the Mouth of Madness:
By Jason "loonyboi" Bergman
Hexen II (PC)
I wanted to throw this in here, because I really enjoyed the game, and the impression I got from a lot of people is that while they acknowledged it as a cool game, they didn’t really enjoy it. I did, and while it’s not as good as some of the higher profile releases this last christmas, it does stand pretty well on its own as a classic first person shooter. Like Hexen before it, the game uses a "hub" system of gameplay that alows you to walk back and forth between levels until you solve the whole set. These hubs are themed to different time periods (like the now classic Egypt level). Throw in the ability to choose different characters, and you’ve got yourself some fun times ahead. Oh, and be sure to try out the multiplayer either straight out of the box, or with the HexenWorld add-on that’s available online. It’s killer stuff. :)
Slime World (Lynx)
Released as Todd’s Adventures in Slime World for the pretty much unseen Atari Lynx system, this game was a fairly decent single player title, but it really shined in multiplayer. The Lynx was a short-lived color portable system, but it offered some true innovations over its competitors…most notably was its ComLynx system, that allowed the daisy-chaining of up to 16 different systems (apparently it could even do more, although no games ever took advantage of it…I didn’t know 16 people who owned them…did you?). Anyway, Slime World was one of the few good reasons to own a Lynx (another one is below). Slime World was my second deathmatch addiction (my first was Populous). Here’s the schtick: in Slime World, you and up to eight of your buddies are thrown into a maze. You can pick up weapons, and you get to hunt down everyone. It’s all done from a 2D sideways perspective, but don’t let that keep you from it.
How addicting was Slime World? I have a fond memory of me and a friend playing it late at night as his brother went to sleep…when he woke up, we were still playing it. I think we played that thing for over eight hours straight that night, and we never even noticed. It’s tough to describe just why it was so fun to people who never got into the game, or even saw it, but trust me. When you’re in a room trying to figure out where your opponent is, and one of those bombs comes dropping down from above…well…let’s just say it’s a thrilling experience. Nothing else ever came close. The game was later released for the Sega Genesis system, but without the separate consoles for multiplayer, it just wasn’t the same. Oh yeah…there was a co-op mode in there too, but it was pretty silly…I just wanted to kill back then, too. :)
Aliens vs. Predator (Atari Jaguar)
I never bought a Jaguar system, but I tell you…I’ve considered it a number of times, just because of this game (and the fact that I’ve seen the system selling for under $50). Aliens vs. Predator is a first person shooter, but it’s one that deserves to be up there with Half-Life, System Shock, and even Doom. Here’s the deal: in AvP you can play as an Alien, a Predator, or a Marine, and unlike other games, each class has entirely different goals. It’s pretty much three different games all thrown together. What made this so great, was the fact that all the sounds were pulled straight from the movies, and the lighting was so dead-on…creepy that it was one game you didn’t want to play after dark. Adding to that creepiness factor was the complete lack of any music…the only sounds are your own screams of agony. Muhahahahah. Don’t miss this one.
There was a major boom in puzzle games that started shortly after the initial release of Tetris and ran all the way up until the final demise of the Super Nintendo just a few years back. Of all the puzzle games released during that period that tried to gain the sort of popularity that Tetris managed to get, there were only a few genuine classics. Klax was one of them, and probably the most easily overlooked of them. The game was released for a number of systems, including the Genesis and there was even a coin-op version, but the best one I played was probably the Atari Lynx version. Klax put you in front of a conveyor belt of falling bricks. The idea was to take each one and make stacks by color, which would cause them to disappear. Sounds easy, right? Naturally, this got pretty damn difficult pretty fast, but what made Klax different (at least this version…the Genesis version wasn’t nearly as good) was its offbeat sense of humor. When you screw up in Klax, the "audience" yells at you…when you do well, they applaud. There’s no reason ever given for this…but who cares? It makes the whole thing very surreal, and terribly addicting.
The last one on our list is another side scroller, but man, is this one unique. Created by the now defunct Crack.com, Released in 1995 by the Crack-smokers, Abuse represented a genuinely original take on the sidescroller genre. Crack founder Dave Taylor had just left id Software, and was obviously addicted to Doom’s insane level of violence when he created this game, because jeeeeez…Abuse is just nuts. Here’s the deal: in Abuse, you move about with the keyboard, but you aim (and fire) with the mouse. It’s a pretty weird control scheme at first, but once you get used to it (it’ll only take a few minutes) you’ll find yourself really getting into it. Abuse is probably one of the most violent games you’re likely to find anywhere…the game is simply insane. Row after row of enemies will start coming after you, and damn if it isn’t just a hoot to blow the bastards away. Considering that it’s one of the few genuinely action based side scrollers out there, you’d expect this one to be more widely recognized…go fig. Abuse also gets some major points for being available for just about every operating system around. Hell, there’s even a BeOS version. Don’t miss Abuse…it’s too much fun.
Well there you have it…ten games that if you haven’t played yet, you’re really missing out on something. That should keep you nutty guys busy for a week, huh? I’ll be back next week with even more looniness…the ten most overrated games of all time. It's sure to piss quite a few people off. Trust me. ;)
- Jason "loonyboi" Bergman is the editor-in-chief here at loonygames. His girlfriend is very understanding.
Credits: From the Mouth of Madness logo illustrated by and is © 1999 Dan Zalkus. From the Mouth of Madness is © 1999 Jason Bergman. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited, so don't do it...or we'll just forget about your. Let's see how you like it.