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Top computer-gaming prospects for 1999
January 27, 1999
Web posted at: 2:15 p.m. EST (1915 GMT)
by the Games.net staff
(IDG) -- Computer game historians will most likely remember 1997-98 for its great rivalries. As gamers, we saw Quake II go toe-to-toe with Unreal and Half-Life; witnessed an Age of Empires vs. Total Annihilation vs. Starcraft real-time strategy bout; watched Gameday 99 take on Madden 99; and more. Of course, the true victors in these heated software battles will vary depending on who you're talking to.
With an incredible year of real-time strategy, first-person shooting, and sports behind us, Games.net looked deep into its crystal ball in hopes of finding some clue as to what marvels are in store for us during the next 12 months. We revisited all the studios, reread all the previews, and reinstalled all the betas. And what we've come up shall from this moment forth be deemed the Games.net's Top Five Computer Gaming Prospects of 1999. Why wait a whole year to find out which computer games were the best of 99? We'll tell you right now!
5. Kingpin (Xatrix Entertainment)
Set in the 1930s Mafia era, Kingpin caught our attention by avoiding all those overused "alien" cliches that even Half-Life was guilty of. We can't wait to trade that uninteresting laser gun in for a shiny new tommy-gun. We can't wait to start jumping back-alley fences wearing classy $1,000 suits instead of boring power armor. Maybe it's time for another first-person shooter like Outlaws (LucasArts) to hit the scene, screaming "You don't have to be sci-fi to be beautiful, baby!"
4. Interstate '82 (Activision)
Six years later, the streets of America are even more dangerous as the automotive vigilantes of '76 have brought their war to major cities nationwide. Sporting a new engine, I-82 will redefine car combat as we know it on the PC. We like the idea of a deathmatch on the streets of Vegas, and we're going nuts over the thought of being able to get in and out of our vehicles -- not to mention running over our colleagues in an '82 pickup!
3. Age of Kings (Ensemble Studios)
Age of Kings, the much-anticipated sequel to Age of Empires, takes place during medieval times. It looks as if Ensemble will offer us AOE's perfect balance of resource management and combat, joined by brand-new features, enhanced graphics, and even more victory conditions (in multiplay). Given how much time Ensemble has had to perfect its successful debut in the real-time strategy genre, we predict AOK will be the best RTS of '99.
2. EverQuest (989 Studios)
Brad McQuaid and team are taking online role playing to new heights with the incredible 3D-accelerated EverQuest. We must admit we were skeptical when first logging onto the EQ beta: we didn't think it was going to be all that. But damn, were we wrong. Far from finished and riddled with bugs, it still managed to seduce our very own Nash Werner into a 36-hour RPG mega-marathon -- something he hasn't done since playing Wizardry I on the Apple.
1. Giants (Planet Moon Studios)
From the team that brought us MDK comes Giants, a game that we predict will reinvent the action genre as we know it! In Giants, you choose to play as one of three distinct races; but if you're already thinking "How lame -- just like Starcraft," you're in for a treat. One race is primal and 60 feet tall. In brilliant contrast, another is 3 feet tall but wields incredibly advanced technology. And then there's the aquatic spellcasters. The interesting part is that each species has a different set of goals in multiplay. The giants need to eat to survive. The shorter, advanced race needs to use its technology to fight an already losing battle against the seemingly invulnerable giants. And finally, the very fragile spellcasters need to manipulate the weather to thwart both races, without straying too far from a water supply. With so much personality behind each race, the game's high-replayability factor, and an incredible Tim Burton-esque world to do battle in, we predict Giants will be 1999's game of the year! Remember, you heard it here first.