Who owns old Sierra Legacy game licenses

Page 6: The 100 best PC strategy games of all time: From Age to Z

50. Desperados

developer: Spellbound Entertainment | Publisher: Infogrames | Release: April 24, 2001

Natalie Schermann: I am an incredibly impatient person. I keep clicking a desktop icon until the program opens fifty times and the PC freezes. I have no nerve for stealth in games and there is nothing I hate more than repeating something I've already done.

With Desperados I suddenly discovered completely new sides of myself: When I play the strategy western, I become calmer, I analyze my situation, forge plans and rethink my tactics if I fail. Quicksave and Quickload are my best friends in this game.

I love to think of different ways of eliminating my opponents with the help of my four heroes and their abilities. More often than I would like, my plan fails and I have to react to the new situation. Or I just do it myself and reload. And again new. And again.

Particularly annoying: the civilians! The game (unfortunately) does not allow me to get rid of the innocent citizens of the Wild West - for this I am punished with a "mission failed". So instead of just killing them, I have to think about how to knock them out inconspicuously. Beat, tie and hide in a stinking shed - so that nobody can find them and release them. It's a lot easier with my opponents: Kate seduces the villains and gives them a kick at the right moment and Cooper is ready with his dagger. A dream team!

As mentioned at the beginning, I actually hate doing something again when I've already done it. The Desperados missions offer so much replay value due to their different solution paths that it is one of the few games that I have actually played several times. I rarely have so much patience to fight my way through a game. In my personal top list, Desperados would definitely have landed a bit higher!

Trivia:

  • In the chapter "Doc McCoy's Hut" there is a hidden Easter egg for Star Wars fans. To do this, McCoy has to set up his scarecrow at the end of the pier and the event is triggered.
  • Many of the chapter names in the game pay homage to 1970s western films. The fourth chapter is roughly called "Hang Him Higher!" - just like a 1968 film by Clint Eastwood.

49. The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-earth 2

developer: EA Los Angeles | Publisher: EA | Release: March 2, 2006

Dimitry Halley: Maurice always thinks I am a bull when I praise the regular Battle of Middle-earth 2. No wonder, he has completely turned the game upside down with his modding team in order to deliver the best mod under the sun with Edain. But hey, the basics are also to be appreciated, so here I want to celebrate the greatest strength of Battle for Middle-earth 2: those terrific elven archers.

In the movies they are deadly with the bow, but in Battle for Middle-earth 2 every fully trained Elven-Sniper carries a bazooka on his shoulder. If you place the turrets cleverly, you make the game tower defense, so to speak. But the bear is also stepping away from these killer elves: Especially in the add-on, the Angmar campaign gives me a very cool new perspective on the well-known Middle-earth. Because here I plow through the northern kingdoms as a dark prince.

What have I spent many hours on the skirmish maps of Battle for Middle-earth 2? Fighting orc hordes together with one of my best buddies. Or crafted my own heroes - a feature that should be part of every strategy game. Nice read along, Total War! Like most major licenses, The Lord of the Rings has some bad sheep - but the Battle for Middle-earth is definitely not one of them.

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Trivia:

  • The Battle for Middle-earth 2 is excruciatingly difficult to get hold of because it cannot be bought digitally anywhere.
  • The server gates closed 10 years ago, but the multiplayer still works flawlessly in LAN mode.

48. Dungeon Keeper

developer: Bullfrog | Publisher: Electronic Arts | Release: July 1997

Nils Raettig: Dungeon Keeper is a very special strategy game. This is mainly due to the idea with the hand: It is not just a mouse pointer in the shape of a hand, but a kind of god-like tool that was correspondingly elaborately and three-dimensionally represented in the game. Not only can we use it to give instructions and build new rooms, but we can also pick up creatures and even beat them up - great fun! Unsurprisingly, the game comes from the legendary development studio Bullfrog and Peter Molyneux, who would later continue the hand idea, which was later discussed in Black & White.

Dungeon Keeper didn't just inspire me because of this clever idea, but also because of its black humor and the unusual idea with the rather indirect strategic control. We can determine exactly where we will build new dungeons and which rooms will be accommodated there, from sleeping places to feeding places to torture chambers. The creatures in it basically have their own will and our dungeon accordingly has a certain life of its own.

In a duel with other dungeon keepers or heroic intruders, it is essential to grab the right creatures and throw them into the fray. The feel of the game is still very different from, for example, a Command & Conquer, which allows us to precisely control units and place buildings directly.

As I write this, I notice more and more that I absolutely have to test the game again. Experience has shown that many titles from bygone days have aged rather poorly. But I could imagine that Dungeon Keeper will still be a lot of fun today.

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Trivia:

  • An in-game spell enabled us to slip into the skin of a creature and explore our dungeon from a first-person perspective.
  • In addition to Dungeon Keeper, Bullfrog is known for many other classic games such as Poulous, Syndicate and Theme Park.

47. Stardew Valley

developer: ConcernedApe | Publisher: Chucklefish | Release: February 26, 2016

Elena Schulz: My heart opened when Stardew Valley became a steam hit. On the one hand, because I was a huge Harvest Moon fan as a child and there were hardly any farming games of this kind on the PC. On the other hand, because the farm game was one of my first tests for GameStar and therefore a very special experience for me. But also umpteen red corrections and awkward teletext attempts (How do normal people speak? Help!) I still loved Stardew Valley. The building game became a regular evening routine for me.

When I came home from work tired and with no energy to gamble, I still started Stardew Valley almost automatically every day and got lost in growing vegetables, scouring caves for treasures, fishing or trying to flirt with the village residents, who in their stiff choice of words mentioned the above Plug teletext made competition.

Anyway, I'd rather expand my farm and get me chickens, they'll understand my feelings better anyway - Babaak! This is also nice about Stardew Valley: If you want, you can simply ignore the social life in the village, fighting against monsters, the multiplayer or any other unpleasant part of the game and still build a perfect little country life.

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Trivia:

  • Stardew Valley comes from a single developer named Eric Barone.
  • The farm game will also receive free content updates in 2020 - four years after its release.

46. ​​Dune 2: Battle for Arrakis

developer: Westwood Studios | Publisher: Virgin Interactive | Release: December 1992 (USA), 1993 (Germany)

Holger Harth: The film and game adaptations of Frank Herbert's Dune novels have so far not had much success. David Lynch's film adaptation flopped as well as several attempts to bring the fascinating world of the desert planet Arrakis with its giant worms, still trains and the mind-expanding drug Spice closer to the players. Most attempts changed as much as a drop of water in the desert.

But there is one glorious exception: Dune 2: Battle for Arrakis from the legendary Westwood Studios. Westwood built much more than just any license upgrade on behalf of Virgin. While in other games of this time decisions were made move by move, the player in Dune 2 could experience the conflict between the houses Atreides, Harkonnen and Ordos in real time. The units were given commands with the mouse, which were implemented without waiting. In this way, bases for resource extraction were created with just a few clicks. A real novelty!

From today's perspective you can tell that the game is the grandfather of a genre. Select multiple units at once? Pah, where are we going? Right click to order movements or attacks? Too simple! Please first select the unit, then choose between attack, movement, retreat or protect in the menu and then click again with the mouse in the sand. That created an enormous hectic pace for a single unit - with several at the same time? Well, nobody really wants that.

Nevertheless, many elements from Dune 2 can still be found in the real-time strategy game today. Probably also because Westwood subsequently created its own series with Command & Conquer, which takes over the basic gameplay, but smoothed out the shortcomings of Dune 2 with the sandblaster.

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Trivia:

  • Since no real-time strategy was known in 1992, something of a strategy-based resource management simulation was written on the packaging.
  • Dune 2 has no direct predecessor. Publisher Virgin commissioned two games from different studios. One thing they forgot and then realized that in 1992 they had to bring two dune games to market. First the adventure Dune by Cryo and a little later Dune 2.
  • The open source mod Dune Legacy lets you play the original game with some comfort features: simple unit controls, modern screen resolutions, multiplayer support, a map editor and three other campaigns.

45. UFO: Enemy Unknown

developer: Microprose | Publisher: Microprose / 2K Games | Release: March 1994

Nils Raettig: With Ufo: Enemy Unkown, I encountered the gameplay with action points and turn-based battles for the first time, which I later absolutely loved in Jagged Alliance and especially in Jagged Alliance 2. Ufo managed to convey the atmosphere of the unknown enemy from space in all of its game elements very well. It starts with the intro video, which is threatening in spite of the comic style, and its gruesome music and reaches its climax in the battles against the aliens from the ISO perspective.

Just taking the first steps out of the transport plane and not knowing exactly where which threat is lurking was very scary. The creepy music and the card that was only gradually revealed, on which most of it was still in the dark at the beginning, contributed to the rest. I have to admit that I clearly preferred the part with fighting as opposed to the business and research part. Nevertheless, the game managed the mix very well and it is precisely because of this successful mix that it achieved cult status, and rightly so.

It was just incredibly satisfying every time you fought a successful battle and drove the nasty aliens away. Speaking of aliens: I really liked the films with Sigourney Weaver back then - although they scared me a lot and I shouldn't have watched them if it had been up to my parents. That should also have been one of the reasons why I found Ufo: Enemey Unkown so good. The latest offshoot XCOM 2 is said to be very good according to the test by our valued colleague Maurice Weber, so it is urgently time that I tried it out.

Trivia:

  • Only the disk version of the game was copy-protected. In the CD version, however, it has been removed.
  • The successor XCOM: Terror from the Deep moves the plot under water, but uses exactly the same gameplay and the same engine.

44. Commandos 2

developer: Pyro Studios | Publisher: Eidos | Release: 19.9.2001

Markus Schwerdtel: When I shared my office with Gunnar Lott in the fall of 2000, one day he came back from a developer visit, well tanned. Wait a minute ... well tanned, in autumn? Yes, because Gunnar was visiting developer Pyro in hot Madrid. Even back then, what he said about the game was more important to me than my colleague with a delicate complexion: the fighters should get even more tactics, adventure elements, and even their own inventory! That sounds like an excellent sequel to the 1998 surprise hit Commandos.

A good year later, as the main tester, I can check how good Commandos 2 really is. Eight specialists and their dog Whiskey set out in France, Asia and even at the North Pole to influence the course of the Second World War with targeted commando actions. Either with force like the Green Beret or the sniper, or in a subtle way like the spy or the diver.

The skills of the eight fighters should be used as much as possible to advance in the sometimes huge levels. New in Commandos 2: Every fighter now has an inventory in which he can stow stolen uniforms or tools. This is also where the troop's pets come into play: Whiskey is ideally suited to transferring objects between the commandos past the cones of vision of the guards.