From the Archives

Metal Gear Solid review — December 2000, US edition

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Every Sunday, Tyler publishes a classic PC Gamer review from the '90s or early 2000s, with his context and commentary followed by the full, original text from the archived issue. More classic reviews here.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is coming to PC! The last Metal Gear game to release on PC was Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance over 10 years ago (unless you count Revengeance), and before that, Metal Gear Solid, which was published on PC by Microsoft a couple years after its PlayStation release.

Planescape: Torment review — March 2000, US edition

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Every Sunday, Tyler publishes a classic PC Gamer review from the '90s or early 2000s, with his context and commentary followed by the full, original text from the archived issue. More classic reviews here.

We recently named Planescape: Torment the best RPG of all time, and our original review confirms that we felt much the same way 14 years ago. Torment was good then, and remains great—and lucky for us, it's available on GOG. Thank you, you beautiful Polish preservers of PC gaming history.

Jazz Jackrabbit review — June 1995, US edition

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Every Sunday, Tyler publishes a classic PC Gamer review from the '90s or early 2000s, with his context and commentary followed by the full, original text from the archived issue. More classic reviews here.

It's unbelievable now, but PCs were once seen as less-attractive gaming machines than Nintendo consoles. Heresy! But it's true. I'd probably never preface a review with 200 words of context, but I'm glad our 1995 review of Jazz Jackrabbit gives us some perspective. Sadly, Cliff Bleszinski's new studio is not making a new Jazz Jackrabbit, so we still don't have it that good.

Striker 96 review — December 1996, US edition

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Every Sunday, Tyler publishes a classic PC Gamer review from the '90s or early 2000s, with his context and commentary followed by the full, original text from the archived issue. This week, Striker 96 is reviewed in the December 1996 issue of PC Gamer US. More classic reviews here.

To celebrate today's World Cup final, I've dug up one of the first soccer/football/who-cares-what-you-call-it games reviewed in the US edition. The first of them actually look to be FIFA International Soccer, Planet Soccer, and Sensible Soccer, all reviewed in the October 1994 issue. I chose Striker 96 over the much better FIFA debut (84%) in part because it's reviewed by Gary Whitta, who famously went on to become famous-er. I also happen to have it for some reason—probably for some ancient, abandoned feature idea—so I 'simulated' today's match with the help of DOSBox.

Half-Life 2 review — November 2004, UK edition

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Every week, we publish a classic PC Gamer review from the '90s or early 2000s. This week, Ben Griffin provides context and commentary followed by the full, original text of our Half-Life 2 review, published in the November 2004 issue of PC Gamer UK. More classic reviews here.

What more can be said about Half-Life 2? Jim Rossignol's words below still do a fine job of summing up just why the world got worked up over a singleplayer shooter. November 2004 was a standout month for PC gaming, and indeed PC Gamer.

GTA: San Andreas review — June 2005, UK edition

Ben Griffin at

Every week, we publish a classic PC Gamer review from the '90s or early 2000s. This week, Ben Griffin provides context and commentary followed by the full, original text of our GTA: San Andreas review, published in the July 2005 issue of PC Gamer UK. More classic reviews here.

We're enjoying the height of summer now, but as temperatures plummet and skies darken, Rockstar promise respite from Autumnal misery: GTA 5 on PC. With improved framerates. And increased resolution. And cats! It took no time at all for resident GTA enthusiast, Andy Kelly, to go all CSI on its launch trailer (hammerhead sharks: confirmed).

Battlefield 1942 review — December 2002, US edition

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Every Sunday, Tyler publishes a classic PC Gamer review from the '90s or early 2000s, with his context and commentary followed by the full, original text from the archived issue. This week, Battlefield 1942 is reviewed in the December 2002 issue of PC Gamer US. More classic reviews here.

I keep seeing Battlefield Hardline derided as a "reskin," and though I'm not fond of the direction we've seen so far, I wonder if that's fair. If not a new theme and new weapons, gadgets, vehicles, modes, and maps, what is it to be a proper sequel? Does a sequel necessarily include significant graphical improvements? Is that a reasonable expectation today?

Tribes 2 review — June 2001, US edition

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Every Sunday, Tyler publishes a classic PC Gamer review from the '90s or early 2000s, with his context and commentary followed by the full, original text from the archived issue. This week, Tribes 2 is reviewed in the June 2001 issue of PC Gamer US. More classic reviews here.

After the surprise announcement of Rainbow Six Siege, some more time with Evolve, and the sudden Battlefield Hardline closed beta, I've been thinking a lot about cooperative and competitive shooters since E3. A hell of a lot is owed to the Tribes series—from Battlefield, especially—so to pay respects to a classic in the genre, here's our original 2001 review of Tribes 2.

FreeSpace 2 review — January 2000, US edition

PC Gamer at

Every Sunday, Tyler publishes a classic PC Gamer review from the '90s or early 2000s, with his context and commentary followed by the full, original text from the archived issue. This week, FreeSpace 2 is reviewed in the January 2000 issue of PC Gamer US. More classic reviews here.

FreeSpace 2 appeared on Steam last week like a wizened old man with a pipe stepping into a conversation between youngsters. "My word, you must be Elite's great, great grandson," he enthused. "And who do we have here—can it be Freelancer's boy? Well, I'll be damned, how's your old man doing? I haven't spoken to Wing Commander in ages."

Max Payne review — October 2001, US edition

PC Gamer at

Every Sunday, Tyler publishes a classic PC Gamer review from the '90s or early 2000s, with his context and commentary followed by the full, original text from the archived issue. This week, Max Payne is reviewed in the October 2001 issue of PC Gamer US. More classic reviews here.

I played Max Payne again recently, and it's still great. It also looks really, really goofy: it's a lot funnier now than it was then to see Sam Lake's grimace plastered onto Max's head as he shoot dodges face first into goons. Max isn't quite "cutting-edge" anymore, I'm afraid, and looking at the graphic novel bits again reminds me that a lot of the panels look like photographs slathered with Photoshop filters.

Mad Dog McCree review — April 2003, US edition

PC Gamer at

Every Sunday, Tyler publishes a classic PC Gamer review from the '90s or early 2000s, with his context and commentary followed by the full, original text from the archived issue. This week, Mad Dog McCree is reviewed in the April 2003 issue of PC Gamer US. More classic reviews here.

For the past couple months, I've used this column to celebrate great and influential games—The Elder Scrolls: Arena, Unreal Tournament, Rayman—but not this week. This week we travel 11 years into the past, then 13 years further, to gawk at an anomaly: the second lowest review score in the history of PC Gamer, beat out only by Big Brother 1 and Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude.

Rayman review — June 1996, US edition

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Every Sunday, Tyler Wilde publishes a classic PC Gamer review from the '90s or early 2000s, with his context and commentary followed by the full, original text from the archived issue. This week, the original Rayman is reviewed in the June 1996 issue of PC Gamer US. More classic reviews here.

In 1989, Prince of Persia on the Apple II made Super Mario Bros' animations look downright primitive, and got me obsessed with the dream of playing as a real cartoon character. Before I ever thought polygonal heroes were a good idea, I sought out the phrase "cartoon-quality animations" and hoped (though I wouldn't have been able to tell you their names at the time) for games to take after Chuck Jones and Tex Avery cartoons instead of ReBoot, that '90s CG-animated cartoon about low-poly computer people.

Stargunner review — June 1997, US edition

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Every Sunday, Tyler Wilde publishes a classic PC Gamer review from the '90s or early 2000s, with his context and commentary followed by the full, original text from the archived issue. This week, Apogee shmup Stargunner is reviewed in the June 1997 issue of PC Gamer US. More classic reviews here.

I seem to have kicked off an Apogee shareware streak. While this quick half-page review of a '90s shmup isn't bursting with historical significance, I did just notice that Stargunner is free on GOG. It's plenty of fun for an hour, especially when you assume the mindset of someone trying to review the game in 1997, when 2D games—shmups in particular—were on the decline in favor of crude 3D games like Die Hard Trilogy (which we gave an 84% in the same issue, but that'll be a future From the Archives).

Terminal Velocity review — October 1995, US edition

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Every Sunday, Tyler Wilde publishes a classic PC Gamer review from the '90s or early 2000s, with his context and commentary followed by the full, original text from the archived issue. This week, Terminal Velocity is reviewed in the October 1995 issue of PC Gamer US. More classic reviews here.

It's funny that, at a time when "Doom clone" still meant "any game where you shoot stuff," there was any "just another shoot-'em-up" fatigue at all. Everything was so new; in this review of Terminal Velocity, we compare it to X-Wing, Descent, Magic Carpet, and Shock Wave, and I could throw in Apache and Wing Commander III and a few other air and space combat sims, but it's not as if we were being crushed under a pile of identical games.

Harvester review — December 1996, US edition

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Every Sunday, reviews editor Tyler Wilde publishes a classic PC Gamer review from the '90s or early 2000s, with his context and commentary followed by the full, original text from the archived issue. This week, Harvester is reviewed in the December 1996 issue of PC Gamer US. More classic reviews here.

Apropos of nothing, other than that I saw it on Steam the other day and chuckled, I bring you our review of Harvester. I don't recommend this game—at least, not as more than a stunt play, to be enjoyed with friends and some kind of numbing agent (primarily to make the adventure game combat go down easier).

NHL 97 review — December 1996, US edition

PC Gamer at

Every Sunday, reviews editor Tyler Wilde publishes a classic PC Gamer review from the '90s or early 2000s, with his context and commentary followed by the full, original text from the archived issue. This week, NHL 97 is reviewed in the December 1996 issue of PC Gamer US. More classic reviews here.

I have the flu. Thanks PAX. I very much wish I weren't a sweating, shivering slug monster, but it does mean I get to regress into delirious, selfish childhood for a few days. That's a perfect excuse to whine about the lack of team sports games on PC while celebrating something I don't get to write about much on PC Gamer—the NHL playoffs! I'm sick, I get the remote, and I'm putting on M*A*S*H after the Sharks game, so deal with it.

Unreal Tournament review — February 2000, US edition

PC Gamer at

Every Sunday, reviews editor Tyler Wilde publishes a classic PC Gamer review from the '90s or early 2000s, with his context and commentary followed by the full, original text from the archived issue. This week, Unreal Tournament is reviewed in the February 2000 issue of PC Gamer US.

After yesterday's Civilization: Beyond Earth announcement, it would have made a lot of sense to publish our 1999 review of Alpha Centauri, with one of the highest review scores we've ever given. This is not a review of Alpha Centauri. One, that's so predictable. Two, I'm in a Boston hotel room (waking up after this) and I grabbed the wrong issue... February 2000 instead of April 1999. The consequences are usually much more dire when time travelers make mistakes, so let's just be happy that we get to read about Unreal Tournament and that most of the world's population was still born. Like, 99.9% at least.

The Elder Scrolls: Arena review — June 1994, US edition

PC Gamer at

Every Sunday, reviews editor Tyler Wilde publishes a classic PC Gamer review from the '90s or early 2000s, with his context and commentary followed by the full, original text from the archived issue. This week, Bethesda's very first Elder Scrolls game is reviewed in the debut issue of PC Gamer US.

Oh, how fast things can change—no one says "FRP" to refer to fantasy role-playing games anymore, the 1994 Summer Consumer Electronics Show, which predated the first E3 by a year, was visited by Sierra On-Line, Interplay, and MicroProse, and had things gone a little differently, we might be playing Terminator Online instead of The Elder Scrolls Online.