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Ishar 3: The Seven Gates of Infinity

Silmarils 1994
Genre: RPG
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

Silmarils could not find a worse time to release Ishar III. 1994 was a year when highly anticipated sequels were battling surprise hits, and Ishar III was neither. On one side you've had games like Ultima VII, which was so massive that Origin split it in several parts, Dungeon Master II, one of the most anticipated RPGs of all times, Might and Magic: World of Xeen, arguably the best M&M game, and Wizardry VI, with a new graphics engine. On the other side, you've had several surprise hits, which became cult games by now: Lands of Lore: Throne of Chaos and System Shock. Somewhere in the middle, there were the underdogs: Ishar III and Realms of Arkania II. Both games were the sequels of rather obscure series, published by rather obscure companies. Silmarils is a French company, which had a moderate success in Europe, but is unknown in the US. Sir-Tech, while well known, based its Realms of Arkania series on the Das Schwarze Auge German role-playing series (editor's note: that series was made by Attic and only published by Sir-Tech in the USA -Mr Creosote). It comes like a surprise that among such an exquisite company, Ishar III is still alive. In fact, it is shining.

It Came From The Desert

Cinemaware 1990
Genre: Strategy, Adventure
Rating: 5/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Amiga

Lizard Breath, a small desert town in 1951. A meteor has just crashed down here. This is your chance to do some research! So you head over there and start working.

Suddenly, unusual things happen in and around the village. Animals are behaving strangely. On a nearby farm, a cow's head is bitten off and all the guts have disappeared. You examine some rock samples found near the crash site and discover one glowing piece of rock you've never seen before! Are there any links?

Italy 1990

U.S. Gold 1990
Genre: Sport, Action
Rating: 2/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Amiga

Just like movie tie-ins, 'official' games of major sport events are crap in most cases. After paying for the expensive licence, little money seems to be left to make a decent game. Or, maybe the companies think it won't be important anyway, because fans will buy the game just because of the name.


Ocean 1990
Genre: Action
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Amiga

You walk from left to right and kill a few enemies. Sounds like Super Mario World? Maybe, but it's not! And it's not even something similar! It's Ivanhoe!

The 'story' is quite simple: King Richard has been captured by the French and you have to rescue him. Alone. You start your quest in England. There you have to get to the port. Unfortunately, a forest full of villains lies in the way. So you have no other choice but to fight your way through. You draw your sword and show them what you're made of! These weak peasants are no match for you! Some hits with your blade and they fall to the ground dead. Also those cowards hiding in the trees won't escape you!


Ryan Kinsman 2012
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 1/6
Licence: Freeware
System: Interpreter

You know what – let's ignore the technical level after this one sentence: This game is very buggy, even game mechanics central to the game don't work as they should most of the time. This is obvious and it needs no further analysis. Let's instead focus on what the author intended the game to be and measure the success of the applied storytelling and gameplay techniques. Unfortunately, the conclusion will still be that this is not a worthwhile game, but at least on this level, it is worth examining in a little more detail.

Jagged Alliance

Sir-Tech 1995
Genre: Strategy
Rating: 5/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

Despot Lucas Santino has taken control over the tropical island of Metavira. Hire a team of mercenaries and get there by helicopter in order to reestablish the rightful circumstances.

At the beginning you have to recruit a powerful squad with limited financial means. For this purpose, there are the services of the "AIM" agency that offers a quite broad variety of mercenaries with different abilities. The mercs' skills in various fields like marksmanship, agility and explosives are indicated by values between 0 and 100. There are cheap wimps and expensive, highly qualified experts.

Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games

Sir-Tech 1996
Genre: Strategy
Rating: 5/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

Everybody hates cash-in sequels. Just look at X-Com: Terror from the Deep - nobody likes playing that! Oh, wait, there are people who do. Sometimes, 'more of the same' seems to be a 'good enough' concept. Deadly Games is Jagged Alliance's Terror from the Deep: additional fodder for veterans with some minor cosmetic changes.

James Pond II: Codename Robocod

Millenium 1991
Genre: Action
Rating: 5/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Amiga

Compared to the first part, James Pond 2 may appear to be a step backwards. In many ways, it's a much more conventional game. Where the predecessor set itself apart from the usual Jump 'n' Run genre by having a fish as a protagonist, the challenge to the player was indeed a little bit different. This game has James put on a special armour which enables him to get out of the water so that he's now been turned into yet another common genre character.

Jazz Jackrabbit

Epic Megagames 1994
Genre: Action
Rating: 5/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

What would happen if you gave Sonic the Hedgehog a huge gun and made him into a rabbit? Well, you end up getting Jazz Jackrabbit. Developed by Epic Megagames in 1994, Jazz Jackrabbit is a fast paced Sidescroller full of enemies to blast and tons of levels. The story is very simple, an evil turtle named Devan Shell has kidnapped the rabbit princess and Jazz is the only one who can save her and stop Deven Shell from ruling the world.


Sharedata Inc 1987
Genre: Puzzle
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

Although some people (and especially the producers) may claim differently, Jeopardy! is actually one of the most straightforward quiz shows on TV. Nevermind that question-answer stuff - it's still basically the same. Especially because most of the 'answers' aren't really what you'd give as an answer if you were asked the respective 'question' ('What is red?' - 'The colour of the stitchings of a major league Baseball game'... right, that's how I'd define it, too). Basically, the three candidates are presented with a sort of 'definition', and they have to say what it is about.

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