Classic Games I Love

September 29, 2008

The recent purchase of Xcom: UFO Defense and it's sequel Xcom: Terror From the Deep via Steam has reminded me of some classic games that I will always love to play. There is something about them that was done so well, they were great to play, and even after completing them, I can always go back and re-play them again and enjoy them just as much as before.

Xcom: UFO Defense
Created by Microprose, Xcom is one of those rare games that successfully blends 3 game genre's together to create it's own type of game. It's part turn based strategy, RPG, and civilization all rolled into one fantastic game. The turn based strategy is where you spend most of your gameplay time, and while it is very simple in nature, it's very fun and can be extremely challenging. The RPG element deals with your squad of soldiers, they get better in different areas after each successful mission. The civilization aspects deal with building and maintaining your bases around the globe, reasearching new equipment, and manufacturing new facilities and equipment your squad can use on missions. The goal of the game is to protect the world from invading aliens, intercept their spacecraft as well as protect innocent civilians from attacks on world cities. As the game progresses you learn more about the aliens themselves through your research and eventually the aliens begin to attack your bases directly. The game culminates with a final showdown attack launched against their home base of operations.

Xcom: Terror From the Deep
The sequel to the original Xcom, takes the same game and puts it underwater. I actually enjoy this version of the game more than the original because of the updated graphics and other all around improvements on the original. The gameplay is the same, just underwater, the story is also essentially the same as well. While it may sort of lack originality, they knew the original gameplay wasn't broken so there was no point in fixing it. Alas, they did change everything for the 3rd and 4th installments of the series which I ended up avoiding like the plague.

Syndicate was created by Bullfrog and was originally a Peter Molyneux creation I believe. Bullfrog was responsible for quite a few great games and Syndicate was one of my all time favorites. Essentially a mission-based, action RPG, you are put in the control of a squad of enhanced cyborgs and tasked with various objectives to increase your Syndicate's influence in the world. Battling rival syndicates for world dominance is the ultimate goal of the game, and you also have RPG elements and research that allow you to upgrade your cyborg squad with enhancements you can activate during gameplay to literally reign in complete destruction in the mission environments. It was always lots of fun to activate your squad and watch them go on a killing spree, mowing down police, civilians, rival syndicate cyborgs, and usually blowing up half the screen in the process. The sequel Syndicate Wars, messed with the game enough that it wasn't enjoyable which was really too bad.

Dungeon Keeper
Another Bullfrog classic, Dungeon Keeper was the first game I remember that took a different perspective on the player being an evil dungeon master instead of the expected benevolent protagonist. Another Molyneux real time strategy game, your goal is to build a dungeons that can attract strong and powerful monsters while holding off would-be heroes from cleansing your taint from the land. The notable things about this game were the ability to treat your minions with an iron fist making them work or train harder. You could also step into any of your minions viewpoint and get a first-person view of your dungeon which made the game a lot of fun. Not only could you walk around in your dungeon, but you also took on the abilities of that creature, so that if you were an imp you could dig walls and fetch gold, or as a monster you could engage directly with fighting heroes that entered your dungeon. The game also offered multiplayer where competing dungeons would be built out of the same earth, but that was only so fun. The games always ended up in one large conflict, where the victor would destroy the other player's dungeon heart. The bigger draw to the game was the single player campaign and it was a lot of fun. The voice of the narrator was deliciously evil as well. I never got a chance to play the sequel, and it's something I need to try and find somewhere and give it a playthrough.