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This thread feels almost as ancient as some of the games on discussion here, so excuse me if I (or anyone else) already mention this one. 

 

For some reason I had a dream about this game the other night, haven't thought about it in years. 

 

The Clue, a computer game from 1994, is set to the year 1953 in London and you take control of a young criminal who has plans on making it big. The main interface is the classic point and click variety where you select various locations throughout the city. You can visit pubs where you socialize, eavesdrop on conversations and overall try to gather information about places to break in and steal stuff you can sell. You can hire getaway drivers, lockpickers, guards and a variety of important people to help you out. The cool bit of the game, though, is the planning phase. Whenever you've decided where to break in, the game switches to an overview blueprint view where you plan out every move, step by step. Here you had to carefully plan everything down to the smallest detail. Forgetting to check for dogs (and having the right means to "eliminate" them) could mean straight to prison. 
This game actually blew my mind back in the days and I would love to see a remake. 

 

 

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I don’t think this game was awesome but did anyone play Ripper?

 

I wasn’t much of a PC gamer back then so I never played it but I remember the hype in mags before it launched. Always with a screenshot of some heavyset man with his guts slashed open and talk of multiple endings. 
 

This thread reminded me of it and googling it now, I had completely forgotten that it involved Christopher Walken and that there was supposed to be console ports after the PC launch. 
 

This Wired article about it is pretty good: https://www.wired.com/story/ripper/

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17 hours ago, Kingpin said:

I don’t think this game was awesome but did anyone play Ripper?

 

I wasn’t much of a PC gamer back then so I never played it but I remember the hype in mags before it launched. Always with a screenshot of some heavyset man with his guts slashed open and talk of multiple endings. 
 

This thread reminded me of it and googling it now, I had completely forgotten that it involved Christopher Walken and that there was supposed to be console ports after the PC launch. 
 

This Wired article about it is pretty good: https://www.wired.com/story/ripper/

 

Well that was a blast from the past, can't remember the last time I was thinking about this game but possibly not in this millenium. 
I had a soft spot for the CD-ROM FMV games. Not a lot of them were good and the actual gameplay mechanics were usually even more restricted than the classic point and click adventures that most of the FMV games tried to revolutionise but in the case of Ripper, Cristopher Walken was the main draw for me. As a movie buff I found it wildly exciting that Hollywood celebs would pop up in video games, like Christopher Loyd in Toonstruck and Mark Hamil & John Rhys-Davies in Wing Commander 3 (my absolute favourite celeb appearance in any video game still goes to David Bowie in The Nomad Soul) and I genuinely hoped that Hollywood and the video game industry would merge at one point, delivering feature film quality video games where you could interact with your actual idols.

My train of thought was pretty much based on coming out of the 16 bit era and little did I know that 3D accelleration was just around the corner and would flip the tables once and for all. 

 

But yeah, Ripper was actually a bad game with hammy acting, even from Walken, but I had some really good times with it and remember being so pleased when I finally completed it. I still think I've got the original big box copy somewhere in storage. 

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1 hour ago, Rayn said:

 

But yeah, Ripper was actually a bad game with hammy acting, even from Walken


He needed more cowbell.

 

I never actually played Ripper but I do remember reading about it.

Reminds me a bit of Dracula (Unleashed?) which came out a few years prior, and featured some of the worst acting this side of BBC’s Eldorado.

 

 

 

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On 02/05/2022 at 10:46, Benny said:

Also I think if I actually had ended up playing Blade Runner in the 90s I think it would have ended up becoming one of my favourite games to nostalgically remember fondly. Taking it in context of the time it came out it's amazing.

 

One thing I'm glad about is it uses Redbook audio - one of the problems I've encountered when exploring nostalgic 90s PC games with DOSBox, is that the General MIDI just isn't the same as the AWE32 music I remember, so the nostalgia is literally muted in that aspect. I'm not sure how you get round that without dedicated hardware.

 

I never had an AWE32 - our PC had a SoundBlaster 16, I think. That one still had the good Yamaha synth chip (OPL3 I think it was) but wasn't as fancy as the AWE32. 

 

I remember that what you were 'supposed' to do was use the MIDI port to connect the PC to a dedicated outboard MIDI synthesiser. Lucasarts went hard with this - you had games like the Monkey Islands and X-Wing / TIE Fighter doing proper dynamically-generated music in response to your gameplay. 

 

Obviously as a literal child, I had no access to outboard MIDI hardware! 

 

I bet nowadays it's possible to do some virtual I/O shenanigans to pipe those games' output into a DAW and use VSTs in lieu of the old Roland modules they were designed for. 

 

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I've read somewhere that you can modify Windows General MIDI to use other emulated MIDI source with soundfonts for devices like the AWE32/64 and Roland MT-32 - but I don't know how effective that is or how on earth you go about doing it.

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35 minutes ago, Benny said:

I've read somewhere that you can modify Windows General MIDI to use other emulated MIDI source with soundfonts for devices like the AWE32/64 and Roland MT-32 - but I don't know how effective that is or how on earth you go about doing it.

It's not too hard to get it up and running in Windows, there's a good guide and explanation here.

 

If you install VirtualMIDIsynth and download a soundfont, let's say the soundfont for AWE32/64, you install it via the VirtualMIDIsynth. When that is done, whenever you play games in DOSbox and select General MIDI, it'll use the installed soundfont instead of the actual General MIDI and that's how you get AWE32 sound in old games. 

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I'm guessing the soundfonts themselves are not downloadable anywhere easily though, if they're copyrighted software?

 

EDIT: I see on that site there are a lot of free soundfonts anyway, some of which could be close approximations. Another rabbit hole to go down! (Once I'm done with Freespace 2)

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On the subject of Freespace 2 - I've been enjoying it enough (especially with the mod upgrades) to actually go through and finish the campaign.

 

Most retro stuff I've played before will hold my interest for a few hours or so before I move onto something else, but in this case it really got its hooks into me again. The mission design is just packed with nice little moments and ideas and drama. In particular (don't click if you intend to play it for the first time):

 

Spoiler

There's a part where you can become a spy infiltrating the rebel faction, and one mission starts with you flying along with your wingmen, then your traitor buddy sets off a big EMP that knocks them all out leaving then dead in space, and the two of you proceed to dispense patriotic justice to the rebel scum.

 

(In this game at least the rebel scum actually do appear to be scum, as they are essentially racist Earth First types or whatever.)

 

The next part of the mission involves trying to clean up your handiwork and try to create a situation using a fake transport to make it look like you were all attacked and were the lone survivors. It's just a really well thought out mission and it works from a player's story perspective as well.

 

I'd also forgotten that missions can continue onto subsequent ones with how well you did in previous missions determining if certain ships appear later or how strong the enemy faction is etc. It really makes it feel like a living breathing universe where your actions directly affect later events not just from a mission tree perspective, but from specific player actions in a way that is almost a bit CRPG like. It's great!

 

Going to have to check out the Blue Planet mod after as well...

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1 hour ago, jonathanhoey said:

 

I never had an AWE32 - our PC had a SoundBlaster 16, I think. That one still had the good Yamaha synth chip (OPL3 I think it was) but wasn't as fancy as the AWE32. 

 

I remember that what you were 'supposed' to do was use the MIDI port to connect the PC to a dedicated outboard MIDI synthesiser. Lucasarts went hard with this - you had games like the Monkey Islands and X-Wing / TIE Fighter doing proper dynamically-generated music in response to your gameplay. 

 

Obviously as a literal child, I had no access to outboard MIDI hardware! 

 

I bet nowadays it's possible to do some virtual I/O shenanigans to pipe those games' output into a DAW and use VSTs in lieu of the old Roland modules they were designed for. 

 

 

I picked up a cheap Roland CM-32L, basically the outboard modular version of the LAPC-1 sound card - so for Tie Fighter I had full orchestral score, with the Soundblaster providing FX.

 

Totally awesome, for the time. Monkey Island 2 was, indeed, also brilliant on it.

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@BennyYeah, I remember Freespace 2 being pretty good at creating a universe where your actions have a material impact on things.

 

It was a great game, I still remember the sound of the capital ship lasers burning through the enemy, and some of the bigger battles were epic in scale.

 

Tachyon: The Fringe was also good, with the bonus of Bruce Campbell voicing the main character ("That's a big ship!")

 

I was never able to finish it though due to a game-breaking bug in one of the missions. It's on gog though (or it used to be), might be worth checking out? 

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I may be completely off the mark, but it feels like after Freespace 2, and other space games of the 90s, that their overall look and vibe might have influenced the visual design of space based sci-fi TV shows afterwards, because it wasn't until the Battlestar Galactica reboot I think that TV sci-fi had a more dour and industrial aesthetic. Even Babylon 5 still feels a bit "Star Trek" in things like the bridge designs etc.

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I may be misremembering (I was young), but IIRC Space Above and Beyond went for a bit of a gritty industrial feel in the mid-90s.

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Now here's a blast from the past, I literally forgot this existed, or that I had actually played it, before a few days ago:

 

 

It's probably been posted in here already and I just forgot again. Note the 3D world with radio station backing audio that predates GTAIII (yes I know GTA1 did it but still)

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14 minutes ago, jonathanhoey said:

Am I right to think that you could import your save file from one of the Sim City games, and it would turn it into a playable map that you could fly around in Sim Copter?

I remember this idea of all the sim stuff connecting and always thought it would happen but I suppose it wouldn't really make sense. 

 

There was a period when it was suggested you would be able to zoom in on a sim city skyscraper and then you could play it as Sim Tower, or zoom in and play the Sim Farm game etc. 

This was before sims existed iirc but I still think it would be cool if it all worked like that and you built the whole city etc your sims lived in and so on. 

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SimCopter and Streets of Sim City did actually both have that feature! You could import maps from Sim City 2000 into them, and fly/drive around your own cities. Obviously it was very basic in its implementation, but it was a neat concept.

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1 minute ago, Wiper said:

SimCopter and Streets of Sim City did actually both have that feature! You could import maps from Sim City 2000 into them, and fly/drive around your own cities. Obviously it was very basic in its implementation, but it was a neat concept.

Yeah I think bizarrely that SimAnt had one of those crossover capabilities too but I might be misremembering. 

 

I always hoped we'd get the progression of that idea but I can appreciate it would no doubt be a massive mess.

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Apparently that was in protest at having to do 60 hour working weeks, and because the game had scantily clad female npcs, but not male ones.

 

Sounds like a hero, to be fair.

 

He got fired.

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On 04/05/2022 at 12:20, Rayn said:

This thread feels almost as ancient as some of the games on discussion here, so excuse me if I (or anyone else) already mention this one. 

 

For some reason I had a dream about this game the other night, haven't thought about it in years. 

 

The Clue, a computer game from 1994, is set to the year 1953 in London and you take control of a young criminal who has plans on making it big. The main interface is the classic point and click variety where you select various locations throughout the city. You can visit pubs where you socialize, eavesdrop on conversations and overall try to gather information about places to break in and steal stuff you can sell. You can hire getaway drivers, lockpickers, guards and a variety of important people to help you out. The cool bit of the game, though, is the planning phase. Whenever you've decided where to break in, the game switches to an overview blueprint view where you plan out every move, step by step. Here you had to carefully plan everything down to the smallest detail. Forgetting to check for dogs (and having the right means to "eliminate" them) could mean straight to prison. 
This game actually blew my mind back in the days and I would love to see a remake. 

 

 


The music in this at 7 minutes in is excellent!

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That's Freespace 2 campaign finished. Still brilliant. Though it relies a little too much on later missions just being a game of "shoot the bombers and their missiles quickly enough for cap ships to survive and hope you can rearm in time when you run out of ordinance"

 

I checked out the mods briefly. The production values of the Battlestar Galactica Diaspora mod were incredibly impressive. They got some good voice talent for that one and it has high quality graphic design and sound work.

 

I've decided not to bother with much else though, as I'm space gamed out.

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I love Sim Copter. One of the first games I bought for my first pc after trying the demo. It’s janky as anything, the city scape being pretty good but the npcs and the missions being a bit of a mess. But it did get me into enjoying classical music, putting on that radio station and just flying around doing missions was fun and each helicopter felt unique.

 

You can totally see from this how the scrapped 3D version of Sim City 3000 would have formed but probably for the best we never got that version. I love this era of gaming, it’s experimental and full of ideas and I doubt we’d get a game like this now.

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I found an old blog that has some good writeups of old and obscure PC games, although it's more 00s than 90s: https://wkduffy.wordpress.com/ They are mostly from Eastern European or Russian devs and come across a few years behind, so they're 90s in spirit, I guess.

 

Neuro sounded fun in a 6/10 kind of way, and has a download linked, and The Hunt (Traque) looks like a decent Condemned clone.

 

If you want some stuff that's properly irredeemably shit rather than just entertainingly shit, I also found Twilight Adventures, a Youtube channel dedicated to playing old adventure games from the French developer Cryo Interactive, just in case you want a space opera take on Wagners Ring Cycle with the worst voice acting known to man and characters that all look like they've fallen out of the Lawnmower Mans CG sequences regardless of what year the game was developed in.

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1 hour ago, Ketchup said:

I love this era of gaming, it’s experimental and full of ideas and I doubt we’d get a game like this now.

 

This is exactly why I get disappointed when people judge a game like Elden Ring on what they want it to be or what they think a game like that "should" be doing. Let games be obscure and odd and janky and strange. Because I want games to be brimming with their own weird ideas and foibles.

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