Name Your Game
From Goofy to Gory, Macworld Reviews 48 Ways to Play
By Michael Gowan
Looking for some action? whether you're after adrenaline-soaked intensity or a mind-bending puzzler, this comprehensive collection of rated reviews has you covered.
3-D Ultra Pinball Collector's Edition
There are some wonderful pinball games for the Macunfortunately, none of them are in this collection. The tables are too short, the ball movement is unrealistic, and game play suffers from the stutters. For superior pinball action, you're better off checking out Empire Interactive's Pro Pinball: The Web and Pro Pinball: Timeshock instead. Company: Sierra On-Line (425/746-5771, http://www.sierra.com). Price: $39.95.
Featuring the best flight modeling of any Mac flight sim, A-10 Cuba asks you to pilot your "hawg" around the Caribbean, doing battle with a cigar-champing enemy. Lacking F/A-18 Korea's beauty and mission-creation capabilities, A-10 Cuba still offers great game play, varied missions, and rough-and-tumble network play. Company: Parsoft Interactive (972/379-4462, http://www.parsoft.com). Price: $29.95.
Pilot Ned Zeffer through space to save Earth and, more important, rock and roll! If you like to shoot stuff until your fingers bleed, Astrorock 2000 gives you more than enough weapons and power-ups to get the job done. Think of it as Asteroids with attitude. Unfortunately, as with the arcade classic, Astrorock 2000's game play is way past its time. Company: Logicware (626/938-9108, http://www.logicware.com). Price: $19.95.
As Battle-Girl, you must stop the robot Terminus from destroying the Great Machine, with as much sass as you can muster. It's a kick to move your little craft around this 2-D, overhead environment and blast the heck out of your stick-figure enemies. Frantic action, 99 levels, and a throbbing soundtrack make for an arcade-y good time. Company: Power Media (503/684-8232, http://www.powermedia.com). Price: $39.95.
Speed through the course or just ram your competitors out of the contest in this bloody car race. Great graphics are offset by view angles that make it difficult to see where you're headed. Road-rage sufferers may enjoy turning cows and pedestrians into roadkill. Company: Aspyr Media (512/708-8100, http://www.aspyr.com). Price: $29.95.
Casino: Play to Win
Whether you need to brush up on your gambling skills or you want to quell your gambling desires without risking your shirt, Casino: Play to Win will let you play blackjack, craps, keno, video poker, roulette, and slots to your heart's content. The ambient casino noise and realistic game play will remind you of an actual casinominus the cigarette smoke, of course. Company: MacSoft (612/509-7600, http://www.wizworks.com/macsoft). Price: $19.99.
Build a civilization from scratch while working toward world domination. Hard-core strategists will enjoy this game's complexity. Company: MacSoft (612/509-7600, http://www.wizworks.com/macsoft). Price: $49.99.
Close CombatA Bridge Too Far
Command troops in the landmark World War II battle Operation Market Garden. This real-time strategy war game boils down the complexity of battle into a fairly intuitive interface; it's a solid campaign game where reinforcements, supplies, and morale play a big part in achieving victory or defeat. Company: Microsoft (425/637-9308, http://www.microsoft.com/games). Price: $54.95.
Fend off rival species in a race to colonize Gallius V. This strategic sim's clear and informative interface makes building your colony easy and fun, but it may not be challenging enough for serious fans. Company: MacSoft (612/509-7600, http://www.wizworks.com/macsoft). Price: $29.99.
Search for evidence of deer traffic, then hunker down and wait . . . and wait. Eventually a deer will wander by so you can blast it into virtual venison. Limited options and slow play kill this hunt before it begins. Company: MacSoft (612/509-7600, http://www.wizworks.com/macsoft). Price: $19.99.
Explore dungeons and slay monsters in a lavishly detailed environment. The only downside to this role-playing game is that the adventure ends too soon. Company: Blizzard Entertainment (949/955-1380, http://www.blizzard.com). Price: $40.
Duke Nukem 3D: Atomic Edition
Take on hordes of invading aliens with an impressive array of weapons. Full of violence and sexual content, this first-person shooter offers a comic tone and addictive action that balance out its vulgarity. Company: MacSoft (612/509-7600, http://www.wizworks.com/macsoft). Price: $29.99.
Escape Velocity: Override
Explore the galaxy, earn cash, improve your social standing, or chuck it all and become an evil space pirate. Fulfill your Han Solo fantasies in this sci-fi adventure. Company: Ambrosia Software (716/325-1910, http://www.ambrosiasw.com). Price: $25.
Analyze the assault of information your jet provides, but be sure to keep an eye to the skies for the enemy. Spectacular graphics and stunningly realistic flying make this the ace of Mac flying sims. Company: Graphic Simulations (972/386-7575, http://www.graphsim.com). Price: $29.95.
This Mac-native flight sim offers a fair range of options to fans willing to brave deadly dogfights over the skies of World War I. It takes advantage of QuickDraw 3D RAVE acceleration and even supports 3Dfx acceleration. Custom missions and network support round out this solid game. Company: Bullseye Software (702/831-2523, http://www.dogfightcity.com/mac). Price: $65.
The latest mind-bender from the maker of You Don't Know Jack, HeadRush aims at a younger crowd. Test your knowledge of science, history, and useless pop-culture trivia, and get toasted when you're wrong. Company: Berkeley Systems (510/540-5535, http://www.berkeleysystems.com). Price: $29.95.
Use limited resources and diplomacy to build an industry during the imperialist drive of the nineteenth century. While it lacks tactical realism, this sim provides strategy buffs some compelling management challenges. Company: Mindscape (617/761-3000, http://www.mindscape.com). Price: $19.95.
Jack Nicklaus 4
Featuring five courses, network play, a convincing physics model, and the ability to create your own courses from scratch, this golf simulation has only one bogey: the delay between swinging the club and the corresponding animation. Company: MacSoft (612/509-7600, http://www.wizworks.com/macsoft). Price: $29.99.
Tee up even when your favorite course is buried under snow. Featuring a library of actual courses from around the world, this beautifully rendered golf sim is almost as tough to master as the real thing. Company: Access Software (801/736-7000, http://www.accesssoftware.com). Price: $44.95.
Lode Runner 2
The latest iteration of Lode Runnerthe classic run, gather-the-gold, and then hightail-it-to-the-next-level arcade gamelacks the original game's most attractive feature: simplicity. The 3-D perspective requires that you move diagonally rather than left and right, which can be confounding. Company: MacSoft (612/509-7600, http://www.wizworks.com/macsoft). Price: $29.99.
Marathon Trilogy Box Set
As a lone security officer, you battle alien starships, explore lost civilizations, and triumph against the odds. This first-person shooter proves that even a computer game can stand the test of time. In its scope alone, this collection of adventures staggers the imagination. Company: Bungie Software (312/397-0500, http://www.bungie.com). Price: $39.95.
Martian rebels have destroyed the Terran military forces on Mars. It's up to you to counterattack in your Vac-Fighter, killing Martian forces on the ground and in the air. This challenging sci-fi shoot-'em-up features constantly moving landscapes and nonstop action. Company: Ambrosia Software (http://www.ambrosiasw.com, 716/325-1910). Price: $20.
Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares
Compete against as many as seven computer or human players for control of the universe in this sci-fi adventure. Design a new race of beings and exploit its abilities to vanquish your enemies. The countless strategy options will keep you coming back for more. Company: MacSoft (612/509-7600, http://www.wizworks.com/macsoft). Price: $29.99.
The classic Parker Brothers board game comes to the Mac and is just as enjoyable as the original. Game play is enhanced by amusing 3-D animations and the ability to play against customized computer opponents as well as with people over the Internet. What's great about Monopoly is its simpli-citya more-than-welcome breather from a sea of uninspiring games trying to do too much. Company: Hasbro Interactive (800/400-1352, http://www.hasbrointeractive.com). Price: $29.99.
Myth: The Fallen Lords
Command troops against the evil Fallen Lords and the undead in this real-time battle game. Strategic challenges and amazing 3-D landscapes make this a war worth waging. Company: Bungie Software (312/397-0500, http://www.bungie.com). Price: $39.95.
Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain
Raise your species to be the dominant power in the galaxy by exterminating all competitors. This space-age strategy game tries to turn a slow-moving genre into a real-time experience, but lackluster graphics and long waits cause it to fall flat. Company: THQ (818/225-5167, http://www.paximperia.com). Price: $49.95.
An incredibly realistic physics model makes this a pool game worth playing. Mouse control of the cue works remarkably well, and the table and balls are fairly attractive. A better table overview would be nice, but that aside, this is a game Minnesota Fats would be proud of. Company: MacSoft (612/509-7600, http://www.wizworks.com/macsoft). Price: $19.99.
Redjack: Revenge of the Brethren
This enjoyable pirate adventure demands that you, in the guise of Nick Dove, solve puzzles, gather goodies, and cross swords with your enemies. The game features a good story line, slightly rough language, and arcadelike swordplay that's a bit too hard to master. Company: Cyberflix/THQ (818/225-5167, http://www.thq.com). Price: $39.95.
Vivid details and an engaging story make this Myst sequel more like a good novel than a computer game. Explore its rich, engrossingly mysterious world in search of clues that can explain how you arrived there and what you need to do in order to escape. Company: Red Orb Entertainment (423/670-2032, http://www.riven.com). Price: $39.95.
Rocky Mountain Trophy Hunter
Like the inexplicable PC hit Deer Hunter, Rocky Mountain Trophy Hunter is a soporific exercise in aimless wandering and waiting. Let's face it: scouting for bear droppings and making ridiculous animal noises just isn't much fun. Aside from its soothing nature sounds, there's no reason to hunt for this game. Company: MacSoft (612/509-7600, http://www.wizworks.com/macsoft). Price: $19.99.
The board is virtual but the game remains the same. Test your vocabulary skills against the computer or a friend. Thanks to the Internet, your opponent can live on the other side of the world. Company: Hasbro Interactive (800/400-1352, http://www.hasbrointeractive.com). Price: $29.95.
Fans of Mech games will enjoy Shattered Steel. Players control a giant armored robot suit and battle for supremacy in the galaxy. It's definitely an action game, the visuals are solid (although a few years old at this point), and the play is engaging. The scope of the game's missions could be more varied, however. Company: Logicware (626/938-9108, http://www.logicware.com). Price: $29.95.
The Space Bar
The premise of this point-and-click adventure game is actually fairly unique: players chat with characters in the game and psychically relive memories in order to solve a mystery. The writing is generally amusing and the visuals quite nice. If you liked the bar in Star Wars, Space Bar is good for a diversion. Company: SegaSoft (888/734-2763, http://www.segasoft.com). Price: $29.99.
Star Control 3
The universe faces destruction from tears in the space-time continuum. You can save the universe by repairing the tears, but it's probably not worth the trouble. This science-fiction adventure lacks a modern game feel, with stale character interaction and clumsy fighting modes. Company: MacSoft (612/509-7600, http://www.wizworks.com/macsoft). Price: $19.99.
Star Trek: Captain's Chair
Star Trek fans should enjoy this CD-ROM, but it lacks depth for anyone else on this planet. Simply a virtual-reality tour of five starship bridges, Captain's Chair allows you to move from place to place and poke control panels with almost as much aplomb as Lieutenant Sulu, and it contains a few hidden treatssuch as 3-D models of the starship exteriors. Company: Simon & Schuster Interactive (888/793-9972, http://www.ssinteractive.com). Price: $29.99.
Star Trek: Starship Creator
Control the construction of your own starship, from choosing its class to picking its crew. Once you're ready to go where no one has gone before, see if your newly christened ship has what it takes to successfully complete several automated missions. Unfortunately, you become a mere spectator once your creation heads out into the unknown. Company: Simon & Schuster Interactive (888/793-9972, http://www.ssinteractive.com). Price: $29.99.
Go back to the future with this update of the classic arcade game, shooting wave after wave of rapidly approaching aliens. The update adds the ability to jump over oncoming enemies and enhances the graphics, but it's still a repetitive eighties arcade game at heart. Company: Logicware (626/938-9108, http://www.logicware.com). Price: $19.95.
Embody the Empire's dark forces and take on the Rebel Alliance. The action of a World War II dogfight is combined with the fantasy of Star Wars in this great game. Company: LucasArts Entertainment (888/532-4263, http://www.lucasarts.com). Price: $29.95.
Tomb Raider II
Guide video-game superstar Lara Croft through an Indiana Jones-esque three-dimensional world of temples and caverns in search of priceless artifacts. While gunplay is involved, it's exploration and problem solving that keep you riveted for hours. The impressive graphics are even better with a 3-D accelerator installed. Company: Aspyr Media (512/708-8100, http://www.aspyr.com). Price: $49.95.
This 3-D shoot-'em-up reinvigorates a tired genre. Plot, atmosphere, and exploration mix with ferocious enemies to make this game stand out from the pack. Note: 3-D-acceleration hardware is a must. Company: MacSoft (612/509-7600, http://www.wizworks.com/macsoft). Price: $49.99.
Warcraft IITides of Darkness
As Blizzard's flagship title, Warcraft II embodies the best of real-time strategy as players juggle moving units, mining resources, and building fortifications. This game set the standard for the genre and still represents one of the best titles available. If you haven't played it, you have missed something. Company: Blizzard Entertainment (949/955-1380, http://www.blizzard.com). Price: $30.
The X-Files Game
As FBI agent Craig Willmore, you work alongside Mulder, Scully, and the rest of the cast of the X-Files TV show in this adventure game. Its excellent use of QuickTime video is offset by tediously slow sections. Company: Fox Interactive (310/369-7000, http://www.foxinteractive.com). Price: $54.98.
You Don't Know Jack: Huge
This one will strain your brain while amusing you with its witty banter and rapid-fire action. It includes 2,400 questions from the original Jack volumes 1 through 3. Company: Berkeley Systems (510/540-5535, http://www.berkeleysystems.com). Price: $39.95.
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Myth II: Soulblighter
In this sequel to the popular strategy game Myth: The Fallen Lords, you return to the land of Myth, where a new enemy threatens the realm. You manage troops in real-time battles against the undead. Topped with the addition of cross-platform, multiplayer gaming via the Internet, this is one of the year's most eagerly awaited releases. Company: Bungie Software (312/397-0500, http://www.bungie.com). Price: $49.95.
It's the twenty-first century. Gangs control large areas of Los Angeles. As a cop, your mission is to put the gangs out of commission and make the streets safe. Armed with a hovercraft that transforms into a mechanical walker, you must infiltrate the gangs and eliminate their leaders. This third-person shooter features variable views and a fully 3-D environment. Company: Electronic Arts (650/628-1500, http://www.ea.com). Price: $19.95.
The world has been thrown into darkness, and you must bring it back to light. This adventure features three combat styleshand-to-hand combat, long-range spell casting, and trickeryand three different characters. In addition to 17 levels of single-player gaming, you can engage in multiplayer action. Company: MacSoft (612/509-7600, http://www.wizworks.com/macsoft). Price: $49.99.
What gamer doesn't dream about ruling supreme over the galaxy? Starcraft, the successor to Warcraft, extends that game's strategic battles to the stars. You aim to conquer the universe, battling in space and on planets as one of three species, each of which requires different strate-gies for victory. As the game evolves, so does the story line. The game includes a scenario and map editor that lets you create a custom adventure. Company: Bliz-zard Entertainment (949/955-1380, http://www.blizzard.com). Price: $50.
This first-person shooter wins the strangest-premise award: aliens come to Earth and steal a pig from some backwoods rednecks. You, as a backwoods redneck, must get the pig back. Power up with pork rinds, whiskey, and beer, and then grab your shotgun and hit the trail. The soundtrack includes songs by Mojo Nixon and the Reverend Horton Heat. Company: Logicware (626/938-9108, http://www.logicware.com). Price: $39.95.
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