I spent an enjoyable couple of hours randomly playing through some games installed on my dedicated DOS machine, mostly to test it after a scary incident where both the video card and CRT monitor went dead. The monitor was pretty old and had begun showing signs of aging deterioration (dim picture, geometry issues, drop outs), but the other night it refused to show any image whatsoever even with a known working video card. I swapped it temporarily with a 15" 4:3 LCD I have in storage specifically for testing; not a great display by any means, but not as bad as I thought it would be. I plan on replacing it with a larger 4:3 LCD soon, as I don't want to deal with the headaches (and backaches) of CRTs now.
Anyway, as I mentioned above, I wanted to stress test the PC after that trauma, and luckily everything is working fine currently. It was also a great opportunity to put the MP32L through its paces.
Here's what I played:
Commander Keen in Invasion of the Vorticons
A nostalgic favorite (the very first game I ever played on my first PC), and I was glad to see it still holds up. I actually prefer the more primitive graphics in this trilogy over the second set of games. It plays really well even just with a keyboard, and the jumping/movement feels great without being a total copy of Mario. If there's one complaint I have, it's that some of the harder levels almost require you to make a few death runs before learning how to complete them. Anyway, still lots of fun and I guess I am roughly halfway through the first episode.
Finally completed the first episode! I really like this game, and some of the levels have a bit of a puzzle game feel. I was surprised to see how fair this one is (much MUCH fairer than the similar Secret Agent), as I was able to clear most of the stages on my first go with careful exploration. I'm excited to move on to episode 2.
I started over as a Fighter and completed the first level. I've tried many times to complete this one, but have never been able to make it very far. I'm always impressed with the first level and even the early parts of the second level (the first "hub" in the game). From there, I get frustrated pretty quickly—not so much with all the switches and buttons, but with trying to figure out what those switches and buttons do. Maybe I should just follow a walkthrough for this one.
Currently stuck in the mission where you have to escort one Drayman to a jump point, then escort another Drayman back to the Tiger's Claw. I gave it a few tries but didn't get anywhere, so I'll need to sit down when I have a solid block of time and really focus on this one.
I played this just to test out my MP32L. I still have yet to complete Ultima V (or Ultima II for that matter!), so it will be a while before I even consider playing this one for real. MP32L worked great, but I might prefer the OPL soundtrack for this game overall.