Retro Gaming is my classic game playthrough series in which I attempt to go through my growing GOG.com library to see how these older games hold up. Note that they aren’t all complete playthroughs, as I allow myself the freedom to kill a series if the game is too frustrating or boring.
Anticipating the drop of Diablo IV later this year, I took a step back to 2012 for another romp through Runic’s classic ARPG Torchlight II.
- Part 1:
Voters encouraged me to revisit an old PlayStation favorite — 1999’s Chrono Cross. Will this Chrono Trigger sequel stand the test of time?
- Part 1: Crossing between worlds
- Part 2: Attack on Viper Manor
- Part 3: Ghost pirates and angry faeries
- Part 4: Up the slopes of Mt. Pyre
- Part 5: From weird to weirder
- Part 6: Crossing the Dead Sea
- Part 7: Shopping in the past
- Part 8: Battle of the bands
I finally came back to the Monkey Island series with 1997’s Curse of Monkey Island, which provided me with a lot more laughs and goofy exploits for Guybrush Threepwood.
- Part 1: Rings, floaties, and curses
- Part 2: Banjo dueling
- Part 3: Hair demons and demon chickens
- Part 4: The end! (or is it?)
- Part 5: Cheese for the cheese god
- Part 6: Duck Island
- Part 7: Wedding bells
It’s never to late to catch up on a missed classic, right? I finally got to go through 1987’s Maniac Mansion for the first time. It was… a weird game. Weird, but good.
I’d heard so many incredible things about 1991’s Eye of the Beholder 2 that my expectations overshot what this dungeon crawler actually delivered. Still, it was a fun experiment!
For a month or so I indulged in a play-by-play exploration of a Rimworld (2016) session, from its hopeful beginnings to its tragic conclusion:
- Part 1: Crashlanded!
- Part 2: The great elk massacre of 2021
- Part 3: Playing with dead things
- Part 4: Even the dog gets it
- Part 5: The odds of survival
You know it had to happen sooner or later: I had to go through the LucasArts classic Sam & Max Hit the Road. This 1993 adventure game was wordy and witty in all the right ways.
- Part 1: Bigfoot wanted
- Part 2: Cruising the Tunnel of Love
- Part 3: Tall twine tales
- Part 4: You’re my only hope
- Part 5: The nostrils of America
- Part 6: Bigfoot convention
2003’s Knights of the Old Republic is frequently cited as one of the best Star Wars video games ever made. Even though I’ve played this through several times before, I thought it would make for interesting reading as a series:
- Part 1: I have a bad feeling about this…
- Part 2: Sexist worms off to the rescue
- Part 3: Digging into Taris’ smelly underbelly
- Part 4: Escaping Taris
- Part 5: Dantooine daydreams
- Part 6: Tatooine tourism
- Part 7: Korriban and Kashyyyk
- Part 8: Manaan musings
- Part 9: Leviathan levity
- Part 10: Wishing on a Star Forge
Finally, I got around to wrapping up a classic Sierra series with 1995’s Space Quest 6: The Spinal Frontier. It wasn’t quite as bad as I had heard, but it wasn’t a satisfying conclusion to the franchise, either.
- Part 1: Stripped and strapped for cash
- Part 2: Stellar entry
- Part 3: The one with Tango and Cash
- Part 4: Jamming in cyberspace
- Part 5: Innerspace
Roger Wilco and I made acquaintances once again with 1993’s Space Quest V: The Next Mutation. It ended up being a surprisingly fun and funny romp through a Star Trek-inspired plot.
- Part 1: Back to space school
- Part 2: In space, no one can hear you squeam
- Part 3: Hunt or be hunted
- Part 4: Killing time at the Space Bar
- Part 5: The toxic avenger
- Part 6: A fly in the ointment, Hans
- Part 7: Clean up on aisle five
2002’s Dungeon Siege tried to streamline and automate the ARPG gameplay loop, for better and for worse. I’ve never been able to beat it before growing too bored with it… and that didn’t happen this time either.
My favorite single-player RPG of all time? That has to be 1995’s Chrono Trigger. The release of the Steam version gave me the opportunity to blog through as complete of a playthrough as I’ve ever done for this title.
- Part 1: A fun day at the fair
- Part 2: Gentlemen… we’re history
- Part 3: Back to the future
- Part 4: Guilty until proven guilty
- Part 5: A grim future indeed
- Part 6: The end of time clubhouse
- Part 7: Homeward bound
- Part 8: Heroes and zeroes
- Part 9: Sword dreams
- Part 10: A boy named Glenn
- Part 11: Dino rock
- Part 12: Full of zeal
- Part 13: Game over
- Part 14: A new hope
- Part 15: Hug a tree, why don’t you?
- Part 16: A sunny day in Oz
- Part 17: Mother Brain will get you, my pretties!
- Part 18: The rainbow shell connection
- Part 19: Showdown with a space tick
1996’s Toonstruck was a multi-million dollar flop that’s gained a cult following, partially due to its incredible star talent (Christopher Lloyd, Tim Curry, and Dan Castellaneta, to name a few), meta jokes, great music, and slick animation.
- Part 1: Doc Brown and the Flux Wildly
- Part 2: Tarred and feathered
- Part 3: Welcome to Zanydu
- Part 4: A cow wearing leather ain’t right
- Part 5: This is no time for games! … or is it?
- Part 6: Doing serious time
- Part 7: Flushing for fish
- Part 8: Nefarious H.Q.
I ventured into Fallout New Vegas for the very first time after hearing for years what an incredible game it is. Check out my lengthy adventures in the desert as I shoot, gamble, and lockpick my way to victory with this cult favorite 2010 Obsidian RPG.
- Part 1: Waking up with a splitting headache
- Part 2: From Goodsprings to Primm
- Part 3: Bug phobias
- Part 4: The long road to Novac
- Part 5: Giant dinos, space suits, and rocket ships
- Part 6: Side questing
- Part 7: Judge, jury, and tourist
- Part 8: All hail the King!
- Part 9: Bombers and mafia fantasies
- Part 10: The Mr. House always wins
1992’s The Dagger of Amon Ra took Lara Bow through the longest night of her life as she explored a museum, solved many murders, died several times, and kept walking in on people getting intimate:
- Act 1: A Nose for News
- Act 2: Suspects on Parade
- Act 3: On the Cutting Edge
- Act 4: Museum of the Dead
- Acts 5 and 6
Going back to Troika Games’ cult classic 2004 Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines was a great trip down memory lane as I looked at this unique and fairly immersive vampire roleplaying title.
- Part 1: I’ve gone batty in the head
- Part 2: Blood dolls and bounty hunters
- Part 3: Grim grinning ghosts
- Part 4: Boom goes the dynamite
- Part 5: You can always go downtown
- Part 6: Fire and vamps don’t mix
- Part 7: Hello Hollywood!
- Part 8: A surprise in the bathroom
- Part 9: Forget it, Syp, it’s Chinatown
- Part 10: Smile, the game is over
Next up on the Monkey Island tour is 1991’s LeChuck’s Revenge, a superb follow-up to the first game with tons of humor, great voice acting, and a whole heck of a lot of weird moments.
- Part 1: The Largo Embargo
- Part 2: The practicalities of revenge-oriented voodoo
- Part 3: Jailbreak!
- Part 4: Spittake
- Past 5: What a Big Whoop!
I embarked on a quest to play through the classic Monkey Island games, starting with 1990’s The Secret of Monkey Island. Many groan-worthy puns and slapstick silliness was to be had!
- Part 1: A noob walks into a pirate bar
- Part 2: Swordplay and treasure
- Part 3: Piranha poodles
- Part 4: Guybrush overboard
- Part 5: Cruising around the Caribbean
- Part 6: Assignment: Monkey Beach
Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness (1993) brought me back into this RPG/adventure hybrid series as I traveled to the horror-themed land of Maldavia and met Jennifer Hale in her very first video game acting job.
- Part 1: Down the throat of H.R. Giger
- Part 2: Slumming it in Mordavia
- Part 3: Edgy adventurers hang out in cemeteries
- Part 4: Werewolves love hunchbacks
- Part 5: Jaunty hats on grinning skulls
- Final thoughts
Grim Fandango is a 1998 adventure game from Tim Schafer and LucasArts. It follows the bizarre journey of Manny, a skeleton in the afterlife, as he tries to save the spitfire Meche.
One of the scariest games I ever played as a kid, 1992’s Alone in the Dark isn’t really freaking me out any more with it’s AMAZING POLYGONS — yet it still is downright creepy with its setting and sound effects. Lovecraft and pirates? Why not!
In April 2017, I attempted to complete a project of playing all of the way through Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords for the first time. It’s somewhat of a cult classic and the overlooked entry in the Old Republic series.
- Peragus Station
- The Harbinger
- Ebon Hawk
- Telos Station
- Telos Surface
- Telos Jedi Academy
- Nar Shaddaa part 1
- Nar Shaddaa part 2
- Nar Shaddaa part 3
- Goto’s Yacht
- Onderon and Dxun
One Shots: On occasion I “sample” retro games with one or two sessions to get its flavor and perhaps re-experience an old favorite.
- Torchlight II (part one, part two)
- Mystic Towers
- Kingdom of Kroz
- Dark Sun: Shattered Lands
- Tyrian 2000
- Diablo II
- Duke Nukem 2
- X-Com UFO Defense
- Police Quest
- Ultima I
- Dungeon Keeper 2
- The Sims
- Jill of the Jungle
- Warcraft II
- Age of Empires II
- Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim
“Hail to the king, baby!” It’s time to return to an old favorite shooter of mine to see how the bizarre, funny, and definitively non-PC Duke Nukem 3D has aged over the years.
- Part 1: Hollywood Holocaust
- Part 2: Red Light District
- Part 3: Death Row
- Part 4: Toxic Dump
- Part 5: The Abyss
For this retro playthrough, I launch out into the void of space to pull together an alien alliance and stop a bunch of jerks from ruling the galaxy. Star Control 2 is a huge cult classic — and one I’ve never played until now. Spoiler: It was kind of weird and awesome.
- Half a ship, half a captain
- That’s no moon! Oh wait, yes it is.
- Behold the red planet!
- Hyperspace and beyond!
- Children of the Stellar Breeze
- This trip’s not a waste after all!
- Cuddly vs. cowardly
- I am the one percent
- You will soon die
- Godzilla’s foot
- Procreation vacation
- Zex vexes
- Glowy bits NSFW
- Shattered world
- Through the shield
- The meaning of life, the universe, and everything
- I’m da bomb
- The end
As we continue the series, Quest for Glory III takes us from Arabia to Africa, as I encounter liontaurs, leopardmen, and Sanford and Son. Sure, why not?
In Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire, I return to the intriguing adventure/RPG hybrid series that doesn’t seem to be as widely known as some of Sierra’s other series. In this installment, the hero goes to ArabiaLand(tm) in the distant year of 1990.
King’s Quest V took us into the era of VGA and point-and-click adventuring, two very welcome changes to the series. It also introduced Cedric the annoying talking owl, which wasn’t as welcome. “It’s a POIIIIsonous snake!”
King’s Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella put me in the shoes of a woman for the first time in this series. With that, a 24-hour clock, and an expanded fairy tale world, hopefully this will prove to be a better experience than its predecessor.
I returned to this classic adventure series with a look at the third entry, in which I had to escape a wizard while being slave to a fiddly timer.
1998’s Thief might have a reputation of being a brilliant stealth title — but for a guy who hates stealth mechanics, will it be the most annoying game ever? Fans voted to have me play it, so read on and see how this blogger became a master thief.
Master of Magic was a 1994 “4X” strategy game that put you in the role of a wizard attempting to grow and conquer a fantasy world. I mostly used my time creating parties of war bears and naming cities after Twitter followers.
Take the first SSI “Gold Box” D&D game from 1988, put it with modern sensibilities, and what do you get? A weird and strangely wonderful tour through Pool of Radiance. Well, the slums at least.
Interplay’s 1993 adventure game sequel, Star Trek: Judgment Rites, improved on its successor in just about every way possible. Behold as Kirk and crew are put through the weirdest series of tests imaginable!
With a terrific game design, story, and the reprise of the full original cast of actors, Star Trek: 25th Anniversary is the closest thing we ever got to a 4th season of TOS.
Planetfall features the original space janitor in a classic 1983 text adventure from Infocom. There’s way too much eating and drinking in it for my like.
1993’s X-Wing was a great start to an awesome series of space dogfight simulators, but this playthrough was hampered by the lack of a good joystick. Don’t play without one, kids!
The post-apocalypse was never more fun than in 1998’s Fallout 2. It’s a truly massive game that I only started to cover in 16 installments!
This was a pretty sad and aborted attempt to play through the 2003 Temple of Elemental Evil. It was also the last retro gaming series before a four-month break.
A true adventure game classic, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis was one of my all-time favorites and remains so even to this day. Not bad for 1992, eh?
1986’s Starflight might have been a wildly ambitious open universe Star Trek clone at the time, but it proved to be a somewhat boring slog.
1989’s Quest for Glory (of which I played the VGA remake) was a brilliant hybrid of RPG, parody, and adventure gaming. The mix actually worked fairly well and made for an exciting run through fantasy tropes. Could’ve done without the cape, though.
This 1998 adventure game should’ve been awesome, with trips between an insane asylum and weird horror worlds, but it was severely hamstrung by the worst voice acting ever and clunky controls.
This acclaimed title was a personal bogeyman of mine, having scared me off back in 1999. I returned to find a truly terrific game that was more scary and inventive at the start than later on.
The 1991 time-traveling installment of this series was one that I was really excited to play, yet ultimately was less compelling than those that came before. Still, the jokes were funny and the visions of Space Quests-that-never-were fascinated.
1989’s Space Quest III was a major step up for the series and was tons of fun to play through. Plus, it had Astro Chicken!
A quickie cash-in sequel that trod over the same story beats as its predecessor, Space Quest II was somewhat decent in the end. Although if you mention that plant monster to me I will scream in your face.
A true Sierra classic, 1986’s Space Quest combined fiendish puzzles, dead ends, and sci-fi parodies to great effect. And it’s still kind of fun to play today!
Probably the strangest adventure game ever made and perhaps one of the best. Gabriel Knight 2 combined bad FMV and greenscreens with werewolves and an extended history lesson concerning King Ludwig II. I miss Tim Curry.
For my first Ultima game ever, I went with what was reported to be the best. Ultima VII was a truly immersive game in many respects, although I felt a bit lost and aimless through it.
1990’s Wing Commander might have been hot stuff back then, but it’s sadly lacking today with a barebones story.
I got myself out of my normal Fallout routine by making the dumbest (yet strongest) character possible for this playthrough. Well, at least he got through the first part of the quest!
A return to one of the first adventure games I ever played, King’s Quest II is a cheeky if recycled return of King Graham and his fairy tale adventures. I do not forgive the designers for that bridge, however.
How does one of the first graphical adventure games hold up in a modern view? Actually, not too bad if you like the retro charm of it all! At least I was able to beat it, something I could never do as a kid.
What a disappointment. This was a seminal RPG of my teenage years, and I was totally let down when I returned to it and found annoying systems and menus instead of a fun romp across the post-apocalypse.
Board game? Strategy game? Empire builder? Heroes of Might and Magic III is all of that and more. It’s also one of the largest games ever with all of the expansions and add-ons!
I don’t get it. This was one of those critically acclaimed “must play” titles, and yet I was bored out of my mind with a rather tepid platformer-slash-adventure game and its predictable story.
Arcanum is one of those games that the idea of it is far more attractive to me than actually playing it. I tried, oh how I did try, but this magic/technology mishmash was a little too dark and dreary for me in the end.
I think we all had fun with this playthrough, as I worked in a lot of fellow bloggers into the mix and tried — unsuccessfully — to wage war on multiple fronts.
An example of expectations versus reality, Zork had me all worked up to play this classic game but then let me down with no story to speak of and a lot of wandering around wondering what to do.
The game that kicked off my retro gaming series, Planescape Torment remains one of the best RPGs — nay, the best games — of all time. Where else would you find a man who is constantly on fire, a talking skull, and an intellectual prostitute?