Contents Next

GTA Ideas Pages

EMail Help/Impressum

Mini PC Game Reviews

Lots of PC games, most of them bought at budget prices (DM 10,- to DM 40,- in Germany), line my shelves. I have started this list to remind me which games were (not) worth playing. It is not complete by far. Single entries may not be complete (esp. requirements, multiplayer). Feel free to send contributions or disagreement.

Games made in Germany?
Of course! Here's a list
of German game makers.

***--- name of the game local/net players requirements (optional) producer/publisher year source
gameplay review Tech notes


*** Grand Theft Auto 4 DOS (glide) & DirectX DMA Design 1997 69,-DM
Birds-eye action with the player driving classy stolen cars (instead of always going around on foot like those other action games make you!). Lots of text and storyline inside the gameplay. Rich simulated city environment (no-one's standing in corners or always patrolling the same corridor). Exploring encouraged (no time pressure). Excellent CD soundtrack. User levels and add-ons available on Gouranga and elsewhere. Fast 486 required. No saving inside a level=ca. 2 hours. Contains blood and swearwords. Internet Gameplay is slow.

*** pod 2/8 Windows95 DirectX Pentium (MMX D3D S3-Virge ATI-Rage) Ubisoft 1997 PC Super Play 3/98
Racing stunning Sci-Fi 3D tracks, cars that sound like a bag of scrap iron when setting down after a jump, fast pace, great feeling, very immersive! Splitscreen/net multiplayer (can be combined), plays well with both keyboard or analog gamepad. Anybody know how to get this to run on a 486?

(***) Vangers 8 Windows Interactive Magic/K-D Lab 1998 demo
The world is alive: The crabs, the surface, other drivers, the culture. Turning "rotate" on makes it a bit jumpy at times; that ought to have been dampened some. If you get offroad, no driving, no auto-putback: see how you get yourself out of the unexplored planetary rough :-) Don't be afraid to read everything and use tutorial mode. IMO most reviewers missed being able to use what they learned in other games, but see for yourself. It's cult. Reviews suggest 64 MB RAM and a P200 upwards for good playability.

(**) Colin McRae Rallye 1998 demo
Very realistic. You drive alone. Wish the demo would support an analog input. The best I can do is try not to bang the car up too much and keep it on the road at least 50% of the time. Challenging. Could possibly play that more often.

* Interstate '76 8 directX Activision 1997

The story is gripping and well-designed. Gameplay centers more on shooting (and targeting) than on driving. The polygon landscape looks unreal, it's hard to estimate terrain form and distances. Car wrecks float and look bad. Bug: Sometimes cars get propelled up vertical polygons, bad in the police trap level. The control setup got confused with my 2 Rage3D gamepads and forgets button settings.

HiOctane 8 DOS (SVGA) Bullfrog 1995 Green Pepper

Very fast. Easy to use. Instrument panel design very nice. Powerups, lots of shooting, scores for shooting accuracy and frags as well as racing times shows you where the point of the game is. Only 6 short tracks & car models. No installation necessary. Made for 486/66 and up, it can be a bit fast on a Pentium200, and hard to handle with a Joystick. Win95 compatible. Supports LCD shutterglasses.

(--) Grand Prix 500cc 1998 demo
Commodore 64 flair, watching my driver lean reminds me of some good old sprites. The sound is not much better. The gameplay? Can you guess? Jumpy (slow framerate) on the Riva128 200MMX.

(-) Micro Machines V32 Codemasters 1998 demo
Leave it to the kiddies. Themepark-like options etc. The ground is flat, the obstacles don't move, and I miss a cockpit view. Boring.

** Screamer (Bleifuß) DOS Virgin Gold Games 2
Scenic Tracks. Good for a quick race. Use the "special" modes to get to know a track. I haven't figured out yet why you can choose all these cars - I use the "Hammer" on automatic.

* Have a N.I.C.E day 8? Windows DOS DirectX Magic Bytes 1997 PC Games Racing Special 2/98
Nice tuning. Nice puzzle. Nice engine sound. Mediocre tracks. They're mostly level, and every track has the same loopings, jumps and narrow parts. I am either on 1st place or on last, dependingon whether I made one mistake. Especially mean is the looping-ramp-looping because if I go fast and don't straighten the car just right when coming out of the first looping, I fly past the entrance to the second looping and get set way back. I can't choose tracks (at first?).
Be sure to map the buttons on your pad to some of the 31 functions; the game itself supports only 4-button-devices!

- megarace 2 GamePack 2
Install this for the humourous sci-fi gameshow video that provides the storyline. Watch the demo, but don't play the game: the gfx is pre-rendered video, steering is difficult at best. Play pod instead.

-- Battle Race DOS (S3Virge) Icarion Spielhallen-Hits 1
Not "cars" exactly. The ship's controls are weird, hard to govern. Hitting a wall at an angle stops me more than I'd expect. Key setup is a pain.

Copters, Spacecrafts and the like

*** Sidewinder 3D Pro Microsoft
A 4-axis Joystick is a must for these kinds of games. You either have the 3 axes of rotation all in one hand, or if you can't roll, you can move sideways. (With a copter, this is the same.) You don't need to use your copter sim's "simple" mode (with rolling and banking coupled). Circling an opponent is really easy. The sleek design makes the 3D Pro look better than the more recent "fat" MS joysticks.

** Comanche Nova Logic
Voxelspace Engine - need I say more? Looks good, flies easy.

** Apache Longbow Digital Integration
Two people can play pilot and gunner in the same copter on 2 PCs. While the polygon world looks a bit drab, there are more objects than your immediate targets moving about.

* U.S. Navy Fighters Gold ECA
Just setting down on an aircraft carrier is a challenge not taken lightly. Requires a quality joystick or else the plane won't fly straight.

*** Descent Parallax/Interplay 1995 Bestseller Games Gold 8
Descent is great. Descent is fast. Descent is the immersive 3D experience. (No sticking to the floor with occasional jumping!) You fly, barrelling down the tunnels at breakneck speeds to find yourself in a huge cave and enemy fire coming at you from all directions. You edge into a room, always wary of the sharp-toothed cutter robots. It doesn't matter which is the right side up as long as you keep moving. Plays even better in single-PC coop: one person flies, the other fires. Supports LCD Shutterglasses.

** Magic Carpet Bullfrog
The athmosphere is fantastic, due to the "wildlife", the peasants, the sound effects... Supports LCD Shutterglasses.

3D Shooters

Most 3D-shooters contain displays of excessive violence directed at targets that look more or less human. While you may be aware that you're just meddling with electronic data, no-one knows what effects playing these games has on your real-world behaviour. Until we know more, don't let anyone who might have bad dreams play with it. These are adult games!

** System Shock Origin PCPlayer 12/97
A story unfolds as you find messages left by the crew of a deserted (?) space station.
CD version has speech output.

* Doom id shareware
A 2½-D world of switches, hidden doors and monsters.
You can turn the mosters off on the command line. You can use three networked PCs to give you front and side views.

* GLQuake id replay + Internet
A 3-D world of switches, hidden doors and monsters. The OpenGL-rendered graphics look ok. S
upports 6-axis DirectInput devices.

Video Shooters

- Rebel Assault LucasArts Bestseller Games Gold 4
I don't like the graphics, and I feel I have to try the levels too often to master them.

* Wetlands New World Computing PC Action PLUS 5/97
Neat Sci-Fi Subsea Graphics.

** Who shot Johnny Rock? 2 DOS American Laser Games DM 19,95
1920's crime, converted Laserdisk Coin-op. Funny cutscenes. After you've opened the safe, the game gets a bit lengthy. What makes me grin is that while Arcade players drop one quarter after another, I can "continue" for free. Takes about 1 hour to play through.
The video resolution is 196x???.

Build & Battle

*** Empire deluxe 6/6 Windows & DOS New World Computing 1993
Well-balanced turn-based strategy game with attractive Multiplayer gameplay. Plays a bit like chess. 10 Unit types (2 land, 2 air, 6 ships), no "production race". Gameplay easy to learn, tactics intricate (esp. multiplayer, the computer is easy to beat after a while). Map generator: use 20x20 map for a quick game (15 mins) or 200x200 for a game that may take days. Szenario editor. gameplay review
Runs on a 286 with EGA. You can play on one computer taking turns, but if each player has one PC, you can prepare your turn by giving orders in advance.

** Warcraft 2 6 Windows & DOS Blizzard 1995
Real-time fantasy strategy game. Cut down trees for wood resources that don't grow back. Neat orc sounds. 16 Unit types (9 land, 2 air, 5 ship) with different capabilities. Both production strategy and battle tactics decide the game. W95 szenario editor. 486.

** Heroes of Might and Magic 4 Windows95 & DOS New World Computing 1995/96 Megapak 7
Turn-based fantasy game with roleplay fighting skills and strategy map and production system. Building/balancing groups to form effective fighting teams is crucial. Maps look nice and invite exploring. Most are large or huge, making for lengthy games.The "relay-running supply line" technique moves fighters long distances quickly, thus subverting "proper" logistics. W95 version has extra levels.

Simulated Worlds

Look up Vangers and GTA in the Cars section; they're crossover titles.

*** Sim City DOS VGA Maxis
Very captivating; checking stats is actually fun because you see all those maps.

*** Sim City 2000 DOS SVGA Maxis
Actually improves on SimCity, what with elevated terrain, water connections, improved graphics, subways etc.

*** Settlers (Siedler) 2 DOS (SVGA) Bluebyte
Very captivating. Great athmosphere through sound and graphics. Thankfully, the tempo leaves you time to sit back and watch the scenery. Populous-like indirect combat system. 2-Player cooperative or match via Splitscreen (better have SVGA for this!). For improved two-player play a second mouse can be connected.

*** Transport Tycoon 2 DOS Chris Sawyer / Microprose 1994
Get buses, trains, ships and planes to transport passengers and goods in a world so big you'll have had lots of fun before you even come up against your opponents. As in Settlers, it's fun to just sit back and watch once in a while.

- Constructor 4 DOS (IPX) Acclaim / System3
The buying & building, upgrading houses, buying extras is very fun & funny, too. However, the game then tries to rush you with timed objectives and a computer-controlled attack, giving it the character of real-time strategy more than simulation. If it had a sim mode where I could just build & expand I'd be happy.


*** Eric the Unready Legend Entertainment
Very funny!

** Day of the Tentacle LucasArts
Wacky graphics and wacky (but logical) puzzles.

** Höhlenwelt Software2000
A world where every man who's good and wise wears a beard. Anyone know the English name?

** Chewy - ESC von F5 Bluebyte

** Hand of Fate Westwood

** Loom LucasArts
You aquire magical spells by learning musical patterns and copying them to your printed spellbook.

*** Under a Killing Moon Access
Tex Murphy, hard-boiled detective in a mutant future, solves cases in a 3D-world.

** Discworld II Windows or DOS Psygnosis 1997 neon edition / megapack 9
Oh how I wish to roam the streets of Ankh-Morpork! Only 4 locations in Unseen U and aboout 8 in Morpork... :-( I find the cartoon-style cut-scene animations a shade to lengthy sometimes.The game would not run when installed to drive G:.


*** Myst Cyan
A bewitching and mysterious world that draws you inside. Beautifully rendered and sounded scenes. See also: Art goes Computergame

*** The 7th Guest Trilobyte/Virgin
Spooky athmosphere and soundtrack. Rendergraphics.

* Shivers Sierra Sierra Originals

** Jewels of the Oracle Discis/Navigo 1995 AdventureBox
Mystic middle-east antique underground athmosphere. 24 Puzzles. No storyline. Rendergraphics.

** Karma Discis/Navigo 1996 AdventureBox
Mystic chinese antique underground athmosphere. 12 Puzzles. No storyline. Rendergraphics.

*** The Fool's Errand Miles Computing 1987 gamebox
As the fool meets all characters from the tarot deck, he solves over 80 puzzles to complete the map of the sun.

** The Puzzle Gallery Miles Computing Top Shots, gamebox
Precursor (?) to "The Fool's Errand". Sports 140 Puzzles arranged around a carnival theme. For some word puzzles you need a good command of English.

-- Blown Away Windows Imagination Pilots 1995 Game Pack 2
MGM Movie Merchandising. The videos are badly rasterized, the navigation is cumbersome, most puzzles aren't so hot either and are often played against a running timer. Using "Options", all puzzles are available directly. Requires switching to 256 colors, window stays at 640x480, didn't run on one PC, perhaps incompatible with ActiveMovie?


*** 7 Colors 2 DOS Gamos/Infogrames 1991
Best played against a human. A single game/level is over in a few minutes, but we usually can't stop at only one. The levels are generated at random.
Russian-designed (remember Tetris?). The only advantage of using 2 PCs is that everyone gets a mouse.

** Splitterwelten 4 DOS Magellan
Push each others' monsters off the edge before it crumbles. Patterned after the board game "Abalone".
Anyone know the english name?

* Puzzle Bobble 2 DirectX Taito/Gamebank/GT Interactive 1996 PCGamesPLUS 8/98
Feels like Tetris, plod on through level after level... Though the loader demands a Pentium, if you have a 486 with directX already installed, you can just start pb.exe from the CDROM.

** You don't know Jack 3 Win3.1/Win95/Mac BMG/Berekely Systems 1998

Get someone to play it with you, then it's very fast and fun. Playing a quiz show alone is not the same. German version: very good; you think it was made here. I didn't try the Internet Show yet.


Multimedia titles have no gameplay to speak of; their main purpose is to let you peruse some multimedia material about a certain topic, often with a 3D-adventure-like interface and some small games thrown in.

* Pyst Windows Mac Parroty/Sierra 1997
The material is good & funny - I wish there was more of it. John Goodman sings. The German translation and synchronisation could be better.

- Star Warped Win3.1/95+Mac Parroty/Sierra 1997

Humor is at office level throughout (lame). If you get this game for free, look at the 3 wall posters; see the Spike Lee scenes in the vault 052577; play at hitting Ewoks and the Jedi quiz; look on the CD for the ranchcam otrc*.mov, esp. and

Virtual Springfield (2) Win95/Mac Fox 1997

The first look is disappointing: the game takes you from streetcorner to streetcorner automatically, with no chance to stop or even turn your head, although obviously a 3D-model was used.

ToDo: *** Worms, *** Jagged Alliance, *** Laser Squad, ** VidGrid, *** Quest for Fame, ** Populous, * Dark Reign, * Bad Mojo, - Evocation, - Frankenstein, *** Suspended, ** Gateway, *** The Incredible Machine, *** Lemmings, ** Shanghai - Great Moments, * Battle Isle, *** Rampart, * Outpost, *** 3D Ultra Pinball, *** Traders, * Golden Gate Killer, ** Psychic Detective, * C.H.A.O.S., * Beneath a Steel Sky, ** Monkey Island, - Braindead 13, *** Suspended, *** Paradroid, -- Tuneland, *** Just Grandma and Me, - IQ 130, ** Bob Dylan: Highway 61 interactive, *** Quest for Fame

***--- n 2 Windows DOS DirectX p 199 m
gameplay review Tech notes

Contents Next

GTA Ideas Pages

EMail Help/Impressum

Created by Michael Mendelsohn 29. Sep 98