Anti-Valentine reviews PC games and writes about the video game industry.
In the past, digital distribution platforms have hit some major milestones, like GOG acquiring System Shock 2 through Night Dive Studios – a game whose licence was long lost and held by some virtually unknown insurance company. Then, 2 years later they outdid themselves when they managed to get the first System Shock, which had all but been relegated to the abandonware heap long ago.
So which games are we waiting for to hit digital distribution services?
Soldier of Fortune 1 & 2
True, they weren’t all that good, had somewhat weak stories, unmemorable characters – the list goes on. But they were a lot of fun to play, especially the first (the second was too buggy for my liking). They had gratuitous violence long before Brutal Doom came along, before it was cool.
SoF was the very definition of a solid FPS. If you just wanted some mindless violence, this was where you got it.
Rogue Spear + expansions
Depending on who you ask, this is either the best or the second best Rainbow Six game to ever be released. Yes, it had clunky looking characters, somewhat awkward controls – but it was and still is a masterpiece of the tactical shooter genre, and even though it was technically an expansion pack to the original Rainbow Six, it damn near exceeded all expectations and outdid the base game in every way. So much so that Raven Shield became known as Rainbow Six 3, when it should have been the second game. Rogue Spear then was that good.
If they ever add it to GOG, it would be awesome if they upgraded Rainbow Six to include it even if the price went up a bit. And they should also add in the mission packs for Rogue Spear too.
SWAT 4 + The Stetchkov Syndicate
GOG has SWAT 1, 2, and 3, and yet not SWAT 4, and I can’t understand why, apart from some usual vague answer, like licensing issues.
To me, the game is as good if not better than the prequel, and tremendous support was shown in the past in trying to get the game on Steam – a group campaigned to get the game on Greenlight, and there was a petition as well, but both of these efforts died in the end when it somehow became unclear just who holds the rights to the game. As result, the only way to get the game is a physical copy from Amazon for the price of a new game in 2016. This should be rectified and they should offer the base game and its expansion.
This is a game that came out a few years ago, and is in my opinion, about the best Wolfenstein game made to date, or at least the best I have played, because I have yet to play Wolfenstein: The New Order.
The game was on Steam at one stage, but was taken down, once again, thanks to licensing issues.
Nocturne is a game that is also not remembered by gamers at large. Despite this, in its year of release, 1999, it managed to garner some impressive review scores.
Nocturne saw you controlling a mysterious figure known as The Stranger – an operative working for Spookhouse. The game featured four large missions which included several levels as it were, where you would take the trilby and cloak-clad paranormal investigator, sometimes with an accomplice, and try and solve whatever what going on.
Something that kind of added to the story was that the chapters in the game took place over a span of 8 years, and that they weren’t all just one big story, but four seemingly separate ones.
More often than not, in all of these missions, you would end up facing the undead in one form or another. The first mission sees you going to a village in Germany, populated by vampires and other creatures, and you end up in a castle where you’ll come up against even trickier undead who like to spawn right behind you in a tight corridor and attack you from behind.
Missions thereafter place you in a deserted town in the west overcome with zombies, an undead franken-mobster ridden Chicago, complete with Tommy gun-toting maniacs committing drive by shootings, and lastly going to back to Europe to meet up with an old Spookhouse operative who isn’t all that he seems, who claims to have a problem with the dead rising from their graves in the cemetery near by.
After the last mission, a dozen years passed. The Stranger still works for Spookhouse, and comes in the offices one night, only to see everybody in there is dead. After searching around for a while, he goes in to the briefing room, only to look at the projector that he would usually sit and look at while learning about a mission ahead. Words on it were scrawled in blood: “I finally found you, Stranger”.
Nocturne didn’t receive a sequel, but some characters did appear in other games, like the Blair Witch series. In addition to this, some plot elements, like the Yatgy Stone from Chapter 1, appear in the BloodRayne series. Both these later series were developed by Terminal Reality, the makers of Nocturne. The Stranger’s voice actor, Lynn Mathis, passed away a few years ago.
The Movies + Stunts expansion
This was one of the best games ever made. It was essentially two games in one, and while the one was great and all – a management simulation title, the other kind of game in a game was even better – being able to make your own movies. It really was fantastic and easy to use, so the uninitiated could make their own machinimas. You could also put in sound effects, dialogue, the lot. The characters would even lip sync your lines, to make them sound as though they were actually speaking them.
Black & White
This was supposed to be Lionhead’s magnum opus but it didn’t quite live up to the hype. Still, it saw you as a god looking over various villages, and you had a pet creature that kind of represented you – and it looked either good or evil, and your temple was the same. The game was beautiful, more than just about any other game at that time, and its use of gestures with the mouse was quite advanced too.
No One Lives Forever 1 & 2
If it’s one series that needs to come to digital distribution, it’s this one. The original NOLF was like an homage to Austin Powers and all the Roger Moore bond films in all their campy goodness. But underneath all the silliness their was a legit first person shooter with some pretty good ideas of its own – their were gadgets galore, and many, many different weapons, coupled with well written characters and dialogue -- that for a game that came out in 2000, it was very likely well ahead of its time.
Aliens vs Predator 2 + Primal Hunt
This is about the only Aliens game in the series that is still missing from online stores – all the others are there: AVP Classic, AVP 2010, even Colonial Marines. This one is pound for pound the best of the lot though. It has atmosphere and pacing that was just right – not too fast and arcadey like classic.
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Fade to Black
The other two games that are closely linked to this one – Another World and Flashback are both available on Steam an GOG, but the elusive third title, Fade to Black has yet to be made available anywhere. It was quite entertaining and challenging years ago. Visually it was quite dated for the time of its release but the FMVs and death sequences alone were worth a playthrough.
MotoCross Madness 2
There are plenty of MotoCross titles on Steam, and even some on GOG, like MotoRacer (*gag*), but all pale in comparison to this series, particularly the second one, MotoCross Madness 2, obviously. This is by far and away the best I’ve ever played.
Just goes to show that Microsoft, even though demonised for bringing the curse that is Windows upon the world, still knows how to make a decent game once in a while that few can ever hope to match. This is one of them.
Metal Gear Solid 1 + 2
Most of this series never even made it to PC, and yet the first two instalments are still not on GOG.com or Steam, and it is an absolute crime! Back 15 years ago there weren’t many games that I played as much as the original MGS. I mean, come on, it has Liquid Snake, one of the best video game villains of all time (and one of my all time absolute favourites I might add).
The games are particularly difficult to get up and running, especially the second game -- and triply hard if you have an AMD/ATi graphics card. It could really do with some tinkering by the GOG wizards.
My only hope is that if they ever do add the games, they won't charge extra for all the bonus content they offer. They would certainly give you your money's worth for the $20 dollars they would probably charge.
Heavy Metal FaKK 2
Out of all the games to use the Quake 3 Arena engine, this was one of the best. And if you thought it was good graphically, the sound was a total other ball game – some of the best sound design in any game to date. Not just the sound effects and vocals, but the music too. Julie, the main character was supposed to rival Lara Croft as the prettiest and most hardcore girl in all of gaming, and she gave her a good run for her money in doing that.
Not only that, but because of its heritage, the game came off as kind of bizarre -- perhaps not on the same level as something as Omikron: The Nomad Soul or something like that, but it was still quite weird, even for its time.
This game is legendary -- too legendary to be passed up like it has been for so long. This game defined vapourware before Duke Nukem Forever even existed.
It started back in the mid 1990's, under development at the time by Apogee or 3D Realms, who then shelved it after a while. It resurfaced nearly a decade later and was handed over to Humanhead who finished it and released it.
I’m quite surprised that it isn’t available online in digital form for purchase – and to think I passed up on buying it all those times when I saw it regularly in bargain bins at the store.
There was a lot of hype surrounding this title, because it was being developed at the time by ex-Blizzard employees, i.e. guys who had worked on Diablo and Diablo II, so a lot of people thought it was going to be something special. It wasn’t – it was overrated, over hyped, and just about mediocre at best.
But, it was essentially what people wanted at the time, and that was Diablo with guns, long before Borderlands came about. It was still kind of fun, and a game that I still liked to play every now and again at one stage.
Other honorable mentions
Star Trek: Elite Force
Resident Evil 1 + 2 + 3
Re-Volt (was on GOG.com for a time)
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
XIII (was on GOG.com for a time)
Hidden & Dangerous
© 2016 Anti-Valentine
Asum on February 09, 2017:
I like your selection of games, specially No one lives forever, aliens vs predator 2 and Prey. I will pay $20 or $30 for that games, they deserve it.
I never played Wolfenstein 2009 or another Bethesda Wolfs, and I was a series fan in the old days.