Top 9 Ageless Adventure Games from the 90s
The best adventure games released in the 90s for the PC
For all intents and purposes, the adventure genre may have died in the late 90's, but if the recent re-releases of Monkey Island 1 & 2 are any indication, then the adventure genre may well see a resurrection in the coming years. Here are ten of the decade's greatest adventure games which deserve to be revived in some form or another.
Developed by Tim Schafer, who would later design Psychonauts and Brutal Legend, Full Throttle was an adrenaline-filled adventure game starring the Bruce Campbell-lookalike biker, Ben. The story is set in a dystopian future where motorized vehicles are giving way to anti-gravitational craft. Ben is framed for the murder of Malcolm Corley, the CEO of Corley Motors (the games' tribute to Harley Davidson) and spends most of the game trying to clear his name and bring the real killer, Adrian Ripburger, to justice.
Named after a projection ghost show invented in France in the 18th century, Phantasmagoria was designed by Roberta Williams, and revolves around the story of novelist Adrienne Delaney and her husband Donald, who've purchased a mansion that was previously owned by a 19th magician and occultist with many dark secrets. Hoping to find inspiration for her next book, Adrienne finds horrific nightmares, instead. Adrienne must uncover the secrets of the house before she too becomes a victim of it. The game remains controversial for its adult themes and is known for being one of the earliest games to tell a serious story.
The game can be purchased from Good Old Games. Phantasmagoria
Sam & Max Hit the Road
Created by Steve Purcell, LucasArts' Sam & Max Hit the Road features two anthropomorphic animals–Sam, a detective dog, and Max, a "hyperkinetic rabbity thing". The game was well known for its offbeat humor and its satirical take of American culture. In addition to the main game, S&M featured several minigames which were required to be completed in order to further the game's plot. Several sequels were planned, but ultimately cancelled with the demise of the adventure genre. The series has since been revived by Telltale Games and is available on Steam.
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge
Though it's arguable as to which of the first three Monkey Island games were the best, Monkey Island 2 remains my personal favorite. This sequel to Monkey Island involves Guybrush's (the protagonist) attempts to find a treasure called the "Big Whoop" and win back the love of Elaine Marley, his crush. The evil undead pirate LeChuck is more evil than ever, and the story itself takes a turn for the dark (as if it weren't weird enough already) towards the game's ending. Utterly memorable.
Thankfully for us, LucasArts has remastered the game with completely new graphics and audio for a whole new generation of gamers.
Simon the Sorcerer
Simon the Sorcerer is an adventure game that satirizes the fantasy genre as a whole, with parodies of popular books including The Lord of the Rings, the Chronicles of Narnia and fairy tales, like various Mother Goose stories. Simon, the game's protagonist, is voiced by Chris Barrie, who's well known for his role as Rimmer in the British comedy series Red Dwarf. The game was compared favorably to Monkey Island 2 as they were both released around the same time.
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers
Developed by King's Quest creator Jane Jensen, Gabriel Knight places you in the role of the game's titular character, an author and bookstore owner living in New Orleans. The game offered a balanced mix of historical and fictional elements, blending voodoo lore and New Orleans history with a compelling narrative. It was one of the first titles to place a strong emphasis on character development, with detailed human interaction between Gabriel and the people around him. Two sequels were produced to critical acclaim–the first in FMV and the second in 3D.
The Legend of Kyrandia: The Hand of Fate
Before there was Command & Conquer, there was The Legend of Kyrandia. Developed by Westwood Studios, The Hand of Fate is the second game in a trilogy of games, wherein the player takes on the role of Zanthia, a young female alchemist and wizard. The story continues on after the events of the first game, when Zanthia discovers that the kingdom of Kyrandia is disappearing piece by piece. The game is filled with whimsical humor, and like all games in the series, there are countless ways to die.
Leisure Suit Larry 7: Love for Sail
Love for Sail is the last game developed by Al Lowe and the last Leisure Suit Larry series worth mentioning. The game stars Larry Laffer, leisure suit wearer and unlucky, unloved loser. Voiced by creator Al Lowe, Larry makes his way aboard a cruise ship after a particularly disastrous experience with a gold-digger in the game's intro who leaves him penniless. There he encounters a myriad of colorful characters, based on famous people, many of whom he tries to seduce. Larry tries to seduce the ship's Captain Thygh by participating in numerous contests that earn him a cumulative score towards the end of the game. Unlike previous games, the game featured actual character nudity in the form of hidden "easter eggs", which slipped past the censors at ESRB.
Based on a concept by Steven Spielberg, The Dig was developed by LucasArts and remains one of its most serious games, containing none of the signature slapstick humor that the company was known for in its other adventure titles. The Dig's plot revolves around that of a giant asteroid bound to impact planet Earth. A team of five astronauts are tasked with planting nuclear explosives on the rock in a plot that was probably ripped off by Michael Bay years later. The astronauts soon discover that the asteroid isn't what it seems, and attempt to uncover its secrets before it's too late.