006 that is a full 3D remake, so if anyone wants to play an more modern version of the The Settlers 2, that would be the way to go. 

Prior to starting this post, I played through the first mission of the campaign to get a general feel for the game so I wouldn't be a complete mess starting out, but otherwise I have no experience with the game and I'll be going essentially blind.  Let's dive in to The Settlers 2 Gold Edition!  

Monday, March 19, 2018

Metaltech: Earthsiege (1994)

Date: 1994
Developer: Dynamix
Publisher: Sierra On-line

System Requirements:
 - 386DX/33MHz
 - 4MB RAM
 - 27MB HDD
 - MSDOS 5.0
 - VGA Capable Video Card

Where to purchase?

 - It is FREE!  Hi-Rez Studios, the owners of the Tribes (and Metaltech) IPs have released all the old games in these series as free downloads.

 - Download links

For my next game, I'm moving on from the 4X genre but I'm sticking with a scifi themed game.  I'm going to be playing Metaltech: Earthsiege by Dynamix, a giant robot mech sim game.  I messed around with this game a bit when it originally came out and a friend of mine had a copy, but I never progressed beyond the first or second mission.  I remember thinking this game was the best thing I had ever seen when I originally played it as a teenager, so I'm curious to see how it has aged.  When compared to the relatively simple games I had been playing at the time such as Wolfenstein 3d, Doom, or Rebel Assault, Earthsiege blew me away with its amazing polygonal graphics, FMV-type characters, sound effects, and complex simulation gameplay.  I'll give it an honest try and see how far I can make it before I decide to move on to the next game.

Lets jump into Sierra's ripoff competitor to the Battletech universe!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Ascendancy - Part 3

Ascendancy - Part 1

Ascendancy - Part 2

Today I am continuing my playthrough of the fantastic 4X game Ascendancy.  My Nimbuloid empire continues to exist while struggling against the tyrannical Fludentri, conniving Chamachies, and war mongering Marmosians.  My goal for this post is to eliminate at least one of these opposing species so I can get to a good stopping point to wrap up my coverage of Ascendancy.  The game is great fun and I'm enjoying my time playing it, but this is the third post covering the game so I think it is time to finish it and move on to the next game.  If I can't get to total galactic domination, at least I should be able to wipe a few of these other species.

Click below to continue to follow the rise of the Nimbuloid empire.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Ascendancy - Part 2

Ascendancy - Part 1

The Great Nimbuloid-Fludentri War continues in Part 2 of my Ascendancy playthough.  "Great" may be too strong of a word since nothing has happened yet, but I can tell those shifty Fludentri are going to be a tough opponent.  They look like toothpaste.

In this post, I hope to capture the essence of war in Ascendancy with ship-ship and ship-planet battles along with planetary invasion.  I should see some of this pretty soon since it did not take long for the Fludentri to declare war on me after we made first contact.  I can also start to show some of the weird tech tree gizmos that the game encourages me to place in my ships.  I will try to provide occasional overviews of the galaxy map to allow readers to follow along and understand how my Nimbuloid empire is progressing as well.  Hopefully we can conquer the other galactic denizens and spread our strange, gaseous cloud people to the farthest reaches of the galaxy!  To continue reading about Ascendancy, click below!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Ascendancy (1995)

Date: 1995
Developer: Logic Factory
Publisher: Logic Factory

System Requirements:
 - 486DX/33MHz
 - MSDOS 5.0
 - 2x CDROM
 - VESA compatible SVGA
 - 8MB RAM

Where to purchase?

 - Unfortunately Ascendancy is not sold anywhere digitally, so your best bet is Amazon or Ebay looking for use copies.  There used to be an iOS version, but this was taken down a few years ago.

Today's game is a change of pace from my previous outings of the past few weeks.  After playing mostly action games for my initial posts on RPDG, I'm going to slow down and play through Ascendancy, a 4X space strategy game.  Before starting, let's get some acronyms out of the way first: 4X stands for eXpand, eXterminate, eXplore, and eXploit, these being the primary driving motivations behind the gameplay in these kinds of games.  Like many of these kinds of games, Ascendancy is a turn-based strategy game (TBS), in comparison to something like Command and Conquer, which is a real-time strategy game (RTS).  Sometimes I find ATBA (Acronyms To Be Annoying), but in this case it is helpful to know this stuff ahead of time.

I have limited experience with Ascendancy from playing the demo way back in the 90s, so I'm going in to this game fairly blind.  But I do enjoy these kinds of galactic conquest games, so I'm looking forward to it.  Let's fire it up!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Dark Forces - Part 2

Dark Forces - Part 1

I'm continuing my playthrough of the FPS game Dark Forces, and so far I am enjoying the game.  It has enough in common with modern FPS games to limit the frustration over its dated engine and gamplay, while also maintaining that 90s era nostalgic charm.  I'm about 1/3 of the way through the game, and I aim to finish it in this post or the next one.  So lets continue on with mission 5, I look forward to blasting more stormtroopers!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Star Wars: Dark Forces (1995)

Date: 1995
Developer: LucasArts
Publisher: LucasArts

System Requirements:
 - 386/DX-33MHz
 - 8MB RAM
 - 3.5MB HDD space
 - MS DOS 5.0

Where to purchase?

Last week I played a game that was completely new to me (Alien Odyssey), so this week I am playing Dark Forces, a game which I know very well.  I purchased Dark Forces new when it was originally released and played it through to completion.  Since that time, I have played a number of custom levels, the sequel Jedi Knight, and Jedi Knight's sequels Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy.  So it is accurate to say I am familiar with this game and I am also a fan.  I'm really looking forward to going back and playing it again for  For this playthrough, I'll be playing the Steam version, which means I'll be playing the original vanilla version through DOSBox.  I won't be using any modern updates or mods, of which there are many.  If you are interested, the most popular update for Dark Forces is the DarkXL engine, which can be found at its's website:  

Dark Forces is an FPS (first person shooter) set in the Star Wars universe just prior to the events of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.  To read about its development, my impressions on a playthrough, and my thoughts in a review at the end, read on!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Alien Odyssey (1995)

Date: 1995
Developer: Argonaut Software
Publisher: Phillips Interactive

System Requirements:

- IBM PC compatible 486/DX2-66MHz
- 8MB of RAM
- DOS 5.0 of higher
- 8MB HDD space

Where to purchase?

 - It is not sold digitally anywhere, so your options are limited to resellers like Amazon and Ebay.  Copies go for anywhere from $2 - $40, so it is pretty cheap

For the next game on RPDG, I'm playing a game that is completely new to me: Alien Odyssey by Argonaut Software.  Alien Odyssey is a game that is difficult to categorize, it is kind of a mix of genres.  Based on my reading about it, it supposedly combines FMV rail shooter sequences like Rebel Assault or Cyberia with third-person adventuring like Bioforge or Alone in the Dark.  As I mentioned, I've never played the game so this understanding is based on the background reading I've done on the game, I could be completely wrong.  But I'm curious to find out.

FMV or pre-rendered rail shooters had a period of brief popularity in the mid 90s as CD-ROM technology was first establishing itself on the market.  Games that combined rail shooting sequences with other genres like third person adventuring also seemed to be a popular niche in PC gaming for a short while from what I can remember.  I've played a few games that fit that description and I don't remember them being particularly fun, but maybe Alien Odyssey will change my mind.  Let's find out!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Crusader: No Remorse - Part 3

Crusader: No Remorse - Part 2

Crusader: No Remorse - Part 1

- Mission 3 -

I've realized that to keep posting the amount of detail I have for the previous two posts will result in my just playing and posting about Crusader for the next month.  While I don't mind playing Crusader, that will take up too much time and space on this site and I want to eventually get to other games.  So I'm going to try to cut down again on how much I post for each game going forward.  Like I've said before, this is new to me so I'm still trying to find a good middle ground.  

Monday, January 22, 2018

Crusader: No Remorse -- Part 2

Crusader: No Remorse - Part 1

Crusader: No Remorse - Part 3

- Mission 2 -

Before getting my briefing for mission 2, I walked around and explored the Resistance base.  It looks like it is an old subway station, and there is not much to explore.  There is the bar where I can interact with my fellow Resistance teammates, Col Ely's office where I can get my mission briefing, a small area with a health recharge station and shield recharge station, and one other room that looks like a clinic area where I can't interact with anyone right now.  Now that I've done that, let's meet our teammates at the bar.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Crusader: No Remorse

Date: 1995
Developer: Origin Systems
Publisher: Electronic Arts
System Requirements:
 - 486/DX2-66 MHz
 - 8 Megabytes of RAM
 - 2x CD-ROM
 - Video card that supports SVGA at 640x480
 - 30 Megabytes of HDD space

Where to purchase?

This week on RPDG, I'm going to be playing a PC DOS game that I played and loved when it first came out.  I have not played it since then, so this will be pretty close to a new experience for me as it has been 20 years(!) since I last played it.  The game is Crusader: No Remorse, an isometric third-person action game by one of the best development studios of the 80s and 90s: Origin Systems.  Almost every game Origin made was a classic, I can't think of a bad game by them.  They had a run from the release of Wing Commander in 1990 to Wing Commander Prophecy and Ultima Online in 1997 where basically every game they developed was fantastic and a competitor for being a game of the year.  Even the games they released as the publisher were great, such as Ultima Underworld 1 and 2, System Shock, and Shadowcaster.  

Crusader: No Remorse came out in 1995, right in the midst of Origin's peak.  It got great reviews at the time, but how does it play today?  Can a third-person action game, that was acknowledged to have somewhat cumbersome controls at the time of its release, overcome this issue to be still playable and fun?  I hope so!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Dominion: Storm Over Gift 3

Date: 1998
Developer: 7th Level/Ion Storm
Publisher: Eidos Interactive

Where to purchase?

 - It's not sold digitally anywhere, so Ebay or Amazon are going to be your best bet.  Looks like it can be a little pricey for an older game.  I see used jewel case copies going for $20.

For the second post ever on RPDG, I wanted to find a game that I have never played, was relatively obscure, and one that had an interesting development story.  Even though Dominion: Storm Over Gift 3 came out in 1998, which makes it close to being too modern to fit with the theme of this site, it fits all the other criteria perfectly.  Between my brother and I, one of us bought the game at some point in the early 2000s (hopefully on sale) and the jewel case has been sitting in a drawer with other loose CDs for as long as I can remember.  The game does not have a good reputation, so I never really intended to play it.  But here we are...maybe it will be great.  I don't know much about it so I shouldn't just it ahead of time.  I remember seeing print advertisements for it in PCGamer magazine that had mechs fighting against soldiers riding giant bipedal camels.  Besides the game probably having giant bipedal camels and mechs, I know nothing else about the gameplay.   

What I DO know is that Dominion was developed at Ion Storm Texas during the infamous John Romero/Daikatana/"Make you his bitch" debacle.  That is a story that deserves its own long post, and plenty of people have already written about it, but it should make for a fun development intro for my second post here on RPDG.  I am hoping the game is at least half as interesting as the story of its development company...

Let's find out!

Friday, January 5, 2018


Date: 1997
Developer: Monolith
Publish: GT Interactive

Where to purchase?

The first post here on RPDG is one of the original Build engine games, Blood.  I have always been a fan of FPS games, but I never got into the Build engine games.  I played through the shareware episodes of Duke Nukem 3D and the first few levels of Shadow Warrior, but I never made it much past the first rooms of the Blood demo that came on a PC Gamer demo disk.  So this will be a brand new playthrough experience for me.  I'll be playing the version from that includes the base game plus the two addon packs: Plasma Pak and Cryptic Passage.

As this is the first post, I'm not sure what the best format will be going forward for posts in the future.  I enjoy reading about the development stories behind these old games, so I will try starting with the development story, delving into my own playthrough, and then end with my brief review.  I have no experience in game development or professional writing, so please don't judge me too harshly.  But do leave comments, even if they are just to judge me!  On with the Blood-ing!