This is the sixth entry of the [2019 with DOS games] column, a mini-compendium of the mandatory MS-DOS games ever released. For a big part of my life I’ve been a PC games player and I had tons of old games to play with back in the 90s. This is my homage to them.
The rules are simple. MS-DOS has been created in 1981 and was still available in computer until the early Noughties. However the release of Windows 95 acted as a break and everything before immediately becaome. So I can fairly tell that the DOS era goes from 1981 until 1985. [2019 with DOS games] will feature every two weeks a selection of three games, one for every five-year period (1981-1985, 1986-1990 and 1991-1995) in alphabetilac order that I consider either important, ground-breaking or simply fun and easy to play. I’ll try to consider only DOS-exclusive games or in case games spread on different platforms that have the PC version as a flagship. No claim of completeness, I’m not a human encyclopedia (unfortunately…). Let’s go with letter F.
F-15 Strike Eagle (1984)
- Developer: Microprose
- Publisher: Microprose
- Genre: Flight Simulator
I’ve cheated a bit with this game since its DOS port arrived late in the lifespan of F-15 Strike Eagle, released initially on the Atari 8-bit line of computers. This flight simulator emulate the war theatre of the Persian Gulf, Libya and Vietnam and, considerinf it was released in the middle of the 80s is absolutely impressing and this explains the 1.5 millions of copies sold overall on all prlatforms
It’s difficult to innovate in a “closed” genre as it is that of the flight simulation: usually the best thing you can do is extend the number of setting and improve the graphics, but the rest is difficulto to change. F-15 didn’t do something particular but being one of the first “modern wars” flight simulator has to be praised for its (at the time) level of detail and the possibility to switch into different warzones.
Future Wars: Advenutre in Time (1989)
- Developer: Interplay
- Publisher: Delphine Software
- Genre: Adventure
Another hit for Delphine, along with Another World and Flashback (see below). Another great sfi-fi adventure, where the unnamed protagonist travels through time with the gola to avoid the war between humans and aliens that in the far future will relegate earth and its inhabitants into slaves. The graphics of the maestro Eric Chahi are as you expect: a piece of art in pure early 90s style, a style that will be a reference decades later in another great game (and favourite of mine) The Way Remastered.
Frustrating sometimes, but always playable, Future Wars is a worthy opponent to the doninant Sierra and LucasArts advenure of the time; its longevity is good and the key point is the plot, always intriguing and that makes you wan to play “other five minutes”. The reviews were enthusiastis, well over 85% with peaks of 93% for the Amiga version of the game. A timless (but a bit overlooked) classic.
- Developer: Delphine Software
- Publisher: U.S. Gold
- Genre: Platformer
Flashback is surely one of the best games of the early 90s. Its mix of puzzle, action and platform made it a great synthesis of different genres. The influence of Another World (Out of this World in the US) released by the same company, the french Delphine Software can be felt especially in the plot and in the sci-fi setting and the game is sometimes credited as an unofficial “moral sequel” of Another World but the platforming sequences bear a lot of resemblance with the immortal Prince of Persia.
The game is famous for being the most successful game ever released in France back then and its popularitu led to the development of an (unsuccessful) sequel. Flashback has been ported an almost all formats of the time and during the 20th anniversary it was rereleased for modern consoles (PC/PS3/Xbox 360)
As always here are some honorable mentions:
- The Fourth Protocol (1984)
- Fire Power (1988)
- F-29 Retailator (1989)
- Fire and Ice (1989)
- Falcon 3.0 (1991)
- Fascination (1991)
- Floor 13 (1991)
- The Final Conflict (1992)
- The First Samurai (1992)
- Fade to Black (1992)
- Fantasy Empires (1993)
- MS Flight Simulator 5.0 (1993)
- FIFA International Soccer (1993)
- Fury of the Furries (1993)
- Fields of Glory (1994)
- Flight of the Amazon Queen (1995)
- Fatal Racing/Whiplash (1995)
- Full Throttle (1995)
Some of the flight simulators/combat simulator I’ve played in the past belong to this list. The first one is Falcon 3.0 that to my young eyes looked like the state of the art in fact of graphics.
Apart from this, is one of the many simulators of the 90s, like F-29 Retailator, another one I owned as a kid. MS Flight Simulator instead was different. First of all it wasn’t a war game but you simply pilot a “standard” plane. When you are a kid you don’t know why some things scares you and why you find funny other ones; one thing I remember is that, playing this game along with by best friend, we use to laugh loud seeing the graphic showing the altitude od the plane during the flight. When we were tired we simply hijacked the plane and made it fall to the ground.
As you know, adventure games, especially declined in the graphic adventures sub-genre, are some of the games I’ve played the most so it’s no surprise to find in the list Fascination, a games I’ve already covered in the [Forbidden Games] column for its adult contents.
Another game I’ve made a a review about is Fatal Racing, known in the U.S. as Whiplash, a racing game I played and still play a lot. Even though is not a highly regarded game I find it very interesting and can be sometimes tough as nails. Plus the high detail level of the menus is very pleasing to the eye 🙂
Previous entries in this column:
- [2019 with DOS games] The Ancient Art of War / Altered Destiny / Alone in the Dark
- [2019 with DOS games] The Bard’s Tale / Barbarian / Betrayal at Krondor
- [2019 with DOS games] Castle Wolfenstein / Cadaver / The Chaos Engine
- [2019 with DOS games] Dragonworld / Dangerous Dave / Doom
- [2019 with DOS games] Enchanter / Elvira: Mistress of the Dark / Eye of the Beholder