"A great platform that just keeps getting better!"

Intro
A platform despised by hardcore consolers, but still loved by many... The DOS/Windows (commonly referred to as PC) platform. Today, it has even surpassed Macintosh as a great computer platform. PC seems to be home to some of the most addictive and exciting games, the greatest FPS's and some truly awesome RPG's and adventure games. It's not hard to see why loyal consolers hate PC; it's mainly due to the fact that PC games are structured differently in comparison to console games.

Graphical Capability
There are major ups and downs to the graphical capabilities of PC. PC's graphics seem to advance faster than console mainly because PC is not bound to the same specs for too long. More advancements are made to computers than other platforms because new chips, hardware, software, and equipment are constantly being developed. One of the downsides of PC's graphical capabilities is that you can only get the best, or even just good graphics if you have a highly advanced graphics card. If you're running off the lowest graphical specs possible, some games won't even work on your PC. I don't know much about good graphics cards, but I do know that it's best to get a fairly good one if you want the full graphical experience out of PC.

The graphics have taken some good evolutions overtime. They've gone from extremely simplistic sprites to smooth animation and superlative polygonal graphics over the last few years. Assuming you have a good graphics card, the graphics of newer games will look and move smoothly.

Good examples of graphical capability and good lighting effects are Septerra Core: Legacy of the Creator, Diablo 2, Baldur's Gate, Tribes, and many others.

Sounds
Sounds have drastically improved over the years. I used to actually turn off the music on older games because it was simply ear-splitting. Music and sound does depend lightly on your sound card as well as the quality of speakers you possess. My current computer came with some crappy manufacturer speakers that look like they were formatted for a discman. They sounded terrible, didn't get good bass or stereo sound feel whatsoever, and just plain sucked. I decided to take my money and get a pair of good quality speakers that cost me around $50 and had Dolby Surround Sound. Of course, I only use two speakers rather than all four, but it's good enough.

Sound effects never seemed to be too much of a problem. I've noticed PC does better sound effects than quite a number of console games. As far as music goes, it really sucked at first but did improve drastically over time. I can now actually stomach most of the music these days compared to the dull and annoying tones and bothersome beats that they used to publish in the past. Most of the music these days uses a wider range of pitch, tone, and incorporates better beats than before. A lot of it sounds actually performed rather than computer generated like early games would suggest.

Septerra Core, Diablo (1 and 2), Half-Life, and Gunman Chronicles display pretty good sound quality.

Control Setup
This is definitely a hard one to put together. There are so many different ways to control so many different games. There are also tons of controls out there on the market. As far as gamepads go, I've found that there are three companies that I see the most in stores: Gravis, Mircosoft, and Saitek. I'll say this right now... I hate Gravis with a burning passion. I've bought a few controls from them and each one has either died on me or just didn't work with most of the games I had. After purchasing and returning the Gravis Gamepad Pro, I decided that Gravis ''anything'' was forbidden from my purchasing. I thought about Microsoft stuff. I've heard they can be hard on hands, but that's only word of mouth. I basically haven't used Microsoft controls, but they seem to be quite notorious. I won't give any firm judgments there since I haven't fully partaken in their products. The company I trust the most is Saitek. I bought a four button from them that worked marvelously. I also recently purchased their P750 and it seriously rules! It hasn't failed on me at all, it hasn't broken down, and it works on everything. I can honestly say I wholeheartedly recommend Saitek controls the highest thus far.

As far as control setups go, they've taken some major turns through time. Back in the day, PC games were easy to control because you didn't need to memorize so many different buttons. The opposite seems to be true these days. With games like Tribes, Diablo 2, and Half-Life there's so many buttons that it's often easy to forget which ones do what. You'll basically have to train yourself until you get the hang of them.

Game Library
PC has a huge amount of games. So many good, loads of quirky, and a few bad ones.

Ones I liked- Wolfenstein 3D, Duke Nukem 3D, Revenant, Diablo 1 and 2, DX Ball, Sanity: Aiken's Artifact, Tribes, Quake, Heretic, Half-Life, Gunman Chronicles, Fallout 2, Tibia, The Sims (this used to be in the hated section, but after I gave this game a second chance, I actually found I really do enjoy the game a lot!) and many more.

Ones I hated- Isle of the Dead, Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold, Mortyr, WCW Nitro, Warcraft, Spear of Destiny, and a few others.

Interesting... yes!- DX Ball, Tibia, Shipwreckers, Septerra Core: Legacy of the Creator, Myth: The Fallen Lords, Chasm: The Rift, Die by the Sword, and a few others.

All in All
All in all, I think the PC platform is great and will continue its greatness throughout the years. As long as more revolutionary games are put into being as they have been lately with games like Doom, Giants: Citizen Kabuto, and Black and White, then the PC genre will live forever. This is possibly the best factor of the PC genre. You're not constantly worrying about whether or not it will fair against other consoles because it doesn't seem to have too many other challengers. You can actually buy a PC, knowing that it will last for a while and that there won't be a stupid PC war like there is with consoles these days. I'm still considering on giving up on console gaming because I'm sick of new console constantly appearing and wondering which one will be the failure and which will be the new ''almighty,'' so to speak.

FINAL JUDGMENT
Graphical Capabilities: Good evolution through time 9/10
Sounds: Also took a major turn for the better 8/10
Control Setup: Have started to get a bit too complex lately, but not bad otherwise 8/10
Games: Home to some of the most addictive games ever conceived 10/10
Worth: Well worth it, in my opinion 10/10
All Together: 9/10


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/19/01, Updated 11/04/01


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