Gaming Gift Ideas
Tomb Raider II — Saint John <[email protected]> says: "If I hadn’t pre-ordered it six months in advance, I’d be ecstatic to see a copy of Aspyr Media’s Tomb Raider II under my tree. Anyone who does action games knows about this one. It’s nearly perfect for the budding Indiana Jones. The scenery is always good, and sometimes great. The camera doesn’t show Lara Croft’s vision, but rather works like a John Woo film, tracking her from suitable angles as she runs about. There’s incidental music and sound effects – you can tell where the bad guys are walking if you have stereo speakers. The story (told largely in QuickTime movies between levels) is not just ‘Aliens have attacked – shoot everything’ – and, even so, you don’t need precision mousing skills merely to shoot the bad guys. Lara is quite capable of aiming her own guns. Aspyr has put some Mac sensibility into the interface, making it better than a mere DOS port. There are many action games out there, but if I was stranded on a desert island I’d want Tomb Raider II."
Battle-girl — Michael O’Hara <[email protected]> writes: "I’d second a recommendation of Tomb Raider II; however, I’d also like to recommend a shoot’em-up, Battle-girl. It isn’t even 3D, but it doesn’t matter: Battle-girl is a real time sink featuring frenetic action and yummy music. It also works well on older PowerPC-based Macs, where Tomb Raider II might have a problem."
Galapagos — No, not the turtles or the islands. This suggestion from Saint John <[email protected]> came in response to a request for visual, non-violent games. Saint John writes: "Galapagos is an older 3D game that didn’t make many waves when it came out. Although it’s possible (and in fact likely) that the character, Mendel, will be destroyed by a trap she has to get through, she doesn’t kill anything. And its non-traditional play makes it uniquely involving. You don’t control Mendel so much as you control her environment – switching dangerous areas off, shepherding her into the next room, and so on. Mendel will learn in time not to go in certain directions, but without your help she’s doomed. It’s not exactly Starship Titanic, but it’s not Starship Troopers either. I have a review of it online, and you can see more info at Anark, which developed it, and at Electronic Arts, which distributed it."
You Don’t Know Jack — Mark Altenberg <[email protected]> offers the You Don’t Know Jack series from Berkeley Systems as a game idea for people who don’t like computer games. "This series has the amazing ability to turn your computer into a game show and it virtually makes the computer disappear: the experience is quite different from any other computer game. Very funny and irreverent, too! Highly recommended, especially for people who thought they’d never play a computer game!"
Snood — Phil Landis <[email protected]> recommends Snood, "a fun game which both adults and children seem to find addictive. You can download and play it free (without the custom difficulty settings). Registration provides full capability and is only $10."
Myth — Mike Weber <[email protected]> writes: "I have to put in a plug for one of my favorite games of all time, Myth from Bungie. It’s as gory as they get, but the play world is amazing. Third-person 3D views from any angle, in real time! Network play facilitated by the free bungie.net! Incredible 3D sound effects! I played the Myth demo for months before finally caving in and buying the actual game. The demo even lets you sample network play: good enough for weeks of fun. Myth II has just been completed and should be available shortly."