[2019 with DOS games] Nine Princes in Amber / Neuromancer / The Need for Speed


Hello guys,

This is the fourteenth 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 N.

Nine Princes in Amber (1985)

  • Developer: Telarium
  • Publisher: Telarium
  • Genre: Interactive Fiction

The 80s, at least in the first half, have been the decade of interactive fictions and there was a time when game were good novel adaptations. Nine Princes in Amber won’t be the best game you’ve ever seen, visually speaking, but the plot reminds of the old feuds of the Middle Ages between siblings.

Despite some positive comments, especially from non-US reviewers, the game received mixed to bed reviews that criticized it for being too short, with a bad parser and a “too accurate” rendition of the book, making the gameplay a simple “interactive reading”.

Neuromancer (1988)

  • Developer: Interplay
  • Publisher: Interplay
  • Genre: Adventure

Neuromancer is an interesting adventure, loosely based on the novel with the same name and set in a dystopian Japan. The plot is for sure the selling point of the game, being based on the works of William Gibson, the father of the cyberpunk genre. The game, inspired by the novel Neuromancer (but only in the setting and in the overall mechanics of the future), has a lot of great features and act as a manifesto for the cyberpunk adventures for computer.

The lovers of the genre will surely look at this game fondly because it has all that a dystopian adventure should have: a totalitarian system based on computers, revolts, android-like characters, hackers and so on. It was a great success, epsecially on the critics side and it was praised for the captivating plot. CGW mag  named it adventure game of the year and one of the 150 best games of all time.

The Need for Speed (1995)

  • Developer: Electronic Arts
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Genre: Driving

This is probably the driving game that made you cool in the schoolyard back in the days. Need for Speed was the mid-90s answer to OutRun but with more steroids and updated graphics. I still remember the times spent with my friends trying to crash as many vehicles as possible…

With reviews well over 80% NFS represented a breath of fresh air in the driving genre and spawned dozens of sequels and spin-offs and the series is now the 11th most successful frachise of all time having sold more than 150 millions of copies.

As always here are some honorable mentions:

  • Night Stalker (1983)
  • Nord and Bert Couldn’t Make Head or Tail of It (1987)
  • Netherworld (1988)
  • Nobunaga’s Ambition (1988)
  • Nevermind (1989)
  • Nuclear War (1989)
  • Nephi’s Quest (1990)
  • Narco Police (1990)
  • Night Shift (1990)
  • Neverwinter Nights (1991)
  • NASCAR Racing (1994)
  • Night Trap (1994)
  • Nitemare-3D (1994)
  • Noctropolis (1994)
  • Novastorm (1995)

Previous entries in this column:

  1. [2019 with DOS games] The Ancient Art of War / Altered Destiny / Alone in the Dark
  2. [2019 with DOS games] The Bard’s Tale / Barbarian / Betrayal at Krondor
  3. [2019 with DOS games] Castle Wolfenstein / Cadaver / The Chaos Engine
  4. [2019 with DOS games] Dragonworld / Dangerous Dave / Doom
  5. [2019 with DOS games] Enchanter / Elvira: Mistress of the Dark / Eye of the Beholder
  6. [2019 with DOS games] F-15 Strike Eagle / Future Wars: Adventure in Time / Flashback
  7. [2019 with DOS games] GATO / Gobliiins / Guilty
  8. [2019 with DOS games] The Hobbit / Hero’s Quest: So You Wanto to Be a Hero / Heretic
  9. [2019 with DOS games] In Search of the Most Amazing Thing / Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure / Innocent Until Caught
  10. [2019 with DOS games] Jumpman / Journey / James Pond 2 – Codename: RoboCod
  11. [2019 with DOS games] King’s Quest / Knight Orc / Knights of Xentar
  12. [2019 with DOS games] Lode Runner / Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards / Lure of the Temptress
  13. [2019 with DOS games] Microsoft Adventure / Maniac Mansion / Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge

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