This review of Shadowcaster comes from the January 1994 issue of PC Zone, courtesy of the scans from Ian Williams. I liked Shadowcaster more than the reviewer did but I can understand the problems they have with the gameplay. It was slow-paced to the extent that I recall only being able to beat it by changing into the fast-healing character and walking away from the keyboard for 30 minutes at a time while my health regenerated.
Here are some scans that have been a seriously long time coming. 7 years ago, I uploaded Part 2 of PC Zone’s article on their trip to the Origin offices but I’ve been unable to see the first part until today when Ian sent through his photos of PC Zone Issue 10 (January 1994). I’ll be uploading the full issue shortly but I’m pulling out a few Origin articles for the site first. This part mainly concentrates on the forthcoming Ultima 8 and Wings Of Glory (going by the name Warbirds at the time). There is also a nice photo of the Origin offices which has got me wondering if anyone still has that sign from the front wall…
Thanks to the efforts of Ian Williams, I’ve been able to add one of the missing early PC Zone issues to the rest of the archive at http://126.96.36.199/PCZone
These early issues are fairly large and Ian’s scanner wasn’t big enough unfortunately so it has been photographed instead and is slightly lower quality than usual. It is still perfectly legible and a whole lot better than no scan at all. Ian is hopefully going to be able to supply the rest of the early missing issues so we have those to look forward to. I for one will be reading them all cover to cover.
This April 94 issue covers plenty of classic games including Doom, Sim City 2000, Beneath A Steel Sky, Star Trek 25th Anniversary and an Origin game in the shape of the CD release of Strike Commander. I’m particularly intrigued by Wizard (aka Hexx) which I would have snapped up at the time in my quest for something to fill the Ultima Underworld gap. I recognise the cover art from Future Crew’s 2nd Reality demo but the game passed me by until now. I’ll be on the hunt for a boxed copy if anyone has one to spare.
I’ve been meaning to post this for ages but at long last here is Charlie Brooker’s review of System Shock from PC Zone issue 20. He absolutely loves it of course giving it a whopping 95% in an issue shared with Doom 2 which only scored 90%. I gather it never sold as well as it should at the time and I’m wondering if going up against Doom 2 wasn’t the best idea. The CD version didn’t follow for another year or so of course so the version we are all familiar with is even better than the one reviewed here.
There have been quite a few Origin related Kickstarters over recent months that should be delivering the finished goodies imminently. One that arrived a few weeks back was the latest Wing Commander CD from Wing Commander 3-5 composer George Oldziey. His original CD was a full orchestral recording of some of his Wing Commander music and very good it was too. This latest one is a more modest jazz interpretation of some of the Wing Commander themes recorded with his Latin jazz band for the first half of the album, along with some more conventionally re-orchestrated versions (recorded on a high end synthesizer) in the second half.
I wasn’t sure the world was ready for jazzed up versions of Wing Commander music but I was clearly always going to back the campaign. The CD starts with a swinging version of the Kilrathi theme music. Listening to such a familiar tune altered like this does bring the disco version of the Star Wars theme to mind and I’ll confess to finding the whole notion a little amusing. It really shouldn’t work but somehow does, it’s actually not bad at all. The other jazz tracks center around the Wing 3 bar music which is a more obvious target for a jazz group and it all fits quite nicely.
The re-orchestrated tracks are more up my street if I’m honest all sounding much better than the original recordings. The Wing Commander 3 & 4 music is some of the best of the era. Chris Roberts should have got George to write the music for the movie if you ask me – I might have liked it a bit more. I can’t see me listening to this all that often but it’s certainly a bit of fun and George has delivered everything he promised once again. I’m very much looking forward to backing the next one if there is one.