Back in the early '90s, I recall playing plenty of fantastic DOS games between gaming sessions on my NES. So, allow me to describe 5 such games as I remember them from back in the day. Perhaps you've played a few of these as well!
I used to have a few King's Quest games and the one that I remember most is King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human. For the unfamiliar, King's Quest is an adventure game series where making progress relies on your wits and a lot of thinking outside the box. My family and I would gather around the PC and try to figure out how to advance past seemingly impossible situations. One part that scared me as a kid was the giant spider web as whenever you got caught in it, a spider would come down and eat you. Other parts of the game were exceptionally frustrating such as having to carefully walk along a thin path that's partially obscured by rocks but these scenarios were easily forgivable once I came across a memorable moment like re-enacting Goldilocks and the Three Bears. It's such a fantastic anthology of adventures and I wish a compilation of them would release for consoles so more gamers can experience their awesomeness.King's Quest Chapter 1: A Knight to Remember Review
Hugo's House of Horrors
Speaking of amazing adventure games, Hugo's House of Horrors was another family favourite. We owned the entire trilogy which also consisted of Hugo II, Whodunit? and Hugo III, Jungle of Doom! However, the first game (Hugo's House of Horrors) remains the most memorable with its twisted sense of humour and challenging scenarios. Watching a collection of classic monsters such as Dracula eating dinner as you acquire a pork chop so you can distract a dog and enter a secret basement with a tricky-to-avoid mummy then answer some nerdy trivia questions is so much fun. It may not be a long game but the adventure is certainly worth experiencing.
Admittedly, Dark Ages wasn't the best game but for whatever reason, I couldn't stop playing it. For starters, it had awesome audio thanks to its AdLib sound card support. In fact, the fantastic soundtrack is probably the reason why I loved it so much. When it comes to gameplay, you basically just run left and right while jumping and shooting magic projectiles at your enemies. You complete levels by finding items, returning them to NPCs, and then exiting via a door that appears. It's simple stuff but small details like being able to see your heart beat faster whenever you take damage make it a pretty immersive game even though it's nothing short of average.
After enjoying classic RPGs like the original Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior, I played Moraff's World and it completely blew my mind. The fact that you're basically thrown into a dungeon and it's up to you to survive as you dive deeper and deeper while facing incrementally tougher monsters really captured my imagination and I couldn't stop playing it once I started. There are so many facets to its gameplay systems that I frequently felt overwhelmed but in the most immersive sense of the word. Slaying goofy-looking monsters only to level up and earn various stones that you could exchange for currency to purchase weapons and armour with was such an addictive formula. I'd definitely pay good money for a modern console port. I never beat the Red Dragon King but maybe I could nowadays...More first-person dungeon crawlers
Last but certainly not least, here's Commander Keen! I owned a bunch of the classic episodes and they were an impressive addition to my 2D action game library alongside NES classics such as Mega Man and Adventure Island. My favourite aspect of its gameplay is the pogo stick which allows you to hop through levels and jump high with well-timed button presses. I also thoroughly enjoyed trying to acquire all of the collectibles and finding key cards which are required to unlock various doors in certain levels. Plus, blasting enemies with your ray gun is oh so satisfying. After playing the original trilogy of episodes, I played Commander Keen in Goodbye, Galaxy which was very impressive with its high quality cartoon visuals and fun mini-game Paddle Wars that you could play on Commander Keen's watch. I hope we get a compilation of the classic 5 episodes for console at some point. What a wonderful collection of 2D platformers!Commander Keen in Keen Dreams Review
Well, this was a fun trip down memory lane! I can recall a few other DOS games that I used to play a lot back in the early '90s so I may put another one of these articles together down the road. For now, which DOS games do you have fond memories of? Have you played any of these 5 games? Let's chat in the comments section below!