Even though the games had been around on Good Old Games for few years, some people steadfastly refuse to purchase anything until it’s on Steam. So the news that a suite of old Sierra adventures had finally jumped the digital divide to Valve’s platform was weclomed by quite a few of you.
And as well it should — Sierra made a lot of great adventures in its time. But if you saw the prices and thought, “Hm, that’s not for me,” then I have good news. All those Sierra classics are now in a Humble Bundle, and it’s cracking good value.
You should all have a good handle on how Humble’s offerings work by now. This one has four separate tiers, and the second tier is probably the most expensive a second tier has been in quite a while.
But you can’t argue with the amount of classic games you’re getting for the value. Note that all price values have been converted to Australian dollars. Let’s begin!
Plenty of value, especially if you don’t mind mocking old FMV games.
- Space Quest Collection
- Phantasmagoria 1-2
- Police Quest Collection
Shiftlings is the probably the least known game in this tier, although it’s actually a fun, chaotic little co-op platformer. But if you’re buying into the Sierra bundle, you’re doing so for the classic adventures — and there are some classics.
What really stands out to me here are the two terrible Phantasmagoria games. The original FMV horror was one of the first games I can remember being banned in Australia. The second is probably the better of the two though: it leans on the FMV even harder, goes into some weird inter-office relationships, and is just all around trashy in an unintentionally funny way.
The first tier is also a good opportunity to get the Space Quest Collection, which isn’t traditionally available on Steam for Australians. (As the 2K bundle highlighted recently though, you’ll be able to add the collection to your library and download the games once you receive your Steam key from Humble Bundle.)
And you’ve got the Police Quest games for good measure. The early ones always turned out to be more annoying in practice due to the amount of procedures you’d have to follow to the letter, although I suppose that’s indicative of actual police work.
The average at the time of writing is $16.08, which isn’t something to baulk at. That said, you’re getting plenty of value:
- Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura
- Quest for Glory 1-5
- Gabriel Knight 1-3
It’s not often you see a bundle where the third tier makes more sense than the second, although the $16.08 asking price is often a lot more than what some other Humble Bundles have cost for the whole package.
But you’re getting great value here. The Gabriel Knight games aren’t my favourite adventures of all time. I was always a little more partial to Myst and the Lucasarts roster, but they’re good fun nonetheless (and the menu music from Gabriel Knight 3 will always have a special place in my heart).
TimeShift is a fun little surprise package as well. It’s hardly an all-time classic shooter, but you can certainly have fun for a couple of hours mucking around with a time suit and the abilities. You’ll have to deal with the pre-2010 colour scheme of gun-barrel grey and bullet brown, though.
Arcanum, on the other hand, is an RPG from the makers of Fallout. Provided you get past the initial crappy dungeon, the game’s quite good and there’s plenty of room for a variety of playstyles.
Last but not least are the five Quest for Glory games. They’re sort of a blend between an RPG, and early adventure games with a focus on puzzles. Fun fact: the series also allowed Jennifer Hale to voice her first role in gaming, a woman called Katrina who later turns out to be vastly more important than a potential love interest.
Have you played Geometry Wars 3 yet? No? Play Geometry Wars 3.
- Caesar 3-4
- Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved
- King’s Quest Collection (all 7 games)
- Velocity 2X
Paying $20 is more than what most people would pony up for a Humble Bundle usually, but by this stage you’ve got more than 20 games. And most of them are absolute classics.
I say most, because Velocity 2X has had a pretty turbulent ride. The game has been out for over a year and has been plagued with some game-breaking bugs for most of that time, something the developers catalogued in early July. Users with NVIDIA cards should be able to progress beyond the 9th level now — although according to Steam reviews, you might end up quitting before then due to difficulty with the control scheme.
Something that controls perfectly fine, mind you, is Geometry Wars 3. Most fans of the older Geometry Wars games will probably ignore the extra bells and whistles in Dimensions Evolved, which is a shame. It’s a good title all-around, and it’s still a great couch co-op experience to boot.
The Caesar city building games should get more credit than they do, although the developers were a little cheeky back in the day by effectively reskinning the whole thing as ancient Egypt and then re-releasing it as “Pharoah”.
Which I actually preferred. I think it was a layover from Age of Empires.
This is the point at which most people will probably stop.
- King’s Quest: The Complete Collection (5 chapters plus epilogue)
The King’s Quest Complete Collection is $US29.99 on Steam right now, but you can probably pick it up for a lot less the next time a Steam sale comes around. It’s actually a genuinely interesting episodic series, in the sense that it takes a few gambles and does things you wouldn’t expect.
The first episode, for instance, is a traditional puzzle-based adventure (which you can play for free). The second sees all of the characters captured, and puts you into a survival-esque situation where you’re starving, depressed and generally miserable. The third picks up from there: it’s a brighter, more charming, more vibrant affair.
There’s still two episodes to be released, hopefully by the end of this year or early next. Given what typically happens with episodics, I wouldn’t be surprised if people waited for the full adventure rather than taking the plunge at this tier — especially when the stark difference between the first and second episodes threw a lot of users off.
So that’s the Sierra bundle, which is a far better way to scoop up a ton of classic adventures than buying them individually on Steam.
I’d personally recommend picking up at least the first tier and maybe playing Phantasmagoria 2 over a couple of nights with some friends and drinks. It’s one of those games that tries to be super serious, but just fails miserably (although some weird shit does happen from time to time).
Have you played any Sierra classics lately? And how do you think Sierra’s adventures stack up against the test of time?