Oldies Games Pt. 1
We all know that the games haven’t started with the likes of Call of Duty, Minecraft or Need For Speed. The gaming era starts way back in the 50’s with games like ‘Bertie the Brain’, ‘Tic-Tac-Toe’ and ‘Hutspiel’, though the first actually commercialized games were released about 20 years later, with games as ‘Spacewar!’, ‘Pong’ and more as the early birds, including even a Star Trek game.
Fast forwarding to the moments when PC’s started to be a viable system that you could game on with gorgeous games like Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein that paved the way to what we know today as shooters.
The list below will take care of games I found to be awesome and belong to the last century (Yes, including the year 2000). Some of the iconic ones like Diablo II have been left behind due to me not playing them. These been said, the first game in our list is *drum rolls*:
9. Worms Armageddon
I doubt there’s any old-schooler in here that didn’t hear about the extremely famous Worms series (which is still supported and continued even to this day). But, still, for those that are new to life, here is Worms Armageddon, one of the best Worms games ever released and the first entry in our list.
Worms Armageddon is a Turn-Based Strategy game involving military concepts of eliminating the opponent as fast as possible in a limited time. The player can choose playing through the Campaign Mode, a Quick Match or take himself to the Training Ground where he will learn the basics of the weapons included in the game, like Bazooka, grenades and so on.
In Campaign mode the player faces scripted events and maps where the main object is simple: Eliminate the opposition. At the beginning of the campaign, the means to do that are just a few with starter weapons like Bazooka, maybe a homing rocket and so on. Later on you will get access to more ridiculous weapons like a Concrete Donkey, Air Strikes and Carpet Bombs and even the complete Armageddon where you need a lottery-wining type of luck to survive it considering that dozens of comets come hurling towards the land that will mostly disappear in 30 seconds.
“ One of the best Worms games ever released ”
In Quick Match you can create your own team of worms, with custom names, tombstone, flag icon and voice pack and kick the ass of your opponents in your specific style of humor. Depending on the choice of weapon pack, you will also be able to use a baseball bat, a dynamite, a holy grenade that yells ‘HAAALELUJAH!’ with a specific musical background before sending anyworm unfortunate enough to be near it to the Netherland. Also, in Quick Match the game can procedurally generate maps only through a click and can be skipped over and over again until you find something you would enjoy.
The texture applied to the map is random and will also might add obstacles that fit to the texture’s style (Be it a city or a CandyLand or a Toxic Wasteland). Also depending on the map, some weapons like Air Strikes might be unavailable if the map is surrounded by walls. If that still isn’t enough for you, you can create your own maps and even share them with your friends.
The Training Ground is composed of multiple levels where each contains a weapon that you have to use it in order to destroy the deployed targets. A countdown timer will also be on-screen that, when it will hit :00, you will be forced to start again if you have not managed to complete the level. These levels will train your accuracy with the Bazooka regarding its power and angle in windy conditions as well as timing your grenades and changing their detonating timer. The Training areas will also teach you how to skillfully maneuver your worm with backflips and jumps in order to get out of sticky situations.
The game has been altered by fans, being given custom mods like Rope League where you have to travel the entire map using only the ninja rope, a concept that was later taken and reproduced in the currently Early Access game: Speedrunners.
Worms Armageddon supports up to 6 teams, where at least 1 of them must be a human-controlled team (meaning that you can play with your friends at the same computer) with up 8 worms each. Each team can pick up a team color as well as a starting bonus like more health. You can spice the gameplay even more by selecting the Sudden Death option giving every worm only 1HP, enough for any weapon to bring them down.
Overall, Worms Armageddon stays as one of the strongest Worms games every made by Team17. At least the fans consider that. Count me one.
Released in 1999 and created by Acclaim, Re-volt is an action-racing game revolved around Remotely-Controller cars, made to race into places like a neighborhood, a supermarket and even into a historic museum.
Featuring over 10 maps and 20 cars, the game will keep you seated in front of your PC for a good few hours. And just to make this game more attractive: You can punish the meanies that go in front of you because of that damned wall you haven’t seen and appeared out of nowhere, through the high number of pick-ups like water balloons, fireworks or overcharged battery. For a more detailed article, visit Top 10 Favorite Racing Games where it resides on a nice 6th place.
7. Road Rash
The next one in line is a brutal racing game produced in 1991 originally for the Sega Genesis console by the EA, but it ended up being produced and published for a total of 11 system including Microsoft Windows and PlayStation.
The concept of the game is simple: Race on your motorcycle and kick everyone else of off theirs in order to reach and finish on the first place. The means to do such things start off easy with only your feet or beating them up with a pipe. From then on, you can get your opponent’s weapon by performing a well-synced hit and end up with nunchuks, chains and so on.
The game contains 7 maps and 15 motorcycles that you can choose from and buy with the money you received from the races. The maps consists in desert areas as well as woods, open green areas and cities. All the maps have 3 level difficulties that are unlocked by going towards the next level, which is accomplished by finish all 7 in top 3 at least once. Each new difficulty increases the total length of the map as well as adding more traffic, traps and pedestrians.
As you have probably guessed now, the opponents won’t be your only problem, the constant need to dodge all the other aforementioned traps being present. Most of the obstacles will only slow you down or cause you to lose control a bit once you run over oil and water, while the vehicles will stop you completely, as well as the trees and buildings around you.
Once you’re thrown off your motorcycle, you will pretty much fly a random distance, followed by your character getting back to the 2-wheeler in order to continue the race. Apparently, at that point all the other competitors slow down so you can reach them, since almost certainly you flew a couple dozen meters.
The motorcycles are split into 3 categories: The Rats, The Sports and the Super Bikes. In each category there are 5 bikes, each of them having a different name, price, horsepower and design. When you’re looking to buy a new motorcycle you will also trade-in your current one, since you cannot own more than one.
The Heads-Up Display has a pretty simplistic design which details your amount of stamina, the opponent closest to you whether he is in front or behind you as well as his own stamina. And finally you have the speedometer and the length traveled at the current time. As previously mentioned, each track has a certain length which is displayed when it’s selected. When your stamina reaches 0 or when you quit the race, you will lose the progress as well as money for repairing your ride.
If you’re not one to play the campaign mode or just looking for a quickie, you can also play in the arcade mode where you can choose any of the 7 maps, while the 2-wheeler is given randomly. You can also play in LAN with your friend and use the incorporated chatroom. Unfortunately this game does not have online multiplayer since there wasn’t such a concept back then or not a big one anyway.
For the little haters that prefer 3D games over sprites on screen, in 2014 a spiritual successor was born under the name of Road Redemption. It follows the same core gameplay but contains a lot more like new weapons, new maps, cops and more violent enemies.
6. Jazz Jackrabbit 2
Jazz Jackrabbit is a 2D action-sidescroller created by Epic MegaGames, known now as Epic Games, the same company behind the infamous Unreal Engine and Unreal Tournament game series.
The whole purpose of the game is to defeat the evil minions and bosses through the multitude of weaponry you have available. The story is split across 5 chapters, each containing several bosses, levels and level environments. Each type of enemy acts different, some can be found on earth, some in the air and may have a higher HP than others, but fortunately, the variety of weapons will take care of any troublemaker. The player can choose to play between Jazz, a green, Rambo-type rabbit, and Spaz, the runt of the team. Lori, a yellow female rabbit, is later included through an expansion.
You will start simple with a normal pistol that has a low fire-rate and you will be able to upgrade it with a faster rate as well as with various types of ammo that can be found scattered through the map. The ammo can be switched whenever using the selection key, though later it can take a long while till you reach the desired ammo type, especially if you’re too much in a hurry since you cannot exactly pinpoint it but rather continually press the key as a ‘Next’ button until you find what you want.
The ammo starts with normal bullets up to homing missiles, freeze rays and its counterpart the flame thrower. Some enemies might drop small bonuses if you aim exactly at them instead at the item they carry. One such example is some sort of backpack helicopter which stays on for about 3 seconds allowing you to go into the air and pick up harder-to-reach items.
Other pick-ups consist in 1ups, diamonds that when raised enough will get another bonus life as well lots of sweets and fruits that will give a Sugar Rush when enough collected, which is similar to the Star pick-up in Super Mario, as in it gives you immunity for a limited time. A countdown timer on top of the screen will provide the time left until the Rush expires.
Also a bird that you can release from the cage, will assist you in shooting the enemies until you get hit. Ultimately, a rabbit merchant will ask you for coins that can be found in-game. If you have the needed amount, you will be teleported to a secret location in which will be found tons of ammo and other goodies.
Jazz Jackrabbit 2 contains a split-screen mode for maximum 4 players as well as an online mode for up to 32 people. Multiplayer gamemodes include a Cooperative mode where you can play alongside with your friend(s) the single player missions. A Battle mode is next on the list which is basically a Deathmatch. If you’re not the violent type, you can go for a Race or a Treasure Hunt.
A Jazz Jackrabbit 3 was planned but ultimately canceled because Epic MegaGames was unable at the time to find a publisher. JJ3 was going to be a 3D Third-Person Shooter with various new core elements like weapon charge, similar to MegaMan’s Blaster.
5. Rollcage Stage II
Rollcage Stage II stays on the edge of criteria selected for this little top. Released in the year 2000, this Re-volt-esque little game brings even more competitive violence on the scene than its muse. While it follows almost the same core features of the game placed in the 9th position, Rollcage Stage II takes place in a sci-fi setting along with car designs that fit the environment.
As any race game, the objective is simple: Finish on the highest position that you can. As any Re-volt-esque game, you can cheat your way towards the ultimate objective by collecting and using weapons and/or boosters. The player will only start with vehicles that support a small number of weapons, like the machine gun and speed booster. Later on, after championships on the first place, he can get access to better vehicles both as performance and supported weaponry.
The complete arsenal includes, but not limited to: machine guns, rockets, rail gun, bullet time, portal towards a better position in the race, as well as a rocket that only aims for the car in the first place. Each weapon and booster can be picked-up twice for a better effect. For example, the machine gun will automatically target the closest opponent and shoot all the bullets at it.
A second power-up of the same type will be shown on the HUD as glowing. Each vehicle can support 2 different power-ups at the same time and the player can choose which one should be fired. Like Re-volt, you cannot know what you’re picking up, each floating pick-up giving a random ability to the player.
The vehicles have an exotic design: A slim, almost rectangular shape, with 4 large wheels so that it could still continue racing if it flips. There are 5 different car manufacturers, each producing vehicles focused on certain stats.
“ Each weapon and booster can be picked-up twice ”
One of them develops cars with a higher speed while the acceleration and steering is low while another one, for example, focuses on grip and steering in exchange for acceleration and speeding. The fifth company however keeps the stats balanced.
The game also supports split-screen gameplay, up to 4 players, and it also accepts gamepads. The single player and multiplayer have a few different modes, two of them existing on both: Racing and Demolition, where in the second you have to destroy as many objects on a track as possible.
The single-player gamemodes includes Scramble, a mode where functions as a Time Attack one only that the maps contains lots of obstacles like bumpy roads or jumps while the multiplayer goes for Combat where the maps are built in form of arenas and a nifty Soccer mode where a sphere made of stone is dropped in the middle of a circular field loaded with boosters and 2 holes in it.
Moving on to the next:
4. Star Wars: Episode I – Racer
Though the next Star Wars movie is merely a few days apart from release, this is not the reason why I chose it to be on the forth place. Potentially one of the best arcade racing games in the 20th century, Star Wars: Racer takes on the Episode I’s racing scene and turns it into a whole game, with lots of planets to visit as well as characters to play with, including the famous Anakin Skywalker and Sebulba pilots.
The game is widely explained in another article of mine called Top 10 Favorite Racing Games and I recommend you to visit it for even more awesome racing games, which I believe that every racing fan should visit.
3. Colin McRae Rally 2.0
In my opinion, this is one of the best CMR titles until the DiRT series, due to its care for realistic physics and attention to details. CMR allows for campaign mode as well as quick race on various types of tracks across the entire world, facing snow, gravel, asphalt and so on.
The high amount of cars allows the player to pick up the one it suits most as well as having the ability tune the car ever further. All of the above is described better in a previous article. So, go ahead and check it out.
2. Quake III: Arena
The first First-Person Shooter in this top list but definitely the latest is none other than Quake 3 Arena, a great example of what a shooter game can be. Q3A is focused on a completely other niche compared to its predecessors: That of multiplayer combat in arena-style maps. There isn’t much story to this game, unlike its prequels where it was focused on single player combat with a story behind it. In Quake 3 Arena you’re one of the people that got kidnapped to fight in Arenas for the amusement of an alien race called the Vadrigar.
“ The game is in the style of a tournament ”
The game is in the style of a tournament, starting in a simple arena with easy to kill AI enemies, getting more and more difficult maps and enemies as you advance through the game. The enemies have the same abilities, bar the difficulty of AI, the only difference being the model used for them. With depictions from the older Quake titles as well as some characters from Doom, Quake III: Arena contains over 40 different skins from which the player can freely choose.
The weapons received immediately after the spawn are underpowered, considering the other weapons available in the game’s arsenal. Like every game in which the gore is essential, you get to play with the rocket launcher, or a shotgun, and even go futuristic with railguns and lightning guns. But, if you really want to dominate over the other player, the BFG is for you. Although, since the gun is as overpowered as it sounds, it can only be found in hard-to-reach places.
Other things that reside in almost unreachable spots are the power-ups like the Quad Damage, which as the title says, makes everything destroy everyone 4 times as fast. However, the power-ups have a limited time, and they can be picked-up by someone else if you got killed while wearing it, but the count doesn’t reset if a new player gets it.
The maps in the game are a nice mixture of hi-tech and gothic elements, which, together with the soundtracks makes the player feel almost invincible … until someone else turns him into a sprinkler.
The game’s engine allows for a high grade customization, being used to modify various aspects of the game, like the Excessive Mod everything got turned into an uncontrollable but delicious mayhem, up to total conversions like the underappreciated FPS-meets-parkour game ‘Urban Terror’.
The multiplayer part of the game has evolved into what is today known as Quake Live and it is available for 10 bucks on Steam, while having an 84% positive score given by the players. While Quake Live kept all that we all know and love from the original game, there are now added a lot more maps and game modes as well as having Steam Workshop support for even more content created by the users.
The first off in this list is none other than Half-Life, a gorgeous first-person shooter, created in 1999 by Valve, and it is considered one of the games that brutally changed the shooting genre. You play as Gordon Freeman, a scientist that reached his workplace a bit too late and got admonished for it.
Few minutes later, after you equip your suit and proceed to the testing laboratory, all hell breaks loose after an experiment in which you acted as the handler of the unknown material goes haywire and opens a portal to a distant planet, through which dozens of alien life forms got into your base. By the time you recover from being passed out, almost your colleagues and co-workers are dead, either from explosion or by being eaten by the otherworldly intruders. After some wandering you find yourself a crowbar, the object that became the mascot of the game, and also meet your first enemy: The headcrab. The first kill of many to follow.
Even though you are mute, you could say that your actions speak for you. Determined to get rid of the pest that made such a brutal entrance in your life, you stop at nothing from achieving your objective, even if you see a mysterious man that keeps stalking you, or bringing down the soldiers that attack you in an attempt to cover the whole incident.
Half-Life is a linear first person shooter that contains a single objective: Fix what you fucked up. By any means necessary. And the means to do it are quite various: Starting with some conventional weapons like a Glock, a revolver or going commando with an MP5 or M4A1 with a grenade launcher integrated, up to the sci-fi world with the likes of Tau Cannons or Gluon Guns. Or … you know … you can pretend to be ninja and go on with the crowbar, in the attempt of preserving ammo for the bosses you will encounter.
And just let me mention that they are not small. Like most of the old-school bosses, they each have their own attacking pattern so it can be easily understood if you fail the few times. Above all those murderous items you still get to keep your H.E.V suit that will display critical information like Health and Armor points as well as the available ammo for the weapon in hand.
As previously mentioned there are lots of types of enemies that you will encounter, starting with the headcrabs and ending up with creatures that look like a dog or a walking ham that can generate an electricity field around him. If you deem those too easy, you will further face alien fish with huge fangs, humanoid forms that can shoot with some sort of electricity or even a kind that acts like traps, hanging on the ceiling with their tongue hanging at a human’s average height, that can be quite easily skipped by the eyes and end up seeing yourself flying up all of a sudden with no further control. Finally, there are the human squads that, as previously mentioned, will try to cover up the whole incident and leave no survivors behind. The soldiers will usually bring with them military rifles, along with grenades and trip mines.
The game also contains puzzles giving meaning to the ability of pushing and pulling crates and other objects across the rooms. Usually, the puzzles will stand in your path towards the next room full of enemies that can’t just wait to be obliterated.
You will also get to ride with the monorail on several occasions, kill more enemies, then traverse pools with toxic waste, followed of course by more enemies, some pause then to regain health and armor through the stations fixed in the walls or maybe a room in which resides perhaps a new weapon or just some extremely needed ammo. An innovative thing at the time was the game’s ability to fast-load a huge level by cutting the level in smaller parts, needing only a few seconds to get to the next part of the level.
As for the places your feet will wander you to, you will mostly be inside the unbelievably huge facility, killing and dodging enemies, with some periodical walks through the rocky nature where you will again kill and dodge enemies. So, just in case that you didn’t get it up until now, your only option to go through this game is by killing and dodging enemies. After you finish up killing the last boss, you will silently prepare for what it is to come in the sequel where you will be as mute as you are at this moment.
The multiplayer is still alive, 16 years after the game’s release so you can get in and shoot your friends while pulling the alarm and nuke everyone outside the base. Steam also launched a pack with HD textures for the weapons to be a tad more fancy, but only those that also own the dlc will be able to view them as well. The official multiplayer maps revolve around those that were created for the single player mode.
Overall, Half-Life can be considered an eye-opener of what a story-based first-person shooter could be, and they made it look like it was something natural.
If you feel though that you are limited by the small number of players that still enjoy this game, you can try the multiplayer of the sequel, simply named: Half-Life 2: Deathmatch. It is available on the Steam Store for only 4 bucks but can guarantee lots of fun with the new weapons integrated in it. Watch out for the flying toilet!
Oh man, so many extremely awesome oldies, so few numbers available in a top list. I have left out so many that I am quite ashamed of myself. But since this was influenced by my preferences like every article before and almost every article in the future, it appears that I enjoyed a lot of racers. Hope you will do it too.