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Zombeaver

The Game Recommendation Thread

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I thought it might be fun to have a thread dedicated to game recommendations; preferably for lesser-known titles that are worth people's attention. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with telling someone they should play Super Mario Bros. 3... just that they probably already know about Super Mario Bros. 3 xD

Try to include at least a sentence or two about your recommendation and why you think it's worth checking out. I'm always on the lookout for new (old) games to try, so I'm curious what people have to suggest.

Here are a couple lesser-known DOS titles to get us started:

Betrayal at Krondor

Platform: DOS

krondor-alt.jpg

I've talked a bit about this game before. This is one of my all-time favorite PC RPGs. This would definitely be in my "desert island" pile. The things that really set this game apart for me are the world-building and writing. You'll find few games that are as completely packed with lore and a sense of well-realized history as Betrayal at Krondor. Nearly every object in the game can be examined via right-click, each with a bit of very well-written lore and history to establish the world you're in. The characters and story are interesting and memorable. The combat is a bit on the simplistic side, but it's unique at least. If you appreciate well-written fantasy, you'll probably dig this game. If you're a fan of the writings of Raymond E Feist, upon which the game is based, you'll enjoy it even more. Personally, I was motivated to read some of his novels as result of this game. One interesting thing on that point is that Feist's book "Krondor: The Betrayal" was written after and inspired by the game - not the other way around, which should probably tell you something in and of itself.

"The book, based on the game, based on the books" :P

Dreamweb

Platform: DOS

721058-23278_boxshot_1.jpg

I think that oftentimes when people think about point-and-click adventure games, a couple of specific developers come to mind - Lucasarts and Sierra primarily. Part and parcel with those developers is the presence of humor (in general, anyway). One of the first things I noticed about DreamWeb was just how dark and distinctly serious it was by comparison to so many other adventure games I had played at the time. Whether that's a good or bad thing is subjective, but it was certainly unique. I won't spoil the story, but it involves a downward spiral that leaves you questioning what to believe. It's highly atmospheric with a fantastic soundtrack reminiscent of a John Carpenter score. It's a very unique experience that's worth checking out!

I'm curious what other people have in store for their recommendations!

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Thanks, I like games that stand far from the typical good and evil dichotomy. So I will try Dream Web.

As for Krondor, I've never played a DOS game before, so this will probably be my first one.

My recommendation would be an strategy genre gem called Battle Realms Winter of the Wolf: https://www.gog.com/game/battle_realms_winter_of_the_wolf

If you like RTS with a blend of mythical and cultural Japanese aspects this is the game for you.

 

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I actually loved Battle Realms! I remember really liking how cover and the landscape factored into combat, more than just about any RTS I'd played before (or since, really).

GoG is a good place to start for DOS stuff since they do all the work for you for setup. BaK is in a pack there along with Betrayal at Antara, the "sequel" which is made by different people and that I really don't recommend. The graphics while navigating through the game are pretty primitive, keep that in mind, but the game is worth getting passed that if you're able :D

I've got tons of other stuff to recommend for DOS if it's something you want to dive into.

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Yeah, we really need another breakthrough in the RTS field nowadays. Battle Realms really felt like something fresh.

I have been playing a lot of 2D stuff lately so I am used to the graphics, I found the betrayal at krondor pack at GOG and the reviews are very promising, definitely will play it, thanks.

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I'm not sure if you've played Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends, but that's another one I'd recommend since you mentioned RTS. Rise of Nations is pretty well known, but I never hear anybody talk about Rise of Legends, which was their fantasy off-shoot. I really really enjoyed that game. Each race has very unique units, but it's still well-balanced. Each one gets a really powerful top-tier unit, and the "Vinci" race get one called the "Land Leviathan" which is a giant mechanical spider that can dig underground and pop up elsewhere. It's pretty sweet :D

It doesn't seem to available anywhere digitally though :(

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I played the Rise of Nations Extended Edition but didn't know they had a fantasy spin off.

It sucks I cannot find it either digitally, and doesn't seem to be available physically for pc in my local stores. Being honest I will probably going to download a pirated copy if I can't find a simple way to buy it.

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I vaguely remember  Betrayal at Krondor ...., I was probably 7 or 8 at the time....  I just remember something about a Bard

My fav Dos/Early windows Games:

X-Com UFO Defense

Rise of the Dragon

Ultrabots 

Lords of the Realm II

Stronghold (the dos version)

Kings/Space quest series

Blakestone / Catacomb 3-D / Corridor 7 / Wolfenstein / Planet Strike / Rise of the Triad / Hexen (Fps, all kinda same)

Commander Keen

Edited by spektor56
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1 hour ago, CliveBarker said:

I played the Rise of Nations Extended Edition but didn't know they had a fantasy spin off.

It sucks I cannot find it either digitally, and doesn't seem to be available physically for pc in my local stores. Being honest I will probably going to download a pirated copy if I can't find a simple way to buy it.

Yeah I've been keeping an eye out for it to pop up on Steam or GOG for years now and it just hasn't happened. :(

I hate to recommend piracy but when it's to the point that you literally can't purchase it through any official means - the developers and publishers get nothing from it if you were to buy a copy off of say Ebay, the only way that you'd probably be able to get your hands on it at this point - then I can't say I have any particular issue with it. There is no strict legal concept of "abandonware" short of outright copyright expiration (which has basically never been applicable to the common usage of the term given that that lasts for 50 years...) but I feel like if I have no means of paying the legal party(ies) associated with it (assuming they even still exist) I'm not left with many options. Put it on Steam/GoG! I'll buy it!

21 minutes ago, spektor56 said:

I vaguely remember  Betrayal at Krondor ...., I was probably 7 or 8 at the time....  I just remember something about a Bard

Barding is a stat that you can increase in the game. If you don't and you try to play a lute at an inn people will boo and the tavern keeper will ask you to stop xD If you do increase it you can make a little extra money for your performance!

21 minutes ago, spektor56 said:

X-Com UFO Defense

Rise of the Dragon

Ultrabots 

Lords of the Realm II

Stronghold (the dos version)

Kings/Space quest series

Blakestone / Catacomb 3-D / Corridor 7 / Wolfenstein / Planet Strike / Rise of the Triad / Hexen (Fps, all kinda same)

Commander Keen

Definitely some goodies in there! I loved Rise of the Dragon. Have you played the Sega CD version? It actually has voice acting. It's got this kinda ugly greenish tint to everything though :/

I was a huge fan of the Space Quest series as a kid. Love them all!

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I was gonna hold off on this one for a bit but I just noticed that it's currently on sale for $1.74 over on Humble Bundle so now's as good a time as any.

Anachronox

Platform: PC

11675-anachronox-windows-front-cover.jpg

I really can't praise this game enough. It's unique. It's hilarious (I don't mean like occasionally subdued "heh"-inducing, I mean genuinely hilarious). It has completely awesome and memorable characters with perfect voice acting and a great story. It's for PC but strangely plays a bit more like a JRPG, but without all the cringe (I like a lot of JRPGs, don't get me wrong, but my interest and tolerance for them has waned somewhat post PSX-era, probably mostly due to predominantly atrocious voice acting). It clearly had a ton of love put into it and it's chock-full of unique ideas. I love it. One of my all-time favorites for sure. It's also criminally overlooked. It's the perfect example of a hidden gem in my book. Highly highly recommended! And hell, you can't even buy a sandwich for $1.74...

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I never played the Sega CD version but i watched it on youtube, dont like the tint on it.

forgot Sam and Max Hit the Road, loved that game too.  Also, Afterlife is a really cool/funny sim city style game

Edited by spektor56

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8 minutes ago, spektor56 said:

I never played the Sega CD version but i watched it on youtube, dont like the tint on it.

Yeah, were it not for the weird/limited color palette on it I'd say it was the the definitive version. I kept hoping someone savvy enough with such things would make some kind of custom dubbed DOS version but it hasn't happened. It's probably not sufficiently well known for such a thing to be likely.

8 minutes ago, spektor56 said:

forgot Sam and Max Hit the Road, loved that game too

Another good one! I like pretty much all of Lucasarts' adventure games. Full Throttle, The Dig, and Grim Fandango are probably my favorites. They're basically all good though.

8 minutes ago, spektor56 said:

Also, Afterlife is a really cool/funny sim city style game

I've heard of that one but never actually played it. I've never been a huge Sim City-type guy to be honest. I like some Tycoon games, but the city-builder style games never were my thing.

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I'm going to recommend Atomic Runner for Sega Genesis. I'll concede that the gameplay is an acquired taste: the continuously scrolling screen makes for a steep learning curve and the unique controls get in the way at first. It definitely pays to find out which control layout - there are as many as nine - suits you best and then stick with it until both moving and shooting become second nature. This is when the fun begins as the seemingly cumbersome and counterintuitive controls prove very responsive and extremely accurate. Chelnov does exactly what you tell him to and does it with unmistakeable grace, thanks to very fluid and life-life sprite animation. Jumping - which could've single-handedly ruined the game - is executed particularly well; Chelnov is fully controllable in mid-air and it's easy to steer him with pixel-perfect precision. This is of crucial importance as Atomic Runner is a very unforgiving game in a one-hit-and-you're-dead sort of way. Fortunately, it is also supremely fair - numerous continue points in each stage help you make good progress, extra lives are earned by collecting points, power-ups are in abundance, collision detection is absolutely flawless, and not a single cheap trick is ever played on you. I was overjoyed by the fact that all of the game's challenge lies in creative (and occasionally brilliant) level design and meticulous enemy placement; with even the best games occasionally at fault here, Atomic Runner is indeed a rare gem in this respect. I love the bizarre art style of the levels and enemies and the soundtrack is awesome.

Gameplay/review of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ra2xP480fJc

47052_front.jpg

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We should make a Recommend a System thread as well, coz im looking at adding a new system but im not sure which one since the systems i already have are pretty much the only systems i have played through out my life. .. so what is a good system to start looking into adding?

 

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Well, Amiga, Atari ST, TurboGrafx-16, and TurboGrafx-CD are all my newest additions. They're all new to me and I've found some pretty interesting stuff among those. TG16 and TGCD are extremely easy to setup thanks to RA. Atari ST and Amiga are a bit more difficult/time consuming to setup, especially Amiga. Amiga's the main thing I'm working on now.

I'm also a C64 nut from childhood, so if you want to go down that route I have plenty of recommendations for it as well.

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9 hours ago, Zombeaver said:

Nice @lordshaithis! I only played it briefly quite a while back so based on this it sounds like I'll have to give it another go. Thanks!

lol you're welcome! it's not an easy game by any means but getting good at it feels pretty rewarding.

I'm going to cheat slightly with my next rec. This game IS well known but i think most people wont have played it solely because it comes across as a kids game.

 

World of Illusion for Sega Genesis

The game is pretty much your standard platformer when you play alone. Mickey and Donald are pretty much the same character, since both can use their magic cape to attack the enemies, but it doesn't work to jump on the enemies in this game. They can also both crawl which allows them to reach tight places, but when they are crawling they can't attack. The real difference if you choose to play as Mickey or Donald is that about 1/3 of the part of each stage is different depending who you picked to play as, so you can almost say that playing as Mickey is the easy mode in this game and playing as Donald is the more difficult mode. However if you can find a friend to play with then the game offers a lot more entertainment, since you both play at the same time and share the number of 1-ups together. Teamwork is also now one of the most important things in order to beat the game. Sometimes one player needs to carry the other so the other can jump high enough to reach a place, and then throw down a rope to the other player, and of course there are some other clever twists. Sometimes it even feels that you are playing another game because it's clear that the programmers wanted to player to play with a friend, because then you get to play the most entertainment stages in the game.

The graphics are gorgeous and colorful, all the stages are a real pleasure to look at and the soundtrack is superb, I could spend hours listening to the music for the forest level and the magic carpet ride level.

It's an absolute gem of a platformer, don't be put off by the disney characters!

Gameplay/review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTudNOuVtzU

World-of-Illusion-starring-Mickey-Mouse-and-Donald-Duck-Megadrive-EUR.jpg

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World of Illusion is really good! I like Mickey Mania quite a bit too.

People definitely shouldn't just dismiss some of the games from that era that look a bit "kiddie". Goof Troop and all of the Disney games are good examples of that as well.

@lordshaithis since you've got a Genesis thing going on, have you ever played Ranger X? Another perfect example of a hidden gem in my book. It got practically no marketing and nobody I knew as a kid had it. It's one of my favorites on the system though. The controls take a bit of getting used to (and require a six-button controller) but they're actually quite intuitive after a bit of practice, and give it a degree of depth beyond most shooters. It has really great graphics and even has some really nice parallax effects. Plus I mean... you're in a robot suit with a jet pack and you can ride in a sweet robo-cycle...so there's that. Highly recommended!

ranger-x-usa.png

 

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Yeah i actually have a physical copy of it in here somewhere! haven't played it for a long time though!

I might do recs' for a few ps1 games when i get off work later

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