PC Gamer Top 100 – 1998

Some months back I got a request for PC Gamer Top 100 lists. I pulled out a small stack of them ready to scan, only ever did 1997 and the rest have been sat around ever since. About time I carried on with 1998.

This list sees the beginning of the takeover of 3D accelerated games with the likes of Unreal and Jedi Knight entering the top 100. I remember Battlezone being a surprisingly good first person strategy game so it’s nice to see that up there. Fallout also makes the list as a new entry but way further down than I might have expected.

More Origin games drop off with Crusader and Shadowcaster losing their places. There is what I imagine must be the last new entry from an Origin game in the shape of Ultima Online (unless Ultima 9 makes a shock appearance next year). We’ll find out next time, hopefully a lot sooner than the last post.

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As far as more regular posting goes, I’ve been spending 4 hours a day commuting since February which hasn’t left me much time or inclination in recent months. I’ve been trying to move nearer to the new job but the process of moving house in the UK is long and drawn out to say the least. I’m nearly there now and expect to be moving some time before Xmas so maybe things will get back to normal next year. At the very least, I’m planning a series on putting a games room together as the new house will have enough space to do the job properly. At some point before then I have to pack all this stuff up, not something I’m looking forward to.

I have still put some gaming in and played through the whole Quest For Glory series from the start over the last couple of months, something I’ve wanted to do for many years. Loved the first four, No 5 not so much but I should be glad the series got an ending at all given the state of Sierra at the time.

PC Gamer Top 100 -1997

By “popular” request, here is a scan of PC Gamer’s top 100 games article from July 1997, exactly 20 years ago. This time period just about marks the end of the non 3D accelerated era as evidenced by some of the new entries on the list such as Tomb Raider, MDK and Carmageddon which were initially released without 3dfx support and patched shortly after.

I haven’t checked but expect that Origin’s contribution to the list are much the same as the year before with System Shock at 16, Ultima Underword 1/2 at 28, Ultima 8 at 60, Crusader No Regret at 74 and Shadow Caster at 95. Wing Commander however gets emitted entirely with a nod only in the special award for perseverance! UK PC mags really didn’t like Wing Commander in this era.

There are at least some genuine favourites of mine among the new entries, especially Dungeon Keeper and Toonstruck. Some choices look very odd in hindsight and it goes without saying that my list would be entirely different but that’s always the case with these things. I do find picking Ultima 8 out of the whole series indefensible but it’s nice that someone likes it I suppose.

It’s the games on here that I haven’t tried that interest me the most so I’m coming away from reading through this list thinking I really should get that copy of D/Generation off the shelf and actually play the thing.

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Descent Reviews

As I suspected, the UK press liked Descent a whole lot more than I did with all of the reviews I found scoring around 90%. The bulb on my scanner has gone so it’s photos only I’m afraid until I get it fixed/replaced. I’ve uploaded the images unaltered so everything should be just about legible.

The first is a matter of fact review from the April 1995 PC Review:-

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Next, the March 1995 PC Format describing Descent as the first game to better Doom:-

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This is the harshest of the reviews at 89% from the March 1995 PC Gamer:-

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It scored 94% in the April 1995 PC Zone write-up, featuring an alleged guest appearance by David Hasselhoff:-

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And finally by request, here is a review for Descent 2 from the April 1996 PC Zone:-

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Contraption Zack Reviews

I found a handful of Contraption Zack articles among the magazines. This first from the April 1993 PC Review is the cover disc I must have originally played the demo from.

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As for reviews, here is a tiny write-up from the February 1993 PC Format.

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And this is a full review from the March 1993 PC Review. Both of these reviews broadly match my own opinion. I don’t reckon the repetition is as big a deal as stated here given how short the game is though.

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The Legacy – Magazine Reviews

I only found the two reviews for The Legacy and they differ wildly. The first from the June 1993 PC Zone below is the most negative citing criticisms such as the game being more Lovecraft than Poe, objects just lying around, the room layout not making sense and the combat being difficult. All of these are true but I didn’t regard any of them as major issues. I may be doing the reviewer a disservice but I do get the strong impression they barely played the game. Certainly none of these screenshots are beyond the very early levels. One thing I do take out of this review is the Horrorsoft games it mentions were horror dungeon crawlers along something of a similar vein. I’d forgotten about them entirely and really should try them out one of these days.

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Onto the second review from the May 1993 PC Review. This is the one that got me to buy the game 23 years back so it goes without saying they liked it a whole lot more than PC Zone. The version I played did allow for saving of custom screen layouts so this must have been added post review. It still scores a very healthy 8 which is the same as Lemmings 2 and X-Wing which both got reviewed in the same issue. Maybe timing was The Legacy’s problem in the end with two big titles like that in the same month. To compound this, Veil of Darkness and Shadow Of The Comet both with a similar horror theme are in the same issue. It clearly wasn’t a bad month for PC gaming although the balance was redressed to a large extent by Accolade’s Wacky Funsters. Hopefully I’m the only person who remembers that turkey.

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Finally, the August 1993 PC Review featured a brief guide to playing The Legacy which I happened to spot when doing those Tornado scans. It’s a long way off a walkthrough but offers a few hints to help out in those difficult opening sections.

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