- Games, Toys, and Hobbies
Rediscover the delights of multi-level 2D Games
Some of the older games are colourful, inventive, pleasant to play and have a wide range of levels. There is a vibrant feel to the images which may have been lost under Windows based programming that often creates a mist, is too dark or has another grainy effect.
Have you played any 2D games recently?
Screen Photos of Jill of the JungleClick thumbnail to view full-size
Review of Jill of the Jungle
Jill of the Jungle is the ultimate in classic 2D (two dimensional) run and jump games. A scantly clad Jill runs across a lush green jungle setting, but beware, all is not safe, Jill can fall or touch something dangerous and be killed.
The game is relatively easy to control, which is a must if you are a part-time player like me, or if you want to give it to your children. A decent amount of imagination has been used to create the levels and the scenery is not monotonous, there is even a sense that you have to explore and find your way, although in 2D.
There are about 15 levels including a creative under water level. We really wondered what was happening when Jill entered this level, but we soon got the hang of it! As Jill runs along, she can pick up gems, apples and keys. Sometimes the keys are hidden in slightly out of the way places, which makes the game more interesting. The apples are health of course, and the reference it evokes to the garden of Eden is oddly amusing if you have any familiarity with the Christian mythos.
Jill uses a number of weapons throughout the different levels, my favorite being a sort of throwing boomerang which could be sent ahead of her some squares to wipe out oncoming monsters, and was guaranteed to always return neatly into Jill's hand. No running out of ammo either, which is a big plus if you are my sort of player – a bit inept! You had to develop a certain rhythm and anticipate when to throw the weapon in some levels. I remember the jumping frogs were the worst – they bounced everywhere if you let them gain momentum.
A game has to have a certain visual appeal, character amusement value, and playability to get me involved. Jill has all these things, plus the background was realistic in a quaint 2D manner and the level progression had a certain narrative sense, even though there was no actual plot or story involved.
Other 2D games which worked:
After playing Jill of the Jungle we hunted for similar 2d games to play, the most successful of which we discovered were:
1) Duke Nukem – is a basic early game where an agent is running and shooting. Duke Numek has several editions and was very popular when it came out.
The game has some puzzles which have to be solved in order to enter new areas, otherwise it is blatantly about the shooting. That said, the graphics do not contain images of blood or anything that would require censorship.
Hocus PocusClick thumbnail to view full-size
2) Hocus Pocus – is a fun game where a cute little wizard runs through a number of levels.
Note that this is not a RPG (role playing game where the character develops in strength) and the wizard can perform little “magic” but is fun in a 2D style.
There are lots of appealing things to pick up, including jewels, chalices and crowns. There are also small flying dragons to shoot and other creatures to eliminate from the path.
Senior wizards occasionally appear to give clues or make comments.
3) Xargon is a game where the hero is a prince-like-character out on a slightly undefined quest.
The this game develops some sophistication for a 2D game as there is a “main map” from which you can toggle to different levels.
There are also items to buy or collect which can change the player's weapon and abilities, giving some character development. However, I would not class it as a full RPG.
Xargon offers a variety of colourful levels, and is refreshing to play.
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4) Mystic Towers (unillustrated) - is also quite impressive with castle atmosphere, some puzzles and the challenge of monster generators to locate and destroy. Mystic towers was challenging to run even under DOS. I believe it needed a different Autoexec.bat or Config.sys than the rest of the games and applications. I used to keep a 686 machine especially for those tricky DOS based applications. However, I will let you know if we can get the games running in DOSBOX under Windows XP.
Download the vital utility - DOSBOX for free:
Operating System tips:
Windows XP will play some older games quite successfully, although it shuts some programmes Windows 98 could be persuaded to run and sends an error message. Windows Vista has "permission" and "compatibility" issues even with very modern software. It is to be hoped that operating system developers will consider these issues and not just concentrate on creating a new product for sale.
Some serious computer users have changed to the Linux system. Linux is developed from Unix, which I'm told was also the ancestor of DOS. However, Linux is capable of handling more memory than Dos which has been made obsolete by the size of the modern computer hard drive. Unfortunately, Linux command line programming is challenging, and common DOS commands do not translate to Linux.