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Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

First Hour Review

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade CoverFor being a rather popular film series, there sure haven’t been a lot of Indiana Jones video games released. Well, there have, but not in recent memory, the LEGO Indiana Jones game I played a few years ago is pretty much it besides a few unheralded titles here and there. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was released in 1989, that’s how far back we’re traveling today for a first hour review.

Developed by Lucasarts using their SCUMM adventure game engine, Last Crusade seemed like a slam dunk of a title to coincide with the release of the movie, especially as it had Ron Gilbert of pre-Monkey Island fame leading the development team. Indiana Jones wouldn’t be the first movie tie-in game ever, but it would probably be the first to follow the story so closely and carefully.

I’m making my way through my Steam backlog now, and I wanted to play a bunch of early Lucasarts titles since I’m a big Monkey Island fan and I seem to owe it to myself to play their other games. Last Crusade is essentially the oldest one available (Steam does not carry Maniac Mansion or Zac McKracken), so I’m starting here. I’m not sure if I’ll first hour their entire catalog, but here’s the review of the first hour of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars

Half-Hour Handheld

Broken Sword Shadow of the Templars CoverBroken Sword is not a new game. In fact, it was released back in 1996, a year so far gone that I barely remember anything about it. I know I did not experience Broken Sword then or even heard of it; I was just a lad with a PlayStation and a little RPG called Suikoden to occupy my time. Broken Sword only existed in my mainframe later on as a cult thing, something people talked about playing, but were never caught playing. I later played other point-and-click games like Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle and Escape from Monkey Island yet never got to try this “classic.” Then I discovered it in my mother’s DS collection (yes, she plays) a few weeks back and found my chance to try it out for the very first time, some 14 years later. And this is the Director’s Cut which, I guess, means something.

As it’s a story-heavy Nintendo DS game, this is only a half-hour review. I hope it hits all the points and really clicks! Um, I apologize for that…I know it was a stretch.

Number Munchers

Gaming Nostalgia

Number Munchers CoverPeople generally sit down and play games for fun and entertaining experiences. In contrast, they generally only learn math out of necessity or for financial desires. Rarely does "math" and "fun and entertainment" interact to any significant degree, as shown by the vast amount of the population who despises the various forms of math, if not outright sucking at them. Certainly we can find math in some gameplay, given say a choice between various equippable items, but modern games readily simplify the process, giving clear comparisons if not outright displaying the superior choice. Games are certainly rooted in math, down to the programming, but players are absolved of such things, witnessing only the shiny results. However, a time and place exists for such contradictions as math and fun, and Number Munchers is just that contradiction.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - A Final Unity

First Hour Review
Star Trek Final Unity Cover

I've been on a huge Star Trek kick the last few months, I'm on an epic journey of trying to watch every single Star Trek episode. Ever. I'm about 180 episodes in out of 700+ plus, yeah, let's not get into that right now. But we're celebrating licensed games this month at the First Hour, so it seems appropriate to play a Star Trek video game. I did a lot of reading on what the good Star Trek games are, and landed on this one.

Star Trek: The Next Generations - A Final Unity is a point and click adventure game from Spectrum HoloByte, released in 1995. I'm a fan of adventure games, especially old school ones like Monkey Island, so it seemed like Final Unity would be just the game for me. I remember reading in PC Gamer back in 2000 that there had been no good Star Trek games until then with the release of Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force. This sounded a bit odd to me considering they had been making Star Trek games for almost 20 years already, so I also wanted to try one that came before Elite Force but also had some fans behind it. Final Unity also qualified for that requirement.

Keep in mind that this game was made in 1995 for DOS while looking at the screenshots and reading my descriptions. I was suitably impressed, and believe you will be too. I played the game using DOSBox. Here's the first hour of Star Trek: The Next Generation - A Final Unity.

Aladdin

First Hour Review

Aladdin CoverAladdin for the Sega Genesis was released in 1993 about a year after the film was in the theaters. It was created by the same team that would go on to make Earthworm Jim and features animations drawn by Disney animators. The game was released on a wide range of systems, but the Super Nintendo Aladdin was actually an entirely different game created by Capcom. For all these years I asssumed it was Nintendo's infamous censorship at work because you couldn't use a sword like on the Genesis, but it was simply a different game under the same name (though I wouldn't be surprised if Nintendo still had a hand in swordless Aladdin).

I reviewed the first hour of Lion King back in March and did not have a good experience. Considering both Aladdin and The Lion King were both developed by Virgin Interactive, could I possibly have a similar first hour? Let's get into it.

Fallout

First Hour Review

Fallout CoverFallout is a popular computer role-playing game from 1997. Its post-apocalyptic setting, off-beat dark humor, and deep gameplay has kept this game installed on many computers over the last decade. Fallout's fanbase has been pretty steady over the years and with Fallout 3 being released later this month, the focus on this series is really starting to build. So let's take this opportunity and look at where the entire series began, in the first hour of the original Fallout.

Night Trap

First Hour Review

Night Trap CoverNight Trap was a controversial full-motion video game released on a variety of CD-based systems in the early 90's. It serves as a great reminder to people who wish to defend against video game censorship in the United States as the game's leading opponents: Joe Lieberman and Herb Kohl, are still serving in the Senate 15 years later. Night Trap is pretty timid compared to some games nowadays and mostly attracted attention because it used real actors (if you could call them that) in pajamas and had a vampire blood sucking scene. There have undoubtedly been hundreds of scenes of vampires sucking the blood of a young woman out in film and even on TV over the years, but Night Trap gets targeted because why?

Anyways, a little about my experience with the game. I actually beat Night Trap a few years ago, it was an epic moment in my video game career and a story I'll be able to retell for ages. I first played it when it was initially released on the Sega CD back in 1992. Even then I realized how bad this game was, the control is simply horrid and the full motion video is anything but that. My friend and I played it because we were young and intrigued about the notion of the possibility of breasts in a video game. Of course, there isn't any nudity but we liked to think that if we beat the game, we would be duly rewarded. If you consider the opportunity to kill Dana Plato a great reward though, well, you will love this game. Now on to the first hour review of Night Trap for the PC!

Another World

First Hour Review

Another World CoverAnother World (Out of this World) is a cinematic platformer released on just about every system back in 1991. Now the phrase, "cinematic platformer" gives me shivers because of its sheer potential of awfulness. When I hear those words I think of terrible gameplay and ugly, "realistic" looking graphics. The games are typically rotoscoped to give them a unique graphical style, which usually doesn't bother me, it's more the style of gameplay that makes me experience nasty flashes of nostalgia. If you've ever played the original Prince of Persia games, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Another World is known as Out of this World in the United States. Much like Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit, the game is renamed for some stupid reason that leaves people confused and wondering whether the stone is the sorcerer's or the philosopher's. Either way, the game supposedly influenced Fumito Ueda, who went on to create Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. So at least this game was good for something, but let's check out the first hour of Out of this World to see if it can properly defend itself and (in my opinion) the thankfully lacking genre known as the cinematic platformer.

I'll be playing the 15th Anniversary Edition for the PC released in 2006. The game features higher resolution graphics and more detailed backgrounds.

The Lost Vikings

First Hour Review

The Lost Vikings CoverThe Lost Vikings was released in 1992 and was one of Silicon & Synapse's first games. Never heard of them? They are now known as Blizzard Entertainment, the developer of many, many good games that end in Craft. Anyways, The Lost Vikings was released on the Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and various other systems throughout the years, and gives gamers nowadays a really interesting look at the early history of Blizzard. The game itself can be described as a puzzle platformer, where you have to use the different abilities of three Vikings to solve puzzles, defeat enemies, and progress through the game's levels. My minute-by-minute update should help describe the game better. I will be playing just the first hour of the Super Nintendo version of The Lost Vikings, so let's get right to it.

In case you're a World of Warcraft veteran, you may recognize the three Vikings: Erik the Swift, Olaf the Stout, and Baleog the Fierce. They all make a cameo appearance in Uldaman, an ancient dwarven complex that serves as a mid-level dungeon. If you play as a Horde character you can even kill them for some unique items!

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