Back before 3D Realms, there was…well, 3D Realms. But more importantly, 3D Realms was previously a label created by game developer Apogee Software to promote their 3D titles. And man, Apogee ruled. They created a variety of classic PC games that older gamers fondly remember, myself included. Their main strategy was to create episodic franchises: the first installment was free so you could be compelled to order the rest. As such, this list of the greatest Apogee games ever made covers individual franchises as a whole.
Naturally, we start with the most iconic franchise: Duke Nukem. He’s undergone a major evolution over the years into a action hero parody of sorts, but before then, he was all about running around in 2D, blasting robots with his atomic pistol. (Oh, and wearing pink shirts.) I was always fond of using that gun to blast chicken legs-somehow, the power of atomic energy transformed it into an entire chicken, as opposed to some weird chicken-esque horror. Chicken and soda-that’s how MEN restore health!
Developed by id Software, Commander Keen is a fan favorite platformer, starring an eight-year-old genius who takes up arms to defend the galaxy from various threats. The cartoonish atmosphere was heavily improved in the Goodbye Galaxy subseries, but after a sixth, unrelated adventure, we haven’t seen Keen in quite a while. There have been attempts to revive the franchise, but so far, there hasn’t been much luck.
Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventure
When Cosmo’s parents disappear on a strange planet, it’s up to Cosmo to locate them. This alien character has suction cups for hands, allowing him to scale up walls and reach new areas. He still has to jump on his enemies like most video game heroes, but instead of turtles, he’ll be fighting a selection of weird alien creatures, even ones that look like rolling grapes. (You learn to hate those quick.)
Another game from id Software. Wolfenstein 3D played a major part in popularizing the first person shooter genre. It’s the iconic story of one lone American soldier adventuring through Nazi strongholds to take down Adolf Hitler. Also zombies. Don’t ask me about the last one. Popular as it was, it got id the recognition they needed, paving the way for a little game called Doom.
Raptor: Call of the Shadows
This awesome shoot-em-up was created by Mountain King Studios, detailing a future where pilots take F-14s loaded with lasers into battle against evil corporations. At least, I think they’re F-14s. I’m not sure. All I know is that if it turned into a robot, my day would be complete. Raptor is full of frantic, explosive action and is definitely worth a playthrough.
So that’s the greatest Apogee games ever made. (Or in the case of some, published/produced.) If you had a chance to grow up with these classics, give ’em a run again. If not, why don’t you try some of them out? After all, this is gaming history we’re talking about here. (And F-14s in the future never get old.)