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Playtime on the Mac

A wide variety of new and upcoming games.

Last month I started our look at present and future games for Apple’s Mac OS X operating system. This time around I conclude our entertainment odyssey. As I said last time, there are many more games than we can review or even mention in two columns. So, we give preferential treatment to games that are on the shelves at the time of this writing.

Design Inc. plans on carbonizing all of its history-based wargames, which include “Ancient Warfare,” “American Civil War Soldier,” “Waterloo Campaign,” “Austerlitz,” “Eylau,” “Wagram,” “Marengo,” and “Jena.”

As this article was being written, e.p.i.c. interactive entertainment had two Mac OS X-compatible games: “The Feeble Files,” a cartoon adventure; and “Knights and Merchants,” a game that combines elements of “Settlers” and “Ages of Empire.”

According to e.p.i.c, the company will be releasing four new carbonized games over the next two months: “Earth 2150,” a 3D RTS; “Simon 3D,” a cartoon adventure in 3D; “Gorky 17,” a RPG/adventure/strategy mix; and “Software Tycoon,” a business simulation in which you run your own games software company.

UK-based Feral Interactive will be bringing Peter Molyneux’s game, “Black & White,” to the Mac. “Black & White” is a complex mix of resource management, strategy, action, and puzzle solving.

Freeverse, a maker of shareware games, has a variety of Mac OS X titles available, including “Enigma,” “CrossCards,” “X-Words,” and “Burning Monkey Solitaire.” The last is a funky, offbeat game that combines solitaire and a lot of monkeys. The others are also card and word game variations.

Freeverse is also working on carbonizing Classic Cribbage, but it may be a few months, the company says.

“GL Tron” is based on the 1982 Disney flick “Tron.” It puts you in the seat of a futuristic motorcycle, a light cycle, that leaves a colored trail as you zoom around. Opponents on similar vehicles zip around the playing grid. Your goal is to ride fast and hard without crashing into the other contestants. Game play is fast, simple, and fun, and the Open GL graphics make for a gorgeous looking game. Plus, it’s a free, small download (3MB).

Ground Zero Software has two Mac OS X games in the works: “Frozen Squid Ice Hockey” and “Temple Tantrum.” The former is, you guessed it, a hockey game that involves, well, squid. The latter is an exploration, arcade-type game.

Ground Zero says all its future titles will ship with OS X compatibility.

The long-awaited Mac OS X version of Id’s “Quake III: Arena” is in beta testing, but no release date has been announced. “Quake 3 Arena” is the first-person shooter developed by the same studio that created “Doom.” More info can be found at Id Software’s site.

MacPlay’s “Giants: Citizen Kabuto” is a 3D game that combines frenzied action with real-time strategy elements. The game puts players in a quest to control 30 separate islands, choosing one of three different races to represent them: the elemental Sea Reapers, the technologically savvy Meccaryns, or the enormously destructive and solitary giant Kabuto. It has some hefty system requirements, but the game play is intriguing, and the graphics are gorgeous.

“Aliens Versus Predator” combines the otherworldly critters from the hit films of the same name. You can play the role of a Colonial Marine, an Alien, or a Predator in this game of interspecies warfare. If you’re looking for a top-notch shoot ’em up, consider this one.

“Sacrifice” brings combat gaming and 3D real-time strategy gaming to the world of role-playing games. Players control a wizard and battle up to four other wizards to fight for control of a landscape dominated by five different gods.

“Icewind Dale” is a role-playing game based on the book series authored by R.A. Salvatore. Built around BioWare’s Infinity Engine–the same core technology used for “Balder’s Gate”–this title puts players in a frozen land where they must battle foes like cyclops and frost giants as they seek to overcome an evil lying within the Spine of the World.

MacSoft offers up three TV-based games: “Wheel of Fortune,” “Jeopardy,” and “Survivor.” The first two are computer game versions of the long-running game shows. The third brings the reality series to the Mac. You can take the role of one of the actual survivors from the series or create your own personality as you compete with computer and human opponents alike. But that’s just the tip of MacSoft’s entertainment iceberg.

“Rogue Spear” is a 3D action/strategy game that puts you in the role of the leader of an elite counter-terrorist organization. Developed originally by Red Storm Interactive, “Rogue Spear” is the follow-up to “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six.” The game is unlike a traditional shooter because players have to rely heavily on organizational and strategic capabilities to win. You select the members of your team, outfit them, plan your operation, and execute it in real-time 3D.

“Tropico” is a role-playing game in which you’re the newly installed dictator of an obscure Caribbean island. You must create a life of prosperity and happiness for your people–or not. The graphics are colorful and the game is imbued with a wicked sense of humor.

“Vampire: The Masquerade–Redemption” casts you as a former vampire hunter turned vampire. You have to face a series of confrontations with your nemesis, a powerful vampire lord. The showdown begins in medieval Europe and rages on into the modern day.

“Deep Space Nine: The Fallen” from Simon & Schuster Interactive utilizes a modified version of the Unreal Tournament gaming engine to create alien vistas and highly detailed representations of “Deep Space Nine” and the starship Defiant. “The Fallen” gives the player three popular “Deep Space Nine” characters to choose from: Capt. Benjamin L. Sisko, Lt. Commander Worf (voiced by Michael Dorn), and Major Kira Nerys (voiced by Nana Visitor) in this third-person game that plays like a first-person game.

Titan Computer had almost finished its version of “AlienNations” as this column was being finished. It’s a real-time, rather tongue-in-cheek strategy game whose premise involves three interplanetary storks that decide one day to go for a drink rather than deliver their packages; the result is that three very different species have to vie for the resources of the planet Lukkat. You can assume the role of any of the three dominant species that occupy the planet: the magical Pimmons, Amazons, or the insectoid Saijiki. “AlienNations” will feature a 3D terrain, detailed graphics and animation.

Meanwhile, since last month’s Mac Advisor column, Bold has released its long-awaited strategy game, “Age of Empires II Gold Edition.” Developed by Ensemble Studios and brought to the Mac by Westlake Interactive, “Age of Empires II Gold Edition” is a compendium that combines the original “Age of Empires II: Age of Kings” with its add-on expansion pack, called “The Conquerors Expansion.”

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