I'll start this retrospective with some good news: this game functions beautifully on older Macs in Classic Mode or any older machines running System 7 or 8. There's even a walkthrough if you get stuck, and the complete 90s gaming experience where you can peruse the original website still intact, Times New Roman text on top of a background that makes it impossible to read and all. I got to play the full version when Paranoid Productions made it available for free in the mid-aughts.
There was talking, oh so much talking, to NPCs throughout the game and tackling their many side quests: reuniting lovers, sharing Elban healing methods and Niacian military tactics to foster peace between the lands, and learning skills from the various hermits you meet in your travels that kept me wanting more.
I got myself killed several times and sometimes it was frustrating, but it was fairly hard to wind up in a totally unwinnable situation. Plus, the different sounds the monsters would make when you walloped them was just incredibly satisfying. And those names: I called yaks "Spamalopes" for a couple years after I first played this game. If you're into the likes of Ultima and story-driven RPGs like Spiderweb's offerings but with less grindy combat, you'll definitely love Odyssey: Legend of Nemesis.
An incredible game that almost made this list, but didn't qualify since it came out in Ambrosia is still making games actually. Despite some of the flaws in this game, it still just holds up for that amazing narrative quality where the dialog was driven by both preset responses plus a text parser. A big part of the game's challenge was knowing which NPCs to talk to, and what to talk about using that text parser to move the plot along.
Sometimes this aspect was really cool, and definitely something not seen in RPGs or adventures a whole lot these days. This is also because text parsers can be incredibly frustrating with the right trigger words being hard to determine sometimes. No less, it sure was a deliciously twisty plot that unfolded nicely over the course of the game, in a land rich with danger and side quests a-plenty and puzzles to solve that had solutions ranging from simple to arcane.
The game was also laced with these little things that just made it so engaging and different from other RPGs, such as the "strange rod" that would open up your CD-ROM drive.
Then there was learning how to make bread. You had to carry food and you could learn how to make bread from an NPC: not only to feed your characters, but this skill was actually going to be used to solve a puzzle. Not quite on the same level as the orgasmic-looking dishes you cook up in the latest Final Fantasy , but it was just something I hadn't seen in an RPG at the time and it would rule if homemade bread baked that quickly in real time and was a good way to honor someone; spoiler alert. Firepower also wasn't the only way you could play this game.
Like Odyssey: Legend of Nemesis , this story aspect was also just ahead of its time and it was given far more emphasis than the technological achievements given what Macs were capable of by The score of this game was also extremely evocative and often relaxing, making you feel at home in this strange and beautiful land full of ancient secrets you had to unlock to save the kingdom inspired by mythology.
Interestingly, fans were still uploading save files to the official Cythera page on Ambrosia's website as late as , but the dust has largely settled since. I get that Ambrosia's moved into The New Tens with more App Store offerings for the modern mobile gamer rather than wanting to breathe life back into their days as a Mac dev for Mac gamers being ignored by the bigger fish. But since they're still selling and hosting this game and their other classics, it'd be nice to see them playable on modern operating systems. Realmz was one epic undertaking that will make RPG lovers go wild with the sheer possibility.
The game came with a short and free scenario, The City of Bywater, and several other scenarios that were playable up until certain points where you had to pay to unlock them such as Assault on Giant Mountain and Prelude to Pestilence. The rest needed to be downloaded from the Fantasoft website which was still releasing scenarios up until I totally squee in recognition every time I see those gemstones and rings.
Jokes about surfing the web. Genetically engineered crops. Discovery of dark matter, dark energy, and brown dwarfs. International Space Station. Caller ID. Popsicle "Lick-A-Color". Battery-powered lollipops.
Skippy Squeeze It peanut butter. Bubble tape. John Glenn goes back to Space. World Health Organization removes homosexuality from its list of diseases. T-Rex skeleton discovered. The largest pizza ever baked happens in South Africa. Waco, Texas cult compound is raided. Camilla Duchess of Cornwall. Sassy Magazine. Collapse of the Soviet Union. Copper Age Man found frozen in glacier. South Africa repeals apartheid laws. World Trade Center bombing. Yitzhak Rabin Assassinated. Hong Kong returned to China. JFK Jr.
Area 51's existence confirmed. North American Free Trade Agreement. Jack Kevorkian and euthanasia. Mayor Marion Barry busted for drug possession. First black female astronaut, Dr. Mae C Jemison. South African black population gets to vote. Peace in Northern Ireland. First non-stop world trip in balloon.
Panama Canal handed back to Panama. Susan B. Anthony dollar coin. Disney's Animal Kingdom. Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill. The Viper Room. The Dow closes at 10, for the first time. Buddy and Socks the Clinton dogs. Jesse Ventura as Governor of Minnesota. I ate his liver with some fava beans, and a nice Chianti. I'd like to ass you a few questions. Who's afraid of the big bad bat? That's great! We landed on the Moon! I'm so excited!
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What does THIS button do? What's happening? We need to talk about your TPS reports. Magic Eye optical illusions. So many Barbie variations. Pokeballs from Burger King. Handlebars with streamers. Backstreet Boys.
90s Smash Hits
Baby One More Time. Britney Spears.
No Scrubs. Always Be My Baby. Mariah Carey. Say My Name. Destiny's Child. Jennifer Lopez. Remember the Time. Michael Jackson. Everybody Backstreet's Back [Extended Version]. Gettin' Jiggy Wit It.
Take a romantic journey through the greatest love songs of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s
Will Smith. Genie in a Bottle. Christina Aguilera.
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Natalie Imbruglia. A Rose Is Still a Rose. Aretha Franklin. Black Or White Single Version. Step By Step. New Kids On the Block. Waiting for Tonight. Bye Bye Bye. Jumpin', Jumpin'. Two Princes. Spin Doctors. I Don't Want to Miss a Thing. It's Gonna Be Me. You Drive Me Crazy. Crazy Town.
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Maria Maria feat. Livin' la Vida Loca. Ricky Martin. Earth Song. Torn feat. Kurt Hugo Schneider. Crash into Me.
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Dave Matthews Band. Doo Wop That Thing. Lauryn Hill. She's So High. Tal Bachman. Smooth feat. Rob Thomas. Killing In the Name. Rage Against the Machine. Steal My Sunshine. What a Girl Wants. Kris Kross. Summer Girls. As Long as You Love Me. Wannabe Radio Edit.