This is the second part of an article on Origin from the February 1994 PC Zone. If you are wondering where part one is, the short answer is that I don’t have the January issue. That apparently dealt with Ultima VIII and Warbirds 1917-1918 (Warbirds later become Wings Of Glory). It’s strange that the Strike branding wasn’t used for the title really although to me a game called French Strike conjours up images of a gallic airport worker simulator.
This article concentrates on previews of Bioforge and Pacific Strike with passing mentions to Wing Commander and System Shock. According to this System Shock was called Bios Fear for a time which I have to say would have been a great (if not all that commercial) title.
After a slight delay, my oversized parcel of gaming posters made it here from the States this week. I won’t share the lot now but here is a Bioforge standup advertising display which would have been used in stores back around 1995 when the game originally came out.
This is made of thick cardboard and about 4 foot tall with a built-in stand at the back. Origin did these standups for several of their games around this time. Keenan Weaver posted his Crusader one among all sorts of other cool Crusader memorabilia a week ago over at Echo Sector.
There is also a photo of the WC4 standup art available from here on wcnews.
That’s all the standups that I’m aware of. If anyone has or can point me at photo’s of any others, I’d love to see them. I have a spare one of these Bioforge standups by the way which is up for grabs at a price if anyone wants it.
This is a compilation of Bioforge, Wing Commander 3 and System Shock (CD Version) which I think was published in 1996. It wouldn’t have belonged in the Ultima guide but I couldn’t spot it in the Origin companion guide and it’s not got an entry on Mobygames so I thought it must warrant a post. Despite the lack of information, it can’t be especially rare as I’ve seen several of them around without looking very hard.
It comes in an oversized box which is about the same length as the Utlima 9 Dragon Edition but not as wide. One of the curiosities with this package is that since no one seems to have heard of it, it’s usually cheaper than the unboxed copy of System Shock CD would be on its own. I could have ditched the box, spilt and sold the contents and made a few quid but that would be sacrilidge to any real collector. It was still shrinkwrapped when I got it, but I didn’t feel any guilt about breaking into this since the box was badly squashed. I’ve attempted to straighten it out but it’s still a long way from flat.
The box was also sealed with silver masking tape over the bottom flap, which I’m assuming is standard given the shrinkwrap over the top of it. This more or less gives a choice to cut off the tab that slots in from the lid, or to rip the art off the back cover when you first open the box.
I would have been dubious about the originality of the shrinkwrap because of the masking tape but the contents were pristine and it certainly gave the impression of not having being opened. All the regular manuals, reference cards and the like are included for each game.
These are 3 of my all time favourite games and they would still have been near the cutting edge technoligcally in ’96. Other than the masking tape, it’s a nice package and worth considering even for non-collectors who only want to play the games. Just make sure you have a large shelf for the box.
Ultima 4 on the NES will have to wait for now as my Trio64V+ card arrived earlier than expected and despite the warnings in my motherboard manual it appears to work perfectly. It’s cured the problems I was having getting 3D to work in some games on the VFX-1 meaning that I can actually play System Shock in 3D. Being able to walk round a VR Citadel Station is truly glorious although still not without issues which I’ll get to another time. I’d already started playing Terra Nova with the old graphics card so I’ll get back to that first.
While that has my attention, here is a surprisingly critical review of Bioforge from the June 1995 Edge magazine:-
I have my freshly delivered VFX-1 sat here which I’m dying to try out but unfortunately I have some work and other things to do before I can start setting it up. I should hopefully manage an hour or two tonight and might post my first impressions tomorrow. In the meanwhile and by way of filler, I thought I’d post this VHS tape of demos for 3 Origin games.
The tape has gameplay videos of Bioforge, System Shock and Wings Of Glory which loop over and over and was presumably used in either a store or show to market the games. I’ve uploaded a complete loop to Youtube but I didn’t spot anything unusual in there so it’s not the most exciting viewing. It is at least relevant for today since two of the games are supported by the VFX-1 and I hope to try them out later.
The tape includes the entire end sequence from Bioforge, which is surprising as I would have thought was something of a spoiler to people you were trying to sell the game to.