Freeware Gaming Roundup: Back to the Basics!


Sometimes gamers just have to go back to their roots.  It's inevitable.  Blazing, next-generation graphics can be a blast to check out, and all the crazy advances in storytelling and immersion have allowed games to penetrate peoples' lives more than ever before.  Don't get us wrong, these are all good things for the industry and its many, many fans.

But gamers always get that urge--a tickling--to give their turbocharged video card a break and fire up some titles that have withstood the test of time.  Or better yet, modern reinventions of classic gameplay motifs. Some of these titles can be a blast to play, which is exactly why we're jumping into the gaming remake scene with this week's freeware roundup.  If you loved the originals that these games are based on, you'll find yourself sinking just as much time into these freeware remixes as before.  Don't worry if you've never played some of the genres that these newer titles are based on.  Spend a few minutes downloading these titles, fire up a game or two in your spare time, and see what you think!

Spheres of Chaos

The Details: You are going to throw your guts out five minutes after you fire up this Asteroids wannabe.   That's not the best way to get you to download this title, we realize.  But the beauty of Spheres of Chaos lies in its complete insanity.  Blow up some rocks--at least, we think they're rocks--and the shape will explode in a fury of colors, particles, and headache.  Keep it up, and you've got a game that's sure to impress party guests and/or keep your pets wide-eyed with fascination.  Just be sure to take a break every five minutes or so, lest you have to use the emergency bucket sitting next to your tower.

Download it here !

The Ur-Quan Masters

The Details: This is the open-source recreation of Star Control II, a space adventure game that was originally released in 1992 for PCs.  You soar across a huge amount of galactic territory and interact with all sorts of alien races in an effort to find a way to restore Earth back to a happy, non-enslaved state.  There are hundreds of hours of dialogue in this packed title, along with a pretty comprehensive combat system for a game that just got its drivers license a year ago.  While soaring about space, be sure to fire up your modern-day music player of choice and jam to the original music (and awesome remixes) that a bunch of fans have put together.

Download it here !

Project: Starfighter

The Details: In this space shoot-'em-up, you play as a young starfighter named Chris Bainfield who's attempting to free the galaxy from the clutches of an evil weapons corporation.  The non-linear gameplay allows you to pick missions at your leisure.  Computer-flown wingman accompany you into battle, though depending on how much you upgrade your primary and secondary ship guns, you might not even need their help!  With a variety of mission types packed into this 26-mission, four-star-system title, you'll be guns a-blazing for quite awhile.

Download it here !

Dwarf Fortress

The Details: This ASCII-based title, in a genre that should be familiar to fans of Nethack, is misleading in its graphical simplicity.  Behind the relatively uninspiring look rests a treasure trove of content: Dwarf Fortress is easily one of the more complex games you'll ever play.  So what exactly do you do in this game?  You can either chug through the normal adventure mode or fire up the game's namesake, Dwarf Fortress mode.  In this, you command a small bastion of dwarves that are tasked with creating a fortress of their very own.  You're basically building a fully self-sustaining city.  And if you think that sounds like an easy feat to do, well, you're in for hours of learning... Dwarf Fortress-style.

Download it here !


The Details: Remember Tron ?  You know, that awesome Disney sci-fi movie that had people running about the actual mainframe of a computer and playing in a big Light Cycle arena and what-have-you?  While the plot left something to be desired, the Light Cycle scene was pretty neat.  So much so, that independent developers have attempted to recreate the scene as an actual game: Armagetron.  This 3D recreation comes with multiple graphical modes so you can, literally, recreate your big Light Cycle games in the style of Tron. For the less nerdy, you can use the pretty standard graphics across a number of game types, including fortress and capture-the-flag modes.  Wearing your own Tron suit isn't a necessity to play the game, but it's encouraged.

Download it here !

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