Top 11 Retro Adventure Games (That Are Not Sierra or LucasArts) PART 2!
Hey everyone, PushingUpRoses here and welcome to part two of my Top 11 Adventure games video, if you missed part 1 I do encourage you to watch that one first, but maybe you’re a person who doesn’t care about the later entries In fact, I bet you’re here to just see what my number one choice is, aren’t you? I see you guys, the ones that skim the video just to see what the number one choice is Well, if you are in fact, a serial video skipper, here’s a little montage of things you may have missed from the last video Frankly, this part of the video might be disappointing because my top five choices might be pretty expected Hell, I was already getting comments like“you didn’t put THIS video game on your list? OMG Y?” and we only have five more choices to go, so I anticipate your dismay as I count down my very, very, subjective picks for my recommended adventure games that were not developed by Sierra or LucasArts Starting with Number five, Beavis and Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity Okay, some of my credibility probably just shot through a window and into the nearest dumpster, but I think I have a good case for this game Beavis and Butt-Head, as you probably already know, was an animated cartoon, featuring two dimwitted teenagers doing dimwitted things For the first couple years, I absolutely hated this show and these characters; it was gross, the quality was terrible, and it was genuinely not funny The episodes felt like 15 minutes of obnoxious chuckling Then over the years, they became shall we say, more consumerized, and the characters took on more dorkier traits In fact, I can’t call myself a fan of the show, especially the early installments, but Beavis and Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity definitely came along after they were polished up a bit, and the characters work very in this game The entire premise is that Beavis and Butt-Head want to be in Todd’s gang Todd being this guy Todd hates Beavis and Butt-Head, but they don’t care, they desperately want to befriend this guy, so your objective is to do that As a licensed game, it’s surprisingly not bad; the story is simple as hell but it’s not so reliant on that as it is on the situations Beavis and Butt-Head find themselves in, it’s more endearing than disgusting, and it the art style fits these pre-existing characters and scenery I’m not saying it’s gonna win any awards for art design, anything based on Beavis and Butt-Head ain’t gonna get anything for that, but it works The characters are portrayed as doofy, but you still get that familiar sense of who Beavis and Butt-Head always were, an attempt at satire about a specific generation that sometimes worked, and sometimes didn’t I think I like this game far more than the show itself because it serves as a reminder of the decade I grew up in; it’s a product of its time I don’t necessarily need to revisit the show because this is such a staple in gen x culture that these characters and their annoying chuckling is embedded into my brain There are a lot of reasons to dislike the original show, but I found a lot of reasons for enjoying the game When I play it, I’m reminded of when I used to sneakily turn on MTV to watch adult things and rebel against my more conservative parents, and I enjoy seeing these older characters, like Mr. Anderson and Daria, before they had their own iconic spinoffs Truth me told, I am a diehard Daria fan because I think it had more cultural and social impact, but Daria didn’t get a good game Daria got left with the raging trash fire that IS Daria’s inferno I think the game takes the funnier parts of these characters and uses them well, and the puzzle design is not too bad The UI is also easy to use Pretty certain these controls were inspired by Full Throttle, which is not a bad thing You guys know I get very salty over bad adventure game controls; these are simple, they work, I never miss click or use the wrong action And the sprites are expressive; I noticed that when I was talking to this character, Butt-Head started getting bored and making faces, and that might sound like a small thing to you, but those small things are what give games like this personality And I know it’s shocking because licensed adventure games don’t have a great track record, and you’d never suspect that Beavis and Butt-Head would be any different than those other cash ins, but I can honestly say that I had fun with this And it might be because of some weird rose colored glasses, me simply pining for days passed when I thought I was being soooo naughty for watching this show, but a lot of it is that this game was well made, and there was attention to detail given to the sprites and the cutscenes, and all of the original voice actors are present so the lines are delivered well If you want to relive your childhood rebellion, but prefer a more innocent take on these characters, I think this short little point-n-click can do that Number four, Clock Tower I wouldn’t call myself an aficionado of horror games; it’s true that I love all things dark and macabre, but in terms of horror intended to scare and get the adrenaline going, I was never a huge fan
I thought those games kind of blended together; expected jump scares, flimsy stories, dark and hard to navigate settings meant to make you feel anxious, whatever Didn’t care But I made an exception for Clock Tower, a survival horror point-n-click that managed to pull off what other scary games often failed to do; it was genuinely frightening I wanted to play this because it looked like an intriguing adventure game, with mechanics very similar to other titles I liked at the time I was new to survival horror so I did not understand the survival part on my first playthrough; I was terrified and didn’t know how to run away or find places for the main character to hide You play as Jennifer, a timid young girl who, along with her friends, was adopted by a wealthy man named Simon Barrows His wife, Mary Barrows brings Jennifer and the other girls back to his mansion Once they arrive, Mary leaves to fetch Mr Barrows, but when she doesn’t come back, weird things start to happen And when I say weird things, I mean murder And who is it you are running from? It’s….it’s… IT’S…..THE SCISSORMAN… And yes, he’s not that scary, and he’s rather small, and chases you at a snail’s pace, but the atmosphere of this game is so harrowing that whenever he popped up, I felt scared It’s not the character itself that’s scary, it’s the situation we’re in; trapped in this strange mansion with our friends either missing or found murdered, with very little music when you’re walking around; every step of Jennifer’s shoes against the wooden floors makes me feel tense When an event is about to happen, spooky music starts playing and seems to haunt you until you’re out of harm’s way The story gets batshit crazy and the ending is very dramatic, so I won’t spoil those things for you But speaking of endings, there are a lot of different ones on offer depending on how you play the game My favorite is just completely abandoning your friends and attempting to drive away RIGHT at the beginning of the game It even warns you that maybe this isn’t the right thing to do by having Jennifer question her decision two or three times, but after enough tries, she will drive off Such honor, such dignity It’s a little grueling to find all of these endings, because certain puzzles trigger certain events, and the setting itself can be disorienting and easy to get lost in, but I did feel compelled enough to play through all the different endings and I revisit the game on occasion Making it even harder and creepier is the fact that the rooms swap places with different playthroughs, so sometimes you think you’re going to a specific room, only to find something completely different One of the weirdest things for me was continually hearing a phone ring in one of the main halls, but when I found the the phone, the line had been cut, despite continuing to ring throughout the game It’s a very simple thing, but it plays with your mind and adds to the supernatural element of the story The game was heavily inspired by the movie Phenemona, so if the character of Jennifer looks suspiciously like Jennifer Connelly to you, it’s because she was inspiration for that role, as well as some of the plot and some of the film’s imagery This is a stunning, unusual, eerie game that I still can’t play when the lights off, or even if it’s dark outside I play this game with my window wide open with the sun beating down on me because even after several replays, there is still something about this Clock Tower that unsettles me And a little tip from me to you, if you do decide to give this game a try for the first time, remember to save the crows You’ll thank me later Number three, Discworld Ah, Discworld I have never been so frustrated by a game that I love so much I’m going to be completely honest with you; this game is way too difficult Based on the works of Terry Pratchett, this is the first of three Discworld Games, and it is by far the most ridiculous But there’s something I love about it, and even though I can’t play this without a guide, I always come back to it with fond memories and an eagerness to replay it Might be the dry humor and very accurate representation of the Discworld books, or it might be the charming art and and fun settings, I’m not sure But I’ve always thought that in terms of licensed titles, this one was one of the most accurate to its source material, which is either good or bad depending on if you like the the worlds and characters of Terry Pratchett Eric Idle’s performance of Rincewind is never boring; it’s the perfect cast for this bumbling wizard character, and even though the dialogue can become a little long-winded, I never tired of hearing his
This scene cracked me up when I first saw it, and I quote it incessantly To myself, that is I don’t think quoting this line to my friends would lead to much response, so I just say it randomly in the shower sometimes, or when I’m making a bagel I just love Idle’s delivery There’s a lot of inspiration from the book Guards, Guards, as the main plot revolves around a dragon who was summoned by a secret brotherhood, but the game is more so a collection of characters, themes, and locations from the various works of Pratchett Of course Death makes several appearances And the story is very faithful to what Pratchett would have approved, and that’s because he did in fact approve this game, and actually helped with some of the production No wonder this game wasn’t terrible; it does help to have the input of the original creator This game does suffer from intense moon logic; puzzles that completely topple off the rails The puzzle design does align with the tone of Discworld but I am not sure I quite wanted that On top of difficult puzzles, it also has PUN puzzles, which I hate with all of my being I think developers put those in there because they are enamored with their own cleverness and wordplay, but to the player it’s just frustrating and groan worthy Without a guide, the game is punishing and tedious with a lot of backtracking With a guide, the game is punishing and tedious with a lot of backtracking but at least you won’t get lost I jest, when I have an idea of what I’m doing, I truly enjoy this game This is yet another title I found through Home of the Underdogs a bajillion years ago and the screen shots had me so eager to play it This also served as my first exposure to anything Terry Pratchett, and got me interested in reading his books throughout my adolescence, so a lot of positive things came out of playing this game, at least for me I almost feel bad recommending it because of the difficulty level and baffling puzzles, but I have to I love it too much for it to not make this goddamn list In fact, I recommend all of the Discworld games Sadly, they are not easily attainable as they are not available for digital purchase, so if you’re dying to try these games you either have to find the disks or buy them in box, or live with the eternal guilt of downloading them from a quote, “abandonware site”, which you can atone for later when they eventually do become accessible I make no judgements I downloaded Monkey Island back in the day but made up for it by buying all of them later, so…I’ll just leave that up to you Number two, Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon Mmm This game This game is criminally undervalued Developed by Legend Entertainment, it is is based on the Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon books written by Spider Robinson I know I know sound like a broken record, but this is yet another game I found through home of the underdogs, and this one was especially intriguing because it was considered a “top dog”, as in it was rated very highly on the site I booted this up knowing virtually nothing about the books it was based on, but was immediately pulled in just by the very first section of the game Callahan’s is a bar where various species, ranging from human to alien and everything in between, go to escape the pain of life It has a very Cheers vibe; I’ve always liked the fantasy of this perfectly cozy bar where everyone knows each other, and everyone is making jokes and being snarky and at the end of the day all of your worries are left behind, and Ted Danson is behind the counter arguing with Diane, and there’s CLIFF Fuck, I need to watch cheers and drink booze now You play as Jake Stonebender, a very hairy man, and who teams up with various characters in the bar to solve problems, have adventures, and ultimately save the planet I am not exaggerating on that last objective, at one point you do need to prove that Earth is worth sparing from destruction I love how this game is laid out; each adventure is different from the last with different objectives, and I love that you get to travel with other characters for a few of them The first part is one of my favorites; Jake is sent on a mission to find his friend Pyotr, who has seemingly left his house in the states to go back to his castle in Transylvania; this is a very fictionalized version of Transylvania, where everything is a bit on the dark side, but I’ll forgive it for using this less original cliche because it still manages to stay creative with their depiction Oh, and ready yourself for puns Another adventure I loved going on was joining Josie on a mission to save some rare trees
in the Rainforest; you get to make chocolate in this section, which may be why I have a fondness for it I created a video about how food from cartoons and video games always looks so amazing, and when I think about that I think about this chocolate My god I need that in my mouth right now Not every section is created equal; some I enjoyed less than others, but the game as a whole works so, so well The settings are delightful, and that is important because there isn’t a lot of animation or movement in this game It’s first person, and not a lot happens on screen; in fact you’re just scrolling across these settings and clicking around to go to different places; it’s fairly static, but the screens are so detailed that it doesn’t matter how simple it is The designers did some near things to bring these settings to life despite limited movement; the sprites talk and change depending on what you’re doing, the settings change as your progress, and there are some cool animated cutscenes in between gameplay Another thing that drives this game is the humor It was primarily written by Josh Mandel, whose writing is very strong and funny, but it shines the most in Callahan’s The sheer amount of writing and detail is also damned impressive; you can click on almost anything on screen and get a detailed response about it So even though the game is not elaborately designed, it doesn’t actually feel like it because of the quality writing and colorful backgrounds I also don’t think the game is overly tough in terms of its puzzle design; it has just enough difficulty to provide a decent challenge without making you want to punt things across the room I recommend this to just about anyone; great storytelling, beautiful art, decent voice acting, clever humor; I can’t let anyone miss out on such a gem Before we get to my top choice, I’d like to give a shoutout to a few games that I considered but didn’t quite fall into the top 11 The Longest Journey – truth be told I am just not familiar enough with this game, but I wanna recommend it anyway because it has an awesome protagonist, and I know a lot of people in the adventure game community like it I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream – a decent game, really dark, based on the short story by Harlan Ellison, it didn’t make the list because I only liked it as a one time experience No desire to replay it Harvester – There is no way I could put this on here in good faith Come on Blade Runner – my copy was broken and it wouldn’t run on any of my machines, so fuck that The Dynamix games – Because Dynamix was bought by Sierra, I thought putting them on the list would be slightly cheating They weren’t actually developed by Sierra, but…still And now that these failed entries are out of the way, let’s finally take a look at Number one, Sanitarium I am guessing several of you saw this coming Sanitarium is one of those games that I connected with early on for a variety of personal reasons, but before I get into those, I just want to say that even beyond my more intimate reasons for enjoying it, it’s still an interesting game on it’s own I was a little unsure about whether or not I’d enjoy Sanitarium when I bought it a couple years after it was released; the screen shots didn’t exactly appeal to me, and I hadn’t played too many games that were in this isometric perspective; it was very different than the point-n-click games that I had deemed my favorites, which were mostly by Sierra and LucasArts But I was in a different headspace when I picked up this game; it was my freshman year and Dad had just passed of cancer, and shortly after that I found myself recovering from an overdose, so I was looking for darker things to explore to cope with my grief, and this was the thing I was drawn to The story centers around Max, the main protagonist; who was in a serious car accident in the beginning of the game When you wake up, you appear to be in this old asylum that is on fire and crumbling, killing its patients in the process After an angel statue comes to life, she decides to help you by transporting you to another world, this time with disfigured children The whole game is separated into chapters, all very different from one another, with a main story woven through each one You can’t progress to the next chapter without completing the one you’re on, which I like; I think contained sections are great for adventure games Your main objective is to determine why you are stuck in these fantasy worlds, and and to also figure out the unsavory intentions of Dr. Morgan, a colleague you used to work with at the hospital One of the plot points is that Max is stuck in this state of psychosis, and a few of the settings he creates in his mind are of these disturbing looking asylums, complete with characters who are off Now, I should mention that putting things in a game that are related to mental illness like psychiatric facilities and mentally ill characters can get contentious; the media frequently does a bad job with such depictions, but I feel like there’s nuance in this game that I easily connect with, especially the horror of being stuck in an old, run down
asylum I think back to the times I had to stay in various treatment facilities, and this IS how it felt; unorganized, old and outdated, run by doctors and orderlies who are too exhausted to truly care, and I felt that some of these parts gave me a safe way to explore my angst over that I also think that the villain is very on point; there’s nothing more frightening to me than a doctor who doesn’t treat his patients with respect, but instead looks at them as profitable experiments When confronting one of the friendlier orderlies, Max is given an explanation as to how he escaped burning towers from earlier, saying that Max created a fantasy world that helped him survive Even though this voice acting could use some help, I’ve always connected with this excerpt on a personal level; the idea of creating entire worlds just as a coping mechanism wasn’t lost on me as a teen, so instead of being put off by the idea of this game, I threw myself into it and used it to just feel angry There were many nights where I played this game while listening to Alice in Chains on repeat The game also communicates grief in a realistic, effective way; one of my favorite chapters features this warped haunted house, where Max is confronted by the ghosts that represent his family It’s one of the gloomier parts of the story, so be prepared to feel heartbroken On a lighter note, another favorite of mine is the carnival section, where we are now playing as Max’s sister I have a soft spot for threatening looking carnival settings; I hesitate to call it evil because it’s genuinely not, it’s just on hard times I especially like this character because despite being on an island with dead bodies floating nearby, she’s super polite, happy, and has no tolerance for assholes Sanitarium is definitely a mood This has been a favorite of mine for awhile, and the story and symbolism are fun to discuss – I think the biggest drawback that might put people off is the voice acting Now, I like it (max) I think Max’s voice fits this game, but many people find the entire thing poorly acted I can definitely see where they are coming from, but I’ve warmed to it and find it oddly charming Similar to Callahan’s, not every chapter is a winner There’s a part in the middle where it kind of loses some speed, but it works as an entire piece The ending is also way too abrupt for my personal tastes, but I suppose this was more about the journey anyway As you can imagine I was very pleased when this was released on GOG, so if you want to play it, it is now pretty easy to run I want to thank you guys so much for joining me on this journey of lesser known adventure games, I genuinely enjoyed sharing these with you If you want to share your favorites in the comments, please feel free to do so If you feel like bugging me with comments that start with, “But why isn’t THIS game on your list” then please eject that desire from your very being because if you do this I will have to unleash my unadulterated wrath and send you to the 5th circle of hell But hey, like comment and subscribe! If you want to see more videos, do check out the ones I linked on the screen, and if you want to follow my mundane status updates, like when I am eating a taco or going to the store for some toilet paper, the details for my social media are in the description Do consider becoming a patron if you would like to support the channel and see more videos like this Well, not JUST like this, but…you know As always, I’ll see you guys in the next one