DOS ist gut!

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..

Hexen: Beyond Heretic (Raven Software Corporation, 1995)

Unlike Heretic’s very straightforward gameplay, Hexen changes many aspects from the Doom built foundation. One of the most interesting things is the change from simple key/lock based progression to a much more involved game which requires backtracking, jumping, and goals beyond the simple “Find the correct key”.

One of my favourite examples of this is the method via which the portal leading from the first level is unlocked. Here you have to ascend a tall belltower and ring the bell with a blow from your weapon. It’s a more satisfying, dynamic way of setting a task, and it’s this sort of thing that makes me really love Hexen.

Doom (id Software, 1993)

I’m not a speedrunner - I doubt I’ll ever be skilled or dedicated enough at a single game to ever attempt such a thing - but Doom’s design is such that even a casual player such as myself can blast through it at excellent speed. Here’s a video of me playing through the first level, from start to finish (using an alternate route) in 20 seconds. For those of you who’ve never played it: this is why we love Doom.

Also note that I don’t play on Nightmare difficulty. I’ve never met anybody who does. It was designed to be impossible. (Naturally, there are people out there who do)

Baryon (ACRO Studio, 1995)

Baryon spices up the otherwise fairly bland vacuum of space with some cool parallax and ghosting effects for this stage, and it’s great to play. I especially love how the figure 8 style laser beams look with this effect on them.

Powerslave / Exhumed (Lobotomy Software, Inc., 1996)

I’ll always love this animation from Powerslave. If the mummies shoot you with a white orb, you merely take damage. If it’s red? You turn into a mummy yourself, lose movement speed and the ability to shoot. However, if you can get close to the mummy who changed you and take him out with your staff, you turn back to human. It’s strange, a bit pointless and it’s an awesome visual effect. I love it.

Blackthorne (Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., 1994)

One of the things I really like about Blackthorne is the way some of the items work. This is a levitator, a platform you carry around with you and can place anywhere you like, allowing you to reach new places and progress through the game.

I’ve really enjoyed taking screenshots from DOS games, and I’m really fond of all of the screenshots up here. Sometimes, though, there are animations in the games that I wish I could show off, because a screenshot simply doesn’t do them justice. I’ve considered doing really short videos for a long time - longer than a gif can reasonably do, and with sound, but not longer than a minute or so - just to show off some of the amazing things I’ve seen over the past year.

Hopefully seeing as my readers are so fond of the screenshots, you’ll get some interest out of seeing the games a little more in-depth. If this is too much, and you think I should leave the videos for somewhere else, feel free to let me know and I’ll delete them and we’ll never speak of this again (My twitter is:

Otherwise - enjoy this slightly more in-depth look at a really fun feature of Baryon: many top down shooters allow you to destroy environmental things, but Baryon takes things a step further and gives you the chance to cause a road accident. You can see the ensuing carnage here.

If this goes down well, there are a ton of cool animations I’d love to show you guys. Cheers!