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mbrown

Side-scrollers (platformer) shooting games (PC ONLY!)

Which platform shooter games did you play/enjoy back in the day (or still do so now)?  

38 members have voted

  1. 1. Which platform shooter games did you play/enjoy back in the day (or still do so now)?

    • Commander Keen 1-3 Trilogy (Invasion of the Vorticons)
      16
    • Commander Keen 4/5 (Goodbye Galaxy)
      19
    • Commander Keen 6: Aliens Ate My Babysitter!
      10
    • Commander Keen 7-9 Unofficial User-made Trilogy (The Universe is Toast)
      3
    • Jill of the Jungle Trilogy
      12
    • Xargon Trilogy
      8
    • Jazz Jackrabbit (1 and 2)
      17
    • Duke Nukem I/II
      21
    • Hocus Pocus
      17
    • Other (please specify with comment)
      17


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While 3D is now by far the rule of the day, just about a month ago I bought Commander Keen from Steam and rediscovered how much fun side-scrolling shooters can still be! As more or less a companion to my old school shooters thread, I thought I'd list the side-scrollers I've taken the time to reinstall and rediscover, which are just about all the ones I remember having a blast with in years past. I'm interested in if anyone else still plays these games, or remembers playing and having a good time with them! Just like in the other thread, any commentary is welcome.

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I heard of Jill of the Jungle well after the fact, but never had the gumption to chase it down. I had a lot of fun with Jazz Jackrabbit's shareware demo but most of my games were the Apogee titles, especially Keen and Duke II. I also had a lot of fun with Pharoah's Tomb, Arctic Adventure and Monuments of Mars (and its engine descendants, Secret Agent Man and Crystal Caves) not to mention Dangerous Dave and his Haunted Mansion (Softdisk, I know). And who could forget Bio Menace? Errr, nevermind. Well, that Skull dude boss music was pretty awesome.

The only other thing that comes to my mind is a platformer / JRPG hybrid published in the US by Sierra called Zeliard. It's got some shades of Zelda II, but its soundtrack is INCREDIBLE, particularly in OPL. I never got past the third cave when I was a kid, but give me a break. I was, like, eight or something.

Edit: Also Halloween Harry / Alien Carnage and Monster Bash. The latter is probably my favorite Apogee platformer outside Commander Keen. I wish I'd gotten to play the full version!

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I was way too young to remember those games but I have few memories of Jill of the Jungle. I believe I had fun.

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Duke Nukem 1 and CK: Goodbye Galaxy!. That was WAY, WAY back, and we only had the shareware versions.

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mbrown said:

While 3D is now by far the rule of the day,

You do know that they still make popular 2d platformers, right?
Limbo, Braid, and Bastion are but a few that has been released recently.

Actually, 2d games in general is still a vibrant and active market. For instance, most games I have on my steam account are 2d.

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kristus said:

Actually, 2d games in general is still a vibrant and active market. For instance, most games I have on my steam account are 2d.


Mine too, but this really doesn't contradict what mbrown said. The vast majority of modern games are 3 dimensional, with a tiny percentage being old-school 2D. Just because people like you and me seek out and play the hell out of modern 2D games, you can't pretend that they aren't comparitively rare.

I wish it was split 50/50 personally. I wish that they would do a new 2D Contra game and 2D Castlevania game for something other than a fucking handheld system(which I hate), but when it comes to major non-handheld system titles, they always fall back to 3D. Hell, I'd even play a new 2D Final Fantasy or Chrono Trigger game as long as Square Enix didn't make every character metrosexual.

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kristus said:

You do know that they still make popular 2d platformers, right?
Limbo, Braid, and Bastion are but a few that has been released recently.

Actually, 2d games in general is still a vibrant and active market. For instance, most games I have on my steam account are 2d.


I wish they made more (great) 2D platformers for the IOS. I've been having a great time dying in League of Evil.

Also, I just remembered Captain Comic (meh) and Captain Comic 2 (EXCELLENT), both Metroid-esque platformers with the sequel much more so. And since it's not explicitly mentioned as PC only, Metroidvanias rule my world.

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I spent a lot of time on Secret Agent Man as a youth. Don't forget Realms of Chaos and Alien Rampage either.

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chungy said:

This thread is sorely lacking of Mega Man.

And Contra. I played Contra: Hard Corps quite a bit growing up.

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My favorite is hunter hunted as it has tons of levels and a nice level editor. The music is also very good. (but damn getting of those ladders with any skill).

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Not listed here: the crusty old EGA Apogee games (Crystal Caves, Secret Agent -- maybe they don't count since they weren't side scrollers?), Cosmo's Cosmic Adventures, Vinyl Goddess from Phobos (an repurposed sequel to Jill of the Jungle that lost the right to be a sequel).

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Crystal Caves and Secret Agent were side scrollers. The Pharoah's Tomb / Monuments of Mars games that predated them were not, however.

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abuse, can't beat a 2d platformer with mouselook. i loved prehistorik 2 as a kid and i have a weakness for the adventurous/puzzle platformers like another world, flashback or bermuda syndrome. do lost vikings count? :)

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dew said:

bermuda syndrome

Holy shit, someone knows this, unbelievable.

Secret Agent, Halloween Harry, Alien Rampage, and so on, and so forth.

Not even going to bother with Atari/C64 titles.

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Is this about platform shooters for the PC only or for any game console, too? I mean, most of the choices are PC games.

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Yay! You just mentioned nearly all of the old pc sidescrollers I used to play (still do)!

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buttspit said:

Is this about platform shooters for the PC only or for any game console, too? I mean, most of the choices are PC games.


Yes, this thread is intended to discuss PC platformer shooting games exclusively. I don't have any consoles, and thus haven't played any of those games.

@rf check pm's please

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Holy shit, I played the hell out of all those games. Well, actually, the only Keen game I had was 4, but still. I also played Bio Menace, Halloween Harry/Alien Carnage, Vinyl Goddess, and a few others. That was pretty much my childhood right there.

EDIT: Holy bad cover art, Batman!

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Voted for everything except the fanmade Keen games. Instant high five to the seven other people who voted for Hocus Pocus.

Also, where's Keen Dreams?

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Since it's my list, I thought I'd throw in my honest two cents on each item. Feel free to discuss or relate your thoughts to any of them:

Keen 1-3 (Invasion of the Vorticons): Honestly not a huge avid fan of these anymore. It's not the lack of music or sounds (besides PC speaker), or the simplicity, that bothers me, but it is rather one feature that when I look back on it, I feel it was nearly a game-ruining choice. Namely, the fact that one hit of anything kills you AND you cannot save anywhere in the middle of a level. I just become too frustrated playing the beginning of the same level 10+ (in many cases this is no overestimate) times before I finally reach the end. I'm not even sure I ever finished these games. Frankly, I'd rate these games pretty average and I don't know why even so many modern people still enjoy these so much. I included it in the list simply because they are a classic, not due to my personal like. The later Keen games, however, are quite the contrary....

Keen 4-6 (Goodbye Galaxy and Aliens ate my Babysitter!): Now this is Keen done right. This is, IMO, what the series is a classic for, or should have been by far most known for. The improved graphics and inclusion of sounds/music and better controls are a start. But that's not 10% of why these games are so much better IMO. It's the fact that you can save in the middle of levels now, so zap goes all the frustration that bogged down the first trilogy for me! Literally I played these day in and day out when I was young, possibly my most played platformers of all, and certainly one of the best/most classic. Without a moment of hestitation, I say this is absolutely excellent, and is *the* classic of all classic sidescrolling games. If only Keen 1-3 could be changed to allow midlevel saves...I honestly don't know what I might be missing out on.

Keen 7-9 (Universe is Toast unofficial trilogy): I haven't played these fan made episodes yet, except for a few levels of Keen 8. However I've heard many Keen fans say that in many ways they are just as good as the Keen 4-6 games they are modified after, and good enough they could have been mistaken for an official ID trilogy.

Jill of the Jungle: I think I've only played the last episode (Jill Saves the Prince) to date. I remember it was quite good though. I'm guessing I'd like the two prequels.

Xargon: This is a surprisingly little-known game as far as I know. I say surprisingly because I really like Xargon and used to play it TONS back in the day. It's even up there with Keen 4-6 for me in playing time. It's by the same makers as Jill but I believe if Jill Saves the Prince is the building block, the Xargon trilogy only improves upon it. I only recently played the second episode of the trilogy, as oddly back in the day I only had the first and third episodes. If you asked me, I'd say this game got nowhere near the attention it should have.

Jazz Jackrabbit series: Sonic turned into a shooter, but IMO by no means a ripoff. By far the fastest paced platformer I've seen, this guy is FAST!! Tons of levels in these games and I remember really liking them. I actually played Jazz Jackrabbit 2 before the first game and I still had a blast playing the first game. The lego levels in Holiday Hare still stick out in my mind. Now I even see that for Jazz Jackrabbit 2, there are lots of usermade creations I can download - a definite surprise to me!, as aside from the unofficial Keen trilogy I don't think any other game I listed has this level of custom map content available.

Duke Nukem I/II: Only played the first episode of Duke Nukem I to date, but I liked it a lot. It's technology may be on the same line as the first Keen games, but with a health system the frustration is thankfully gone. Duke Nukem II could be compared to Keen 4-6 using the same analogy, as it adds the same types of extra features. This game I've played entirely, and probably several times. My only complaint to air against it is that it can get frustrating sometimes for me, even though there is a health system. Like in the first level of episode two, there are these things that fly by at such an outrageous speed you could NEVER duck from them unless you have prior knowledge or take it very, very, downright painfully slow. Of course none of this is what Duke Nukem is known for, and neither of these platformers even come remotely close to the third game of the series, which is one of my favorite games of any kind. But that belongs in last week's thread.

Hocus Pocus: Similar thoughts to Xargon. Another game that is little known AFAIK compared to the rest, but has qualities that should have brought it a bigger audience. Although it is definitely different from Xargon, you can pretty much copy my review of it. And it's the only game I know of from the developer (Moonlite). A (should have been) one hit wonder?

Other: The only other side-scroller I recall playing to date is the demo of Cosmo's Cosmic Adventures. It wasn't bad, from what I recall, but it wasn't anything that I hadn't seen in other platform games; I never looked for the full game. I also have Alien Carnage now (it is officially freeware on Apogee). But I kind of wonder what's going on with the fact that you seem to just be able to fly wherever you want in it. I don't know of any other sidescroller like that. Makes me wonder if it's as worthy as many of the ones I mentioned (especially given Apogee released it as freeware).

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Grain of Salt said:

Voted for everything except the fanmade Keen games. Instant high five to the seven other people who voted for Hocus Pocus.

Also, where's Keen Dreams?


I know including the fanmade Keen games might be a little controversial, but I thought they should still be given the same level of attention.

I agree about Hocus Pocus (see my comments above).

Keen Dreams I never got or played. I think it's a Softdisk Contract game. And there's no pogo stick. I heard it was frustrating.

Has anyone on here tried the fanmade Keens (seems like they aren't as known as I may have thought)?

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The Megaman X is my favorite out of all side scrolling games, even better than the original Megaman games. The movement mechanics were great and the bosses made that game.

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Wagi said:

The Megaman X is my favorite out of all side scrolling games, even better than the original Megaman games. The movement mechanics were great and the bosses made that game.


This thread is intended to be PC exclusive, no console-only games.

Edited thread title to clear this confusion.

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mbrown said:

Keen 1-3 (Invasion of the Vorticons): Honestly not a huge avid fan of these anymore. It's not the lack of music or sounds (besides PC speaker), or the simplicity, that bothers me, but it is rather one feature that when I look back on it, I feel it was nearly a game-ruining choice. Namely, the fact that one hit of anything kills you AND you cannot save anywhere in the middle of a level. I just become too frustrated playing the beginning of the same level 10+ (in many cases this is no overestimate) times before I finally reach the end. I'm not even sure I ever finished these games. Frankly, I'd rate these games pretty average and I don't know why even so many modern people still enjoy these so much. I included it in the list simply because they are a classic, not due to my personal like. The later Keen games, however, are quite the contrary....

I feel the same way. I grew up only playing the 4th, and when I bought the collection on Steam, I tried playing the first trilogy and it just wasn't that fun. I still love Goodbye Galaxy, though.

I also have Alien Carnage now (it is officially freeware on Apogee). But I kind of wonder what's going on with the fact that you seem to just be able to fly wherever you want in it. I don't know of any other sidescroller like that. Makes me wonder if it's as worthy as many of the ones I mentioned (especially given Apogee released it as freeware).

The jet pack has limited energy, which it shares with the flamethrower. This can become problematic at some points. I need to hunt down this freeware, because I loved that game.

As for Xargon/Jill, my mom loved the Jill/Xargon/Vinyl Goddess games and she played them all the time. She played a bunch of Keen, too. Now I'll leave you with this bit of nostalgia:

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I remembered Dark Ages so fondly from my childhood. Then I downloaded the shareware episode a few years ago. While it was vaguely familiar, it was not nearly as cool as I recalled.

Danarchy said:

The jet pack has limited energy, which it shares with the flamethrower. This can become problematic at some points. I need to hunt down this freeware, because I loved that game.


http://www.3drealms.com/downloads.html

Along with several other titles mentioned in the various posts.

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Danarchy said:

I feel the same way. I grew up only playing the 4th, and when I bought the collection on Steam, I tried playing the first trilogy and it just wasn't that fun. I still love Goodbye Galaxy, though.


The jet pack has limited energy, which it shares with the flamethrower. This can become problematic at some points. I need to hunt down this freeware, because I loved that game.

As for Xargon/Jill, my mom loved the Jill/Xargon/Vinyl Goddess games and she played them all the time. She played a bunch of Keen, too. Now I'll leave you with this bit of nostalgia:


If you liked Keen 4 you should like Keen 5 equally, they're just as good.

Keen 6 (unfortunately not on Steam) is also just as nice, worth hunting down on some abandonware site. (can't point direct links)

What hurts me most is I'd probably have plenty of fun with Keen 1-3 if they were just modded to allow the Keen 4-6 saving system.

And the Jazz video, I'm on a computer without speakers, will check it later though.

Final note, Alien Carnage is official freeware (not just abandonware) so I can point to it for you: http://www.3drealms.com/news/2007/05/alien_carnage_freeware.html
Full version!! :) Works with DosBox for me.

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