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:-
Next, the March 1995 PC Format describing Descent as the first game to better Doom:-
This is the harshest of the reviews at 89% from the March 1995 PC Gamer:-
It scored 94% in the April 1995 PC Zone write-up, featuring an alleged guest appearance by David Hasselhoff:-
And finally by request, here is a review for Descent 2 from the April 1996 PC Zone:-
Finding reviews of The Lawnmower Man proved unusually difficult. Looking through all those 1993/94 magazines, it’s clear that CD gaming was only just beginning to take off over here and didn’t get a whole lot of coverage. When they were covered, CD games were often relegated to short independent sections near the end and the titles weren’t even listed in the reviews index with all the floppy disk games.
I did find one brief review in the July 1994 issue of PC Format. This issue gave an introduction to CD-ROM gaming with buyers guide to drives and something of a catchup on CD games reviews.
I’d possibly be slightly less harsh on the gameplay but more or less agree with every word. The 32 colour graphics would explain why it looked so awful. Sam and Max above fairs considerably better and rightly so.
It’s off topic for this site but I had a request for magazine scans on Jedi Knight + it’s add-on pack Mysteries Of The Sith which I thought I’d share here while I had them. For those that never played it, Jedi Knight was a first person shooter from the late 90’s which basically combined Quake-like gameplay with the Star Wars universe. That sells it somewhat short though as the level variety and storyline were far improved on anything Id had produced. Lucasarts had already turned out Dark Forces which did the same for Doom and the series was easily my favourite FPS of the 90’s at least as far as single player gaming is concerned. Origin had wanted to produce something similar in the Wing Commander universe in 1997 which only got as far as a pitch to EA who sadly didn’t take the offer up.
The expansion pack Mysteries Of The Sith came out a few months after Jedi Knight and is one of the earlier games I remember to move to game engine rendered cutscenes instead of FMV. This won it praise in some reviews for being more immersive but I expect was actually done because the add-on pack had a smaller budget. I always thought that the 3D engines back then were nowhere near up to the job but other games followed suit as PC gaming shifted to all-out 3D and it’s probably no coincidence that it’s about this time that I started looking into older games instead of the latest and greatest.
Onto the reviews anyway. I’ve not played it in at least a decade so I’m not sure how it would stand up these days but it’s fair to say that Jedi Knight met with unanimous praise from all concerned at the time. Starting with the October 1997 PC Zone:-
From the November 1997 Ultimate PC:-
From the December 1997 PC Format:-
From the December 1997 PC Gamer:-
From the Xmas 1997 PC Home:-
And finally the January 1998 PC Guide:-
Moving onto Mysteries Of The Sith this review is from the April 1998 PC Zone:-
From the April 1998 PC Format:-
And this last one is from the April 1998 PC Gamer:-
I usually like to keep this site strictly on the topic of Origin but I was asked the other day about magazine scans relating to X-Wing and this sounded like a good excuse to search out some articles on one of my favourite games. I expect a lot of other Wing Commander fans will have fond memories of the X-Wing series as well so without further ado here is a review of X-Wing from the May 1993 PC Review:-
And another from the May 1993 PC Zone:-
Moving onto Tie Fighter, this is from the October 1994 PC Games magazine:-
And one last review from the September 1994 PC Format:-
While I’m off topic, I don’t imagine that many gamers can have missed the recent buzz about Kickstarter being used first by Tim Schafer to fund a new point and click adventure and then by Brian Fargo for Wasteland 2. Anyone who knows me at all wouldn’t need to be told that I’ve contributed to both of those. Further to this, it was announced on Tuesday that there will be a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new Tex Murphy game starting up in a couple of months. I’ve been waiting for that particular sequel for 14 years and the only question is how much money I’m willing to throw at it.
I’d like to give a quick mention to another much smaller Kickstarter gaming project. Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective was a series of FMV based adventure games that started right at the dawn of the CD-ROM era long before games like 7th Guest actually persuaded us all to get the required hardware. The original developer wants to remaster these for modern PC’s and iOS/Android and is trying to raise some funds.
I can’t say I’ve ever actually played any of the original games but as one of the few fans of FMV and someone who has read their way through every Sherlock Holmes story I’ve been intrigued by them since seeing the original reviews. The project is after a fairly small amount of money and you get 9 cases (originally sold as 3 games) for an investment of $9 which looks like a good deal to me. I have a strong suspicion that it won’t get the required funding but if it sounds like your sort of thing head on over to Kickstarter and prove me wrong.