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The Masterplan

Shark Punch 2015
Genre: Strategy, Puzzle, Action
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

The early 1970s, the setting of the great heist films – a theme transformed into games only rarely so far. The Masterplan picks up the crumbs left behind by the few classics in this tiny, tiny genre and mixes it with some thematic cues from more recent industry developments.

The New Zealand Story

Taito 1988
Genre: Action
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Atari ST

Every system of the 80s and early 90s had 'its' platformer. This immensely popular genre was especially liked by the companies because it was so easy to make those games! You didn't need any ground-breaking new ideas. The basics are always the same anyway: run from left to right (and sometimes up and down) and avoid your sprite is killed by the nasty monsters. To kill those, there were two general ways: shooting them (in whatever way) or jumping on their heads. Whoever came up with the latter must have smoked a bit too much of the wrong stuff! But for some reason, this concept stuck.

The Oregon Trail

The Learning Company 1988
Genre: Strategy, Adventure
Rating: 3/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

You are bound to Oregon, a city of the west where you hope to start a new life. In the most boring way possible, just as this game is just about travelling, of the most boring and accident prone kind possible.

The Patrician

Ascon 1993
Genre: Strategy
Rating: -
Licence: Commercial
System: Amiga
English version of Der Patrizier.

The Pawn

Magnetic Scrolls 1986
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Amiga

Europe's answer to Infocom wasn't in fact all that similar to its american counterpart. Apart from the obvious facts of being founded a lot later and surviving longer, Magnetic Scrolls developed their games for a completely different market. While Infocom was still stuck with the inferior 'typewriters' ruling the US market (to this day), Magnetic Scrolls wrote their games for 'home computers' - with the European market in mind, where these machines were immensely popular. The Pawn, their first game, was developed for the Sinclair QL, a then brand new computer which turned out to be a very bad flop. The game was ported to the other new 16 bit machines: the Atari ST and the Amiga. These versions first showed how fresh Magnetic Scrolls' approach to the genre was: they featured a set of graphics showing the settings in stunning quality! The later ports to the ever-popular 8 bit platforms (C64, Sinclair Spectrum) had to live without these graphics again.

The Perfect General

White Wolf Productions 1991
Genre: Strategy
Rating: 5/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Amiga

The early 90s made the previously hardcore genre of hex-based wargames accessable to a much broader audience. The rules got simpler, the controls easier and the graphics less cryptic. The prime example of this trend is of course Battle Isle by Blue Byte. To a lesser extent, The Perfect General contributed there, too.

The Prophecy

Coktel Vision 1993
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

When your grandfather is a big guy on the wizard business, and also is working for the government, your destiny is sealed. Someday you are going to save the place because the old man grew too old and the bad guy came back.

The Pyramids of Egypt

Softdisk 1985
Genre: Action
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

Before there was idSoft, there was Ideas from the Deep. And before there were 3D shooters, there were Pyramids of Egypt. True to idSoft's later games, this game is an arcade that requires quick thinking and some tactical-level decision-making.

The Quest for the Holy Grail

Dream Software 1984
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 1/6
Licence: Commercial
System: ZX Spectrum

The Quest for the Holy Grail - a classic movie of epic proportions. Even though I've been able to quote virtually the whole movie from memory for years, I still watch it all the time, and each time, it cracks me up (the Political Peasants scene got me through some pretty bleak times back at university). This, unfortunately, can't be said about this game.

The Savage Empire

Origin 1990
Genre: RPG
Rating: 5/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

On earth, an experiment with the moonstone the Avatar got on his last adventure goes awry and carries him, along a professor and a reporter, to the lost Valley of Eodon, where dinosaurs and humans live together.

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