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Top 111 PC Games, #90-81

90. Commander Blood (Cryo, 1994)

The sequel to the 1988 cult classic "Captain Blood", a game as well known for its trippy atmosphere and outlandish premise as for its exploration-driven gameplay.  That definitely returned for the sequel, being amplified by the advent of CD-based FMV.  A combination of CGI animation and practical effects (with all of the aliens being portrayed by puppets), a funky and original eurobeat soundtrack, and some delightfully bizarre characters, visuals and humor make for an unforgettable point-and-click experience.  There was one more game in the series - Big Bug Bang - but as it's only available in French, few gamers outside that part of the world have experienced it.

89. The Dig (LucasArts, 1995)

Another adventure title from the legendary LucasArts, though unlike most, The Dig doesn't have a lot in the way of the company's quirky humor, opting to tell a more somber and serious science fiction story.  Starring a team of scientists unexpectedly whisked away to an alien world devoid of intelligent life but full of advanced technology, they set out to uncover exactly what led it to its current state and discover a way home.  The Dig was also a very high-end production for its time, having surprisingly well-known actors voicing the main characters and some incredible atmospheric music by Michael Land.

88. Lode Runner On-Line: The Mad Monks' Revenge (Presage Software, 1995)

Lode Runner was a pretty popular game in the early days of computer gaming and spawned a ton of ports, sequels and updates, even getting an arcade version at one point.  On-Line is a tuned-up version of 1994's Lode Runner: the Legend Returns, fixing numerous bugs and featuring new levels and obstacles, a custom stage builder and online co-op for up to two players.  The core concept remains the same - collect all the gold while evading the enemies, using your ability to dig holes to trap foes or drop to a lower level and escape.  Pretty simple stuff, but as with any good puzzle game, it gets very challenging in the later stages, requiring some very spot-on timing and movement to succeed.  This version is among the most popular too; so much so that it inspired a full fan remake which also adds four player co-op and gamepad support.

87. Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Frictional Games, 2010)

An indie horror title that won a ton of awards for doing what so many similarly themed games fell short with - being genuinely unsettling, tense and creepy.  Putting you in a musty old castle as an amnesiac protagonist, you're left to your own devices at times to wander around and just take in the atmosphere, piecing together what little of the story you can from clues you pick up along the way.  Monsters quickly show themselves too, but unlike most games of this type, you're given no way to fight back against them - you just have to turn out your light and find a good place to hide yourself until they lose your trail or, worst case, run like the dickens to try and escape.  Darkness itself also works against you, though - lingering in the dark too long or witnessing disturbing sights gradually weakens your sanity and causes you to hallucinate or even panic, which can give you away to a pursuing creature.  It slowly builds up the terror in a slick and natural way, making it an incredibly effective horror experience.  I also quite liked its sequel, A Machine for Pigs; though its gameplay wasn't nearly as refined as Dark Descent's, it still brought plenty of its own brand of dread with its more grounded premise in mad science.

86. Kingsway (Andrew Morrish, 2017)

Roguelikes are definitely a hallmark of PC gaming, bringing a unique brand of challenge and staggering replayability that few other genres can even hope to match.  I'm not the biggest fan, that said - they generally have to have a pretty good hook to hold my attention for very long.  Kingsway is one that certainly has a unique presentation, putting you at the helm of a Windows-like operating system to travel about the world, manage your inventory and stats, accept quests (via a messaging app) and even play background music on a Winamp look-alike.  Combat similarly has enemies pop up in windows that constantly move about the screen, with you having to hit buttons to attack, defend and use abilities, as well as evade their attacks (in the form of a popup that flies across the screen or arcs, mimicing things like firing arrows or thrown bombs).  A clever idea that's executed well, and the end result is some good tongue-in-cheek entertainment.

85. I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (CyberDreams, 1995)

A point-and-click adventure based on the Harlan Ellison story, which sparked quite a lot of controversy for its twisted themes that depicted all the worst elements of humanity; so, par for the course for a Harlan Ellison story.  The protagonists are far from innocent themselves (one notably being a Nazi doctor with a story taking place in a death camp), which only adds to that feeling.  But its themes of redemption and overcoming failure to face a greater evil won out, turning it into a very compelling story even if its puzzles were not always the best and the voice acting was, as per the period, mediocre (save for AM, voiced by Ellison himself, who is clearly having a lot of fun with the role).  It's recently gotten a number of modern ports thanks to Nightdive, and the original is playable in both DOSBox and ScummVM, so it's well worth a look for fans of good stories.

84. Blade Runner (Westwood Studios, 1997)

A tie-in to the classic science fiction film, taking place at the same time as its events and occasionally intersecting with them.  It was also a relatively unique experience as point-and-click games go, as rather than focusing on inventory puzzles it was built around detective work - examining clues, questioning witnesses and suspects, and of course administering the Voight-Kampff test if you suspected someone to be  a replicant.  A combination of real-time events occurring as the game unfolds, randomized elements and your choices throughout lead the story to one of the game's thirteen (!) possible endings, so it's a substantially different experience each time you play it.  There was an occasional spot of combat - right clicking at any time has McCoy draw his gun and left clicking fires at enemies.  A pretty ambitious game in terms of presentation, too, as it came on four CDs packed to the brim with full motion video, voice acting and a voxel-based 3D engine.  Its execution isn't flawless, but Blade Runner is a unique and novel take on adventure games that's worthy of being played.

83. Shadowgate (Zojoi, 2014)

An updated remake of the classic point-and-click adventure game from the 1980s, Shadowgate's 2014 iteration was downright inspired.  The game's narrative was significantly expanded over its predecessor, new puzzles and obstacles were added, and elements of the original were changed up a lot, meaning that the old solutions to  puzzles no longer work (and, in fact, will frequently result in your death).  The game also features multiple difficulty levels that further shuffle puzzles and clues as well as lend some replay value to a genre largely lacking in it.  And of course, the remixed music and updated visuals effectively portray a grim atmosphere that only makes the game's story even more compelling.  Bring on the remake of Beyond Shadowgate!

82. Ys Origin (Nihon Falcom, 2008)

Falcom is one of the few Japanese companies that seems to have consistently had a presence in PC gaming, with a lot of their games getting computer ports well before they ever saw release on consoles.  Ys Origin is a prequel to their long-running Ys franchise, and being a prequel, it's the only one to not star series hero Adol Christin.  Instead, you get a choice of three characters, each with their own playstyles and differing stories.  Yunica is a melee fighter with elemental weapons, Hugo Fact fights from a distance with spells and ranged blasts, and "Claw" is a hidden character unlockable after finishing the game once, having high attack power but short range.  No matter which you choose, though, the fast paced action the game presents makes it a very fun action RPG.

81. D/Generation (Robert Cook, 1991)

An action-puzzle game with nicely-detailed isometric graphics and smooth controls, D/Generation also had atmosphere in spades thanks to its bleak cyberpunk setting, a surprisingly good storyline (revealed through NPC dialog and computer files) and a huge variety of traps waiting to nail you.  At first they're relatively self-explanatory - electrified floor tiles, turrets, land mines, et cetera, but they quickly get more and more devious as you go.  Probably the worst are the shapeshifting enemies, which can disguise themselves as hostages or even just as mundane objects in the environment, quickly making the game a much more tense endeavor.  One can also find the occasional bomb to blow down doors and skip some puzzles, though as these tend to be rare, they should be used sparingly.  The game never got a lot of attention in its day, though it has acquired enough of a cult following over the years to get a re-release on the Nintendo Switch (as well as a 3D remake, released at nearly the same time).  No matter what platform you visit it on, though, D/Generation is a game worth your while.