Classic Windows Games

This category features classic computer games that could be founds under the Windows platform. Now often you could also find these for MS-DOS or other systems such as the Amiga or Commodore 64, but they were well known and fan favorites on Windows 95 and 98.

Classic Windows GamesComputer Games

Outlaws

Outlaws was a first-person shooter style game using a modified version of the Dark Forces game engine, and although the game’s storyline was focused on single-player gameplay, the game also featured a robust multiplayer mode. Players could choose to play up to six of the main characters within the game: ex-Marshall Anderson, Matt “Dr. Death” Jackson (who killed the Marshall’s wife), “Bloody” Mary Nash, “Gentleman” Bob Graham (the railroad baron), “Spittin” Jack Sanchez, and Chief Two-Feathers, with advantages and disadvantages for each.

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Classic Windows GamesComputer Games

Battlefield 1942 (PC)

Although the game play remains fun (there’s nothing like trying to fly a bomber like a fighter, or seeing the pilot parachuting out of the plane you’re all in) the graphics are looking a bit naff, and the control system seems slow and clunky, especially if you’ve been sitting there playing something newer and shinier. It’s a game for Sunday afternoon when it’s raining and you’re not in the mood for anything to stressful from the gaming library.

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Classic Windows GamesComputer Games

Hero’s Quest

You could play Hero Quest either as a Fighter, Magic-User, or Thief. The game’s puzzles were designed so that they could be solved in different ways by the different character classes, and you could improve your character’s skills and inventory as you played the game. It played as an adventure game, where your character completed quests and solved puzzles, moving the storyline to its epic finish. By today’s PC game standards, the graphics and sound are rudimentary at best, with your hero looking a bit like a stick figure jerkily moving about the screen. But a good retro gamer never judges an old game by today’s standards! The storyline is strong, and can still be fun to play today.

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Classic Windows GamesComputer Games

Oil’s Well

I thought I’d let you know just what a visually stunning, additively fun and mostly forgotten little gem this 1990 Sierra production is. Well, it is, and its VGA version for our ageing DOS boxes is most probably the best arcade/puzzler this developer ever came up with, though admittedly they did have to remake its earlier 1983 version. Oh, and it would be fair to call this one abandonware. Have a play/look.

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Classic Windows GamesComputer Games

Loom

Bobbin Threadbare, the aforementioned only surviving member of the Guild of Weavers, must learn the ways of his craft. This is not a simple adventure game; players don’t simply point and click their way to the grand finale. In LOOM, magic is music and music is magic. Bobbin can cast spells, but only as musical sequences on the C Major scale, and only if he possesses his “distaff,” a combination walking stick and wizard’s staff. Much of the game revolves around Bobbin seeking new “drafts” – the magical musical sequences – for him to use in his quest to save the universe from a “grey strand” that has unbalanced creation.

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Classic Windows GamesComputer Games

Companions of Xanth

The game plays as a standard mouse controlled adventure game. You select what action you want to do from a list of verbs, then select the object with which you want to perform the action. Unlike some Legend adventure games, there is no text input. Inventory management is controlled by the mouse in a similar fashion, by selecting the object and then the action. Graphics are crisp at 256 color VGA, with the player touring various scenic vistas of Xanthian beauty.

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Classic Windows GamesComputer Games

Twilight 2000

The Twilight 2000 PC game was based on the pen-and-paper RPG of the same name, first published in 1984 by the Game Designer’s Workshop (GDW). It was a game of its time, with the Cold War raging and fears of nuclear Armageddon permeating the international consciousness. Players assumed the role of soldiers trapped in Europe after the final offensive and counter-offensive between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. The game had a cult following, but with the close of the Cold War, the appeal of the game began to wane. A modified history was presented in the 1993 version of the game that attempted use the attempted coup against Boris Yeltsin, then President of the Russian Federation, as the focal point of an alternate history, but never quite caught on.

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Classic Windows GamesComputer Games

Panzer General

Panzer General offered players both single scenario play, in which they could assume the role of an Allied or an Axis general, as well as a Campaign Mode, in which the player attempts to win World War II for Germany. The campaign runs from 1939 to 1945, and as units gain battle experience, they become stronger, and the player (as general) gains access to upgrades and reinforcements – assuming they are victorious, that is. If the player achieves their scenario objectives with five or more game turns to spare, it is considered a “Major Victory,” which unlocks further game elements.

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Classic Windows GamesComputer Games

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark

You play a helpful adventurer in Elvira, brought in to rescue the lovely Mistress of the Dark from the dangers of her own castle. It seems Elvira’s quite-dead grandmother wants to return to the Realm of the Living, and plans to unleash a horrific assault on her surroundings – and upon her errant granddaughter, too. Poor Elvira wants nothing to do with her grandmother’s schemes, but she’s lacking her usual magical arsenal as all her potion ingredients and equipment is scattered throughout her castle, and she needs you to collect it all and return it to her, while dispatching the nasty creatures that her dear grandmother has prowling the corridors and rooms along the way.

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Classic Windows GamesComputer Games

Empire Deluxe

Game play of Empire Deluxe is very familiar, as it should be considering it is the great-grandaddy of the entire RTS genre. Each player starts with one city, and needs to develop his military strength to conquer the surrounding territory. Military units are varied, and include infantry, armor, transports, destroyers, cruisers, submarines, battleships, aircraft carriers, fighters, and bombers. Targets have differing defensive and offensive values, and not every city is easily conquered. (In fact, conquering cities lowers their production capacity, and if a city changes hands often, it becomes almost useless as a source of production.)

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Classic Windows GamesComputer Games

Ascendancy

As could be expected in any multi-civilization strategy game, Ascendancy included a robust diplomacy element. As new species discovered your existence, their attitudes and responses were influenced by how you reacted to them. Peace treaties, hostilities, technology exchanges, invitations to join in current conflicts were examples of some of the outcomes resulting from an exchange of diplomatic pleasantries. As in real life, species who considered you weak would make broader demands and reject overtures; species who considered you strong worked on making you their best friend.

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Classic Windows GamesComputer Games

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

Of course, even before Fate of Atlantis was released, Indiana Jones was already a cultural phenomenon. There had been three movies (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), and at the time of Fate of Atlantis’ release, a television series was in its first year of production (The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles). Games based on the movies had been released on several platforms, including Indiana Jones in the Lost Kingdom in 1984 (C64), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1987 (Amiga, Apple II, Atari ST, C64, DOS), Indiana Jones in Revenge of the Ancients in 1987 (Apple II, DOS), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Action Game in 1989 (C64, DOS, Atari ST, Amiga), andIndiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure in 1989 (Amiga, Atari ST, DOS, Macintosh). In other words, this was a franchise with both a solid history and strong fan base.

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Classic Windows GamesComputer Games

James Bond: The Stealth Affair

The story revolved around a missing F-19 stealth fighter, stolen from an American base and tracked (how did they do that?) to somewhere in Latin America. Who did it? Could it be the Russians pulling a Red October or could it be some Latin American tinpot dictator or crime lord? The danger of having a Latin American drug lord having stealth technology was sufficient to bring in the best troubleshooter in the business: James Bond. The action began as fast as our man James stepped off his flight into the Santa Paragua airport, holding only a briefcase and his airline ticket, with the need to somehow get past a maddeningly efficient airport security guard. “I don’t care who you are. In this country you are all outsiders.“ The game moved on from there, with a variety of puzzles to solve, as well as a few arcade action sequences to complete.

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Classic Windows GamesComputer Games

Wolf

The game mechanics really sold the “be-a-wolf” concept. Sound effects of birds and other noises of nature provided ambience, while the graphics were crisp and the scenic vistas marvellous to look at. As your wolf travelled it became either hungry or thirsty, and needed to be satiated. The game simulated a wolf’s incredible sense of smell by showing various scents that your wolf discovered, some close, some far, and all trackable. Humans were a severe danger and were to be avoided at all costs, and could be detected by both sound and scent. You could even howl!

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Classic Windows GamesComputer Games

Pirates

Sid Meier’s Pirates! was not only popular amongst gamers, it also performed well in the eyes of the gaming press. It was awarded “Action Game of the Year” by Computer Gaming World, and also the Origin Award for “Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Computer Game of 1987”. The game also ranked at #18 in the Computer Gaming World’s 150 Best Games of All Time. Clearly, this game has remained in the gaming public’s eye for a reason, making Sid Meier’s Pirates! a worthy addition to anyone’s game collection.

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Classic Windows GamesComputer Games

American McGee’s Alice

Of course, American McGee’s Alice is not a perfect game. The level design is brilliant, but the gameplay has its pedestrian moments. For instance, if you are a fan of games that require platform-style jumping to avoid enemies, locate items and switches, and to find level exits, this is the game for you. For those that find all this leaping about a tad annoying…not so much. It’s best to familiarize yourself with the controls for jumping quickly in this game, as you will be doing a lot of it. However, if you can get past that, the rest of the gameplay has enough variation to keep the player wanting more.

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Classic Windows GamesComputer Games

Zork: Grand Inquisitor

Zork: Grand Inquisitor received good reviews (PC Gamer Magazine gave it an Editor’s Choice award and scored it at 88% in its May, 1988 issue, while GameSpot scored it as a 8.0 “Great”). The biggest fault that reviewers agreed upon was that it seemed too short, and a longer visit in this archetypical gamer universe was wished for. Now that’s a complaint any developer would like to hear! It was released for both Windowsand Macintosh platforms, and played the same on either one. Also, a DVD version was released in 1998, which also included the full version of Zork: Nemesis as an added bonus.

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