Good obscure Pre-1995 PC games?

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 NEXT
 

There's always Castle Adventure.

Rise of the Triad (ROTT); FPS, 3D Realms

This was a great FPS that pioneered a lot of things current gamers take for granted in FPSes but had the misfortune of being designed on an old style engine and was thus overshadowed by Doom II which came out about the same time.

Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe; Flight Sim/Combat, Lucasarts

WWII combat sim where you could fly missions as Allied or German air forces. focused mostly on the crazy (fun) Luftwaffe secret weapons, some of which were only in service for a very short time during the war and some only saw prototypes. Flying wings, rocket planes, jets, antiaircraft rockets and more. (I especially like the vertical rockets on the komet rocket plane, they fire when the shadow of a bomber hits light censers on top the plane, shooting the rockets up into the bomber's belly)
Also, everything is destructible, every building, factory, barn and haystack can be blown up.

Loom; Adventure game, Lucasarts

point and click adventure game about a weaver who used a musical distaff to weave and unweave the fabric of the universe, lots of fun

Not sure if it was mentioned already, it is from 1997 but I remember Dark Earth fondly.

EDIT: I'll second Sanitarium.

DioWallachia:
Star Control 2 (1992) <<< Mass Effect was "inspired" by this game.

For a certain type of people, the "Mass Effect" is the uncontrollable urge to burst laughing and/or screaming at how much mass effect was "inspired" by SC2. IMO SC2 is the better game in all respects but that's just me. :D

major_chaos:
Terminal Velocity is a very arcade-y sci-fi flight sim...

Speaking of spiritual successors, "Fury3" came out in 95 which is similar to Terminal Velocity, I remember with a certain Star-Wars-Emulating thrill the joy of diving into the tunnels of a giant structure to shoot it's guts out.

Nice lists, wish I had my old 'E2' magazine from '95 that i must've read a hundred times as a kid, that would have reminded me of the games I'd add. Take a look at a wiki and there are so many to choose from though, I'll select 3 that leap out at me...

Blackthorne (1994): Blizzard's 2D platformer about a shotgun-toting modern day hero flung like Bruce Campbell into a fantasy world populated by human slaves and their Orc masters.
Skyroads (1993): Something like a precursor to Audiosurf, strafe and hop your rocket racer along a 3d obstacle course with various boosts and hazards.
Traffic Department 2192 (1994): Top Down sci-fi shooter about a group of lesser law enforcement agents fighting against organized crime with a strong female protagonist and a pretty awesome story too.

Oh, and can anyone remind me of that RPG doom-like? STRIFE! Now I remember, never got to play it properly but it seemed pretty cool. Oh wait, looks like it was 1996, oh well.

rise of the triad was a pretty cool and insane game.. introduced dual wielding pistols to games if i remember properly.

lets see what else..

bards tale series. great dungeon crawl games "warrior has struck at bandits killing 99 of them "those were the days

gold box dragonlance D&D games.. champions of kyrnn, deathknights of krynn and dark queen of krynn

theatre europe.. still one of the scariest wargames ever made. sends a chill down my spine every time i play it even today

syndicate. play the original and marvel

wing commander, x-wing, tie fighter.. the big 3 of early 90s space sims awesome games

strike commander.. really obscure but an excellent game and story.. run a merc fighter squadron

1996.. we have janes longbow. if i can track down a working copy of this and its expansion id get a computer purely to run it

Alien Legacy was sort of a space sim, simcity, exploration mix that received very little attention and seems to have been forgotten. It was very unique with it's mix of strict linear storyline and and sandboxy management gameplay. For that very reason it also lacked replayability and sometimes felt like one very long tutorial. But it was good fun while it lasted. It was the kind of game that would be perfect for expansion packs, but none were made.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_Legacy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXgjxafhIiE&feature=related
http://www.mobygames.com/game/alien-legacy

Anthraxus:

Bloodnet (1993) - Cool adventure game with RPG elements in a cyberpunk/gothic type setting.

Bloodnet seemed like a very unique game, and it's one of those games that I regret I never got into.

drthmik:

Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe; Flight Sim/Combat, Lucasarts

WWII combat sim where you could fly missions as Allied or German air forces. focused mostly on the crazy (fun) Luftwaffe secret weapons, some of which were only in service for a very short time during the war and some only saw prototypes. Flying wings, rocket planes, jets, antiaircraft rockets and more. (I especially like the vertical rockets on the komet rocket plane, they fire when the shadow of a bomber hits light censers on top the plane, shooting the rockets up into the bomber's belly)
Also, everything is destructible, every building, factory, barn and haystack can be blown up.

As far as I know, Secret Weapons was a sequel to another Lucasarts flight sim called "Their Finest Hour". I never played Secret Weapons but "Their Finest Hour" was one of my favorite Amiga games, it also had an excellent manual. Lucasarts made quite a few flightsims at that time I think.

Anthraxus:

BloatedGuppy:

Would you consider Phantasie or The Magic Candle to be obscure? Those are two others I thought of in answer to the OP's question.

I ask because you're like one of three guys on this forum who might actually have a clue WTF those games are...

I don't know about obscure, BG, obviously not as known as stuff like the Ultimas, Wizardrys, Might & Magics, Bards Tales and D&D Gold Box games, but maybe on par with stuff like Betrayal at Krondor, Realms of Arkania and Darklands maybe ? What do you think ?
It's tough to say exactly how obscure something is sometimes, maybe just look at the sales figures, I guess.

Here's a few other RPGs, just to throw them out there..

Disciples of Steel (1993)
Albion (1995)
Amberstar (1992) & Ambermoon (1993)
Hard Nova (1990)
Knights of Legend (1989)
Escape from Hell (1990)

To add to the discussion Magic Candle is a series that I heard of, but I have never seen or played it. In comparison Betrayal at Krondor, Wizardry and Darklands were quite well known at the time, but possibly obscure now.

It's interesting how obscurity can change over time. Someone mentioned Midwinter a game that is probably very obscure now, but it was one of the most talked about games at the time. I think only Ultima and Civilization got more press coverage.

On the other end of the spectrum everyone seems to know about Grim Fandango now, but very few people knew about it when it was released as the game sales also suggests. Even 'timeless classics' like JA or X-Com were relatively obscure at the time and probably only survived due to a die-hard fan base.

Jazz Jackrabbit, made in 1994 by Epic Megagames.

What's the game? You play as a badass Rambo Bunny in a combination of Sonic and Contra. Since it's made by the same guys who made Gears of War, I like to think Jazz is Marcus Fenix's childhood pet.

Lands of Lore! classic dungeon crawler yet more colorful then most with tons of personality to boot. The game starts off deceptively simple but has deep, hardcore dungeons and a huge monster variety. You often fight 5-10 specific enemies with unique sprites in each dungeon and never see them again. Anyways, I love that game and its on gog.

Bostur:

Anthraxus:

BloatedGuppy:

Would you consider Phantasie or The Magic Candle to be obscure? Those are two others I thought of in answer to the OP's question.

I ask because you're like one of three guys on this forum who might actually have a clue WTF those games are...

I don't know about obscure, BG, obviously not as known as stuff like the Ultimas, Wizardrys, Might & Magics, Bards Tales and D&D Gold Box games, but maybe on par with stuff like Betrayal at Krondor, Realms of Arkania and Darklands maybe ? What do you think ?
It's tough to say exactly how obscure something is sometimes, maybe just look at the sales figures, I guess.

Here's a few other RPGs, just to throw them out there..

Disciples of Steel (1993)
Albion (1995)
Amberstar (1992) & Ambermoon (1993)
Hard Nova (1990)
Knights of Legend (1989)
Escape from Hell (1990)

To add to the discussion Magic Candle is a series that I heard of, but I have never seen or played it. In comparison Betrayal at Krondor, Wizardry and Darklands were quite well known at the time, but possibly obscure now.

It's interesting how obscurity can change over time. Someone mentioned Midwinter a game that is probably very obscure now, but it was one of the most talked about games at the time. I think only Ultima and Civilization got more press coverage.

On the other end of the spectrum everyone seems to know about Grim Fandango now, but very few people knew about it when it was released as the game sales also suggests. Even 'timeless classics' like JA or X-Com were relatively obscure at the time and probably only survived due to a die-hard fan base.

wow i tought i was the only person on earth to of played hard nova.. damn hard but a great game

CrossLOPER:
Here you go:

http://www.gog.com/catalogue

Anything on gog isn't obscure anymore.

Here's a few:
The Immortal (1990)
Curses (1993)
Time Gate: Knight's Chase (1995)
Gateway (1992)
Maupiti Island (1990)
Bureaucracy (1987)
Heart of the Alien (1994)

Anthraxus:
Knights of Legend (1989)

Ooh, good one. I loved Knights of Legend. Or more specifically, I loved making parties in Knights of Legend. Actually playing the game always felt like something of a let down after that. I particularly liked the winged guys who would collapse in exhaustion if they "flew" three feet.

The Battle Isle series have seemingly been forgotten, I've never seen the games mentioned in threads like these;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_Isle_%28series%29

Awesome turn based tactics.

To be honest I think pre-1995, the better games were not found on Windows or DOS PCs... the home of real quality was the Commodore Amiga.

GoaThief:
The Battle Isle series have seemingly been forgotten, I've never seen the games mentioned in threads like these;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_Isle_%28series%29

Awesome turn based tactics.

To be honest I think pre-1995, the better games were not found on Windows or DOS PCs... the home of real quality was the Commodore Amiga.

this person sums it up perfectly. back then the gaming machine to go to was the amiga.. all hail the mighty amiga :D

Anvil of the Dawn: Lots of people know of Lands of Lore, but I never see much love for this game which is superior in my eyes.

Albion: This one definatly came out post-95 (96 perhaps?) but none the less it's worth mentioning. Closest game I could compare it to would be Planescape - it's one of these "wordy" RPGs. Worth checking out.

Worlds of Ultima: Everyones knows about the Ultima series, but the spin-offs are less recognised. They use the U6 engine. Both games are classic sci-fis, with Martian Dreams being a steampunk adventure and Savage Empire a "land that time forgot" affair.

Darkseed: A point and click adventure game based on the works of HR Giger. I don't actually like the game that much, but it's unique.

Dreamweb: Another adventure game with a blade runner theme. I've never gotten very far in the game, but something about it fascinates me.

Dune: A 4x game with a strong story element and some RPG mechanics thrown in. Nothing like it's more popular RTS sequal.

Abuse: A sidescrolling platformer that used the mouse to aim your dudes gun. Novel at the time. Still not a bad game.

Blackthorn: Not really sure if this is obscure or not. It's basiclly Flashback but with more an emphasis on action than puzzle solving.

One Must Fall: A fighting game. Very basic, but very fun. It's got a really catchy menu theme, just youtube it and enjoy.

Strife: Another that came out post-95. It was the last game to be made using the Doom engine as far as I know. Its mixes FPS with RPG elements and has an open world to explore. Played it again a few months ago and it still holds up, although the shooting mechanics aren't as tight as its contemporaries.

Battle Isle 1&2: TBS. There's nothing to remarkable to say about them; they are just well made and easlily accessable to learn, although the difficulty level is pretty extreme.

Steel Panthers: A proper "Dad" game. Its pretty much just a tabletop wargame on a PC. Has lots of detail and tons of campaigns set through out the duration of the WW2.

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream (which, coincidentally, was made in 1995) is one hell of an awesome game, based of the short of the same name published back in 1967. It's the typical point and click adventure game with puzzles, an awesome story, and several good twists.

Read the story too, it's great as well.

There's also Aces of the Pacific, if you like WWII flight simulators.

Given what an enormous market electronic gaming is now, the PCs games in the 80s and early 90s are by definition somewhat obscure because there were just so few people who played them relative to the millions and millions who play them now.

The first game I got for my PCjr in 1985 was The Ancient Art of War, which was a cool little semi-real time strategy game, and it was followed by The Ancient Art of War at Sea. Some other favorites that followed in the mid to late 80s were Starflight and Wasteland. Wasteland in particular has enjoyed a lot more attention based on its spiritual successor, Fallout.

It is funny to hear the Ultima games referenced in such a manner, being the lineage that finally gave us the still extant Ultima Online, but as Icehearted noted, EA did pretty much run them into the ground in the process of dismantling Origin. It's really like they added insult to injury by naming their hated digital distribution platform after the previously beloved studio that gave us Ultima, Wing Commander and others.

The Wing Commander series of games
The Ultima series of games
The Might and Magic series of games
Demon's Winter
Wasteland
Darklands
Covert Action
Warlords 2
Railroad Tycoon

Blood Brain Barrier:

Anything on gog isn't obscure anymore.

That was the most hipster post anyone could make in this thread short of posting a photo of themselves wearing matching cutoffs with their girlfriend.

Bostur:

drthmik:

Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe; Flight Sim/Combat, Lucasarts

WWII combat sim where you could fly missions as Allied or German air forces. focused mostly on the crazy (fun) Luftwaffe secret weapons, some of which were only in service for a very short time during the war and some only saw prototypes. Flying wings, rocket planes, jets, antiaircraft rockets and more. (I especially like the vertical rockets on the komet rocket plane, they fire when the shadow of a bomber hits light censers on top the plane, shooting the rockets up into the bomber's belly)
Also, everything is destructible, every building, factory, barn and haystack can be blown up.

As far as I know, Secret Weapons was a sequel to another Lucasarts flight sim called "Their Finest Hour". I never played Secret Weapons but "Their Finest Hour" was one of my favorite Amiga games, it also had an excellent manual. Lucasarts made quite a few flightsims at that time I think.

Yes I think of Secret Weapons as Tie Fighter but during WWII and it's more fun flying in the bad guys planes

Capcha
in the limelight

Its hard to tell WHAT is obscure. People KNOW about System Shock 2 (for example) but NO OF THEM played it.

System Shock 2 came out in 1998. (I played it, and still do.) System Shock, the original and great, came out in 1994. Sold less than a hundred thousand copies. It also got a 98% review score from PC magazine and happens to be my favorite game of all time.

Hey, what do you know? Obscure AND great? Damn, I wish somebody made a forum topic asking for suggestions of games like that...

Ascendancy, by logic factory 1995,
Inspired a lot of 4x space games

Colonization, Sid meyer 1994,
prequel to civilization.

Commander Keen(1 till 3), 1990,

Played these games, before I could read English, probably did help though(keen not so much I guess).

Played these games, before I could read English, probably did help though(keen not so much I guess).

Probably helped you learn the Standard Galactic Alphabet though =)

I was going to post Commander Keen, but Acey just beat me to it.

Of course the best game ever made was for PC, but came out in 1998: Grim Fandango.

Blaster395:
I get the feeling that there is a huge wealth of uncharted gaming territory for the PC pre-1995. I am not talking about the obvious games like Civ, Simcity, Elder Scrolls arena. Those all have recent entries in their series. I want the obscure games that were great, but due to not selling hundreds of thousands or not getting sequels, have been lost to the mists of time.

obscure and good?. hmm, thats a hard one since the obsure ones dont always leave a notable mark in your brain.

i'll try it

Star Wars: Dark Forces
I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream
EarthBound (i think it tanked outside japan)
Marathon (forerunner of halo)
Time Crisis
Descent
Myst
Dune II
Return to Zork
The 7th Guest
Syndicate
Day of the Tentacle
Flashback
Alone in the Dark
Jazz Jackrabbit

nes:
The Battle of Olympus

maybe try this site:

http://obscurevideogames.tumblr.com/

example:
image
Tao (Pax Softnica - NES - 1989)
adventure game about a nomad seeking enlightment.
Japanese-only, but a fan translation exists.

Jones in the Fast Lane, a vaguely "Game of Life"-like computer board game by Sierra about managing your limited amount of time each week to progress to better jobs, education, etc. while still finding time and money to eat and relax.

Sid Meier's Covert Action. Basically a series of mini-games the player performed in the process of fulfilling procedurally-generated missions for their agency, but good fun for all that, and succeeded in maintaining a surprising illusion of depth (at least for a while, until the player started recognizing the patterns.)

Flames of Freedom (a.k.a. "Midwinter 2"), an early (and admittedly fairly ugly) polygon-based first-person game that tasked the player with "turning" various islands between your home nation and that of an enemy nation planning to invade in order to guarantee the good guys will win the battle. You could commandeer virtually any vehicle in the game- tanks, helicopters, planes- and turn them against your enemies, and you were tasked with various RPG-lite tasks involving assassination, meeting up with rebel leaders, etc. It also had a surprisingly robust portrait designer, used for both your agent and all the other characters in the game (the polygonal graphics were pretty ugly, but the 256-color graphics for the "story" segments weren't bad for the time.)

Sort of a weird predecessor of "Just Cause", in a way...

The Terminator. Based on the movie. Also an ugly combination of polygons and higher-rez graphics (mostly to keep computers of the day from bursting into flames), but something about stealing a M-60 from an army depot and mowing down civilians as a near-invincible cyborg just doesn't get old.

(Or maybe that's just me. Please don't call the authorities.)

Blaster395:
I get the feeling that there is a huge wealth of uncharted gaming territory for the PC pre-1995. I am not talking about the obvious games like Civ, Simcity, Elder Scrolls arena. Those all have recent entries in their series. I want the obscure games that were great, but due to not selling hundreds of thousands or not getting sequels, have been lost to the mists of time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starflight_2:_Trade_Routes_of_the_Cloud_Nebula

1991 Starflight 2

A rougelike adventure RPG IN SPACE, in which the developers designed their own AI friendly computer language (forthought) to create it :) Looks great in DOSBOX, available on GOG for $6

Star control 1-3
I've tried 2 and played 3
(I assume that there is StarCon1 and that it's worth trying)
3rd is really good :)
(occasionally obscure, but still good)

Retrogaming. Awesome. I'll throw in my $0.02 worth since I do a lot of retrogaming.

Dune 2 (1992) Not the first, but certainly the most famous of the real time strategy games, possibly obscured by the mists of time.
Wasteland (1988) While Fallout was its own game, and a damn good one in its own right, it borrowed a lot from this game. Quirky, but mechanically excellent.
Gunship 2000 (1991): I had wasted plenty of time on this one.
TIE Fighter (1994): While you're starting in a tin can capable of taking 3 blaster shots at the most for the "Evil Empire", I thoroughly loved playing this one.
Master of Magic(1994): The game was tons of fun if you liked turn-based strategy.
Warlords II (1993): My favorite one of the series. You could even obtain an expansion pack that allowed you to do plenty of map and graphical editing.
Strahd's Possession (1994): A gothic horror Eye of the Beholder style game. A lot of good highlights and story, even if the dialogue is a bit stilted.
Dark Sun: Shattered Lands (1993): Buggy, but worth playing through once.
Discworld (1995): Fiendish puzzle game with Terry Pratchett's famous universe. What more could you want?

I will apologize in advance if any of these are missing their "obscure" tag.

I originally played them on the Mac waaaaay back in the day, but I think at some point in the past few years free PC versions of The Fool's Errand and 3 in Three were put up on the creator's site. They're pretty clever little adventure/puzzle games (I particularly liked 3 in Three, but they each have their own style, both in terms of types of puzzles and presentation) that I'm guessing most people never got a chance to play. I think I saw somewhere that The Fool's Errand is even finally getting a sequel after all these years.

mooncalf:

DioWallachia:
Star Control 2 (1992) <<< Mass Effect was "inspired" by this game.

For a certain type of people, the "Mass Effect" is the uncontrollable urge to burst laughing and/or screaming at how much mass effect was "inspired" by SC2. IMO SC2 is the better game in all respects but that's just me. :D

Heh. I remember when I first encountered scanning planets for minerals in Mass Effect 2 and thought that it seemed familiar from somewhere, only it'd been done better the first time around, a couple decades earlier. I think I still have a notebook somewhere with hand-made star charts and lists of what planets are in every system and what types of minerals they have and anything else of interest.

blackrave:
Star control 1-3
I've tried 2 and played 3
(I assume that there is StarCon1 and that it's worth trying)
3rd is really good :)
(occasionally obscure, but still good)

Lies. There are only two Star Control games. The first is ok, but it doesn't have any plot, just the ship combat mode. The second is one of the best games of all time. Sadly, they never made a sequel.

CrossLOPER:

Blood Brain Barrier:

Anything on gog isn't obscure anymore.

That was the most hipster post anyone could make in this thread short of posting a photo of themselves wearing matching cutoffs with their girlfriend.

And yet it is still correct.

Nalgas D. Lemur:

blackrave:
Star control 1-3
I've tried 2 and played 3
(I assume that there is StarCon1 and that it's worth trying)
3rd is really good :)
(occasionally obscure, but still good)

Lies. There are only two Star Control games. The first is ok, but it doesn't have any plot, just the ship combat mode. The second is one of the best games of all time. Sadly, they never made a sequel.

Star Control 3 was released in 1996, and it was direct sequel to Star Control 2
(you're playing same ship captain I believe, at least other aliens react on you as if they know you)
They planned StarCon4, but it was scrapped

P.S. Unless StarCon3 is treated by StarCon fans, like C&C4 by C&C fans, then yes, StarCon3 was never released, keep lying to yourself ;)

mattaui:
Given what an enormous market electronic gaming is now, the PCs games in the 80s and early 90s are by definition somewhat obscure because there were just so few people who played them relative to the millions and millions who play them now.

The first game I got for my PCjr in 1985 was The Ancient Art of War, which was a cool little semi-real time strategy game, and it was followed by The Ancient Art of War at Sea. Some other favorites that followed in the mid to late 80s were Starflight and Wasteland. Wasteland in particular has enjoyed a lot more attention based on its spiritual successor, Fallout.

It is funny to hear the Ultima games referenced in such a manner, being the lineage that finally gave us the still extant Ultima Online, but as Icehearted noted, EA did pretty much run them into the ground in the process of dismantling Origin. It's really like they added insult to injury by naming their hated digital distribution platform after the previously beloved studio that gave us Ultima, Wing Commander and others.

Bless you I'd completely forgotten about Ancient Art of War, I had it on the Tandy 1000SX. Those little archers mowing each other down were EPIC.

I had fun playing the Police Quest games from Sierra.

Evolutionary High:
I find a lot of the PC games in the late 80s and throughout the 90s were more innovative than the games today.

By necessity, I assure you. There were far fewer gaming tropes to work off of back then, and also more system limitations to work around. That forced developers to be innovative to simply make an average game. But given a choice, I guarantee developers back then would have taken the easy road-more-traveled if it was there for them to take. So let's not get blinded by nostalgia and pretend like gaming was so much better back then. I'm really sick of that argument.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 NEXT

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked