MS-DOS

Back when PC gaming was a nightmare of soundcards, memory management and color modes. Still, some of the best games ever were on MS-DOS first.

Ultima Worlds of Adventure 2: Martian Dreams on MS-DOS (8/10)

Martian Dreams

Martian Dreams is built on the same game engine as Ultima VI. Much like that game, it is much less of an RPG and more of an adventure game in which you are wandering through the world, talking to NPCs, and combining objects to solve puzzles. You're not really building up and customizing your character here. Sure there's combat and leveling up, but it doesn't really feel like it matters much.

The most important part of this game is the story and the world it's built around. Martian Dreams takes place a fictionalized the late nineteenth century setting in which space flight is a reality…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Tue, 09/03/2019 - 20:20

Tomb Raider II on MS-DOS (6/10)

Tomb Raiding Too

This game is part of a Tomb Raider three pack at GOG.com. I tried to play Tomb Raider 1, but I had already played the vastly superior remake, and I felt no need to revisit the same game but with bad controls and visuals. I would like to think that the second game has some technical improvements on the first, but it's still clunky as hell.

Lara's movements are slow and take a lot of getting used to. The graphics are as primitive as one might expect, but the animations pretty smooth. Almost too smooth as I was constantly waiting for one movement to end before initiating a jump or drawing out…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Thu, 08/15/2019 - 13:10

Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon on MS-DOS (8/10)

EOB2 Elephant-looking thing

Time to break out that pad of graph paper again and start charting the depths of nerd-dom. Eye of the Beholder II is not a drastic departure from the click-frenzy gameplay of the first game. It does do a much better job at injecting story elements into the experience via wonderfully rendered cut scenes:

Help a brother out!

There was a point fairly early in the game where I was being attacked by endless hordes of skeleton warriors. I almost gave up, until I realized that resting the party was causing them to keep respawning. Once past that bottleneck, the game progressed at a nice pace.

The whole idea of…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Sun, 06/02/2019 - 22:53

Wolfenstein 3D on MS-DOS (6/10)

Wolfenstein 3D

As with most of the great shareware titles of the 90s, I played the free episode of Wolfenstein 3D a gazillion times but never bothered to buy the complete package. Once again with thanks to GOG.com I have been able to finally complete in its entirety. This is the progenitor of first-person shooters and the basic game mechanics are still pretty solid. Its main problem is that of repetitiveness. There are only four kinds of enemies to fight. That isn't including the bosses at the end of every episode which all have a unique sprite and some even have an elaborate death sequence:

Wolfenstein Death Cam

But even those…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Thu, 04/11/2019 - 13:35

Beneath a Steel Sky on MS-DOS (5/10)

Beneath a Steel Sky

I think this is considered by many to be one of the best point and click adventure games of the early nineties. I can see why people remember it fondly. The cyberpunk setting is unique (if you don't count Neuromancer or just about every CD-ROM title from the same era), the production is impressive, and the game is massive for a point and click. At the time of this writing it is still offered as a free game on GOG.com. Unfortunately, I felt it to be a bit too oblique and meandering. I found the puzzles frustrating and I eventually gave up, finishing the game with a walk-through. Even with…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Sat, 04/06/2019 - 09:30

Crusader: No Remorse on MS-DOS (8/10)

Crusader Just Standing Around

In the 90s, I tried playing the demo of this game many times and could never really get into it. Crusader was one of the best looking PC games of its time and I really wanted to like it. But the controls. Oh my God, the controls. Eventually, this scheme would go on to be described as tank controls in other games like Resident Evil. Basically, you aim and move your character in relation to the direction their sprite is facing rather than the direction you want them to move on the screen. Crusader takes that counter-intuitive mechanic to a whole new level of complexity by adding jumping, diving…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Wed, 10/10/2018 - 16:51

Ultima VI: The False Prophet on MS-DOS (9/10)

Ultima 6 Chamber of Horrors

With the completion of VI, I'm getting close to having played all the games in the Ultima series. I own boxed copies of the Apple ][ versions of III–V, but when it came to VI, Origin switched to MS-DOS. In 1990 I was starting college, I didn't own a computer, let alone a PC, and, as the years passed, history became legend, legend became myth, and for two-and-a-half thousand years, the Ultima series passed out of all knowledge... or something like that.

In the late 90s I upgraded from an Apple IIgs to a Windows 95 PC and was reintroduced to the series via a soundcard bundled version of U

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Mon, 09/24/2018 - 12:04

Star Trek: 25th Anniversary on MS-DOS (7/10)

Star Track Computer Game

I remember watching my housemate play this game quite a bit back when we were in college. I don't think he had the CD-ROM version’which included voice acting from the original cast. Luckily this GOG.com version has all the recorded elements (and none of the weird DOS set up problems). Yup, there's nothing like hearing an aged, breathy-voiced DeForest Kelley read mediocre video game dialogue!

The past few months I have been in a Star Trek state of mind as I have been streaming episodes of The Next Generation. This game really seems to capture the essence of the shows. This is despite the…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Wed, 06/13/2018 - 23:35

Eye of the Beholder on MS-DOS (7/10)

Big ol' space squid gonna get you! Eye of the Beholder, Screenshot

Eye of the Beholder is a real-time RPG dungeon crawl that borrows heavily from the mechanics of Dungeon Master. It's a completely mouse-driven experience in which the objects in the environment can all be used, picked up or thrown with a click. Combat is also real-time and is generally just a mad scramble backwards as you click your various party members' weapon hands and hope for "good rolls".

While the fights are frantic and fun, the real meat of the game-play is exploration, mapping, and puzzle solving. I went through a dozen sheets of graph paper drawing out each floor knowing full-well I…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Wed, 04/18/2018 - 23:53

Shadow Warrior Classic on MS-DOS (6/10)

Shadow Warror: Looks Like Salad

This is a classic FPS from the same people who brought us Duke Nukem 3D. In this outing, the politically incorrect humor is based around the protagonist's ridiculous Asian accent and culturally insensitive one-liners. It can be quite cringe-worthy at times, but inevitably it's harmless. Especially when compared to the over-the-top gore and violence. Ah, the 90's. If you can find your safe space, what remains is an exciting game that sticks to the usual run and gun formula of this era. There are a lot of crazy weapons, tough enemies and unique level designs (for the time). Modern gamers may…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Wed, 10/05/2016 - 23:29