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The Last Dynasty (Windows 3.x)

By Accatone on March 30th, 2015

Azangara (Windows)

By Accatone on October 28th, 2007

Theme Hospital (DOS)

It all started like a game...

The Good
At the beginning, to me, Theme Hospital was looking and did sound great in every aspect and I liked it very much indeed. Never been so easy and so much fun to build and run a hospital. All went right a little bit more until I couldn't manage to run my hospital in one of the levels of the game. Everything went crazy, my patients no more wanted to be patient: EPIDEMIC was covering every part of my building. People were vomiting, dying everywhere and I couldn't help them, I was the only responsible person for that chaos. It all started like a game but it didn't end like that. Game's funny? I remember the fake quarrel between Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta in Matin Scorsese's Goodfellas originated from a word, a world only, "FUNNY ha?" But before that memory I was deeply shocked when I thought Lars von Trier's movie, epidemic, its unexpected end, where epidemic's harmful touches had effected everybody, even our precious heroes: I think I will never forget "that" scream of the woman...

The Bad
If it is a Bullfrog game, I will expect repetitive gameplay. Unfortunately, Theme Hospital is forming no exception.

The Bottom Line
I know, anyone who played or will play this game can't be as clumsy as I am and I don't expect them to live the same emotions, maybe I am just exaggerating. Anyway, for me, Theme Hospital is a rare piece of art, definitely the best "hospital" simulation!

By Accatone on September 20th, 2007

Insaniquarium! Deluxe (Windows)

By Accatone on April 30th, 2006

Wonderland (Windows)

Time flies when you’re having fun in “Wonderland”!

The Good
Unlike similar action/puzzle games, Wonderland’s difference lies in the interaction of the player with its zany universe, and it achieves this with a sense of old-school feeling. It’s no wonder that the basic elements come from the games like Boulder Dash, Sokoban or D-Generation. Wonderland blends these with such an inventive way that all of a sudden you find yourself playing its twenty something level! It’s that addictive.

Simplicity of the game plays an important part of its addictiveness. You can’t see any fancy 3D graphics or a confusing gameplay component in Wonderland. It even doesn’t have a storyline. And this helps you to get into the game right away. However, other Wonderland games (especially “Secret Worlds”) are far more complex than this first game and the adding of the houses, trees, new tiles and characters, and even a dispensable storyline with illustrations really harm the game. You don’t need a map or a story to enjoy Wonderland.

As the description of the game also says, Purple Motion’s music for the game deserves special mention. Although there are only 5 tracks in the game (1 for the title screen, 1 for the ending and 3 for in-game music), these impulse tracker modules perfectly fit to the mood of the game with their rather colorful yet ambient sound. And you can also hear them in the sequel of the game, “Wonderland Secret Worlds”. I guess the developers thought that Wonderland wouldn’t be Wonderland without PM’s music!

And when you finally complete the game, you see a beautiful ending that will make a simile on your face :)

The Bad
Although Wonderland is written to run even on lower end Pentium systems with a recent / fast video card, its performance can considerably decrease when you play large levels that contain lots of moving objects as in the level of “The Crazy Box Factory” or the “gigantic” final level. This last level is unnecessarily huge and this is why I cheated on this level. It could have been designed with an ingenious attitude that the player has never seen before – rather than focussing too much on the size. Size should not matter in a game like Wonderland.

The Bottom Line
I must admit I didn’t expect much from the game. I installed Wonderland to my hard drive because I was hoping to find a “great” soundtrack in its files so that I could rip it (at the time I was more into game music than playing)! Fortunately not only I ripped all the music tracks, I also found out that they were actually written by Purple Motion! I couldn’t be happier. However, when I finally run the game and played a few levels, I was taken off guard again: I saw a puzzle game that I truly enjoyed “play”ing – and I generally don’t like puzzle games because they can be really frustrating and they easily get on your nerves.

Wonderland’s main virtue is that it’s not frustrating. Indeed, it manages to be fun till the very end of the game (and the full registered version has 85 levels!). I remember playing the first level of the Halls of Undermountain, “Trial by Fire” and I was so stunned that all I did was to stare at the firestorm of cannon balls! I did not know what I was supposed to do. But I knew one thing, that you can solve any level in the game (maybe except the last one) with enough observation to understand its simple yet clever gameplay. Because all you have to do is to use wisely what you’ve got (it might be the other half of your winsome duo!) against “certain” obstacles and enemies while enjoying “Tower Hopping”, “Fire and Ice” and even “That Darn Scouge!”. Wonderland creates such a sense of exploration that you are not limited to solve only the puzzles. Thanks to a dazzling interplay, you are invited to enjoy your environment throughout the game either by interacting with its “charming” characters or by discovering some beautiful moments in it that you don’t expect from a puzzle game. Personally I can’t forget the moment when I was finishing a training level called “A Day at the Zoo” and saw the gates that surround all the captured “confounding Coilys, electrifying Z-Bots, and hot-headed Kabooms!” opened before I moved to the next level. It was a neat, very sweet approach that shows how “engaging” the game is.

At first glance it might seem like a kid’s game but Wonderland has a lot more to offer like the books of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” or Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “Little Prince”. It is no wonder that the game’s title is “Wonderland”; it’s worthy of the name and it develops some new connotations related with puzzle gaming.

By Accatone on May 19th, 2005

Pajama Sam 3: You Are What You Eat From Your Head To Your Feet (Windows)

By Accatone on August 20th, 2001

Cyclemania (DOS)

Not much fun to play.

The Good
Cyclemania's concept is to race in front of real-life motion video backdrop that made up of 5 live-action roadways. That's nice. At the beginning it's really a nice change to see yourself driving your vehicle on a "real" desert or mountain road. Unfortunately your excitement doesn't last much after you find out that the game is not much fun to play.

The Bad
Although frame-rate decompression is quite good, you mostly race in front of blocky graphics. Gameplay doesn't offer you anything special. Instead, it may become frustrating.

Cyclemania has also no replay value after you finish playing all the circuits available. Its championship mode doesn't help you either since it's far from being compelling. There could have been more variety of obstacles or challenges on the races.

The Bottom Line
I'm glad they tried to bring real-life roadways to our computer screens. Maybe not a successful conversion but at least they'd tried.

This game made me miss the countless hours I spent playing Test Drive III: THE PASSION!

By Accatone on August 4th, 2001

In Search of Dr. Riptide (DOS)

By Accatone on July 20th, 2001

Swedish Touring Car Championship 2 (Windows)

By Accatone on July 20th, 2001

TV Sports: Basketball (DOS)

By Accatone on July 2nd, 2001

Hare Raising Havoc (DOS)

By Accatone on July 2nd, 2001

The Vortex: Quantum Gate II (Windows 3.x)

By Accatone on July 1st, 2001

Actua Soccer 2 (Windows)

By Accatone on June 30th, 2001

Superbike 2001 (Windows)

By Accatone on June 30th, 2001

WipEout (DOS)

By Accatone on June 18th, 2001

Striker '95 (DOS)

By Accatone on May 25th, 2001

Dark Colony (Windows)

By Accatone on April 26th, 2001

Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends (DOS)

By Accatone on April 26th, 2001

FX Fighter (DOS)

My favorite fighting game along with OMF 2097...

The Good
Before 3D chips have arrived, Argonaut had its own very fast 3D applications with better graphical effects -thanks to their real-time 3D rendering package, "Blazing Render" engine. And the most beautiful creation of this programming library was without a doubt, FX Fighter...

This game was not only one of the pioneers of 3D gaming era but also it looked much better than the other fighting games at its time. I remember the days PC Game Magazines labeled FX Fighter as a beater of such games like Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter. OK, maybe it was a beater but not in gameplay concept or in a way classic games have been through periods of time. What really so special about FX Fighter was its glorious sight and sound that is very important for a fighting game: by being fast and attractive enough to fully immerse the player into its world, with unique characters to be chosen and having a simple but effective gameplay in front of great-looking combat arenas (we don't forget the music, of course, which should gather all the elements of the game together creating recognizable magical moments...and IMHO FX Fighter's techno musical score was successful enough!).

The Bad
It's not a classic, yes; after the passing years it almost faded (I don't even mention the 'Turbo' sequel which was a huge dissappoinment). I also admit, it hasn't got a good, challenging control system, neither with keyboard nor with a joystick. But, this fighting game wasn't out on a premiss to have a revolutionary gameplay after all!

The Bottom Line
You would probably have hooked like me on FX Fighter at first glance, I can't be sure of that however! It's not a great game, but it's a special one for me nonetheless...

By Accatone on April 23rd, 2001

Grand Prix 3 (Windows)

By Accatone on April 15th, 2001

Battle Chess 4000 (DOS)

By Accatone on March 26th, 2001

Star Trek: Judgment Rites (DOS)

By Accatone on March 26th, 2001

Monster Truck Madness 2 (Windows)

By Accatone on March 25th, 2001

Operation Wolf (DOS)

By Accatone on March 23rd, 2001

Hot Chix 'n' Gear Stix (Windows)

By Accatone on March 18th, 2001

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