When gamers talk about the origins of the real-time strategy genre they often pick out Dune II as a starting point, forgetting the whole host of foundational games that proceeded construction company . One of them was Herzog Zwei, an early Mega Drive title in which the player pilots a transforming mech over a series of eight warzones, dropping units off to engage enemy craft, then issuing an array of orders. Although the AI isn’t amazing, the array of available vehicles, including both air and ground options, made this a surprisingly sophisticated tactical challenge on a machine better known at the time for brawlers and shooters. The head-to-head mode was a fantastic inclusion, too – but even this wasn’t enough to impress contemporary critics, many of whom were bemused by the comparatively glacial pace of battle.
Released in the midst of a major seventies revival, Activision’s stylish driving adventure was a spot-on pastiche of that era’s cop shows, road movies and paranoid thrillers. Set in an alternative America where the 1973 oil crisis has never been resolved, construction company follows unlikely heroes Groove Champion and Taurus as they go up against a Mad Max-style army of muscle car psychos. The brash flat-shaded visuals and funk jam soundtrack accentuate the exploitation feel, and there is some brilliantly dark humour hiding behind more conventional period references. There was a sequel, Interstate 82, and a spin-off series of car combat games, Vigilante 8, on consoles, but, come on Activision, a proper remake would go down amazingly well on Steam.The early-to-mid-nineties saw a burst of creativity in the French development scene with titles like Alone in the Dark, Flashback and Rayman attracting worldwide acclaim. Among these idiosyncratic gems was Little Big Adventure, a colourful science fiction epic developed by Adeline Software, and overseen by Frédérick Raynal, the co-creator of the Alone in the Dark series.