Buy and Download Homm3: Complete Ed. from GOG!

Thief franchise preparing for a new sequel

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Awesome news for fans of stealthing games!
Thief franchise will indeed get a new sequel after long wait since last game was released (2004). Original games had a great atmosphere and some of best action game missions ever released. Thief was one of first game franchises effectively using sound as important gameplay element - detecting footsteps and their direction as well as listening enemies to talk or shout "who's there!?" was vital part of staying alive in the game. As a matter of fact I've always enjoyed Assassin's Creed franchise - which may be either truly influenced or just accidentally had similar aspects than Thief franchise. Whatever's the case - Assassin's Creed - while enjoyable and great game franchise - does not manage to generate in my opinion as good atmosphere with stealth action than Thief 1-2.

Using your stealhy movement and listening sounds and noises around you was the key to the glory and worked fantastically with ambient sounds creating atmosphere. Simple but mentionable thing also was that Thief was one of first, if not a first game where you could "peek around a corner" from behind it to check if anyone was coming. Not to mention messing around with light sources shutting down torches with water arrows from safe range to create more shadowly cover.

The hero - a thief called Garrett - was one of the most memorable characters in gaming history. The story in first two parts was very interesting telling the tale of Garrett very gruesome and mysterious way. You were always keen to see next story cutscene after each mission which carried the tale on.

Thief: The Dark Project was originally released and developed at 1998 by Looking Glass Studios. It's sequel Thief II: Metal Age was eventually developed by the same game studio and released at 2000. This remained sadly last released by Looking Glass Studios who shut down later year 2000 after their publisher Eidos Interactive financial crisis. The third part of the franchise was released at 2004 called Thief III: Deadly Shadows developed by Ion Storm Inc and remains enjoyable game untill today while almost living up to the originals - it was made staying true to the Thief franchise roots. (Thief Collection - get all three games 1-3 together - or if you're collector buy seperately)

Not much has been told about Thief IV (or Thi4f) yet but it's in a making and it is being developed by Eidos Montreal. Game developer who has yet almost finished with long awaited Deus Ex sequel (Deus Ex 3 - Human Revolution) being released at US: 23/08/2011 and Europe: 26/08/2011. This also makes one wonder whether Eidos will be using same game engine in Thi4f than in Deus Ex? This would save them time using engine they are already familiar of and perhaps be able to focus more gameplay content. If this is the case then Deus Ex Human Revolution could reveal hints of how the engine will play out in Thi4f. My personal guess is we could be expecting Thi4f to come out later 2012 or early 2013. I'm personally very excited about this and hope they will make it faithful to original first parts of the franchise with great stealth gameplay and atmosphere as well as catchy story. We'll be waiting to hear more soon!

As a note and nod to the Looking Glass Studios who were responsible for starting Thief franchise and developing the two first games. It's sad such authentic game developer quit. Here's full list of the games developed by the studio between 1991-2000 and as we can see it's impressive one (buy links added to the games that are available from our store):

* 1991 - Ultima Underworld | $5.99
* 1992 - Car and Driver
* 1992 - Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds | $5.99
* 1994 - System Shock
* 1995 - Flight Unlimited
* 1996 - Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri
* 1997 - Flight Unlimited II
* 1998 - Thief: The Dark Project
* 1999 - Thief Gold | $9.99
* 1999 - Command and Conquer, Nintendo 64
* 1999 - System Shock 2
* 1999 - Flight Unlimited III
* 2000 - Thief II: The Metal Age | $9.99

Add-Ons - new generation gamer's RIP-OFF

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Who wouldn't want to play more of one's favourite game which has a good replay value? Most games don't have this quality but a few ones does like many dynamic open world single player games and most massive online multiplayer games. I remember when game companies used to release expansions that were - at least most often - worth something.

(Expansions used to be more valuable like this one)

There's nothing wrong about add-on or expansion to a game when it actually costs reasonable amount of money. Lets assume full version game cost 50$ - then expansion with real content in my opinion could cost something like half of the original game around 20-25$. Expansion like this should be between half to full lenght of the original game's gameplay hours to finish. But things go wrong when games are actually only made halfway ready at the first place to original release - only focusing to make graphics engine and cool effects all the way - and then rushing the game to the market with incomplete game content releasing it with full price of 50$.

With game engine ready but lacking game content game company then releases numerous add-ons which all costs insane amounts. Small add-ons are sold seperately and this has became a new trend in gaming. In my opinion this stinks. Many games are not fully completed to their final release and anything extra released afterwards are these days often released in multiple small add-on packs that at worst cost almost net worth of original game an expansion - making the gamer to pay 3-4x price total of the original games worth in worst case to get the full game together with several expansions or add-ons count together. This plagues the large scale multiplayer games most badly but is also case with several single player type of games.

Like I said there would be nothing wrong with expansions if the original game was developed long-span all the way at first place. I for one don't are about the trend that small add-ons are released seperately with high price tag each. Why not just give gamer a real value and release one big expansion with all extra material within same covers? Give the player valuable expansions with content at right price instead multiple shattered small pieces of content which all cost insane amounts and are ripping players off.

(even Bethesda released pointless add-on called the notorious "horse armor" for Oblivion costing 200MS points to download for Xbox)

I can't remember cases in 90's (although I don't say there wasn't) where game releases had multiple expansions. Trend back then was mostly that if there was expansion at all - then there would be one large one with value. I wonder when did fully loaded "expansion" actually change to "add-on"? Because almost everything nowadays are not full expansions anymore but just small downloadable add-on packs, usually not released as full boxed game but DLC (download content) only.

First person shooters with online fan base are bad example of this. Call Of Duty series for example - without arguing - are one of the better online fps shooters no doubt about that. But since they seem to release a new game every year I think it's bit too pacey. Why not actually polish the game let's say a two to three years with something new included and make the actual gameplay content at once? But pacey releasing of sequels is not enough, there's multiple map pack add-ons per sequel downloadable with insane costs. What was it 15$ per add-on usually? I think here in Finland at worst it cost 5 euros per map. With three or four add-ons released per game within a year, one could sense a rip-off. After a year usually a full game sequel comes out already. That's just too much. I would be ready to pay that 15$ for a map pack add-on for my favourite shooter in case it was one big add-on containing all extra maps that will be released for a game with one year life span before new sequel coming out. But I will not be paying 15$ for only a few maps several times. Call Of Duty sure aren't only series where this is the case, it's just an good example wheres Call of Duty: Black Ops has bursted out four map pack add-ons within one year and sequel is coming out before christmas!

(Call of Duty: Black Ops - First Strike is just one of the four Black Ops DLC map pack add-ons released within a year)

I think it would be game studios time to polish their games to the point where the actual release had gameplay content worthy of full-release without needing to have any expansion packs. However if they wanted to release one then do so with worthy content! Whether the price was 20-30$ should the expansion pack add game content worth of at least half of the original game's lenght if not more. Not just make it a business idea to release halfway ready game out to the market and then complete the content with several pricy expansions.

If we think about some good expansions released to the games there have been many. A good examples would be Elder Scrolls Series Expansions like Morrowind: Bloodmoon & Tribunal and Oblivion's Shivering Isles. These were valuable with hours of quality gameplay content added. How about Diablo II: Lords of Destruction, Warcraft III: Frozen Throne or Baldur's Gate 2: Throne of Bhaal? Those were ones that I would actually want to pay for - without thinking that either original game fell short on the content nor the expansion was not worth the cost.

(Diablo II: Lords of Destruction was one of the better expansions money's worth)

In best games expansion packs are not even felt necassary, but everyones still waiting the sequel anxiously. Games like Fallout 1 and 2 for example never had expansions yet managed fully to please the player with replay value and huge amount of game play hours in original release.

(Some games just had so much money's worth and replay value they didn't need expansions/add-ons)

Gamers choice - CyberpowerPC Desktop and Laptop computers

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

If you were ever looking for a fast computer with brand new hot hardware and cool looks - then this might be for you. CyberpowerPC has hardware suitable for gamers and great looks in same package. Let's present the best quality desktop computer and laptop available at July 2011 from CyberpowerPC!

CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme 5223LQ Desktop

This will respond to your future gaming needs with raw power and it looks cool also!
If you're interested in lesser version then I suggest you type "CyberpowerPC" to widget on the right frame on this site. There's plenty of cheaper choices available but this is the prime.

Runs with Intel Core i7 980X Extreme CPU, Intel X58 Chipset Motherboard, 12GB (6 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 Triple Channel Memory, 2 TB (1 x 2 TB) SATA III 6.0 Gbps 7200 RPM Hard Drive, 24x DVDRW, AMD HD 6870 1GB PCI Express Graphics, 950 W Power Supply, Coolermaster HAF 912 Gaming Case, 120mm Liquid Cooling System, Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit Operating System, USB 3.0/2.0 Support, Xtreme Gear USB Keyboard and Mouse, Lifetime Toll Free Tech Support and Customer Services at 888-937-5582 or Email to for more.

-Intel Core i7 980X Extreme
-USB 3.0/2.0
-DDR3 1333 Memory
-AMD HD 6870 1GB
-2TB SATA III hard Drive

Price: $2,439.00

CyberpowerPC Gamer Xplorer GX9800 15.6-Inch Gaming Laptop (Black)

It's easier and more relaxing to sit at your sofa with a laptop than on a computer chair. But most laptops cannot handle modern games so well - this one can. High standard parts included.

-Intel Sandy Bridge Core i7-2630QM 2.0 GHz Processor Turbo Boost up to 2.9 GHz; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM memory (2 x 4GB); 750GB (5400 RPM) Serial ATA hard drive; Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

-15.6 Inch diagonal High-Definition (1920 x 1080) Display with LED-Backlit, NVIDIA GeForce GT X460M 1.5GB graphics memory

-External Ports: 9-in-1 Media Card Reader; 2 USB 3.0; 2 USB 2.0; 1 HDMI; 1 VGA ; 1 RJ -45 (LAN); 1 eSATA; 1 IEEEE 1394a; 1 S/PDIF Jack; 1 Line-in Jack; 1 Headphone-out; 1 Microphone-in; Security: Kensington lock and Fingerprint sensor

-6x/8x Super Multi Blu-Ray Combo Drive; Integrated THX TruStudio Pro High Definition Audio; Built-in Speakers; Built-in Sub-Woofer; Integrated 10/100/ 1000 Base-T Ethernet LAN; Wireless LAN 802.11b/g/n WLAN; Bluetooth 3.0

-Full size Keyboard with Numeric Keypad; W/A/S/D Gaming Keys; Touch Pad with Multi-Gesture and Scrolling function; 2.0 Mega Pixel Webcam; Free Notebook Carry Bag

Email to for more.

Price: $1,498.00

Battlefield 3 Gameplay footage JULY

Battlefield 3 release date is set to 25 October in US, UK and Japan and 28 October in EU. It is being produced by DICE studies and released by Electronic Arts (EA). On July they have released more gameplay material from this long awaited single player / multiplayer shooter - that should be a true sequel to Battlefield 2. There's some multiplayer game play material from alpha state as material from E3.

Although personally I'm fan of Call Of Duty series as they are easy to approach and fun to play without having to spend too many hours at once to reach thing X which I appreciate in multiplayer shooters (RPG instead should be more complex in my humble opinion) - I always loved Battlefield 2 with it's vast open landscape areas and large scale action (as I loved old good Delta Force 2 also for similar reasons). So I'm personally more excited about BF3 than the new Call Of Duty.

When taking a quick overview with these material I especially liked the fact that while it seems to be feeling a real hectic large scale battle - you also have to think when to sprint forward and when take cover to get better shots. Also breaking environment like cutting down trees and such are nice addon to spice up atmosphere. Landscape seems very impressive. In my opinion looks amazing so far, can't wait to join the online battle. Stay tuned for more. Watch and enjoy!

Battlefield 3 - Sniper Multiplayer Gameplay (HD) - leaked alpha

Battlefield 3 - LMG Bipod Gameplay HD - leaked alpha

Battlefield 3 Bolt Action Sniper, Shotgun And vehicle Game

Battlefield 3 - E3 Paris Multiplayer Gameplay

You can pre-order this game already:




Tips for getting X-Com III Apocalypse to work under win XP/Vista/Win7

Saturday, 23 July 2011

I myself tried everything I could find from internet today to get to play this wonderful computer game, with downloaded game at first. However first it crashed just after intro movie every time - I guess no luck for me - but many people have got it to work with these tips alone. However after I found the original X-Com Apocalypse CD-Rom dusting around, and used it combined with the tricks presented in this guide it Ran! Dosbox, Windows 7 x64. There are some ways presented in this guide, how you "might" get it to work under XP or anything newer versions of windows. Afterall it's a classic game.

There seems to be no one correct solution that fits for everyone's computers which will get this game to run, which makes it a pest to get it run. Read on, try it all, and lastly if you don't own original CD, and have tried anything, you may want to bargain for it and wish for the best with it mounted instead of a CD image.

First of all you should download a program called DosBox which is a great program to get many older DOS based games to work. Get DosBox here it's totally free.

You should then install DosBox and follow it's instructions. After you have installed your DosBox, run it and mount your XCom CD or CD Image to the drive with following command within DosBox:

1. mount d d:\ -t cdrom -usecd 0 -ioctl
(whereas "d" is the letter of your cd or image drive so change it to match your computer's setup)
mount c c:\yourdirectory\ -freesize 750
(whereas "c:\" is your hard drive and "yourdirectory" is a sub-directory for X-Com installation like for example "games")

2. install the game in DosBox with full install under it's original path

3. after installation if you closed the DosBox window repeat step 1. for setting up cd-rom drive (do this every time you open DosBox and want to play X-Com) - setting CD-ROM drive right is important step

4. mount installation directory with command:
mount c c:\yourdirectory\xcoma -freesize 750
(whereas "c" is your installation drive and "yourdirectory" is where you installed the game - freesize 750 is minimum but you can set it to more)

5. dir to c:\ directory and run "setup.exe" - configure your sound card to "sound blaster 16/AWE32" and put settings at "PORT: 220 / IRQ: 7 / DMA: 5" (you can also try DMA:1 if this does not work) - save your setup and quit back to DosBox

6. You can use either one - I created xcom3.bat and use it to run the game the game with command xcomapoc.exe under DosBox:
xcomapoc.exe SKIP
6.2 run the game with command xcom3.bat under Dosbox:
create a new text file within your xcoma directory and following lines to it:
@echo off
xcomapoc.exe SKIP

then run the game in DosBox with command xcom3.bat can control CPU speed with CTRL+F11 (decrease) and CTRL+F12 (increase) to see where it works the best. might want to try and google Xcom III no-cd crack if you still didn't get the game to start up.

9.if you don't want to run all the commands manually every time you run the game, you can make a shortcut to DosBox.exe file and tell it to use a modificated configure settings file to run the game which we are about to create:

9.1 Make a copy of your dosbox.conf file. Move the copy (not original) dosbox.conf to any folder you can remember - we are moving it to c:\yourdirectory\xcoma. Edit the very bottom lines of the file as follows:
# Lines in this section will be run at startup.
mount c C:\yourdirectory\xcoma -freesize 750
mount d d:\ -t cdrom -usecd 0 -ioctl
xcomapoc.exe SKIP

Or if you created that xcom3.bat like me then edit as:
# Lines in this section will be run at startup.
mount c C:\yourdirectory\xcoma -freesize 750
mount d d:\ -t cdrom -usecd 0 -ioctl

9.2 Save this file as apoc.conf (use file type "all files" NOT "text file") to your xcoma directory.

9.3 Create a shortcut pointing to your dosbox.exe file and tell it to use your new apoc.conf file for settings. Make a shortcut to dosbox.exe and edit "target" field as following:
C:\DOSBox\DOSBox.exe -conf "C:\yourdirectory\xcoma\apoc.conf"

(whereas you define your dosbox.exe path and your just created apoc.conf file path)

I got mine to work after several tries. I use Win7 64-bit, original game CD mounted as D: in DosBox, own created xcom3.bat to run the game - ran from own dosbox.exe shortcut with that line that defines it to use my modified apoc.conf file and I have no-cd crack applied just in case. This is what makes the game work for me. Here's basically my whole apoc.conf file (I advise to change "core" value and test which option works best):

# This is the configurationfile for DOSBox 0.74. (Please use the latest version of DOSBox)
# Lines starting with a # are commentlines and are ignored by DOSBox.
# They are used to (briefly) document the effect of each option.

# fullscreen: Start dosbox directly in fullscreen. (Press ALT-Enter to go back)
# fulldouble: Use double buffering in fullscreen. It can reduce screen flickering, but it can also result in a slow DOSBox.
# fullresolution: What resolution to use for fullscreen: original or fixed size (e.g. 1024x768).
# Using your monitor's native resolution with aspect=true might give the best results.
# If you end up with small window on a large screen, try an output different from surface.
# windowresolution: Scale the window to this size IF the output device supports hardware scaling.
# (output=surface does not!)
# output: What video system to use for output.
# Possible values: surface, overlay, opengl, openglnb, ddraw.
# autolock: Mouse will automatically lock, if you click on the screen. (Press CTRL-F10 to unlock)
# sensitivity: Mouse sensitivity.
# waitonerror: Wait before closing the console if dosbox has an error.
# priority: Priority levels for dosbox. Second entry behind the comma is for when dosbox is not focused/minimized.
# pause is only valid for the second entry.
# Possible values: lowest, lower, normal, higher, highest, pause.
# mapperfile: File used to load/save the key/event mappings from. Resetmapper only works with the defaul value.
# usescancodes: Avoid usage of symkeys, might not work on all operating systems.


# language: Select another language file.
# machine: The type of machine tries to emulate.
# Possible values: hercules, cga, tandy, pcjr, ega, vgaonly, svga_s3, svga_et3000, svga_et4000, svga_paradise, vesa_nolfb, vesa_oldvbe.
# captures: Directory where things like wave, midi, screenshot get captured.
# memsize: Amount of memory DOSBox has in megabytes.
# This value is best left at its default to avoid problems with some games,
# though few games might require a higher value.
# There is generally no speed advantage when raising this value.


# frameskip: How many frames DOSBox skips before drawing one.
# aspect: Do aspect correction, if your output method doesn't support scaling this can slow things down!.
# scaler: Scaler used to enlarge/enhance low resolution modes.
# If 'forced' is appended, then the scaler will be used even if the result might not be desired.
# Possible values: none, normal2x, normal3x, advmame2x, advmame3x, advinterp2x, advinterp3x, hq2x, hq3x, 2xsai, super2xsai, supereagle, tv2x, tv3x, rgb2x, rgb3x, scan2x, scan3x.


# core: CPU Core used in emulation. auto will switch to dynamic if available and appropriate.
# Possible values: auto, dynamic, normal, simple.
# cputype: CPU Type used in emulation. auto is the fastest choice.
# Possible values: auto, 386, 386_slow, 486_slow, pentium_slow, 386_prefetch.
# cycles: Amount of instructions DOSBox tries to emulate each millisecond.
# Setting this value too high results in sound dropouts and lags.
# Cycles can be set in 3 ways:
# 'auto' tries to guess what a game needs.
# It usually works, but can fail for certain games.
# 'fixed #number' will set a fixed amount of cycles. This is what you usually need if 'auto' fails.
# (Example: fixed 4000).
# 'max' will allocate as much cycles as your computer is able to handle.
# Possible values: auto, fixed, max.
# cycleup: Amount of cycles to decrease/increase with keycombo.(CTRL-F11/CTRL-F12)
# cycledown: Setting it lower than 100 will be a percentage.

cycles=fixed 76000

# nosound: Enable silent mode, sound is still emulated though.
# rate: Mixer sample rate, setting any device's rate higher than this will probably lower their sound quality.
# Possible values: 44100, 48000, 32000, 22050, 16000, 11025, 8000, 49716.
# blocksize: Mixer block size, larger blocks might help sound stuttering but sound will also be more lagged.
# Possible values: 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, 512, 256.
# prebuffer: How many milliseconds of data to keep on top of the blocksize.


# mpu401: Type of MPU-401 to emulate.
# Possible values: intelligent, uart, none.
# mididevice: Device that will receive the MIDI data from MPU-401.
# Possible values: default, win32, alsa, oss, coreaudio, coremidi, none.
# midiconfig: Special configuration options for the device driver. This is usually the id of the device you want to use.
# See the README/Manual for more details.


# sbtype: Type of Soundblaster to emulate. gb is Gameblaster.
# Possible values: sb1, sb2, sbpro1, sbpro2, sb16, gb, none.
# sbbase: The IO address of the soundblaster.
# Possible values: 220, 240, 260, 280, 2a0, 2c0, 2e0, 300.
# irq: The IRQ number of the soundblaster.
# Possible values: 7, 5, 3, 9, 10, 11, 12.
# dma: The DMA number of the soundblaster.
# Possible values: 1, 5, 0, 3, 6, 7.
# hdma: The High DMA number of the soundblaster.
# Possible values: 1, 5, 0, 3, 6, 7.
# sbmixer: Allow the soundblaster mixer to modify the DOSBox mixer.
# oplmode: Type of OPL emulation. On 'auto' the mode is determined by sblaster type. All OPL modes are Adlib-compatible, except for 'cms'.
# Possible values: auto, cms, opl2, dualopl2, opl3, none.
# oplemu: Provider for the OPL emulation. compat might provide better quality (see oplrate as well).
# Possible values: default, compat, fast.
# oplrate: Sample rate of OPL music emulation. Use 49716 for highest quality (set the mixer rate accordingly).
# Possible values: 44100, 49716, 48000, 32000, 22050, 16000, 11025, 8000.


# gus: Enable the Gravis Ultrasound emulation.
# gusrate: Sample rate of Ultrasound emulation.
# Possible values: 44100, 48000, 32000, 22050, 16000, 11025, 8000, 49716.
# gusbase: The IO base address of the Gravis Ultrasound.
# Possible values: 240, 220, 260, 280, 2a0, 2c0, 2e0, 300.
# gusirq: The IRQ number of the Gravis Ultrasound.
# Possible values: 5, 3, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12.
# gusdma: The DMA channel of the Gravis Ultrasound.
# Possible values: 3, 0, 1, 5, 6, 7.
# ultradir: Path to Ultrasound directory. In this directory
# there should be a MIDI directory that contains
# the patch files for GUS playback. Patch sets used
# with Timidity should work fine.


# pcspeaker: Enable PC-Speaker emulation.
# pcrate: Sample rate of the PC-Speaker sound generation.
# Possible values: 44100, 48000, 32000, 22050, 16000, 11025, 8000, 49716.
# tandy: Enable Tandy Sound System emulation. For 'auto', emulation is present only if machine is set to 'tandy'.
# Possible values: auto, on, off.
# tandyrate: Sample rate of the Tandy 3-Voice generation.
# Possible values: 44100, 48000, 32000, 22050, 16000, 11025, 8000, 49716.
# disney: Enable Disney Sound Source emulation. (Covox Voice Master and Speech Thing compatible).


# joysticktype: Type of joystick to emulate: auto (default), none,
# 2axis (supports two joysticks),
# 4axis (supports one joystick, first joystick used),
# 4axis_2 (supports one joystick, second joystick used),
# fcs (Thrustmaster), ch (CH Flightstick).
# none disables joystick emulation.
# auto chooses emulation depending on real joystick(s).
# (Remember to reset dosbox's mapperfile if you saved it earlier)
# Possible values: auto, 2axis, 4axis, 4axis_2, fcs, ch, none.
# timed: enable timed intervals for axis. Experiment with this option, if your joystick drifts (away).
# autofire: continuously fires as long as you keep the button pressed.
# swap34: swap the 3rd and the 4th axis. can be useful for certain joysticks.
# buttonwrap: enable button wrapping at the number of emulated buttons.


# serial1: set type of device connected to com port.
# Can be disabled, dummy, modem, nullmodem, directserial.
# Additional parameters must be in the same line in the form of
# parameter:value. Parameter for all types is irq (optional).
# for directserial: realport (required), rxdelay (optional).
# (realport:COM1 realport:ttyS0).
# for modem: listenport (optional).
# for nullmodem: server, rxdelay, txdelay, telnet, usedtr,
# transparent, port, inhsocket (all optional).
# Example: serial1=modem listenport:5000
# Possible values: dummy, disabled, modem, nullmodem, directserial.
# serial2: see serial1
# Possible values: dummy, disabled, modem, nullmodem, directserial.
# serial3: see serial1
# Possible values: dummy, disabled, modem, nullmodem, directserial.
# serial4: see serial1
# Possible values: dummy, disabled, modem, nullmodem, directserial.


# xms: Enable XMS support.
# ems: Enable EMS support.
# umb: Enable UMB support.
# keyboardlayout: Language code of the keyboard layout (or none).


# ipx: Enable ipx over UDP/IP emulation.


# Lines in this section will be run at startup.
# You can put your MOUNT lines here.

mount c c:\games\xcoma -freesize 1024
mount d e:\ -t cdrom -usecd 0 -ioctl

REVIEW: Heroes of Might and Magic III Complete (PC, 1999-2000)

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Heroes of Might and Magic III was third instalment in the HOMM computer turn-based strategy game series developed by New World Computing and published by 3DO at 1999 based on fantasy world setting, art-wise something a bit similar to dungeons and dragons setting with all high fantasy creatures from different mythologies that you could imagine. Two more expansions to the game were then released at 1999 (Armageddon's Blade) and 2000 (The Shadow of Death). There is a boxed set including all of these games with original and two expansions together - it is called Heroes of Might and Magic III Complete.

The game includes six campaigns on original box - and six more in each of the two expansions. Along to this there's several maps for single scenarios to create a single game of your liking, and a pretty good random map generator to spice up variety of game play more. Also great easy-to-use campaign/map editor is included to create your own dream scenarios and maps (even I can make decent maps with it).

(A standard city view in Inferno)

Heroes of Might And Magic III is totally turn-based (both battle- and combat-sequence) strategy game and game interface is quite simple, smooth and flowing, it's easy to understand and use. However, there are just many things and factors that affect to every scenario you play, so that every game, every map, is interesting and different experience. Heroes Of Might And Magic III is bit similar to Warlords III, although not quite as simplified, where it's greatness of features is well hidden behind it's easy and streamlined interface.

When each map (whether campaign or random map) begins, you typically start with one of the following eight cities which are divided in good and evil ones. Good alignments are Castle, Rampart, Tower, Fortress. Evil alignments are Stronghold, Inferno, Necropolis, Dungeon. Expansion packs also bring elemental city of Conflux into play. Every each city has it's unique buildings and units ranging from level one to seven, one unit per each level - which are recruited from their specific dwellings in town.

For example: Castle has human units from weak Peasants to competent Swordsmen, and to far superior Arch Angels. Castle is perhaps the most "boring" race for being so common, but Arch Angels are awesome units though. Fortress features units you could imagine living in a swamp-city, from Lizardmen to Hydras. Rampart is your typical elf-influenced city from Wood Elf archers to Unicorns and Gold Dragons.  Tower is northern themed city with Gremlins, Gargoyles, Golems, and Titans (perhaps best unit of the game). Stronghold is the barbarian town with Goblins, Orcs, Cyclops and finally huge Behemoths. Inferno is hell-influenced town ranging from Imps to Demons and Arch Devils. Necropolis is quite self explanatory from typical Skeletons to Vampires, Liches and Ghost Dragons. Dungeon perhaps is my favorite town with not so streamlined selection of Harpies, Medusas, Minotaurs, Manticores, Black Dragons and so on. Expansion brings Conflux into Heroes of Might And Magic III, which contains pretty much any type of elemental unit you can imagine, with Phoenix being the best level unit. Each building that produces troops, grants new units certain amount each week. Every city has also it's own building-tree/branch, whereas you have to build certain buildings first in order to unlock later stage buildings and higher level units.

The eight towns are well themed with memorable art, quite well balanced, and create perfect mood for the game. Unit sprites are nicely animated and memorable, as are lovable town-views of each of the eight different towns. Heroes of Might And Magic III makes us remember why drawn 2D sprites create so much more effective immersion of high class fantasy art than full 3D units.

(Infernos' building-tree)

In addition to dwellings in towns - some buildings that exist will give certain bonuses to resources, heroes, or increase city defence. Building up your own town requires gold and other resources like wood, ore, gems. Your city produces some gold daily, and can be upgraded to increase gold production by building it from city hall to capitol for instance, which is crucial. Minerals and extra gold can be achieved by conquering mines on the map, thus granting their ownership to you. Mines are mostly guarded by neutral monster groups which you have to defeat first in order to get the ownership, and computer opponents are also keen to run around stealing your mines if you left them undefended. Several different resources are a delight, because in Heroes of Might And Magic III they don't require micro-management, but rather a little knowledge depending of your current town you're playing with to know which resources you're going to need. It also gives a reason to explore and take risks, just to be rewarded when you finally get those sulfur mines and are able to build Dragon Caves for example to get the precious Green Dragons and Black Dragons.

Heroes are available for hire at each town's Taverns. They are major part of Heroes of Might And Magic III. Without heroes, you cannot explore, and without exploration, you cannot conquer. Single monster stacks cannot move away from the city without being joined to a hero's party. To be able to explore and roam over the world-map with your hero searching resources or conquering enemy cities, you will first need to buy troops from your city and attach them to your hero.

Heroes are the thing that brings an rpg element to this game. Each hero gains experience points during combat, and when they gain enough exp, they will level up. Every hero can learn eight different skills out of 28, and gets few basic skills granted when you recruit them. Extra skills are learnt by leveling up whereas you can each time pick a new skill or advance on existing one. You'll be then able to choose certain helpful skills such as Sorcery (increase magic effectiveness) or Intelligence (increases amount of spell points) to boost your hero up.

Along the skills, each level-up also raises some of hero's basic attributes Attack, Defense, Power, and Knowledge - which do basically influence everything combat-wise from your troops attack and defence bonuses to spell bonuses. You can also visit several buildings (in world map view) that grants several type of extra bonuses to your hero - this is also crucial because computer heroes are sure to circuit trough all bonus granting buildings in the map.

Along basic attributes and skills, there are two more factors affecting battle performance: morale and luck. Morale might grant extra turn in battle or make troop to miss its turn. Luck might grant extra damage on hit. 

(A hero chart showing up the skills and attributes of our hero as well as the troops he is leading)

In addition there are 64 different spells which are divided in four classic elements: fire, water, earth and air. These must be learnt separately by each hero by either finding spell scrolls from the world map, or building up your mages guild level in your city, which grants extra spells. However, your hero must also have high enough wisdom skill to be able to learn certain level spells. The higher the wisdom skill, the higher level spells you can learn, until you have it at "expert" level, where you can learn to cast any spell existing in the game. Spells are very understandable from the beginning if you've played any fantasy type games at all with magic and spell casting involved. Spell system in Heroes works nicely with fair amount of different interesting spells to use, that are easy to understand, but using the the most efficiently requires learning some game lore and it's tactics. Only spells that are bit out of hand are unnecessary fly- and teleport-type spells that should probably had left out to improve game play balance.  But there's nothing like having army of Black Dragons which are immune to most spells against tough opponent, then raining Armageddon-spell over whole battlefield, powerful spell which would normally wound heavily everyone on the field, but having Black Dragon spell immunity on your side.

One more thing granting hero and troops bonuses are "artifacts", which can be found hidden and guarded along the game world. All this brings fantastic adventuring element to Heroes Of Might And Magic III, because one feels the need to explore whole map - even if not necessary for a win - to find those most precious bonus granting artifacts.

(A map view is viewed top-down - may your adventure be glorious)

Heroes Of Might And Magic III features three main views, or sequences, of game play. First of all the city view which we already discussed about, secondly the world-map view where all adventuring takes place, and thirdly the combat view which is quite self explanatory.

On a "world-map" view you take control of your hero and adventure around the limited world map conquering mines for minerals, defeating monster groups that are either guarding something or blocking your way, conquering enemy cities, and searching for treasury. World-map view is turn-based and your heroes have certain amount of movement-points per turn. When your hero encounters a monster group, you enter in a "battle view". This sequence could be compared to a "chessboard" (except that it uses hexes) where you have a tiles to move in, and your troops have their own speed attribute defining how many tiles they can move forward per turn.  Your hero stands back and doesn't directly take part on the combat, but can cast a spell per turn to inflict damage to enemy hero's units, or grant a bonus for your own. Hero's presence is nice strategic element to the combat. His/hers own attributes, skills, spells and artifacts affect how much damage your troops do.

You basically move your units in turn-based mode like in a chess board, and decide either to defend current position or strike enemy unit of your will. However what makes this interesting is various unit types each with their own bonuses and special skills. For example Vampire Lords will drain life on a strike and raise from a dead. Wolf Raiders will strike twice. Hydra will strike to each direction around itself at once with 1-tile radius. There are much more to it, those are just to mention a few.

Only problem with battle is that fleeing from it has been made too easy. Computer will most often flee with one unit left, first shooting a lightning bolt to your ass. Any fleeing hero can be re-recruited from tavern on the same day and be reinforced with new units directly.

Despite fleeing-problem, combat's functionality is quite simple, but still lots of fun, with many factors to take in consideration if you want to win the battle. Combat view takes in consideration all different things from your hero's stats and spells to your troops, their special abilities, and stack sizes, that it's really pleasant experience, and smooth to play too, and it looks epic! In fact, Herores of Might And Magic III combat is one of my favorite combat sequences of all strategy games so far.

(It's regular battle view remiscent of a chessboard - and cyclops are tasting lightning bolt cast by hero!)

Along the single-player there are also different multiplayer options available which is a delight, since this game is great to play with your friends too. Especially with one friend, where waiting time for a turn is still decently short. You can either play regular TCP/IP - IPX game over internet or have a "hotseat" game with your friend turn-based on same computer. I remember that as teenagers me, my brother and some friends used to play hot seat games and it was fun. Still play with my brother once in a while.

The campaigns of Heroes And Might And Magic III nothing spectacular in terms of story, which mostly takes place only as a short prologue text between the maps rather than heavily involving within the game play on actual maps, some way yes but it happens quite superficially.  Nice little touch are some path choice options between campaign's scenarios, or bonus choices (different troops etc.) for scenarios you can select when you begin one. Sometimes campaigns also allow you to continue with a hero or two from previous scenario to the next, which gives a reason to play scenario as well as possible, and slight feeling that campaign's scenarios are some way linked together other than bit loose story. Campaigns do provide nice amount of challenge and long nights of top notch strategy-gaming even for a hardened PC gamer, and some of their scenarios are top-notch considering map quality and challenge. But in my opinion the heart of Heroes of Might And Magic III lies in replay-ability of single scenarios (non-campaign) and their random elements in each map, giving different challenge each time. Way or another, game play content is vast, and almost endless with Complete Edition and it's two expansions, tripling amount of campaigns, and adding a new level of neutral creatures into the game.

Despite all the praise I've given, HOMM III is not close to perfect and includes few average, but not game breaking problems. Starting out with minor: graphics that have a great art-style, yet all the menus and sprites have  kind of too "oiled up" look or bit washed out colors (which was not issue in HOMM II). Artistic style in monsters is quite cool though, especially the nice spites of monsters. Although I would claim that HOMM II had better graphics being more sharp and vibrant. Opera-like and middle-ages influenced music however fits to the game perfectly though and creates good atmopshere.

The main problems in the game are rooted in poor AI few average sized balance issues towards end-game (decent in combat though, if not counting the fleeing problem, just don't expect any genius moves). First of all enemy computers "cheat" in the most annoying way. They know when you lessen the defence in one of your cities when you take up your main hero along the majority of your city troops and go for a conquer - they even know when they cannot see your city at all. Expect enemy hero in your city gates within next few turns. It can turn into annoying cat-and-mouse-play sometimes. Move to west from your city and few turns later from east appears enemy's super hero with full army to conquer your city of which defence you just weakened. Turn back to the castle with your hero and the enemy turns around and flees, but take a new turn to west again and the enemy hero turns back towards your city. See the catch here? This combined to end-game teleport and fly-spells makes a bad combination that can cause big amount of rage once in a while. AI is quite weak and tends to just repeat same things over and over.

XL size maps bring another slight problem where it often might end up being a bit repetitive headless running around between your several cities like this: take your hero to conquer a new city - few turns later lose a the original city - conquer one more new city and lose the one conquered few turns back. Computer will conquer all your cities where you recruit all or most defending troops and take them out to conquer new town, and in XL maps this problem grows due amount of lots of cities. The same happens with your mines, which you can only set an elemental guard to if you have the spell, and it won't stop any decent hero. Way or another all your owned mines are up for grabs without protection and the game doesn't offer good solution to this.

In addition to headless town-/mine-running-fest on XL maps, end-game is often bit unbalanced in biggest maps. The problem arises especially in the largest maps with lots of bonus-granting elements such as world-map buildings giving powerful bonuses to hero's attributes, and too many powerful artifacts. Running through all of them and acquiring all the best artifacts, them combining the best ones to your (or computers) main hero will make it ridiculously over-powered killing-machine while any new hero recruited at this point is worthless even with best troops. Also AI is God of running through every building included within the map that gives bonuses, it's tireless in the task. Therefore unless you do the same thing, you're soon out powered, and visiting every building in the map is not really fun especially when largest maps have literally hundreds of them. Luckily not every scenario features overly big amount of the buildings.

The game includes possibility to level cap heroes, which would correct large part of balance problems in biggest maps, but it's sadly used in very rare occasions on pre-made stand-alone scenarios (campaigns use it quite often though). If it was used in more maps and set, to say level 16-20 or something sensible, then end-game would be much more balanced, and you wouldn't have to run endlessly through each building getting bonuses, but have ready finished up hero to say, in level 16. Having large map with heroes ranging from level 20 to 30 makes a big difference rendering the first mentioned often useless. Luckily there's map editor which does the task easily for single scenarios (doesn't work in random generator though).

One more complaint is that while the creatures between towns, and all eight town-lineups are well balanced themselves, the amount of troops may get out of hand (again, mostly in largest maps). Perhaps the worst criticism causing this goes for most over-powered skill of Heroes of Might And Magic III: diplomacy-skill. In the very end-game on large map you tend to have infinite amount of gold. That combined to Expert Diplomacy and large amount of troops leads you to get offers from neutral monster armies to join you (which stacks automatically grow in amount over time if they are not killed). This all means that you can go and with pretty high chance get the join offers from huge monsters stacks of Black Dragons or Titans, quickly acquiring armies of the best units in amounts that your towns never could produce, thus crushing your enemies too easily.

However, all these problems are not big enough to crush otherwise great game-experience. They're mostly minor annoyance on the background.

(A random map generator is okay and gives some replay value to single scenarios)


Heroes of Might And Magic III is just plain fun. Every scenario is a different story since there's a lot of random element in each map, especially non-campaign scenarios which are more flexible. Most often mines, monsters, other places of interest in map like buildings and treasures are at least partly random generated. In single scenario also enemy castle types can be randomized, but you can do a whole new map random map generator too if you like. The generator is actually quite decently good too giving Heroes of Might And Magic III some extra life span. Every game is just a different one. The campaigns themselves present loose story, but counter-wise lots of memorable scenarios too because of fun-to-play and challenging maps, and eighteen campaigns counted together is nothing short of game play material in size. Delightful is also "Hot Seat"-mode where you play similarly with your friends on the same computer. It works great and offers great time for some allied battles with friends over AI.

Heroes of Might and Magic III truly has it's way rewarding a player for exploring, since heroes have so many different skills, attributes and spells and such which can be boosted up. Developing your hero in a loose cRPG way is just rewarding experience when hitting the battlefields. Turn-based chessboard-like battle screen works very well without any major problems, and is just a joy to play with it's flowing game play mechanics and inspiring battle-music. And different type of cities within game are quite well balanced, although some are certainly bit more challenging to play.

Overall despite AI problems, some balance issues in largest maps end-game, and slight repetitiveness (after you've really grinded the game long!), Heroes of Might and Magic III is awesome and rewarding gaming experience. It has just so much greatness within: fluid memorable combat, rewarding exploration, loose but well implemented cRPG elements with hero leveling, fine stylish art-work with loads of epic creatures, and not forgetting great inspiring music. All the epic-ness in this game overcomes it's shortcomings and issues leaving great taste to a player in the end. After having a little break in the game, you'll be guaranteed to return to it and play another game despite you know you're going to chase that enemy hero all over a map again. Pure awesomeness and replay-ability value guaranteed - you can literally sink hours in this game thinking "just one more turn"... Recommended for any RPG/Adventure/Strategy games fan, especially if you like fantasy stuff. A classic!!

The Good
  • Perfect combination of Strategy, Adventure and RPG elements
  • Damn good chessboard-like combat system
  • The game's main theme and town alignments are fascinating
  • Hero stat- and leveling system
  • Rewarding world exploration with tons of bonuses to discover
  • Random map generator is decent
  • Map Editor to create tons of new scenarios
  • Multiplayer over network or hotseat-mode both work nicely

The Bad
  • Campaign's stories are bit of a lackluster
  • Unbalanced end-game in XL maps with either side potent developing "A Super-Hero" undefeateble by any troops
  • End-game in XL maps don't provide any new challenges or discoveries
  • Computer AI is quite poor, and cheats "knowing what you do by not even seeing" thus making...
  • ...Town Portal, Fly and Teleport spells to be unbalanced
  • Cat-and-mouse with fleeing enemy heroes


System requirements:

133 MHz or better, 32 MB of RAM,
2 MB SVGA-video card,
200 MB hard disk space,
4x-speed CD-ROM,
Windows 95 / Windows 98 or newer


-You can buy this fantastic game (HOMM III complete includes expansions) from below-


Is classic singleplayer RPG dead?

Monday, 11 July 2011

I wonder if this is a case with classic type of singleplayer Role-Playing Games. In the early 90's there was PC, NES and Sega Master System. Consoles always had more story based japanese adventure/RPG's (Chrono Trigger anyone? All you know Final Fantasy series) while PC evolved into more deep European and American role playing games platform. By more deep I mean that euro and american RPG's used to have more dynamic gameworld. Who you character was - was usually not pre-determined but you could choose it by yourself. This added open-endness in many things. However in japanese RPG's more story and characters were pre-written. This gave less freedom but more direction within games' story in general.

(Chrono Trigger was highly praised and respected japanese SNES rpg)

I myself prefer euro-style RPG's over anime style - but it's matter of taste. More in depth PC role playing games actually had roots way back in 80's with text based interfaces, or earliest graphics using RPG's with just few colors. I would claim that when graphics were still offering limited visuals in 90's, game developers were more forced to focus in content of the role playing games instead of stunning visuals. The peak for rpg and adventure games in my opinion was definetely in decade of 1990s when 2D graphics looked actually very good already but 3D was lacking.

(Baldur's Gate was released near the end of roleplaying games peak times)

Remember Baldur's Gate ( | ), Icewind Dale, Planescape Torment and many Dungeons & Dragons based great games. Ultima Underworlds and such. How about Fallout 1 and 2? They just don't make games like this anymore. It's like they were forced to use 3D these days. In my opinion top down view with 2D would still be very usable and could look good when done right. Feels like almost all 3D based RPGs are dumbed down way or another in terms of content. I prefer dynamic world, large game content, replay value and in-depth character customization and development over great visuals any day. It's a shame that most time of development is used only to please the gamers eye. Most of games just arent innovative anymore.

There's a trend about releasing racing games, online First person shooters, MMORPG and some very uninnovative action shooters that are played thru in a week or two. And there's nothing wrong with those in general, but are they only type of games that have some profitability? Feels often that only visuals are finished but game content is released on halfway ready. Expansions & downloadable content then costs laughable amount to rip off customer instead of releasing finalized games with replay value. What was this map expansion pack for last Modern Warfare where it cost 15 euros per map? That's just insane!

I'm waiting some game house to take brave step and say "we're not gonna make this game easily accessible and dumbed down just to make it appeal masses" and make a role-playing game that requires some time to master and to get into. Someone who actually markets the content of the game over the visuals. Has multi-platforming most of the titles made game houses to feel they must make gameplay overall easy and simple 'cause they think most console gamers are not so experienced hardcore gamers anyway? I'm sure some of the owners of XBOX and PS3 would love to get large classic in-depth roleplaying games for consoles also. Remember the rpg/adventure games like already mentioned Fallouts, Baldurs Gates and Planescape Torment, they're still played and appreaciated even today because of their replay-value and great storylines with large world and character customization.

Classic RPG's often had you to create whole adventuring party consisting of four or five heroes who were all available for customization with their own skill sets, attributes and even personalities. Most games these days allow you to create dumbed down one character and character development blows compared to some older games. MMORPGs are propably only in-depth character customization having role playing games these days. But they have to dump down quests because game content is so large. Take World of Warcraft as an example, quests are just very repetitive grinding, but character building is quite good and amount of loot is awesome. I cannot think of many good single player roleplaying games released in 2000's that very actually had good character system and story alongside large gameworld. Theres few expectations though.

(Dragon Age Origins - although modernized - was not to old school RPG with it's character build system and story system)

Elder Scrolls Morrowind actually had really good themes, mystical feeling, pretty good character development and large gameworld with loads of loot and quests. Although marketed with visuals, the actual content was good. Dragon Age Origins managed surprise me for being so dedicated to old school role-playing games with whole party to available to raise skills and to develop (although you could still create only your own character from the scratch). Elder Scrolls IV Skyrim is coming out soon, and will most likely be a good action-RPG. I'm sure I will like it alot, but classic RPG it is not. Is classic single player RPG dead?

HARDWARE: Geforce GTX 460 vs GTX 560 vs Radeon HD 6870

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Here we have two graphics cards with Ati and Nvidia chipsets. Both have price range around 200 dollars border. Both are released this year earlier at 2011 and are well competitive in new games. The next chart represents specifications of GTX 560 and Radeon HD 6870. There's also GTX 560 Ti (enhanced regular 560) and GTX 460 included for comparison. All of the graphic cards here have 1GB (1024Mt) of memory. On the chart we can see that GTX 560 is actually pretty much overclocked GTX 460 with better clock rates:

This makes GTX 460 actually quite considerable lower budget option. If you know what you're doing you can overclock it with one of the various overclocking utilities nowadays available directly from internet for free. Just type "overlock utility nvidia" or something similar to Google and download one.

We have one more chart below to add into comparison. It's GTX 460 1GB versus Radeon HD 6870 1GB benchmarked in Battlefield Bad Company 2, DiRT 2, Just Cause 2 and combined score. For those who don't know FPS stands for frames-per-second and describes the framerate in game, how smoothly it runs:

We can see here that cheaper and older GTX 460 doesn't actually lose with so big marginal. Maybe with overclocking it's graphics clock and memory clock slightly it would actually get quite close. Now looking the upmost chart with GTX 560 included it's quite sure that the card will give Radeon HD 6870 run for the money.

EVGA GeForce GTX460 SE 1GB PCI-E for 147.12$

EVGA GeForce GTX560 1GB PCI-E for 195.99$

EVGA GeForce GTX560Ti 1GB PCI-E for 239.99$

ASUS Ati Radeon HD 6870 1GB PCI-E for 199.72$

Original articles and charts from:,2944.html

Awesome game music part I

Thursday, 7 July 2011

These are just some of the tunes that have impressed or sticked to my mind over the years in games. Starting with NES, SNES and then PC.

Composer: Robin Beanland, Graeme Norgate

omposer: David Wise

STARFOX (SNES) - Corneria
Composer: Hajime Hirasawa

F-ZERO (SNES) - Mute City
Composer: Naoto Ishida, Yukio Kaneoka, Yumiko Kanki

Composer: David Wise

NINJA GAIDEN (NES) - Basilisk Mine Field - Stage 4-2
Composer: Keiji Yamagishi

Composer: Naoki Kodaka

MEGAMAN 2 (NES) - Dr.Wily Stage 1/2
Composer: Ogeretsu Kun (Takashi Tateishi)

MEGAMAN 3 (NES) - Title Theme
Composer: Bunbun (A.K.A. Yasuaki Fujita)

BIONIC COMMANDO (NES) - Leap of Faith - Stage 2
Composer: Junko Tamiya (A.K.A. Gondamin)

CASTLEVANIA (NES) - Wicked Child
Composer: Kinuyo Yamashita

Composer: Kenichi Matsubara

SHADOWGATE (NES) - Entryway / Main Theme
Composer: Unknown (no credits but GBC uses same tracks which is credited to Kouji Nishikawa)

Composer: Keizou Nakamura

BATMAN (NES) - Streets of Desolation
Composer: Naoki Kodaka

PLATOON (AMIGA) - Title Theme
Composer: David Whittaker

FALLOUT 1 (PC) - Radiation Storm (The Glow theme)
Composer: Mark Morgan

FALLOUT 2 (PC) - Broken hills, military base, sierra army depot
Composer: Mark Morgan

ELDER SCROLLS II: DAGGERFALL (PC) - Explore 4 (Night Theme)
Composer: Eric Heberling

MIGHT & MAGIC VI (PC) - Town Theme #1/4 (Blackshire)
Composer: Steve Baca, Rob King, Paul Romero, Jennifer Wang

MIGHT & MAGIC VII (PC) - Castle Harmondale, Stone City
Composer: Paul Romero, Rob King, Steve Baca

STARCRAFT (PC) - Terran 1
Composer: Derek Duke, Glenn Stafford, Tracy W. Bush, Jason Haye

Composer: Paul Romero, Rob King, Steve Baca

Composer: Guido Henkel

Composer: Richard Wells

MECHWARRIOR 2 (PC) - Umber Wall
Composer: Gregory Alper, Jeehun Hwang

My TOP10 video games of all time

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

This is a list of my TOP10 video games I've ever played myself. Feel free to suggest me something new or retro that is not included here. I just love large scale dynamic or at least partially free RPG and adventure games with as much replay value as possible. Although 10 games is just shallow amount - I like to bring up the very best. Bare in mind that any game reaching TOP 10 - well - it's great achievement! It's not like I've played 10 games in my life and Mario Kart would be the worst while Fallout would me mediocre with 5. place no! All games listed hold special place to me in my gaming history and while there is certain amount of nostalgia for sure, it's mostly overall experience and joy of each game that counts. For example X-Com Apocalypse is "a flawed diamond" yet it's overall much fun and damn good game despite it's flaws. Only ten games.. That's not to say though that there aren't plenty of more great games not listed in here.

1. Fallout 2 (PC)

Buy: | | |

Fallout 2 is a great example of almost perfect roleplaying/adventure game. Very long lasting game with lots of different ways and choices to play it through. Large world map, interesting story, great atmosphere with post-apocalyptic world and loads of things to do.. list goes on. Some of the best and most hypnotic, atmospheric and mysterious freaky game music ever can be also listened in this game. Replayability value 10+

2. Jagged Alliance 2 (PC)

Buy: | | |

Jagged Alliance 2 is nice blend of strategy, RPG and adventure. You hire the group of mercs you want to take down a dictator in an island. Along with this you also make your own character that adds some roleplaying values to the game. Along creation you can add points to certain skills, but special skills and personality comes out of the "question-answer"-style quiz. This game includes loads of weapons, modifications to them, different characters and side-missions. Also has a lot replayability value.

3. Heroes of Might and Magic III (PC)

Buy: | |

Build up your cities, create armies and wipe out your enemies. Probably my favourite turn based strategy game. HOMM (III) succeeds to blend in some RPG and adventure elements. Mainly cause you control your armies with heroes, which gain experience and special skills at battles. And while moving around the map you encounter different events and groups monsters. Loads of special items, experience points and other rewards spice this game up a lot and keep things interesting. Still great game today despite it's few AI flaws!

4. Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (PC)

Buy: | I & II + Exp | |

Baldur's Gate II is probably the best and most large AD&D-style RPG to exist 'till today. Replayability value 10+ and awesome still today.

5. Fallout (PC)

Buy: | |

Although I kinda feel bad of two so similar games with same series taking up two spots in shallow TOP10 games list, I just cannot help it. Both Fallouts deserve place in there. That's just the way it goes. First part (Fallout 1) of this post-apocalyptic RPG/Adventure. As good as the second, but way shorter. Still I highly recommended, complete this first and then go for the Fallout II! Also has same music composer than it's sequel and one of best atmospheric game music included.

6. Planescape: Torment (PC)

Buy: | | |

Another great RPG/adventure game. I wish they still made games like these. You wake up in a crypt, not remembering who you are, and not knowing whether you are dead or alive. Are you in hell? This game resembles quite much of Fallout series, just different theme, and just as good! You have many ways of doing things to keep things interesting. Planescape Torment rules!
Replayability value 10+

7. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (PC, XBOX360, PS3)

Buy: | |

The third part of Elder Scrolls-game series is much smaller than prequel Daggerfall, seemingly, but the game area is much more action packed. While part II-Daggerfall still stands probably as one of largest RPG games due game area, most of it was empty space and random generated repetitive dungeons, repetitive towns and so on. Don't get me wrong either, Morrowind is still LARGE. Probably the best Elder Scrolls game overall. Morrowind just manages to get this epic and mystical feeling in the game world and story (that sequel Oblivion lacked) along with nice character build system, loads of loot and quests and freedom of exploration. Not so retro but totally classic!

8. Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven (PC)

Buy: | /w M&M 1-6 - $9.99 |

Pretty simple RPG where you create four characters of your liking and start the game, yet there's something strikingly fascinating in Mandate of Heaven (hint: it's also sold as Platinum Edition with 4-in-1 containing Might And Magic VI-IX). Game is viewed in 1st person view only, so you kinda move with all 4 characters at once. Combat is simple, you press button and hit, whoever of the characters is ready to hit - hits. Hitting rate depends of characters speed. There's also quite nice selection of different spells. The game is pretty much 1st person hack'n'slash with loads of enemies packed in groups standing around landscape. Graphics are quite poor 3d that weren't top notch even when game was released. Still this game has the magic, something that keeps me playing it. There's quite many items and character development/skills system is complex and rewarding, as is completing quests and getting rewards. This is one of those games that are quite repetitive, don't look that good and still there's something magical about it that keeps me playing through the whole long game.

9. X-COM III: Apocalypse (PC)

I remember hearing varying opinions of this third part of X-COM games. I myself loved it. While graphics kinda sucked, the game system itself was gold. There was so much to do in the game. You were in control of anti-alien corporation X-COM. You have your headquarters, you hire the troops who gain experience, and buy battle vehicles like tanks and interceptors. You could find out which corporations were under alien influence and attack their basements by yourself, or wait aliens to attack and get alarmed for action, or get your own headquarters attacked. Developing weapons and researching alien tech was rewarding. There is firstly the city view where you see isometric view of whole city, there you can get into ufo-encounter and shoot them down by your own warfare, or get into war with other corporations. Then there's an inside-view from buildings in the missions, where most of the game events happen. There you would equip your troops with different guns and take down the alien forces with your infantry. So basically X-Com involves some micromanagement with your corporation development, team-management and alien tech research as well as warfare battles in city streets and turn based battles inside different building and ufo's (this is the main focus). I just liked how this game works and how deep it is with everything. Just plenty of stuff in this game. As a cool thing, the city is always different in each time you start a game meaning it's randomised. By the way music is alsolutely great, composed by Richard Wells. Atmospheric, mystical, epic and freaky as he*l - really setting the tone to this great game.

10. Super Mario Kart (SNES)

Mario goes carting. This game was so much fun once, but unfortunately I don't own this game anymore. Though I recently bought SNES again and will hunt Mario Kart boxed somewhere when found with right price. Gameplay rocked and split screen with a friend playing thru a tournament was awesome. All characters drive differently. There's nothing like seeing your friend closing you by at last lap, successfully dropping a banana-peel in front of him and seeing him spin around!

*Some of the honourable mentions that didn't fit in goes to NES games Mega Man series 1-3, Super Mario 3 - SNES game Super Mario World - PC games , Dragon Age Origins, Heroes of Might And Magic II, Baldurs Gate, Thief I-II, System Shock 2, Realms of Arkania III: Shadows Over Riva, Delta Force 2 (multiplayer FPS never before was this fun), Icewind Dale I-II, Civilization II, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion (despite kicking hardcore RPG fans in the face with level-scaling and some other quite unimpressive stuff) and Daggerfall, Fallout 3, Deus Ex..