Nostalgia Lane: 4 bizarre shareware titles from the 90s

 

keen1. Commander Keen

PCs were never the platforming powerhouse that consoles were, and we mostly had to go to shareware to find decent substitutes for Super Mario Bros., etc. Commander Keen was a particularly good one, I recall, as it boasted a lot of personality as you played as an imaginative kid going up against space aliens and other bizarre enemies.

Probably my favorite detail is if you left Keen alone, he’d eventually start tapping his foot and going through other annoyed animations.  I can get it on Steam now and I probably should.

jill2. Jill of the Jungle

Jill was kind of the Tarzan contemporary who explored a jungle in a somewhat non-linear fashion. Lots of platforming and tricky jumps, along with some fighting against oversized ants and the like. I thought the animation here was pretty impressive for the time, especially with everything Jill had to do. Although I always thought that her lack of pants  meant that she must have had scratched up legs.

wolf3. Wolfenstein 3-D

Everyone knows Wolfenstein, although not as many remember its predecessor (a top-down stealth game that I played on a friend’s Amiga) or how it used to be segmented into different episodes. There was an episode, the second I think, that was more about zombies. I just loved the fluid, non-stop action, the secrets, and feeling like a Rambo going up against Hitler.

bio4. Bio Menace

OK, I admit that I remember nothing from this game itself, but when I saw this splash screen I was awash in “oh yeaaaaah.” Because how wonderfully cheesy is this? I think it’s the hero’s ‘stache and mullet that really sells it.

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2 thoughts on “Nostalgia Lane: 4 bizarre shareware titles from the 90s

  1. Asmiroth October 7, 2015 / 12:24 pm

    Oh Apogee… how I loved thee. I bought way too many of their games with chore money… and found out that shareware games from the local store were laced with viruses because the owners played the games before selling them.

    Those were the days.

  2. baldwinp October 8, 2015 / 9:24 am

    I enjoyed Jill of the Jungle because it had some challenge but was still easy enough for my 11-year-old self to beat.

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