Can You Recognize These '90s PC Games?

By: Craig
Image: Youtube

About This Quiz

Were PC games your life when you were a kid in the '90s? How many many games do you think you can recognize from your youth? Take a shot at this quiz and find out!

One of the first action role-playing games ever released, Diablo allowed players to pick from three different classes – a warrior, a sorcerer or a rogue. They were tasked with entering the cathedral at Tristram to defeat the evil that lurked beneath – the demon lord Diablo. Along the way, players would fight various monsters, level their characters up, find new weapons and learn new skills. Another Blizzard classic.

The '90s saw a few versions of Duke Nukem. One of gaming’s most memorable characters, Duke started life as a 2D sprite in a platform-based game. By 1996’s Duke Nukem 3D, the gameplay had progressed to that of a third-person shooter. The success of these games led to a comic as well as various merchandise. At one stage, there was even talk of a movie.

After seeing the success of games such as Dune and Command and Conquer, Blizzard developed their own real-time strategy game. Starcraft was set in space and had distinct races, each with their own strength and weaknesses. Although the single-player campaign was incredible, the game's strength came in the fact that it could be played in a multiplayer format. This led to a rise in competitive gaming and helped to develop e-sports.

The Age of Empires franchise is a giant in the real-time strategy scene. It all started with the original game, released in 1997. In it, players took control of one of 12 civilizations, trying to move them from the Stone Age to the Iron Age by collecting resources, researching new units and buildings as well as a host of other game mechanics.

One of the greatest fighting games ever produced, Mortal Kombat has gone on to become a massive franchise. With a range of characters to choose from, the ability to play against your friends and gory finishing moves, Mortal Kombat proved extremely popular. The violence in the game caused much controversy on its release in 1992.

An adventure game released in 1993, Myst helped the sale of CD-ROM drives as the game was so big that it had to be distributed on CD. Myst was the biggest selling PC game for a period of 9 years until the release of The Sims in 2002.

Created by Jordan Mechner and released in 1990, Prince of Persia became an instant classic. Combining platform elements along with sword fighting as well as clever puzzles, the game tested a player to the full. Of course, the world portrayed in the game has led to sequels, graphic novels and even a movie franchise.

Following on from the highly successful Sim City in 1989, Sim City 2000 was also created by Will Wright. It was a major upgrade on the original game with multiple layers to build on, new buildings including prisons, hospitals and libraries as well and nine different energy options.

The successor to Wolfenstein 3D, Doom thrust id Software’s capabilities firmly into the limelight. This horror first-person shooter was released in 1993. Its gameplay was simple. Fight off the demons of hell using a range of weapons by advancing to the next level when finding the exit on your current level. In 2001, a poll by Gamespy saw Doom voted the greatest game of all time!

We all know the Warcraft universe. Simply put, it is huge and has spawned numerous games, both massive online multiplayer as well as single player games. But it all started with Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, released in 1994. Essentially a real-time strategy game, this game pitted the race of Orcs against their Human counterparts. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Released in 1992, the Lost Vikings was a unique puzzle-platform game in which the player controls three different Viking characters. Each has their own unique abilities. Erik can run fast, is able to smash through walls and can jump. Baleog can use a sword and bow to dispatch enemies and Olaf can block both enemies and projectiles with his shield. He can also use it as a hang glider. The game was designed by Silicon and Synapse, which went on to become Blizzard Entertainment.

In 1991, green-haired computer-generated Lemmings became all the rage in the gaming world. Lemmings from DMA Designs saw players needing to save these small creatures by getting them from the beginning of level to the exit. To do this, you could use individual lemmings in various ways, for example, to block fellow lemmings from falling to their doom. You see, lemmings would just keep walking until you either gave them a task or somehow changed their direction. Lemmings is considered to be one of the first real-time strategy games to be released.

Released in 1999, Unreal Tournament was the second in the series developed by Epic Games. It followed a similar theme to the Quake series in terms of multiple weapons, but this also had a range of different playable characters as well as tons of game modes, including the popular capture the flag. Some of the maps are legendary, including Facing Worlds, a favorite for capture the flag multiplayer games.

What more can be said about the original Tomb Raider than what has already been written? The game introduced explorer Lara Croft, who quickly became a favorite of teenage boys (and their dads) around the world. Although the graphics look crude now, in 1996 they were cutting edge. Players guided Lara from a third-person view through a range of levels, taking on enemies and solving puzzles along the way. Over 7.5 million copies of the original game were sold worldwide.

Based in the Might and Magic Universe (seen in role-playing games in the early ‘90s) Heroes takes the form of a turn-based strategy game. Players control a hero with the objective of taking out other heroes on the map. To do this, a player can recruit armies and capture resources to purchase better weapons for instance. Many players designed their own maps and shared them online. The franchise is still going strong today.

The seventh release in a franchise that started in 1982, this was the first time MS Flight Simulator had made it to Windows. With it came more accurate scenery, the ability to import user-made scenery as well as user designed planes using third party programs. With the birth of the internet, Flight Simulator also went online and many virtual airlines sprung up around the world.

A game by legendary designer Sid Meier, Civilization was released in 1991. This was a strategy game on a large scale with players trying to take their civilization from the dawn of time to eventual world domination while other computer-controlled civilizations do the same. Gameplay was turn-based with players choosing exactly how they would advance their civilization, for example through trade, diplomacy or war.

Based on the movie of the same name, Aladdin was released by Disney in 1993 on the Sega Genesis system, porting to PC a little while later. In the game, players take control of Aladdin in a platform-style adventure as he fights his way to a final battle with Jafaar. Aladdin is armed with a scimitar or can throw apples as a long-range weapon.

The third in the Wolfenstein series of games and the first to be produced by the legendary gaming studio, id Software, Wolfenstein 3D brought about a revelation in the world of gaming. It did this by introducing the first-person shooter - a format where the player is their character and does not see a physical sprite that represents them. The game quickly became a hit, as fighting Nazis proved a popular theme.

A run and gun platformer, Earthworm Jim was first released in 1994. But this was more than a game. Jim made appearances in the form of toys, comic books and even a cartoon. The game itself had weird and wacky gameplay and was extremely well-received in reviews with its humor cited as a major plus.

Released in 1997, Abe’s Oddessy saw players control Abe, a strange alien that must navigate a platform world essentially. Abe needs to avoid enemies, not touch dangerous objects, not fall too far and solve puzzles as he attempts to save his race, the Mudokons. Abe also has a telepathic ability that allows him to take control of creatures called Sigs which he can use in his favor. The game was well received for its gameplay, excellent graphics and humor although many felt it needed a save feature over a checkpoint system due to its difficulty.

Released in 1995, Worms sees players trying to take out their opponents (either PC controlled) or other players, with a series of weapons wielded by worms! At its core, it is essentially a turn-based artillery game.

The first in what has become a massive racing franchise, the PC version of The Need for Speed was released in 1995. It featured a variety of racing options including time trials, single races and tournaments. The game seriously tried to make each car handle as close to their real model as possible roping in professionals from Road and Track magazine.

The seventh in a long line of RPGs by DW Bradley, Crusaders of the Dark Savant was nothing short of an epic adventure. Allowing the player to pick a party of six characters of various races and professions, the sheer size of the game meant hours and hours of gameplay. Certainly, this is one of the greatest RPGs ever to appear on PC.

Programmed by Kevin Ryan, The Incredible Machine was a clever puzzle game. Here the player had to use a range of contraptions, machines, cogs, wheels, elastic bands and many other pieces of equipment to complete a task. This could be as simple as turning on a fan. Due to its popularity, a series of follow-up games continued through the ‘90s.

This 1995 action game is set in the future and sees the player take control of an advance soldier who defects to a rebel force. It consists of a number of missions in which the player must complete specific objectives. The game included full-motion cut scenes, which were fairly new at the time.

A fighting platform game, Gods was released in 1991. Not only did it have exceptional graphics for the time, but a decent soundtrack as well. The game also adapted to the way a player played, with enemies learning as the game went on. Gods scored above 90% in almost every review by major gaming magazines.

Based on Disney’s animation movie of the same name, the Lion King was released in 1994. A side-scrolling platformer, a player controls Simba as he works his way through a number of stages to a final battle with Scar. The game was noted for its difficulty. Over 200,000 copies were sold on PC.

Released by Valve Software in 1998, Half Life was an instant hit. It used a greatly modified version of the Quake engine. In the game, players control Gordon Freeman, a scientist from the Black Mesa facility. After an experiment fails spectacularly, Freeman has to deal with alien creatures from another dimension as well as various puzzles as the game progresses. Scripted sequences are used to tell important parts of the story.

Developed by Westwood Studios, Command and Conquer became an instant classic. This real-time strategy game saw players choose a faction and then proceed along a path of missions, each with their own set of objectives. The basic premise was to build a base and mine resources to expand it before venturing out to destroy the other faction.

Billed as a 3-D space combat simulator, Wing Commander, released in 1990, also had a great storyline. It included the voice talents of Mark Hamill of Star Wars fame and saw players in the role of a pilot flying combat missions against the Kilrathi. The game had two distinct endings depending on how successful you were in your mission objectives. It was so well received that Dragon gaming magazine gave it six stars out of a possible five!

Developed by id Software, which later went on to produce Doom as well as the popular Quake series, Commander Keen was released in 1990. A simple side-scrolling platformer, it consisted of 16 levels and sees Billy Blaze defend the earth against aliens as his alter-ego Commander Keen. Three further games starring Keen followed by the end of 1991.

Following on from Microprose’s Grand Prix, Grand Prix 2 was also the brainchild of Geoff Crammond. Released in 1996, it was the ultimate F1 racing simulator which could be played by anyone. The game had built-in driving aids, which could be switched on and off at any time. These included things like braking assistance. A range of racing modes also appealed to many with single races and full championships among the options.

Published by Bullfrog, Syndicate, released in 1993 took the form of a real-time tactical game with isometric views. Here a player controls a team of cyborgs who are sent on various missions. Success brings more money which can be spent on research, which in turn benefits your team by providing better weapons, armor etc.

The sequel to UFO: Enemy Unknown, this real-time strategy game saw the fight against the aliens invading earth taken to the depths of the sea. With a range of weapons, research, the ability to upgrade your soldiers and many ways to win, Terror from the Deep was soon a hit around the world.

Designed by Tim Schaefer for Lucas Arts, Grim Fandango was released in 1998. This adventure game is universally loved, not only for its gameplay but for its slick art direction as well as its humor. In the game, players control Manny Calavera, a travel agent for the Department of Death. Although the game wasn’t a massive commercial success, it is recognized as one of the best games ever released in the adventure genre. A remastered version was released in 2015.

Following the success of Quake, id Software quickly moved onto Quake II, released in 1998. This was not a sequel in the true sense of the word, but the company decided to go with the same naming convention. Quake II featured a single-player storyline, but it was the multiplayer element that quickly became the focal point. The engine allowed mods to be created for the game, and this led to massive amount of user-created content including maps and game modes. Quake II quickly became the go-to game of the Cyberathlete Professional League, where it was used in their multiplayer tournaments.

This sci-fi game lets players build a fleet of spaceships, control resources and ultimately, crush their enemies as they attempt to reclaim their ancient homeworld. The game takes place in a real-time strategy environment and became extremely popular, selling half a million units in the six months after release. It was remastered in 2015.

After releasing Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, id Software started its next first-person shooter. Using 3D rendering, the company simply moved the ballpark in terms of what was capable with video games of this type. It also featured an incredible soundtrack from Trent Reznor of the band Nine Inch Nails. But more importantly, Quake introduced a whole range of multiplayer modes that helped grow online gaming.

Released in 1994, System Shock was the first in what was to become a very popular gaming franchise. The game featured a 3D engine which was a major breakthrough in first-person shooter games at the time. Although it did well, selling 170,000 copies, Looking Glass Technology still registered a loss for the project. That did not deter them, however, and System Shock II followed in 1999.

Developed by Looking Glass studio, Thief is recognized today as a gaming masterpiece. In this first-person shooter set in medieval times, players control Garrett, a master thief. Instead of gameplay filled with bravado, players are encouraged to undertake missions in a stealthy manner, using Garrett's abilities and equipment to remain undetected. The game also used both light and sound as important detection mechanics in the overall gameplay. Thief was incredibly well received.

This point and click adventure, released in 1997 was produced using Claymation. In fact, even the sets used in the game were all produced using this technique. The game is a typical adventure, with the player having to solve various puzzles along the way. The Neverhood was praised for its art style and humor, although it was not a commercial success.

A turn-based space strategy game, Masters of Orion was released in 1993. Players choose from one of 10 races as they attempt to dominate the galaxy through diplomacy or war while colonizing planets and building their empire.

The first in a series of games, Jagged Alliance was released in 1994. This tactical role-playing game is turn-based, with players able to hire mercenaries and upgrade equipment to help out their character.

The first in a series of games, Fallout was released in 1997. An open-world role-playing format, Fallout is set in a post-apocalyptic world. After leaving a vault which offered protection after a nuclear war, players guide their character across a wasteland, meeting people, taking on missions, fighting monsters and leveling up along the way. The series eventually changed tack in 2008 when Fallout 3, a first-person shooter, was released.

Dungeon Keeper offered a unique gaming experience in the fact that the player controlled creatures in a dungeon tasked with stopping a group of adventurers hell-bent on killing them and stealing their loot. Not only could players build and control how the dungeon looked and what infrastructure was built, they could produce a range of monsters to help them in their endeavors.

Also known as Out of this World in the United States, this game was designed by Éric Chahi. Essentially a platformer, Another World was praised for its gameplay as well as its art direction and graphics. It sold over 1 million copies and in 2012 was selected as one of the first games to be entered into the Museum of Modern Art.

Set in World War II, Commandos is a real-time tactical game that sees a player control a group of soldiers, each with their own special abilities. They are tasked with performing a number of varying missions against the forces of Nazi Germany. Thanks to the range of special abilities on offer, a player is left to complete missions in any way they see fit.

This 1998 fantasy role-playing game sees a player controlling a group of characters in a fantasy world using Advanced Dungeons and Dragons rules. It features exploration, character advancement as well as turn-based combat. It is recognized as one of the greatest games ever released in this genre.

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