10 Older PC Games You’ll Want to Re-Install Right Now

Over-nostalgia is an easy trap to fall into.  The belief that everything was better back in the days when we were too young and stupid to recognise the cynical marketing ploy behind He-Man is a comforting one, however much of a lie it is.  Most cartoons existed solely to encourage children to nag their parents for toys, popular music was just as sterile and mass-produced as it is now, and movies were, for the most part, sparkly dross.  With the possible exception of Nintendo fans, we all recognise the beast of nostalgia to be a deceptive one, and are wary of its lures.  However, every now and again, we’ll remember an absolute gem from the gaming past, and find it just as playable as it was in the day.  We’ll vow never to uninstall it in exactly the same way we did years ago when we first played it, before inevitably doing just that to make way for drunken mass-downloads of NCIS: Miami.  

 

INDIANA JONES AND THE FATE OF ATLANTIS

Sequels can be complete shit.  Some people fly into homicidal rages at the mere mention of podracing or Batman’s American Express card.  There are wards full of people all across the world trying desperately to forget the Matrix sequels.  And then, there are certain people for whom just a whisper of the words “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” will force a complete rectal collapse.  It was shockingly bad, sure.  But there was another edge to this tragedy, the despicable cherry that made the complete an utter shit sundae all the more gruesome to chow down on.  Rubbish sequels like The Matrix: Reloaded (and Revolutions or Rejaculated or whatever it was called) can be forgiven to an extent, cast aside because, well, the movies they didn’t end up making were probably worse.  They probably involved Neo living as an office clerk in Paris, trying to maintain his second job as a failing music teacher while raising a precocious teen.  They were probably shittier than the shit we ended up with, and the lesser of two evils is always easier to swallow.  Not so with Indiana Jones.  Because we’ll always know that they made that fucking communist alien rubbish over Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

It had everything that any fan of the films could want, all in one brilliantly-scripted point-and-click package.  The Nazis are at it again, this time taking their chance on the eve of the war to follow the trail to the legendary city, using its power to become gods.  Traversing a variety of locales, from Indy’s own Barton College to the sands of Egypt and finally to the mysterious ruins of Atlantis itself, Indy is aided by archaeologist-turned-table-rapping-fake-psychic Sophia Hapgood in putting a halt to the menace and finally uncovering the secrets of the sunken city.  Everything plays out just like an Indiana Jones game should, and there’s not a scene in the game which isn’t instantly memorable.  Players will always remember the first time they crashed Sophia’s high-society spiritualist meeting, cynically putting her guests to shame with Indy’s special brand of brash pseudo-charm.  Everything in IJATFOA is crafted with adventure in mind, and the wealth of research into Atlantis myths is more than evident, making use of Plato’s ‘tenfold error’ and pages of The Hermocrates to push the quest along in fine form.

For the most part, a point-and-click lives or dies on its puzzles, and the game constantly keeps the player on their toes, mixing easier interface-based puzzles with devilishly difficult logic puzzles and riddles to keep variance.  Aside from finding clues and sniffing out mysteries, Indy finds himself piloting a German U-boat and hot air balloons and riding camels, all while reminding us of a halcyon age when Indiana Jones was awesome, whips were used to solely disarm gunmen and swing across chasms and fedoras were still worn by cool people.

ARX FATALIS

 A game that was so far ahead of its time that it breaks the principle of Niven’s Law, Arkane Studios’ Arx Fatalis broke the mould in 2002 by utilising the first-person perspective in an RPG to do something other than ape Dungeon Master.  Most other first-person RPG titles of the time offered either hideously on-rails dungeon crawling experiences (which were about as tense and rewarding as watching a handful of turds slowly wending their way through a sewer system) or a dazzling open-world experience where tacked-on afterthought gameplay rendered the whole thing about as fun as staring at a series of lovely paintings while being repeatedly kicked by a horse.  Arx Fatalis occupied the middle ground like a Palestinian Bar Mitzvah, mixing depth of gameplay with a world that felt open even as it engendered extreme claustrophobia.

Arx Fatalis is set in a world where the sun has given up the ghost, and everyone has given up on the surface world in favour of a great labyrinthine underground complex.  Each level of the subterranean nightmare is occupied by trolls, goblins and dwarves fighting for slim survival in a way reminiscent of modern-day Leicester.  Waking up in a cell with nothing but a dirty hangover and a vague realisation that you might have the sole responsibility of undermining the return of an ancient god of destruction, Arx Fatalis’ gameplay is what really shines, making it a survival epic years ahead of its time, a genre that has only recently become popular thanks to Minecraft and those thousands of fucking clones of Minecraft.  To keep yourself alive in Arx, you’re going to need to eat and drink and everything that you need will have to be painstakingly crafted.  From a simple keyring to swords, potions and tools, if you want that shit, you’re going to have to work for it.  You’re not about to magically find a +1 sword of turn undead sitting around in some dire wolf’s innards.  In addition to this, you won’t be able to just stick the bits together in some pansy in-game menu.  You’re going to have to throw a blade in a fire and hit it with a hammer until it’s ready.  Run out of food, and you either forage for it, fish for it, or slowly starve to death against a wall. 

Beyond the unforgiving doom and gloom of Arx Fatalis, the unparalleled level of interactivity is what makes the game really shine, chock full of those “goddamn, I wish someone saw that!” moments.  Being chased around a dark corner, lit torch in hand and tossing it quickly into a puddle to put it out before a bunch of now-blinded goblins scurry past you.  Spells are used for everything from growing crops to sealing doors and lighting torches, controlled by using the mouse to draw the runes required to cast them, a truly nail-biting experience when a fully-armed troll is bearing down on you and you’re tying yourself in knots trying to make that fourth weird swirly pattern, like a manic alcoholic trying to find his car keys.    Dialogue is for pussies, with your intentions being intimated from your deeds.  If you’re running around the place writing demoralising messages with the intestines of the innocent, you’re not going to wangle your way into a good ending by giving hefty donations to their shattered families.

TACHYON THE FRINGE

Some games stand on the strength of gameplay alone, while yet others stand on the strength of the characters within it or the stellar storyline.  Some games just have an addicting quality to them that keeps players coming back for more.

Tachyon:  The Fringe has all of that in spades.  If you’re not won over just yet, consider these four words:  Bruce Campbell in Space.

The game revolves around Jake Logan (voiced by Bruce), an aspiring 26th century fighter pilot who is framed for a crime he didn’t commit and exiled to The Fringe, which is basically all of space outside the Sol system, a vast and barely inhabitable dumping ground for those either too hardened and dangerous or too rebellious for the home system.  Like a space age version of Australia.  As soon as he gets there, the Campbell snark is present in almost every line of his dialogue, and never gets old.  The ensuing border war between the squeaky clean GALSPAN Corporation and the dirty renegade BORA militia gets in the way of Logan’s new life on the outer reaches, and soon sweeps him up in the wake.

It would be so easy to just wail on about Bruce Campbell for the rest of the entry, but it just wouldn’t be fair to the rest of the game, which is about as sublime a space sim as can be found outside of the Wing Commander series.  The combat is, at points, punishingly hard, forcing the player employ actual strategy and manipulate the battle, and it’s not uncommon for a lazy-seeming dogfight to go completely south at a parsec’s notice.  The setting is all-consuming, with countless examples of fully-voiced, fully-animated news segments and reports immersing the player utterly.  Character choices matter, with not just the game changing based on whether you choose to ally with the GALSPAN or BORA forces, but playstyles accommodating for it, too. 

GALSPAN is a huge corporation, offering wingmen, well-kitted out fighters and large cash payouts for pilots on their payroll, allowing for a more confident style of play that favours head-on battles and obvious heroics.  The BORA, however, are freedom fighters, less well-funded and less numerous who offer more difficult missions, where cunning, guile and guerilla tactics are the name of the game.  In addition to this, a wealth of independent missions are offered, with many of the more casual choices made in-game changing the outcome and content of news reports to help the player believe that they are actually making a difference in the turbulent reaches of space.  Multiplayer also deserves a special mention, though after so many years, you’re unlikely to find a game.  Still, if you can manage to get some teams together, Tachyon offers 120-man player v. player war maps that are a hectic hoot to wade through.

STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION -  BIRTH OF THE FEDERATION

 Star Trek The Next Generation: Birth of the Federation is one of those games that’s more likely to appeal to THAT kind of Trekkie.  It is, after all, so heavily steeped in Star Trek minutiae that it takes a special kind of autistic to appreciate the sheer giddy pleasure of successfully researching the D'dederidex class of Romulan warbird. However, while non-Trekkies may not be so quick to jump into bed with BOTF, it remains one of the best examples of a turn based, strategy game.

As with most 4X strategies, BOTF sees you pick one of the big five races of Star Trek: The Next Generation's universe, expanding your empire across the stars.  Starting with one planet and two ships; a short range colony ship and a long range scout. Expansion is done through various means; you can terraform and colonise vacant systems, use diplomacy to extend the hand of friendship to minor races (of which there are many) and absorb them into your empire or you can declare war and bomb the ever-loving shit out of your enemies and take their colonies by force.  Victory is achieved once you control a percentage of the galaxy; 60% as standard or 75% if you enter into an alliance with another of the big five.  Alternatively, the Vendetta victory conditions require you to eliminate two of your rivals.

 As well as this, you also have to protect your internal security by allocating resources to espionage, while simultaneously gathering intel on your rival empires by allocating resources to sabotage. Also, you need to manage the population of each planet you control ensuring they have enough food, power, morale etc, but you don't let that stop you keeping an eye on the minor races and forging alliances with them, while treading a diplomatic tightrope in your relationships with the major empires which can also impact your rapport with a minor race.  Did I mention that you need to be building science research facilities which contribute to your research total, which allows you to build better structures, discover better methods of power and unlock better starships?  Starships which you also need to build, but only in systems where there are shipyards (and shipyards require a fair amount of investment).  But the number of starships you can build is limited by the amount of dilithium you have to hand, not to mention the sheer amount of credits required to maintain a fleet, so you best maintain those trade routes people!  Let's not even think about random events which can, as the name suggests, randomly throw Borg cubes or the Crystalline Entity into your path and obliterate your empire in a series of short turns.

 

If you haven't guessed by now, BOTF is hard. It's hard in a way that games aren't anymore. It is a brutal experience which requires you to constantly monitor every single, minor detail, no matter how banal, of your entire empire. However, it's not above throwing the Calamarain at you and destroying in one turn a fleet which potentially took you seventy five turns to build. It is far, far more sophisticated and complex than a lot of strategy games out there and victory is far from assured.  I have been playing BOTF with embarrassing regularity since its release in 1999 and I have won the game twice. Twice. In sixteen years. 

FRONTIER: ELITE II

The recent release of Elite: Dangerous has been very warmly received by fans of the space sandbox theme, most of whom came rushing back to the Elite series after a long, yet grudging exile in the realms of EVE Online.  For sheer forceful freedom, there’s no genre out there to match the space-trading/combat sim, and no game quite like Frontier: Elite II.  The sequel to 1984’s Elite, it sees the player thrust into the role of “some bloke with a shit spaceship”, tasking you with the endless quest of “doing whatever the hell you like forever”.  There’s no storyline revolving around dire interstellar war, there’s no pre-set quest path to follow, and there’s no long-lost inheritance that only the player can access.  There’s a bulletin board, a handful of wanted posters and (if you’re lucky) there’s a guy in the station bar who needs a ride to Jupiter and will pay double if he gets there without you talking to him all the time.  There’s no grand welcome to the world of Frontier, because it sort of just plops you down, makes a shooing motion with its hands and eventually tells you to piss off because you make the place look untidy.

That isn’t to say there isn’t much to do.  That is pretty fucking far from being the case.  Your ship is a piece of shit at the start, so you’ll be saving up for a new one.  You’re going to need some decent weapons to defend yourself in case you get attacked, and some powerful lasers to mine with.  You’ll need cargo holds and cabins with life support if you’re going to be carrying anyone around the cosmos, and a half-decent engine and autopilot so that you don’t have to sit at the controls all day, watching your junk shuttle slither through space with all the finesse of a brick.

“But how do I get all the credits for this stuff?”  You ask?

“None of my fucking concern.”  The game responds.  “I’m not your mother.”

Left to your own devices, there are many options available for making money.  An intricate in-game economy means that you can check the prices in the local systems, making a profit from hauling crates of grain and farm machinery to rim planets as long as you can afford the fuel.  Mining is steady work, but tedious, and if you can stand the monotony of cracking asteroids all day, you’ll soon bring in enough for that new fuel scoop.  Hunting down wanted criminals is dangerous, but pays really well.  And of course, if you’re not the kind of person who wants to waste time earning things legally, you can always take to full-blown piracy, blowing up ships to swipe their cargo and ferrying narcotics and guns to eager buyers.  What really makes Frontier a joy to play is the absolute uncertainty of it all.  One minute you’re flying around in a top-of-the-line battleship with fancy rims and crushed velvet curtains, turning your turrets on lesser ships that dare to look your way, and the next minute you’ve been shot to shit by a fleet of bored mercenaries.  If your escape pod makes rescue before they decide to finish you off, you might just wind up back where you started the game.  If you take on that group of religious pilgrims bound for the Leesti system, don’t be too surprised if they turn out to be desperate fugitives.     

LOOM

It’s pretty rare these days that a gamer can come across a game which requires any more patience to play than it takes to wait for a lobby to find enough players.  Being the staid and boring old fart that I am, I’m likely to get bitter about it, and blame the younger generation, them with their stupid glass-less lenses, classless music and healthy teeth and bones.  They were lucky enough to grow up on games that didn’t require ten-minute loading times and suitcases full of floppy disks.  They didn’t have to put up with idiotic anti-piracy measures that rendered a game unplayable unless you waded through the manual looking for the right coded password to let you play the game you’ve already paid money for.  However, it also means they lack the callous disregard for time that it takes to play a game like Loom.  A game so weird and so barely rooted in reality that it requires the player to listen to a prologue (in the form of a 30-minute audio drama) before they have any fucking clue what’s going on.  Loom is a video game with required reading.

Good thing too, because if you jump right into the game, you’re not just going to be confused, you’re going to get bone-fide culture shock.  The world of Loom, which may or may not be the future of our world, is based on a kind of magic/song called “drafts”, which are weaved (cast/played) using a distaff (magic stick/lute).  The main plot (as much as I can understand of it, at least) centres around the coming of the third shadow, a chaos entity that wants to control the world, something about a great loom, transcendence and swans, dragons and dress-making.  It isn’t just the mystifying plotline that is experimental, though.  Character interaction isn’t done through the usual “pick up rock-sharpen rock on wall-shiv snitch” formula, but by observing the works of nature to create drafts and playing them in lateral ways to work your way around some damned intriguing puzzles.  Drafts can be reversed in many cases to provide the opposite effect.  For instance, playing the draft of opening backwards makes it a draft of closing, and playing dye backwards becomes bleach.

The rather experimental lack of inventory was a massive put-off for some (especially fans of other LucasArts games), and the inaccessible new-agey storyline managed to drive most of the others off, but there was just so much to love about Loom.  The frequency of the puzzles was spot on, and even though they were a tad on the easy side, there was far more joy to be gained from observing an action in play, learning the associated draft from it and using it in new and creative ways.  It’s a fantastic reminder of a time in the early nineties when videogame plotline could be as obscure and mind-bending as possible without having to pander to anyone.      

SIM ANT

If I was stuck on a deserted island and had but one game to keep me company until my lack of survival instincts and aversion to seafood took their inevitable toll, it would be Sim Ant.  Developed by Maxis and designed by Will Wright (before Spore, a game so poorly-received that it forced many prominent academics to denounce the theory of evolution completely and become trappist monks), Sim Ant was but one title in a swirling brown torrent of Sim games that engulfed the gaming industry in the nineties, leaving behind the few questionable puddles that spawned The Sims and its multitude of tedious non-sequels. 

Rising above the flood, however, was 1992’s Sim Ant, which was apparently inspired by E O Wilson’s study of ant colonies, but seems to owe more to Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and all those abysmal 1960’s horror movies where they put cameras under scuttling insects and scream a lot about moon monsters.  Given control of a colony of black ants in a suburban backyard, the aim of the game is to build a colony that thrives so hard that it makes Massachusetts look like a piece of shit by comparison.  It won’t be an easy task, mainly because ants (while being pretty smart by insect standards) are dumb as fuck, and have all the regular ant drama to deal with like beetles, messy humans and a rival colony of red ants who always end up doing better than you, with brilliantly-ventilated nests while your queen is stuck pumping out larva all day because your own troops have developed a sexual fetish for lawnmower blades.       

Of course, it doesn’t much matter what happens to your ants, because a society with no individualism leaves little room to sympathise with the fallen.  Did eight of your number get wiped out by those red bastards while fighting over the last scraps of fallen food?  Forget about it!  They’re sterile female drones, created to fight to the death!  Your breeders can always make more, and your colony will grow thanks to their sacrifice.  The beauty of the game is that Sim Ant doesn’t just let you guide the whole process, but puts you in direct control of a single ant at a time, designated by a yellow colour.  As the leader of the fledgling empire, you can lay pheromone trails that force other ants to follow you, lead them valiantly into battle with those evil, evil fucking red bastards and switch control to another ant when you inevitably get scragged by a group of said crimson formicidae.  Blazing a trail across the surface world is contrasted beautifully with colony management.  Guide your ants to dig tunnels as winding and confusing as you like, govern the rate at which the different types of ants (breeders, workers and warriors) are produced and eventually scream with rage as red ants find your nest and proceed to tear it up quicker than a hen party at the museum of Etruscan ceramics.

The strategy of Sim Ant is involving without being overwhelming, and though it looks simple by today’s standards, it’s totally engrossing.  While a quick game gives you one square of the backyard battlefield to fight over, a full game puts you in charge of the whole thing, and you’ll quickly find yourself vying for dominance, callously sending hordes of mindless drones off to their pointless death with all the confidence of a diminuitive, six-legged Barack Obama.      

WING COMMANDER III

In any list of woefully under-appreciated genres, you’re going to find Space Opera.  Usually nestled somewhere between Bollywood crime drama and time-travel porno.  There are criminally few noteworthy Space Operas that aren’t Star Trek, and I could probably count all the videogame examples on the fingers I have left (always pay your gambling debts, kids!).  Sure, we have your Starcrafts, and your Sins of a Solar Empires, but the true essence of space opera lies in pointless drama and they’re both too straight-laced and serious for that.  The closest we come these days is Mass Effect, and I’m pretty sure that half those scenes with Jack weren’t supposed to be light-hearted look at what happens when you bang a mentally-stunted chick for a laugh.  Space Opera is all about the light-hearted banter between doomed fighter pilots and gargantuan alien superweapons with torpedo-shaped weak spots that can be capitalised upon to ensure the whole thing blows up leaving nothing behind but a happy ending.

Enter the Wing Commander series.  Best known for being “that video game what Mark Hamill was in” before the Arkham series, the Wing Commander continuity tells the tale of a pointless future war between humans and the Kilrathi, a feline alien race with an honourable warrior code.  Think of the Klingons, then give them huge, ungainly cat heads.  For reasons probably only known to the few people who trawl around the Wing Commander wiki pages, the Humans and the Kilrathi have been trading blows across the wastes of space for bloody ages, and it’s not exactly going Humanity’s way.  The player takes the role of Colonel Christopher Blair (Hamill), another kid from a farm who has a barely-explicable talent for flying high-tech space fighters, who’s been sent to the outer fringes of space, to a clapped-out space carrier inhabited by a full complement of characters, all of whom you’ll point to and say:  “Hey, I know that guy from somewhere!”

With a lover captured in the dreaded claws of the Kilrathi and the rest of the crew either falling in love with him or hating him (both for rather flimsy reasons), Wing Commander III is one of those games that just wouldn’t be made anymore, to my lasting regret.  Space combat is fast-paced, slick and genuinely exciting, even though the missions boil down to a simple pattern of: Fly to point X while we talk at you, get in a scrap, then come back while we talk at you some more.  There’s enough radio chatter between actually likeable characters to keep the whole affair interesting, and the player choices you make have the same effect as a choose your own adventure story.  They’re not always long lasting, but there are consequences to your actions.  Do you treat your rival with a friendly camaraderie, or do you treat him like something you had mopped out of your warp jets?  Well then, he’ll either save your ass from Kilrathi fighters or leave you to fend for yourself, respectively.  Faced with a rivalry for the fair Colonel Blair’s affections, do you get with the reckless wingman with an axe to grind with the enemy, or the genius yet anti-social mechanic?  Go with the mechanic, and there’s no damn way your wingman will fly with you.  Go with the wingman, and the mechanic won’t bother to outfit your ship properly, out of spite.  Space bitches be cray-cray.

XIII

There are no shortage of FPS titles out there to choose from, and a quick glance around any game shops you can find that are still open for business will give you a wealth of options.  You might opt for one where you play the role of an American soldier fighting against an evil Jihadi regime that is totally bent on taking over the world and beheading beautiful, free, American women.  You could also choose to play the role of a soldier of the United States, battling against a malign group of Arabian insurgents, who have designs on dominating the globe and forcing fine-ass freedom-lovin’ US women into Burqas.  If you’re in the mood for some sci-fi, you could take the role of a Terran soldier with a strong American  accent, locked in warfare with exotic aliens who have travelled the length of the cosmos before discovering that what they really hate most of all is good old-fashioned liberty. 

If, for some reason, you’re a dirty commie who doesn’t get engorged at the thought of a runaway military budget, achieving an erection without having to think about American-made lead slashing through civilian targets half a world away, you’ll probably find yourself playing XIII with alarming regularity.  Based on some eighties conspiracy comic that nobody bothered to read because it’s Belgian and isn’t Tintin, XIII is a conspiracy thriller that borrows the comic-book trappings of its inspiration to create an immersive cel-shaded spy-drama.  Taking the reins of Jason Fly, a man who is inexplicably not a pimp due to his name alone, you awaken with a XIII tattoo, a nasty case of amnesia, and an even nastier wanted status.  You’ve been accused of killing the President of the United States and plotting with a group of fellow conspirators to overthrow the government.  You soon realise that it wasn’t you that did the deed, and faced with a farcical conga-line of mistaken identities, agent provocateurs and double-crossing so long that it’d make James Bond throw up his martini in confusion.

With the flimsy excuse for slick espionage action out of the way, what we’re left with is a stylish retro-themed FPS that plays like a beautiful dream.  Stealth actually works, and there are a number of ways to dispatch enemies silently, dragging their body out of the way of approaching guards.  Approaching enemies are visible through walls to a degree, thanks to the onomatopoeia of their footsteps, tap-tap-tapping across your field of view, getting larger as they get closer.  Enemy deaths are signalled by quick three-panel close-ups of their execution.  Firefights are incredibly difficult at times, as the enemies have killer aim and range but the game trains the player to think like an agent, taking a practiced course through each carefully-constructed level, using broken glass and ashtrays as weaponry to stab and club your way to victory.  Being encouraged to get so up-close and personal is a great detox from modern FPS’ reliance on long-distance drone strikes.

DREAMWEB

There was a very specific time, during the nineties, when adventure games went so far beyond the pale that they looped back around to a private beach in the West Indies.  To the developers, there seemed no difference between the concept of adventure and the details of a bad trip they had in a Chepstow public toilet.  It was a strange transition to take from heroic knights, deeds of daring and villainous evil emperors to mental patients, drug addiction and existential nightmares but it paid off for a few years before everyone else seemed to decide that there was no room in gaming for creepy, chain-smoking HR Giger fetishists and ride them out of town on a rail.  Shame.  However, by far the best example to lurch screeching from the pile is DreamWeb, a game so freaky that even the publishers seemed to decide the game wasn’t intended to be sold, slapping a giant eye on the cover of the box, with the tagline: “A game to die for!”.  As it lacks any kind of context, they might as well have smeared the box in goose shit and given it the tagline: “I’m going to kill your mum!”.

DreamWeb sees the player taking the reluctant role of Ryan, a troubled ex-bartender who resembles a perpetually-trouble Neil Gaiman.  Despite it being a standard (and rather easy) point and click ‘adventure’ title, the essence of DreamWeb lies in the storyline.  One day, our hero Ryan receives a mental transmission from a bunch of monks from a spiritual dimension called the dreamweb, and is tasked with killing seven people across the city that are going to commit terrible crimes in the future.  At this point, either alarm bells are ringing inside your head, or they’re ringing somewhere outside your cell to indicate feeding time.  What follows is a game where you potter about the city, executing seven random incidents, sucked into the dreamweb after each horrific murder, only to wake up in a random location, fresh as a daisy and ready to kill the next one.  It’s left up to the player to decide whether or not Ryan is a mystic secret assassin in a spiritual cyberpunk world or a deranged serial killer in a regular cyberpunk world, but one thing you won’t be escaping is the murder.  It’s the point of the game, and you will do it because the game is telling you to. 

This predates Bioshock’s silly “would you kindly kill a puppy” nonsense by a straight 15 years, and is much more conniving in its execution.  You’ll probably play along with the storyline in the same way that Ryan does, because we’d all rather be the tortured anti-hero than the drooling lunatic.  Despite the top-down nature of the game, it makes great use of perspective, and the murders Ryan commits are no less brutal and unsettling for it.  In a scene that gleefully sticks two fingers up the anus of censorship, Ryan bursts in on a couple openly having sex and watches the lady scramble under the bed in terror before blasting his target’s brains all over the bedsheets.  Which he totally needed to do because the nguy was going to commit terrible sins in the future.  The wibbly mind-monks told him so.  

 

 

polycarpInspired by a particularly hefty bout of nostalgia for Tab Clear and vowing to go back in time to get some, WASDuk Writer Arkworthy spent sixteen years wrestling with the rigorous temporal science required to build a functioning time machine.  After an ill-advised test voyage that saw him spilling curry sauce on the Magna Carta, accidentally killing Charles II with a remote controlled helicopter and beating Charles Darwin with a golf club in a disagreement over the rules to chess, he returned to find himself trapped in a terrifying future of his own creation where killer cyborgs stalk the streets, the sun has been scorched from the sky in an effort to stop them, and Tab Clear just doesn’t taste as good as it used to.        

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