Back when I was younger … much younger … the first computer I ever possessed was a Atari 600 XL which I got from my parents after a lot of begging. I had exactly one game for it, a cartridge with Jungle Hunt on it. Needless to say this got boring very quickly. My friends all had a C64 already and so it wasn’t until long that I also got a C64 and sold the Atari to a friend.
Back then I always knew the Atari was no match for the mighty C64 and for some part (16Kb RAM) this is true. But I never really realized until recently that the Atari 600/800 XL had much better graphics than the C64. The 256 color palette was already way ahead of it’s time and it had 4 sound voices instead of C64s 3 voices etc. But I suggest you see for yourself about that in this nifty video showing gameplay of a 2010 produced game, the RPG named His Dark Majesty …
Oldschool RPG fans can now enjoy playing the classic Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar directly on the web via this impressive Flash port. The game is an almost one-to-one conversion of the 1986 original but the author Blair Leggett also made some enhancements to it.
The classic dungeon crawler Sword of Fargoal has been released for the iPhone and it turns out that it’s one of the few computer/console-game-to-iPhone conversions I’ve came across that are actually fun to play on the touch-screen (unlike, say, Sonic, Bomberman et al). Go check it out if you’re into RPGs with an ever-changing maze-like dungeon accompanied by nicely done atmospheric music and sound effects.
While the main quest of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion didn’t attract me very much – admittedly I haven’t even completed it once to this day – some of the side quests were amusingly entertaining, particularly the Thief’s Guild and Dark Brotherhood quest series. Both of these feature stories with some pretty twisted plots and very interesting characters.
While doing contract work for the Dark Brotherhood you are being sent to attend a party where the guests are invited to search for a treasure that is supposed to be hidden in a house in that they are going to be locked in, except that there is no treasure and you are not one of the treasure hunters but an assassin hired by the house owner to kill all the other guests. Can a quest be more macabre and fun than this?!
The Whodunit quest which you are being assigned to in the latter part of the Dark Brotherhood guild quest series was somehow the highlight of it all for me. Not only combined it the cozy whodunit mystery with a medieval fantasy setting but it put you in the role of the killer instead of the detective. What made this quest so gleefully entertaining wasn’t the fact that you are the perpetrator but the way how you could manipulate the characters and watch how they became more and more terrified after somebody crossed the bar. There are several different ways how the NPC’s react which is especially interesting in the end when only three or two are left, even if eventually the quest concludes always in the same outcome.
After their last RPG masterpiece release, the Might & Magic 6-Pack, gog.com have now released Realms of Arkania 1+2 and 3. RoA is the English version of what I only knew as Das Schwarze Auge in German back in the 16-bit days of Amiga. If my memory serves me right only the first part of RoA made it to the Amiga while the two followers were only available for DOS.
Realms of Arkania is classic hardcore role-playing, flip3D style intermezzed with isometric combat screens and you can get this for a ridiculous cheap price now.
So far gog.com is only releasing DOS or Windows based games. For some games I wish they’d add Amiga games to their line-up simply because many Amiga games were better than their DOS conversions, just take a look at highly regarded Hired Guns. in case of Hired Guns you feel that the developers were a team of Amiga enthusiasts. The DOS version feels bland and rushed compared to the shiny and atmosphere-oozing Amiga version.
Either way, for DOS games Good Old Games are packing their releases up with a copy of DOSBox pre-configured and ready to install and run. For Amiga versions they would probably have to pack up a copy of WinUAE to assure a hassle-free experience. Not sure how that would work out.