I stumbled across an account of the development of The Crescent Hawk’s Revenge, one of my favorite all-time PC games, from 1991, by the game’s producer. Really interesting stuff, especially about how the two-part structure of the story came about.
I actually didn’t finish this game, which I bought nearly twenty years ago, until about four years back. I’d gotten stuck on one of the very last missions and given up, only to discover over a decade later that the reason all my airstrikes hadn’t been working was that my old 8088 had rendered the attacking fighters far slower than the troops they were trying to hit. DOSbox fixed that – I completed the mission on the first try.
Revenge is not only the first RTS-like game that I can remember playing (aside from The Ancient Art of War, to which Revenge clearly owes a debt), but it also did a really nice job of making each mission feel like it meant something (decisions made in previous missions affect future ones) and that it took place in the rich and detailed BattleTech universe. The decisions that the player makes during the incredibly long and tense sequence to rescue a certain character’s relative, for example, are not simple ones, and the best choice of action is not immediately apparent, even after the fact; and they are important decisions, too, not trivial ones. Yes, I am being vague. It’s too great a game to ruin by discussing the plot, although I am sorely tempted.