Avast! Buried Treasures.

By Shamus
on Oct 13, 2007
Filed under:
Game Reviews

I was messing around on Half.com. (Ebay’s sister site, no bidding) and lookie what I found:

buried_treasure.jpg

Okay, No One Lives Forever isn’t that big a deal, but these other two have been out of print since before the turn of the century.

I missed all three of these when they were new. I will note that you can very accurately judge the worthiness of titles past by looking at their selling price on sites like this. Grim Fandango (1998) and Full Throttle (1995) were selling in the $15 to $30 price range, depending on the condition of the box / manual. Scrapland (2005) was selling for an abysmal seventy-five cents.

I remember seeing Full Throttle in stores, but I never picked up the box and checked it out. I saw the art and figured it was some sort of action game. With a tough guy in it. Probably some kinda lame Duke-Nukum knockoff. Meh. By the time I knew what it was the thing was long gone. I hope I can get it to run.

I knew Grim Fandango was good. I heard about it. Made a note to get it. By the time I got around to it the thing was out of stores. They didn’t make very many, and they sold out quick.

I played the demo of No One Lives Forever 2. Loved it. Strangely enough, I love send-ups of the sixties James Bond formula more than I like the movies themselves. I even watched Austin Powers 3 all the way through, for crying out loud. I don’t even think Mike Meyer’s parents did that. At any rate, here is a game from 2002 which still looks fantastic to my eyes.

I’m still playing and writing about Episode One, but it’s nice to have a game to play and a few games waiting to be played. I haven’t been in this position in years.

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202040 comments. (Forty is the only number whose letters are in alphabetical order.)

From the Archives:

  1. Heather says:

    I’ve never been a big fan of the old ‘adventure’ type computer games, but Full Throttle was definitely an exception. My husband was big into those sorts of games and after watching over his shoulder I decided FT looked like fun so started my own. Had a blast. I hope it runs for you, too.

  2. There’s a puzzle in Grim Fandango which cannot be solved on some computers without the game being patched. It’s one of those puzzles where you have to get something done in limited time, and they screwed up the time calculcation so that it couldn’t actually be accomplished. The patch lengthens the time limit.

    I hope the patch is still available!

  3. Ozy says:

    Hope you can get it to run? I’d be rather surprised to find out you didn’t have any Win98 computers or virtual machines lying around.

  4. P'kay says:

    Did you want Full throttle new? For some reason a store near me is selling both that and JK2 for $5 each, easy to get.

    The catch? I’m Australian.

  5. Shamus says:

    P’kay: If you want to make a bit of money, a new, unopened copy of FT is worth a good bit more than $5 on eBay.

  6. Shamus says:

    Steven: Thanks for the warning!

  7. Renacier says:

    Aw, man. Australia has new, cheap, classic games AND cool accents AND surfing?

    I think I have continent envy.

  8. Joe says:

    Ozy:
    A few years ago, I decided I wanted to dig Mechwarrior 2 out of my pile of games and play it again. It wouldn’t install on XP, so I forced it, and it wouldn’t run. It really wanted win98. So I figured I’d make a new partition, install win98, and multi-boot (already dual-booting Linux). I can’t remember if 98 barfed on my hyperthreaded processor or my sata drives, but I’m pretty well certain that if I *had* been able to get through those, the chances of finding 98 drivers for my video card are somewhere between “none” and “you’ve got to be kidding, right?”.

    So I installed 98 in vmware. IIRC, it would run, but the video performance was abysmal. Same with MS virtualPC.

    I could probably cobble together a franken-PC running 98 from bits and pieces I have laying around. Eventually, I just gave up.

    It’s one of those minor factors, but I would *so* love for a game company to release games with a commitment that “we will support this game for X years, and the moment we *stop* supporting it, we will release the source code for anyone who wants to support it themselves”

    Unfortunately, it looks more like we’re going in the other direction, like “we will support this game for a while, and as soon as we stop making money on it and it starts to look like competition for our *next* game, we’ll turn off the activation servers to make sure no one can ever play it again.”

    Sucks.

  9. nilus says:

    Full throttle was okay but really really short. I remember getting the game and beating it within like 2 days.

  10. Zaghadka says:

    Full Throttle will run like a charm in ScummVM:

    http://www.scummvm.org/

    Not hard at all to figure it out. Just drop the full contents of the root directory of the CD into a directory under ScummVM and set it up in ScummVM. It’ll play just like you were running it in MS-DOS.

  11. BlueFaeMoon says:

    Grim Fandango was the game that made me fall in love with the adventure/puzzle genre. I never experienced problems playing it on our computer back then (dang, we must have had a 486 at the time!). So I have no idea if we had a 1.01 patched version of the game or not. Considering it’s limited publication, probably not.

    The art-deco feel of the game is beautiful, and it seemed so different than anything else at the time. Probably the most imaginative storyline for any game, ever. I always thought Lucas Arts was missing out by not publishing a sequel. Or at least releasing Grim for game consoles… the controls would translate perfectly to a game pad.

    Of course it doesn’t have much replay, because once you solve the puzzles that’s pretty much it. But I replay it anyway. lol… Love it!

  12. DGM says:

    [glances at the title]

    Hmm… A pirate referance. I was expecting another Bioshock comment. :)

  13. George says:

    Shamus: Have you played the original No-one Lives Forever? If you like FPS games, and James Bond spoofs, it would be right up your street!

    Plus, the game has a wicked and clever sense of humour that’s actually funny. Some of the best fun in the game is hiding and listening to the guards’ scripted conversations, some of them are pure gold.

  14. Alex says:

    Dangit, Shamus! I was going to find your address and send you Grim Fandango!

    This site sells several Lucasarts titles for $10AUD each and ships internationally!

    http://dvdcrave.com/

    (Yeah, they reprinted several Lucasarts games this year. Didn’t know Full Throttle was available; I’ll snap that mother up!)

  15. Davesnot says:

    You mentioned hoping it’ll run… don’t you have a room with old computers just waiting for such an instance? Drop by your thrift store and grab a couple and build a state of the art in 2000 computer!

  16. CJG says:

    If you like Bond send ups I seriously recommend Evil Genius.

  17. Aires says:

    It’s quite a nice change of genre, here: Instead of complaining about Computer games (while still good to read), could it be that there’s a glimpse of hope?
    Have fun!

  18. Phlux says:

    I’m guessing that you probably have an old copy of Windows 98 laying around somewhere right? If so, dig it out and go download Microsoft Virtual PC 2007. it’s freeware now, and you can load it up, and run a virtual PC right from within XP or whatever OS you’re running.

    For some games this works great, but for others the graphics emulation is a little too limited. I’ve had good luck with a lot of adventure type games, though I’ve never specifically tried any of these.

    If they don’t run in XP, give VPC a shot. It’s free and it doesn’t take long to set up.

    For DOS-based games check out DOS Box. That can run pretty much any kind of older dos-based game. It even does CPU throttling for games that don’t run well on something faster than a 486.

  19. fefe says:

    to be honest No One Lives Forever 1 was even cooler than the second part. If you want to run older games I’d just set up an old system, they’re not that expensive. Emulators don’t really work with the dirty and mean coded classics :).

  20. nilus says:

    I highly recommend ScummVM, it runs all the old great Lucas Arts adventure games.

  21. Hal says:

    Yeah, the problem with some of those older Sierra games is that they used the processor speed for timing calculations. Even on my old 133MHz Pentium (MMX!), this made it nearly impossible to play any of the “Quest for Glory” titles. Which was really a shame, I remember those games incredibly fondly.

    I’d love to play 4 someday, although I heard 5 was terrible. I’m just afraid to pick them up and have my memories crushed by the reality of a 10+ year old game.

  22. James Blair says:

    Back in the day, I remember installing Ultima 3 on a 486 or early Pentium. I started the game up, walked around the first town a minute or so, and wondered why my characters were taking damage. Rather quickly. Apparently, the Food counter was zero about 20 seconds into the game.

    Fortunately, Ultima 4 used the actual clock for its timeouts rather than some loop count…

  23. fefe says:

    I had trouble running Strike Commander recently. I even got QEMM (somebody remembers that program?) working to get it running but the legacy emulation of my soundcard was too bad to give a satisfying result and it crashed the game occassionally…. so I had to install it on a system with a real soundblaster 16. :-) As I was at it I also installed Duke Nukem 3d there, gotta say that the midi sound is much better with those old distorted miditables.

  24. Telas says:

    NOLF 1 and 2 were a lot of fun.

    The “free fall minigame” and the ninjas in the trailer park (complete with tornado) were classic levels.

  25. SimeSublime says:

    I found my old copy of Grim Fandango and installed it on my XP machine a couple of months back. I found that it ran fine until I opened up the menu. Then the sound would just switch off. And Grim Fandango is not a game you want to play without sound.

  26. I’m not putting my lips on that.

  27. Christopher says:

    Ahh…Full Throttle. Nothing like the Flight of the Valkeriyes whilst sending fuzzy bunnies to their death!

  28. collar says:

    Grim Fandango is an amazing game, brilliant characterisation all the way through, one of those games that you’ll remember fondly for a long time.

    Full Throttle is pretty good, certainly not quite a Sam and Max / Day of the Tentacle / Monkey 2 old school SCUMM classic though.

  29. lost chauncy says:

    The thing about Grim Fandango is it was one of the few Lucas Arts Adventures not built on the SCUMM engine. It runs on something called “LUA” I believe and therefore won’t run under ScummVM (unfortunately). There’s a similar emulation engine that was put together for this and a few other titles called “Residual.” Here’s a link.

    http://www.scummvm.org/subprojects.php

    Since I haven’t actually tried using it yet this is as much as I can offer. I’m sure someone out here has experience in actually getting GF to run under WinXP. The 1.01 patch can be downloaded here

    http://www.grimfandango.net/?page=patch

  30. nilus says:

    Hal,

    For the old Sierra games you should use dosbox. It has CPU throttling so you can run the old games and it will still work. Quest for Glory 4 and 5 were both okay, but not great. Personally I think the best is still Quest for Glory 2, which since it wasn’t update for VGA like one was, is probably the hardest to get running on a modern PC.

  31. Miral says:

    ‘Bout ten years ago I bought two LucasArts Collection packs which contained all the big LA games (Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, The Dig, Sam & Max, Monkey Island 1 & 2, Fate of Atlantis, Dark Forces, Afterlife, and possibly one or two others that I’ve forgotten). All for about NZ$60 total, which was pretty awesome considering most single games were running about NZ$100 at the time. Never regretted that purchase for a second :)

    And I bought Grim Fandango and the other Monkey Islands later on. So I think I’ve got all of the classics now. (And several of them are getting the re-release treatment at the moment anyway, incidentally. If you haven’t already, pick up The Dig. It’s great.)

  32. Bearmug says:

    My favourite games are Full Throttle, Grim Fandango and Monkey Island (1 and 2). I think I still have a copy of Full Throttle somewhere (on CD, think it’s 4th copy of original that is dust for ages already).

    Also, game has ben rereleased in europe in 2002, and Australia this year :).

  33. Smileyfax says:

    I remember being sorely disappointed with No One Lives Forever. I haven’t played it in years and years, but I recall that the gameplay was very poor for what I was expecting. I don’t think I even made it past the first level.

  34. fefe says:

    Exaggerated but … that’s like I was sorely disappointed with the LOTR, I recall the story was very poor for what I was expecting. I don’t think I even made it past the first chapter.

    Ok sorry. ;f

  35. Nick says:

    NOLF2 is still one of my favorite all-time games. It’s a really good shooter with pitch-perfect atmosphere (the architechture of the Headquarters builiding is just gloriously “modern”) and the best sense of humor I’ve ever seen in a game. I’m still very sad that it didn’t sell well enough to warrant another sequel.

  36. Jess says:

    Grim Fandango is one of life’s serious treasures, even with that annoying-as-f@ck glitch.
    I’m still rounding up old copies and giving them to people.

  37. Follol says:

    The glitch with the elevator & forklift.

  38. Didacsoy says:

    Sadly, I can’t speak about Full Throttle because I never got to play it (we all make mistakes at one point or another), but I can asure you I got NOLF and NOLF2 to run under XP. Coincidentally, my girlfriend and I decided to tackle on Grim Fandango together a couple of months ago, and I got it to run on an XP box AND on the windows partition on my macbook, so I don’t think you have too hard of a time having those jewels up and running.

    BTW, I spent hours listening to the conversations in NOLF2 until I heard them all… really a gold mine (including all the funny accents)! The word ’emasculated’ takes a grin out of me everytime I hear it since then.

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