It was a difficult night with the games. But I was determined to play a new game and it finally paid off, in a manner of speaking. I’ll chronicle the brief adventure:
The first game I tried was Eraser Turnabout, apparently based on the 1996 movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Vanessa Williams. I wanted to give it the standard fair shake but the game wouldn’t let me:
“The OS is not Win 95. Eraser Turnabout only runs under Windows 95.” — retyped for the benefit of hapless would-be gamers googling for tech support. The game comes from Imagination Pilots who have all of 2 other games to their record in the database, and one is an interactive movie.
I want to point out a few other technical aspects of this game before I assign it to the “couldn’t make work” section of the Master Play List. The game material I have (2 CDs and back CD cover; no art or instructions or adornment) prominently boasts Intel MMX technology used in the game. MMX chips first hit the market in 1997, per my understanding; this game lists a copyright date of 1996. Early adopter, I guess. The game has lots and lots of Indeo 4/AVI files and Smacker files. There are also miscellaneous temp files and directories left around the filesystem structure. Seems a bit sloppy.
So that was a bust. Let’s look at one of several Pocketware games. What happens here is that a company called Selectsoft licenses a bunch of fairly simple yet graphically pleasing computer games for redistribution on these adorable credit card form factor mini-CDs. Here is Star Scrambler, which contains ~40 MB of data:
Sounds exciting. Let’s try it out… noooooo! How can this be?!
It’s a repackaging of Astro Assembler. Who knows? Maybe there will be some further intelligence provided in this version that will indicate who actually developed and who published this game. I need to know because that’s hanging up my MobyGames submission on this game right now. Nope; everything looks the same as before– manual, game, and everything. If I were to do a byte-wise comparison of all files involved, they would likely be identical.
Let’s move swiftly on to another Pocketware mini-CD. This one is called Trax: The Robot Wars. It has ~80 MB of data on its surface, ~70 MB of which belong to one big WAV background music track. It works, so it’s my game for tonight. To sum it up, it’s a life and death game of bumper cars.
The title makes the game sound a lot more epic than it really is. There are several modes in the game. The first is Ascent, where you battle one other computer-controlled car at a time to rise up through the ranks. You defeat the other car either by pushing it out of the ring and hitting it enough times so that it blows up. The other two modes are Battle and Tournament where you can configure up to 4 cars, either human or computer-controlled, to have an all-out war in various arenas. You can win money with which to customize and your vehicle to gain a bigger edge.
So you can select to play against 3 other CPU opponents. That makes things marginally interesting. I settled on a strategy of staying out of the way and avoiding the other 3 cars until there was only one other car. Then I rolled around the arena as nimbly as I could and hoped that the CPU car would fall off the edge.
Another mildly amusing feature is that all 4 cars in these battles royale can be configured as CPU players. This is great for the really lazy gamer, such as yours truly.