Low End Mac Gaming

Games for '030s

Brian Rumsey - May 26, 2000

Finding a game that will run well on a 68030 can be quite a challenge these days. Although the system requirements will let you know whether the game will run on a 68030, rarely do they say whether it will run well.

Mac IIDuring the last couple of weeks I have been on a roller coaster in the computer world, from rediscovering several classic games to having my trusty IIfx die on me. I will describe some of the high points: games which will run well on 68030s, even those such as the LC II, which is now the only working 68030 computer in my collection.

Those who are regular readers of Low End Mac Gaming have probably picked up on the fact that Realmz is one of my favorite games. Realmz is a turn-based role-playing game. You can find a more detailed description of Realmz as well as download Realmz from the Fantasoft site. You will also want to continue reading LEM Gaming - due to my appreciation of Realmz, I am planning to do a more in-depth column about it in the near future.

Realmz should work on any 68030 with at least 5 MB of free RAM and a monitor capable of displaying 640 x 480 at 256 colors. The full installation of the latest version requires around 40 MB of hard drive space. The newer versions of Realmz seem to run pretty slowly on slower 68030s, such as my 16 MHz LC II. On a 40 MHz IIfx, Realmz runs quite acceptably. The overall performance of Realmz on '030s is borderline, but the game is excellent.

If you like Realmz, you may also like WarCraft and Heroes of Might and Magic. These games are not role-playing games like Realmz, but both of them are set in the same type of fantasy world with monsters, knights, and the like. Both of these games are the first of highly successful series.

WarCraft is a real-time game in which you play as humans or orcs, attempting to destroy the other. You control each individual unit in your armies. WarCraft is developed by Blizzard Entertainment.

Heroes of Might and Magic is similar in concept to WarCraft; you build up strong armies. However, Heroes is turn-based. Also, the command of your units is not as direct - you control "stacks" of like creatures.

Both of these games have multiplayer options. They are both supported by any 68030 processor, although, as with Realmz, they will be a bit slow on the slower '030s. When buying one of these games, make sure you are not getting Heroes II or III or WarCraft II, since none of these games are officially supported on '030s. WarCraft II will play on some '030s, but it is not officially supported.

One of the true classics of Mac gaming is Bolo. Bolo is a tank game which has been around for quite a while and should run well on any 68030 (Bolo requires a Mac Plus or later). The point of the game is to gain control of as much territory as possible. On the surface, Bolo may seem like an arcade game, but it takes a lot of time to master. If you play it much, you will see how complex it really is. Bolo also has very good multiplayer support. Bolo is shareware and available for download from Jolo's Bolo Starter Pack page. Some of the links on the download page are no longer valid, but the first one in the binhex section works.

There are some 3D action games which support 68030s, but frankly, few (if any) of them are worth playing on anything but the fastest '030s.

If you want action, your best bet is side-scrolling games. One classic which seems to be fairly easy to find is Prince of Persia, a game in which you fight through many levels of dungeons trying to save an Arabian princess. Prince of Persia is playable on any 68030. Prince of Persia is available as part of the Prince of Persia Collection CD by Broderbund Software.

Another good side-scroller is Flashback. In Flashback, that you are trying to save Earth. You battle through several worlds. Flashback was originally published by MacPlay. It is currently available from the Interplay online store - search for "flashback." Flashback is also playable on any '030.

Another great side-scroller was Thexder from Sierra. I have not been able to find any trace of Thexder for Mac, other than the copy on my hard drive. If you happen to come across it, do not let it get away.

When considering games for older Macs, especially shareware, don't overlook the games from Ambrosia Software. There's a reason that Ambrosia has been one of the leaders of the Mac shareware industry for several years. Their first big game, Maelstrom, is definitely worth checking out. Most of Ambrosia's games, especially the ones which work well on 030s, are arcade-type. Some of their games which work well on '030s include Maelstrom, Chiral, Apeiron, Swoop, Barrack, Avara, Bubble Trouble, and Escape Velocity, the prequel to their immensely popular Escape Velocity: Override. EV, and especially EV: Override, are two very well developed shareware games which go beyond the twitch level of many arcade games and provide many hours of entertainment. One of the best things about these games is that, since they are all shareware, you can download them to see how you like them before registering the ones you like.

Adventurous gamers may want to try Pseud040 or Wish I Were, available for download on Low End Mac's software download page. These programs trick other programs into thinking your 68020 or 68030 is a 68040. Note, however, that most games which require an '040 do so for a reason; they may run very slowly on a 68030.

Other games which I did not have space to elaborate on, but are worth trying, include Asterax, Diamonds 3D, Civilization and Civilization II, Falcon MC, Wizardry Gold, many members of Maxis' Sim series, Oregon Trail, and certainly others that I have forgotten.

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