Birds Of A Feather: DotEmu Beta

Just wanted to make sure at least one worked - it does, through DOSbox. I killed this dude within three seconds of starting the game. Go me!

Hmm. Looks like Good Old Games has a competitor in the old-classics/no-DRM/low-price market. DotEmu is basically an old-classic/no-DRM/low-price online retailer who has just gone into open Beta. Currently it’s got a limited range, which leans Francophile with the most obvious deals being the Alec-loved Gobliiins Trilogy for 4.90 Euros and the 16-game Silmarils collection. As an encouragement to sign up, during this beta period, people who do so will apparently be able to download Ishar I, Nicky Boom 1, Metal Mutant and Transartica for free. I say “apparently” because at the time of writing, of the four, I can only find a free download link for Ishar I. Though there is the (freeware) Beneath a Steel Sky and – I have no ideaDraskula. Oh – and some webgames, which just lead me to wasting 10 minutes playing Street Fighter 2 CE. ME BLANKA! STRONG! NO FEAR THIGHS OF CHUN-LI. YOU LOOK LIKE A RUGBY PLAYER, LADY.


  1. Risingson says:

    Drascula was the first adventure game from a spanish developer called Alcachofa Soft – people which I actually know, and who were responsible for the Mortadelo y Filemon games – and a game I actually haven’t tested.

    I LOVE Nicky Boom. It has one of the better Adlib soundtracks in a videogame, and has a very unique style.

  2. Chaz says:

    The only Silmarils game I ever bought was Storm Master on the Amiga. It was an odd blend of strategy with a reasonable duck shoot style arcade game thrown in the mix. What really appealed to me at the time was its rather unique looking fantasy setting.

  3. Daniel Klein says:

    Transarctica! How dearly I loved that game! Must look into getting that again. Then again, sometimes it is best not to look too closely at things that nostalgia would have one believe were great. Point in case, turns out the first Monkey Island was actually shit.

    But Transarctica! Giant armored trains! That couldn’t have been shit!

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Klein: Yeah, that’s the reason why I wanted to play it. I always liked the look of it and despite the reviews saying otherwise, how could it be bad?


  4. Risingson says:

    Turns out the first monkey island was actually shit? I mean, you have a game that is actually perfectly written, which is erudite and fun in its references, which flows greatly and whose puzzles are perfectly explained and coherent, and that is shit?

    What’s next? Super Mario Bros 3, that shit platformer?

    • Clovis says:

      I’ve been an AG fan for like 20 years, but somehow missed the original Monkey Island. So when the new fancified version was on sale I bought it. I played for like an hour and I haven’t gone back. I can’t remember more than a mild chuckle at the jokes. I really don’t think the game holds up well. I’m sure I couldn’t play through a Space Quest game now either and I loved those.

      I am really enjoying Oucast right now, though. So, it’s not just the matter of the game being old. Maybe I would have like Monkey Island more as a teen. I remember playing, and mostly liking, one of the sequals a few years ago.

      Anyway, there’s just something about the game that doesn’t work for me anymore, so I don’t think Mr. Fancy Hat above is way off base here. He would be if he dissed Super Mario 3 though.

    • Risingson says:

      But Monkey Island is not about the jokes! It’s well written in the same fashion “Singin’ in the rain” is well written. Indeed I consider it the Star Wars of videogames: a game made of nostalgia, an homage to old adventure books with just the right ammount of anachronisms to make the pop culture references funny. It has a very well constructed pirate world, the character reactions make sense, the sense of everything being at the right and logical narrative place is always present. Something that, sorry, does not happen with Outcast, which is much worse written and whose characters are much poorer than a seller that just with one word and some pixels is described entirely. It’s a masterpiece of maximalism, of doing so much with so little. It does not need to be funny, because the sword fight mechanism is indeed a brilliant parody and a brilliant puzzle, or because the graphic style fits so well to the world it describes.

    • Risingson says:

      Oh shit. I can’t edit. Change “maximalism” and put “minimalism” there, or better don’t put anything and forgive my pedantic out of tune use of words.

    • Clovis says:

      @Risingson: I don’t think Outcast is better/worse than Monkey Island, but I had never played either. Monkey Island felt tedious, while Outcast drew me in. Everything about the interface just slows everything down to much. Monkey Island is just too bogged down with adventure game problems like pixel hunts.

      When I said, “joke,” I included the whole feel of the game not just the one-liners. I get what you are talking about, but I’d have to force myself to play the game to experience it. I guess that’s my point. There’s great stuff there, but I’m too lazy and easily distracted by shiny and new to experience it.

      I do agree that the writing isn’t great in Outcast, but the world is interesting.

    • Sarlix says:

      Argh beaten too it. On a side note> is this the longest reply chain ever?

    • Sarlix says:

      Oh flying pancakes of doom, I replied to the wrong reply reply.

  5. bill says:

    What!! I must defend my beloved GOG!!!! Ohh, free games…

    I guess competition is good, but i must confess I do have a certain fondness for GOG, mainly because they’re nice guys. Or they were until most of their staff were massacred by a raging koala last week.
    You don’t get stuff like that happening on stuffy old dotEMU I bet!

    • bill says:

      hmmm… turns out i don’t want the free games (except BASS, which i got off gog). I remember loving the idea of Ishar, but rather hating the implementation.
      Wish them luck though….

  6. Humppakummitus says:

    …”turns out the first Monkey Island was actually shit.”

    I’m… It’s… What?

    • Risingson says:

      Shit. North by northwest is a shit movie too. And war and peace, shit. Dovstoiesky? Shit. Edward Hopper? All shit. Don’t believe what your parents said, those things are all shit.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Yeah, I’m lost too.


    • realmenhuntinpacks says:

      sacred cow happy slapping, presumbz

    • BooleanBob says:

      Fallout is a pile of wank.

    • Clovis says:

      @Risingson: Come on, that’s a bit of hyperbole, no? Sorry, but I can’t think of any game that can be compared to Dostoyevsky or Tolstoi. Not even close. I guess you could say that Monkey Island is to Games as Tolstoi is to Novels, but I think that’s quite a stretch too.

      OTOH, DK’s choice of word was probably harsh …

    • Auspex says:

      Video games can never be books.

    • Jimmy says:

      The Half-Life 2 series is nothing but a collection of pointless retro corridor-shooters.

    • Tei says:

      Can some science-fiction book compared to Dostoyevsky?
      Can a machine inteligence be compared to a human one?
      Is videogames art?

      There are a group of people where is definitions are moving targets. With these people you can’t win.

    • Tei says:

      note to self: I sould stop beating this particular dead horse.

    • Sarlix says:

      Plane Scape was nothing but a repetitive hack n slash with no real plot or sense of motive.

    • the wiseass says:

      Where is Tosser, when you need him?

    • Clovis says:

      @wiseass: Why do you need Tosser, when I’m here?

      I didn’t want to say that Monkey Island is a bad game, but that it is now a bit inaccessible because of ye olden mechanics involved. It is quite possible for a proper right-thinking gamer to pick up Monkey Island and come away with the opinion that it is not good because they didn’t enjoy it.

    • Nick says:

      Ye olden mechanics like.. clicking on stuff?

    • Sarlix says:

      “but that it is now a bit inaccessible because of ye olden mechanics involved”

      Point and click? inaccessible? maybe if you lost all of your fingers in a tragic saw mill accident, otherwise I’d say it’s pretty easy to grasp.

    • Mr Labbes says:

      The problem with point&click games is that there is always one exact solution, and often, it barely makes sense (at least to me). The only point&click game I’ve played recently where I didn’t have to use a walkthrough all the time was The Longest Journey (although admittedly, Monkey Island was similar in that the puzzles made sense). However, I also needed a walkthrough for some of God of War’s puzzles (and I hate FFX for the temple sections), so I think my brain is different from most people’s.
      Give me a puzzle in the real world any time, but video games can’t sync to my thinking. Or something.

    • BooleanBob says:

      @Mr Labbes: I love that you cited Longest Journey as a logical, sense-making example of the adventure genre. Seriously, canal, rubber duckie, bread, fishing line, sticking plaster, railway, iron key, what?

    • Mr Labbes says:

      The only time I needed a walkthrough was the thing with the rubber ducky. That was just an impossible puzzle.
      Believe me, it weirds me out just as much you that I couldn’t solve easier puzzles (God of War…) than some of the crap presented in TLJ.
      Edit: I also didn’t say that TLJ is a great example for puzzle design, it most certainly isn’t. It’s just that I have the problem with nearly every point&click that the puzzles don’t make sense to me, so I don’t play them.

    • RedFred says:

      I’m going to go out a limb here and say that Dostoyevsky is shit. Crime and Punishment made me want to scrap out my eyes with a rusty spoon.

      (Perhaps that was too harsh. Just dragged a bit and I couldn’t keep up with all the Russian names)

  7. Tauers says:

    [With tears in my eyes]
    ¡Ishar! I remember playing it on a friend’s 8086. Also there wasn`t DLC, only expansion packs… =(

  8. Cynic says:

    Hah, I had Metal Mutant on the ST. The controls never made sense to my young mind, and I’ve never been able to emulate it properly. IF I check these guys out, I might give it another chance.

  9. Auspex says:

    I love the “key features” Drascula:

    > Suspense and mysteries punctuate this game

    > Endearing character, you’ll just want to help

    > Stop planning everything, life is just full of bouncings and mystreries, that’s why it’s fun!

    WTF are “bouncings and mystreries” (sic) ?

    • says:

      Breasts, I guess.

    • HermitUK says:

      They need to not put their site through online translation software. Another choice excerpt:

      “A unique compilation of 16 Silmarils games which will bring you to other worlds.The psychological dimension of most of these games will make you fully experience adventures and, for a while, you will really think that you literally are in the game.”

      So as I understand it, this Silmarils game pack is some sort of strong hallucinogenic drug.

  10. Baffled says:

    Who is this famous commenter that everyone is making a big deal of him calling Monkey Island shit?

    And System Shock 2 was shite.

    • Sarlix says:

      It’s a mystery commenter!… nah it was ‘Daniel Klein’ *shines giant spotlight*

  11. lhzr says:

    gog is also selling that gobliins pack and they display the publisher as CocktelVision/dotEmu and it’s cheaper than on dotEmu’s site.


  12. Sarlix says:

    They could be charging 39.99 for Beneath a steel sky and it would still be worth every penny.

    ”turns out the first Monkey Island was actually shit.”

    Oh dear.

  13. Wolfox says:

    Something is off. Check this link at DotEmu and check the banner for Ishar Compilation and Robinson’s Requiem Collection:

    link to

    Now check these pages on

    link to

    link to

    Apparently, they STOLE the banners from (unless GOG gave them permission, which I find unlikely). Something is not right…

    • Wolfox says:

      Quick update: just found that the banners on the DotEmu page actually link to Does that even make sense?

    • Sarlix says:

      Yeah I noticed that too. They’ve also used the exact same site template as GOG lol.

    • Gremmi says:

      Simple answer: Dot Emu are the company that packaged the games for GoG. They’ve actually always been for sale directly through the Dot Emu site itself, but now they’ve launched a proper account based thingamyjig to sell them through.

  14. Commander Gun says:

    Tx Kieron. Mentioning Street Fighter rekindles my bitter disappointment in SSF4 not being released on the PC :(

    • jon_hill987 says:

      I don’t understand that either, it should be **** easy to port even if they don’t sell huge numbers it must be worth it. I expect it will be a delayed release, give it six months…

    • Alastayr says:

      As far as I know, the PC version of SSF4 will release about the same time the Arcade machines come into stores. That should be around September.

      The reason is pretty simple, Arcades run a WinXP based OS and SF4 on top of that. Originally, there were no Arcade machines planned for SSF4, but fan reaction convinced them otherwise. So it’s super easy for them to release the PC version once they got the Arcades ready.

  15. realmenhuntinpacks says:

    Transarctica was one of those unreachable games for me as a kid… looked mind-bendingly awesome to my pre-teen brain, along with life or death and that frigging willy beamish game… testament to the feats of extrapolation you’re capable of as a wean – all I had to go on was the name, concept and a picture of a very swarthy gentleman in a furry hat. Then back to wizball.


  16. RLacey says:

    My reading of the wording on the site (“During 10 days, before the official opening, you’ll get the opportunity to download many games such as Ishar I, Transarctica, Metal Mutant and others for free.”), is that the free games will change over the course of the ten days…

  17. Mistabashi says:

    DotEmu is listed on Wikipedia as one of the companies signed up as a GOG supplier, so I’m guessing (also based on the similarity of their websites) that DotEmu is a publisher/distributer of some sort and is in partnership with GOG rather than being a direct competitor.

    On a side-note, I just made my first GOG purchase, and now I understand why people get so enthused about the service, it’s a very simple and very ‘human’ service that really makes me feel inclined to repeat purchase without them having to resort to “try-hard” marketing tactics. Hopefully it won’t turn out that it’s owned by Rupert Murdoch or some other global capitalist Nazi type, I want to buy more Good ‘ole Games with a clear concience.

    • Sarlix says:

      So what the hell did you purchase!!? Don’t just leave us hanging!!

    • Sarlix says:

      It was Fallout wasn’t it, I can sense it.

      No wait

      Fallout 2

      or Outcast

      OK it was Freespace 2, you may as well admit it.

      Arrrrgh just tell me!!!1

    • Mistabashi says:

      It was Fallout 2, which I (ashamedly) never got around to playing. Not very far in but I’m already enjoying it, and the GOG version runs fine on Vista (plus there’s a patch that allows you to up the resolution, on top of the unofficial bug-fix patch that I can’t remember the name of).

      Next on my list is Freespace 2, another one I missed but have a feeling I’ll love, especially with the updated open-source engine project with it’s updated shiny visuals and everything.

      Out of interest, does anyone know if X-wing / Tie-fighter will easily run on modern (Vista) systems?

    • Mistabashi says:

      Heh, you second-guessed me while I was typing :D

    • Risingson says:

      The first ones run greatly under dosbox. X-wing vs Tie Fighter and X-Wing Alliance will be much more problematic, though.

  18. Mr_Day says:

    If anyone is still wondering, I now know why not all the free games were available.

    I have just gotten an email from them showing that the games will be free for only 2 days each, keeping to a schedule. It was Ishar, now it is that Nicky whatever, 30th will be Metal Mutant, May 2nd is Maya and May 4th is Transarctica.

    I wonder if that is the same Metal Mutant I used to play the crap out of back on the Atari. If so, I hope they explain how to get the sodding Dragonfly to dock properly, accidentally triggering that was a pain in the arse.