Half-Life

Half-Life in game screenshot

Genre: FPS
Developer: Valve Software
Publisher: Sierra Studios, Electronic Arts, Valve
Goals: Shoot zombies and soldiers. Jump and avoid obstacles.
Controls: WASD Keys to move, mouse to aim and shoot.

Takeaways:

  • Story: Half-Life was one of the first games to tell a story through environments and scripted events played in front of you. This made you feel like you were in the story itself.
  • Arsenal: The selection of weapons was impressive and diverse. The crowbar became an icon for the game in itself, and quite realistic military style weapons like missile launchers and machine guns were a joy to play with.
  • Style: The realism of the environments and the colors in the game were quite unique compared to earlier titles.
  • Sound: The sound design was perfectly coherent and incredibly well done.

Syndicate

Syndicate in game screenshot

Genre: Tactical Actiongame
Developer: Bullfrog Productions, Ocean Software
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Goals: Equip, upgrade, assemble and control a team of cyborg agents on missions in futuristic cities. Missions include eliminating agents, kidnapping and "converting" key people.
Controls: Left mousebutton to select and move agents, right to shoot. Number keys to select specific agent.

Takeaways:

  • Selecting and moving agents with the left mouse button works extremely well, and firing with the right button feels natural and gratifying.
  • The interface contains vital but only necessary information.
  • The sound is very efficient in creating an atmosphere and a larger world than the graphics provide.

Turrican 2

Turrican 2 in game screenshot

Genre: Action Platformer
Developer: Factor 5
Publisher: Rainbow Arts
Goals: Run, jump and shoot through levels. Fight against walking and flying enemies. Pick up powerups and different weapons.
Controls: Joystick or arrow keys to move and jump, fire button to fire, hold fire button to activate flamethrower type weapon.

Takeaways:

  • Action Platformer: A platformer with the option to shoot, although typical of many games on the Amiga platform, informs us that genres are not necessarily tied to certain styles.
  • Weapons: The flamethrower type weapon, deployed through holding the fire button, was an excellent weapon in many situations. The player could also transform into a small, fast moving ball (with a gun).
  • Bosses: The bosses were frequent and diverse, and therefore also a nice source of inspiration.

Descent

Descent in game screenshot

Genre: FPS Developer: Parallax Software, Interplay Productions
Publisher: Interplay Productions.
Goals: Fly through tunnels, shoot robots, collect upgrades and save POVs.
Controls: WASD buttons and mouse controls, but also joystick and keys.

Takeaways:

  • Injecting a genre with another: Descent had a new take on the FPS genre. The idea is basically the same as Wolfenstein, Doom, Hexen and other games in the genre. But Descent has a flight simulator take on the idea, including controls, UI and weapons.
  • Enemies: The enemies were flying robots, which opened up other behavioral patterns as that of soliders.

North and South

North & South in game screenshot

Genre: Tactical action, Action and Jump n Run.
Developer: Infogrames
Publisher: Infogrames
Goals: Win the fight against north or south. Perform strategic moves on a map of the US and fight with the best legions you have. Conquer forts by running, jumping and shooting guards against time.
Controls: Joystick(s)

Takeaways:

  • Strategy gameplay: North and South had a great element of strategy, just like the board game Risk, which formed the world hub.
  • Great PvP Battles: When a choice was made to attack the enemy at a certain area, the battle was fought with horses, men on foot and a cannon. Players would have to switch between these, and this called for both skill and tactics in each battle.
  • Minigame: When a player wanted to take a fort, you would have to play a minigame, where the attacking party would have to race against time in a sidescrolling obstacle course. The opponent had three guards to deploy at strategic points in time to further slow down the attacker.