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First post, by Almoststew1990

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I've got an XP pc and I am looking to build up my games from this era. I know all about the generally multi platform usual suspects, Vice City, Fear, NFS, THPS, BF1942/2 etc but I'm wondering if there are any hidden gems, or even just "hidden fairly good games" I don't know about.

My current list of hidden gems / fairly good games comprises:
Prisoner of War
Pirates of the Caribbean (the Bethesda one)

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Reply 2 of 12, by leileilol

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1NSANE's the relatively hidden gem of the Codemasters racing games and the physics ages better than the graphics/gameplay 😜 kind of got lost in the Opflash/Blade/ColinMcrae shuffle.

Also if you're a sucker for fantasy stuff that's not a big grand RPG / MMO / HP / LOTR, there's Darkened Skye and Flying Heroes.

by the way, DOSBox is not for running Windows 9x

Reply 3 of 12, by henryVK

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With my group of friends 1NSANE was a staple at lan parties for a good while. The single player is a fun experience too, though!

I also really enjoyed Freedom Fighters as well. It's the kind of game that is competent enough and doesn't outstay its welcome by dragging on for four more levels after you've seen everything.

My nominations are 2003's UFO Aftermath – it's XCOM in all but name and offers decent 3D graphics as well as a ton of fun weapons, enemies and missions – and 2000's Ground Control, another 3D tactics game but this time it's an RTS without base-building but with nice particle effects for the time.

Reply 4 of 12, by appiah4

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These are by no means obscure gems but rather games in niche genres you might be surprised to find are great if you try them:

1999
Heavy Gear 2: Awesome mech simulator
Jane's F/A-18: One of Jane's last flight sims and a damn good one
Re-Volt: Great radio controlled car arcade racer

2000
Homeworld Cataclysm: Great largely unknown sequel to a much better known game
Starlancer: Fantastic Colr-War themed space simulator

2001
Arcanum: Rather obscure but great steampunk RPG by Bioware

2002
Freedom Force: Brilliant superhero comic themed strategy game
Syberia: A great adventure game at a time we thought they had gone extinct

2003
Beyond Good & Evil: Just play it
Rise of Nations / Thrones Patriots: Best Age of Empires game ever by the makers of Age Of Empires 1 & 2

2004
Sacred: Amazing action RPG
Syberia II: An adventure game sequel just as good as the original

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Reply 5 of 12, by sf78

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For adventures check out Runaway: A Road Adventure (2001). It's a Monkeyesque(!?) style game with really nice graphics. Only problem it has a few pixel hunting problems that'll drive you mad, but other than that, a solid game.

Reply 6 of 12, by Shagittarius

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Some of my personal hidden gems, these may not have been reviewed well, or they may have, but I like them:

Magic the Gathering: Battlegrounds - (An action sports game with realtime MtG gameplay.) 2003.
S2: SIlent Storm - (Turn based tatical WWII.) 2003.
Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines (White Wolfs Computer version of their RPG. A sequel due out soon too.) 2004.
Arx Fatalis - (FPS RPG.) 2002.
World in Conflict - (I really enjoyed this one even though I was burned out on RTS at the time. RTS without mining resource management) 2007.
The Temple of Elemental Evil - (Party Turn based RPG) 2003.
Wizards & Warriors - (By DW Bradley creator of the Wizardry series. RPG.) 2000.
Overlord - (Realtime first person strategy game.) 2007.

Reply 7 of 12, by badmojo

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If you like open world FPS / RPG-lite games then check out the deep shadows games - Boiling Point fits your timeframe and the 2 follow ups (White Gold / Precursors) came out in 2008.

If it's broke, then fix it!

Reply 8 of 12, by henryVK

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Shagittarius wrote on 2020-01-15, 14:56:

The Temple of Elemental Evil - (Party Turn based RPG) 2003.

Ahh.. I keep meaning to return to this one and actually finish it!

Afaik the original version of the game is very buggy, despite patches, so it is highly recommended to install the "Circle of Eight" fanmod:

https://www.moddb.com/mods/circle-of-eight-modpack

Reply 9 of 12, by appiah4

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Shagittarius wrote on 2020-01-15, 14:56:

Arx Fatalis - (FPS RPG.) 2002.

I forgot this, and it really deserves a mention. It is a modern Ultima Underworld that everyone should play. It was originally meant to be Ultima Underworld 3 IIRC.

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Reply 10 of 12, by Kerr Avon

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Timeshift, a first person shooter who's quality is very variable, with some great parts then parts that are boring, but the good parts of the game can be very good. It's a first person shooter, where you can control time, so that you can pause the game world, put the world into slow motion, and even reverse time, though not for more than a few second, and then you have to wait for your time control mechanism to recharge (which takes about twice as long as the pause/slow motion/rewind function lasts).

The problems with the game are that it feels linear (most FPSs are linear, but the good ones tend to fool you into not noticing it), the quality of the levels varies greatly, the story is very badly told (I've completed the game several times, and still can't remember much of the story), it has recharging health/shield, a weapon carrying limit (though at least it's three weapons in this game, not two), and the game's ending makes you want a sequel, which never came since this game sold so badly.

On the plus side, the game is often a lot of fun, the weapons are great, the alternative timeline is pretty atmospheric, and the time powers are a lot of fun to use. Plus, if you like weather effects (I do), the rain is great in this game, very realistic, and looks fantastic when you pause, slow or reverse time.

If you like first person shooters, then you should give Timeshift a go, especially as it's bound to be really inexpensive now, used.

Operation Flashpoint, a military first person shooter that aims for realism, and not in the way that modern military FPSs aim for realism. In this one you are very mortal, and you can say spend twenty minutes sneaking up to a set of buildings that you believe are inhabited by the enemy, then when you poke your head out of a bush, you get headshotted and die due to a sniper you hadn't noticed. You get to pilot and drive lots of vehicles, and the game is so realistic that even the speed of sound is simulated, so that if you see say a very large explosion in the distance, then you won't hear it until the sound has reached you (because sound travels much slower than light, of course). It's not a linear game, it's much more open ended and open world, and you can interact and interfere with both your own side and the enemies. I don't like this game at all, and I've never gotten far in it, since it's too realistic to be fun, but it was massively popular with some gamers. They made some sequels, but I don't know anything about them, I only played the original.

Reply 11 of 12, by sf78

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Kerr Avon wrote on 2020-01-18, 16:48:

Operation Flashpoint,I don't like this game at all, and I've never gotten far in it, since it's too realistic to be fun, but it was massively popular with some gamers.

Fun fact, in the first version(s) of the game you are basically invisible if you keep crawling. You can finish some very tough missions this way easily. Other thing that's interesting (besides the horrible bugs) is that you only have one save point per mission and you can only use it once. Also you almost never have the same encounters even if you replay the same mission 10 times as the AI and it's pathfinding algorithm/script is so bad/random that you never know what it does at any given moment. Pretty enjoyable game though when compared to most modern war sims. There's also a ton of mods/missions made for it and many of them fix the AI behavior and all the other bugs in it, but I think this takes away some of the fun.

Reply 12 of 12, by henryVK

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All those bugs made OFP an absolute blast in local multiplayer. We played this mainly to see what kind of glitches we could produce and what cracked-out stuff the AI would come up with this time around.