Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Murry family: Ancient Art of War & Manhunter

Ancient Art of War was a really excellent game!  And in my opinion, perhaps the first "real time strategy" game, despite others being sited as the first.  This was 1984!  It was created by Dave Murry and Barry Murry.

AAoW was also one of the games most responsible for drawing me into game development because it shipped with an excellent level editor! I spent hours constructing my own maps using the provided tileset, and you could write your own intro story, and set some of the game rules as well.

I played the old CGA version...

The gameplay itself involved selecting units and giving movement orders around the map...

It wasn't until years later (around 2005) that I realised the same Murry family (now also joined by Dee Dee Murry) was behind another of my favorite, and most influential games, Manhunter: New York (1988) and Manhunter: San Francisco (1989) for Sierra!

The Manhunter games were these fantastic sci-fi adventure games, with a really brooding mood and dark story, depicting a dystopian future where Earth had been overrun by Orbs from outer space!

There were some cool sections of gameplay where you would track suspects in a Google Maps like device called the MAD!

The beauty of the game comes from everything being depicted in quite an everyday way where the domination of the Orbs has become mundane and accepted.

You play as a Manhunter, a worker for the Orbs, tracking down those who seek to overthrow the Orbs.  

The game featured great ghoulish art depicting the brown robed Manhunters, and a variety of scenes of gruesomely murdered victims and cadavers.  

Thanks to the Murrys for this unique and evocative chapter in the history of adventure games!

I'm still waiting for the final title in the series, Manhunter: London.  :)

Here's a nice little promo video for Manhunter: New York...

And another for Manhunter: San Francisco...

And a bit more of Manhunter: New York in action...

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