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John Walker

7 days ago

Feature: The forgotten ARPG

You forgot all about Nox, and should probably put that right

Twas but a few weeks ago I was lamenting the lack of tangiable story and motivation in Action RPGs, as I wrote about one of my all-time favourites, Titan Quest, observing that the entire genre offers only two-thirds of a game. Then, as I browsed the archives on GOG.com, I spotted a game called Nox. I've seen the name a bunch of times. I recognised…

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2 weeks ago

Feature: Misadventure

Bookworm Adventures has been erased from the internet, and I want to know why

There's been a murder. And no one seems to have noticed. One of my favourite ever games, released during the peak of PopCap's glory days, is simply gone. Not just no longer on sale, but seemingly erased from history, from the current timeline. Bookworm Adventures (and it's sequel), the adorable word-spelling combat game, has been Shazammed right out of existence.

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3 weeks ago

Feature: Definitive Defenestration

Gunpoint is perhaps the least judgmental game ever made

Right, disclaimers up front for this one. I've known Tom Francis, developer of Gunpoint, for at least fifteen years. I remember when he was hired as Disc Editor ("What's a 'disc', grandpa?") for PC Gamer, I've eaten homemade pizza round his house, and felt cool because I already knew him when he was all super-famous at GDC in 2014. I can in no sensible way…

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4 weeks ago

Feature: Great Zeus

Titan Quest is two-thirds of a game, but exactly what I need

I wrote a different introduction to this one. One about how odd it is that Titan Quest should be a game I so frequently return to given its being the antithesis of much of why I play games. But while I'll get to that, I need to begin with the real introduction:I'm really struggling. This situation, this lockdown, it's triggering my mental health issues in…

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1 month ago

Feature: GOAL IN !

1987’s Rainbow Islands boasts more great ideas than most modern platform games

First and foremost, yes, Rainbow Islands absolutely did come out on PC. Taito's 1987 sequel to the far more ubiquitous Bubble Bobble eventually reached our waters some 17 years later via Empire Interactive's Xplosiv label. All but another 17 years later, I felt absolutely compelled to give it another play, driven by the fondest childhood memories of spending countless hours in its super-colourful world.

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Feature: Aim for an iceberg

Starship Titanic really isn’t worth dredging up from the bottom of the Santraginus V sea

I find Starship Titanic such a sad thing. It was Douglas Adams's last work of fiction, and it was a truly terrible one. This masterful creator, the man who brought us The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy in all its forms, spent what would turn out to be his last few years working on a fundamentally broken videogame. Not for lack of ambition, certainly. In…

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2 months ago

Feature: Put your bigfoot in it

Sam & Max Hit The Road is a sparkling gem that no longer fits into modern settings

As I continue my coughogeddon-inspired journey into comfort gaming, my next intended destination was Day Of The Tentacle. I've always loved it, ever since my dad bought me the prism-shaped box it so ridiculously came in. I've replayed it so many times, most recently last year four years ago when the Remastered version came out. (FOUR YEARS?) I adore it. But as I started it…

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Feature: Move your silly buttocks, you fool

I still love The Dig despite just about everything

I love The Dig. While I definitely played it in 1995, I've almost no memories of that. But the last time I played it in 2011, I rediscovered a LucasArts adventure that felt like something truly special, something unique in their oeuvre, and something that hit the sweet spot of the science fiction I most enjoy. In this difficult period, returning to it sounded just…

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Feature: Islands Of Terror

King’s Quest VI is as good as the King’s Quest series got

I'm never one to shy away from criticism. I am the sort of brave, intrepid fellow who takes it on the chin, and uses it to begin introspective journeys in search of clarity and truth. And it is for this reason, as you will see, that I have returned to the 1993 version of Sierra's King's Quest VI.

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3 months ago

Feature: Dungeon Mastery

Legend Of Grimrock still brings the gaming generations together

Legend Of Grimrock is a very special game to me. Hell, it's a very special game, full stop. It's splendidly well made, brilliantly designed, and absolutely captivating with a minimal number of tools. Look at the unsightly joy it inspired in me. But personally, it's also a game that feels like a direct line to my late father. Not least because he wrote about the…

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Feature: Yes, Myst is still one of the worst games ever

Is Myst still one of the worst games ever?

I have been rude about Myst for longer than many readers will have been alive. Seriously, I'm talking for 21 years professionally, and six years before that as a hobbyist hater of terrible games. But, today I confront myself with an uncomfortable reality: I've not played it in a very long time. I've been wrong about other games. What if I'm wrong about Myst? What…

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Feature: Don't gib it the time of day

Daikatana is a game that lives down to its reputation

When I turn my mind to choosing the next game for Past Perfect, I tend to pick between one of two agenda. The first is to replay a game I remember really enjoying to see if I was right to. The other is to replay a game that has a terrible reputation to see if it's deserved. I think it's obvious Daikatana appears in the…

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Feature: Dishonorable

Thief (2014) isn’t as bad as you remember, but gosh, no, it’s still not good enough

My agenda: I really wanted to return to 2014's hated Thief and prove that it never deserved the vitriol it received. My reality: before the game even started I was bombarded by a barrage of pop-up windows informing me which new heists and levels were available to me as DLC, and I started to hate it a bit already.So why this desire to defend it?…

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4 months ago

Feature: A Keeper

Thief: Deadly Shadows will still have you fearing the light some 16 years on

I was a little afraid of returning to this one. Not because I knew it'd mean returning to The Cradle, even though I was very intrigued to see if it would still work. But because I once scored it 90% in a magazine, and I really didn't want to be wrong. What if I'd been caught up in the hype of reviewing a massive title…

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Feature: Frobozz Magic

Zork: Grand Inquisitor is the only pre-rendered, FMV game that should ever have been allowed

Last week I settled an old argument. Well, lost an old argument. RPS contributor Richard Cobbett had always told me Zak McKracken was a terrible game, and oh boy, he was right. Which reminded me of our other decades-long feud: Zork - Grand Inquisitor.

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Feature: She blows poodles over old noizglunk

Zak McKracken And The Alien Mindbenders: The LucasArts game you don’t want to play any more

I remember really loving Zak McKracken And The Alien Mindbenders. Richard Cobbett, frequently of this parish, always tells me that I am stupid and wrong and it was a terrible game. So I finally decided to prove him wrong.

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Feature: VVSOP2123

Star Trek: Judgment Rites is a joyful anachronism from an impossible past

The shock doesn't wear off. Before you all departed for Christmas shore leave, I wrote about returning to the peculiarly named Star Trek: 25th Anniversary Edition, wherein I expressed the complete bizarreness that comes with hearing the original cast of the TV show reunited to voice, of all things, a point-and-click adventure game. Everything about that just seems so utterly anachronistic today, and yet in…

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5 months ago

Feature: "That's a phaser, not a flashlight!"

Star Trek: 25th Anniversary has so much to teach modern games

Please update your nomenclature from Star Trek: 25nd Anniversary to Star Trek: 52th Anniversary. It is indeed a worrisome 27 years since this first Star Trek graphic adventure game came out in 1992. But sure - SURELY - it must be absolutely unplayable rubbish now, right?I mean, let's look at the ingredients: TV/Movie tie-in game. Non-Sierra/LucasArts early '90s adventure. Three decades old.Thing is, it's, well,…

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