DOS ist gut!

Dark Legions (Silicon Knights, Inc., 1994)

Dark Legions is a very cool cross between chess and a strategy game, with a big range of units and things to build your army from. Strategies involve picking fights wisely, being good at one on one combat (which you control directly via keyboard) and luring your enemies into various traps. One of my favourites is the void trap, which you can see in action here. A seemingly innocent land tile suddenly sucks our orb bearer into the void, where they’re instantly consumed - an instant game over for us. Great animations, cool art, and fun tactics like this make Dark Legions a fantastic game. Totally recommended.

Doom (id Software, Inc., 1993)

Doom is fast - super fast. You can blaze through some levels in a matter of seconds when you know the routes, you can dodge most projectiles with ease and you can even keep up with the rockets you fire from your rocket launcher on foot. Here’s a clear demonstration of this in action.

King’s Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow (Sierra On-Line, Inc., 1992)

Following on from King’s Quest V, this game is an improvement in every way. The same great visual style, but now without the sunburned skin tones, better puzzles, a more cohesive world to explore, and a much more enjoyable maze. King’s Quest 6 is still a fairly simplistic tale which calls on a mashup of various fairytale lores and a princes and maidens style world, but it works better here than in KQV. The fact that there’s no damn talking owl this time seals the deal. Beware the walking deads, save early and often, and you’re bound to have a great time exploring this one.

Another World (Delphine Software International, 1991)

There are two things I especially love about Eric Chahi’s 1991 classic. The first is how dynamic the gameplay is - the rules are ever changing, and you need to learn and discover in order to make any progress, and the second is the world itself - you get a real impression that there’s a whole new culture and place here, an advanced people with their own set of traditions and customs and an alien environment, rather that just simple enemies you have to overcome and platforms to jump on. Both of these elements enhance the feeling of being in a strange place and desperate to survive. This scene near the very end of the game really captures the feels of being in an alien place for me - showing our protagonist learning how to use devices, madly pressing unfamiliar buttons in a tense situation, surrounded by danger, and showcases several aspects of these people’s culture without any words and with just a few colours. It’s hard to overstate how powerful scenes like this feel compared to Another World’s contemporaries - Chahi’s vision was magnificent and remains inspiring to this day.

Sam & Max Hit the Road (LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC, 1993)

Sam & Max is a great game - great writing and music, and had a team of fantastic artists and animators that made it one of the most beautiful adventure games around. My favourite element is the animations - comical and ridiculous, but still fitting in perfectly with the game’s tone. This scene, where Sam gets his hands on the key to Conroy Bumpus’ security system is one of my favourites in the game.

MadSpace (Maddox Games, 1997)

There’s plenty of weird, cool stuff to marvel at in MadSpace, but easily one of the coolest is the non-euclidean geometry present. What does that mean? Well, you can’t be quite sure how a level is laid out. Watch the clip for a cool example of this.

Alien Incident (Housemarque Ltd., 1996)

Alien Incident is an odd little thing. The story and writing is quite underwhelming, the gameplay is rarely inspired and the graphics are a strange blend of different methods and yet, somehow I can’t help but like it. The music and animation are great, the presence of a maze section may annoy some but is hardly a major obstacle and, most importantly, it doesn’t outstay its welcome. You’ll get through the puzzles without an issue, you’ll groan far more than you laugh at the “jokes” and you’ll probably wish the graphics could decide which style they want to be, but it’s still a cute little game, and worth checking out if you’re looking for another DOS adventure game.

Alien Incident (Housemarque Ltd., 1996)

Another scene from Alien Incident, showing some more great animation, and a nifty water effect that not only effects the scene, but also the text and mouse cursor, too! Though the 3D elements in some scenes are quite jarring, the spinning propeller here works to great effect, and the little bubbles that come out are a great touch.

Alien Incident (Housemarque Ltd., 1996)

Though quite uneven in terms of graphics, with some scenes being lovely and others uninspiring blocky 3D, Alien Incident does have some very smooth, fluid animations. You can see this here, from the characters walkcycles, to the throbbing laser beams, glowing lanterns and flickering candles.

Protostar: War on the Frontier (Tsunami Media, Inc., 1993)

Much like Star Control and Starflight games, Protostar sees you exploring the universe - trading commodities, fighting off pirates, recruiting crew members and upgrading your ships - whilst collecting money and allies to repel your enemies. It has some great features - such as the ability to find and name new planets and species, and the colourful graphics make for a great sense of immersion. It’s a great universe to lose a few hours exploring, and there’s enough of it to keep you coming back for more..