Vintage Bits: Some Random Big Box PC Games
Wizard’s Crown (SSI, 1986-87)
This is a tactical fantasy role playing game from SSI, somewhat similar to their breakout hit Pool of Radiance, but with simpler graphics (and of course without the D&D license). Up to 8 adventurers have to find some crown that used to belong to some wizard king guy. Although the box says copyright 1985, it apparently was not released until 1986, and the IBM release not until 1987.
I have never played this one. Who has? Please, share your thoughts, opinions, and memories.
Thomas M. Disch’s Amnesia (Electronic Arts, 1985)
This is a text adventure where you wake up naked in a hotel room in New York City, with amnesia (of course), and you need to figure out what’s going on. At some point early on you can steal the tuxedo that it shows you wearing on the front cover. What a handsome guy you are…?
The cool thing about the game is that they implemented locations for all of Manhattan, and the game comes with various guides to the subway etc. for any non-New Yorkers (shame on you). The game came in the standard EA folder, and EA made a big deal out of the fact that it was written by a real author, Thomas M. Disch, but I never heard of him until I saw the game. You can learn more about him here at Black Gate.
[Click the images for PC-sized versions.]
Waxworks (Accolade, 1992)
This is a first person adventure game with RPG elements, with a horror theme. It involves travelling through time to stop your evil brother who was thought to be dead years ago but is actually possessed. I have heard [Citation Needed] some people [who?] refer to this game as Elvira 3, but as far as I know it has nothing to do with Elvira even though it’s by the same developer and publisher.
The developer began life as Adventure International UK, and survived the closure of its US parent company Adventure International. When it was making these horror games, it was called Horrorsoft. Later, it became Adventuresoft and developed the Simon the Sorcerer titles.
Discworld II (Psygnosis, 1996)
This is the second Discworld game from Perfect Entertainment, with even better graphics, the return of Eric Idle doing voiceovers, and supposedly easier puzzles. Unfortunately I got so stuck on the first Discworld game that I never got around to playing this one. The plot this time is that Death has disappeared, and you as Rincewind have to help him/her/it.
This US version of the game is fairly difficult to come by in good condition. It’s a pretty large but thin one piece outer box with some cardboard inside for structural integrity.
The Coveted Mirror (Penguin Software, 1983) — Apple II
Penguin Software was famous for its very cool text adventures with graphics, and also for tools to create them such as the Graphics Magician, which was fairly widely used. This is one of the few Penguin titles that unfortunately, was apparently never ported to the IBM PC, despite getting a re-release with an enhanced engine in 1986. You need to gather the 5 pieces of the “coveted mirror” and then use it to depose the evil Voar who has stolen the throne.
Anyone play this one? Anyone have it for the IBM PC?
Truberbrook (Headup/WhisperGames, 2019)
This is a third person point and click adventure game that was funded via Kickstarter. It takes place in Germany in the 1960s, and it’s hard for me to understand the plot since it’s supposed to be like a sci-fi mystery and I haven’t played the game yet. But it’s something involving parallel universes and outer space. Has anyone played this yet?
The game came in a really nice big box, with postcards and stickers in addition to the game CD and manual. It’s also individually numbered but I don’t know how many were made. (I got #347.)
Ah, the good old days of big box pc titles.
SSI games ruled! Miss SSI so much.
SSI was my favorite computer game company. Not just for their classic Gold Box titles like POOL OF RADIANCE, but for their brilliant fantasy games like SWORD OF ARAGON.
Thanks for the great post Stuart!
I’ve probably still got my copy of Wizard’s Crown buried somewhere. It was a very generic not-DnD DnD style game. I don’t recall much about the game play (except it involved a lot of trying to find that sweet spot of loot grinding between too poor opponents and too tough). Mostly I remember it as having lower system requirements then other games of its type for that period and so I could run it on my then very crummy PC.