Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cover to Cover: Virgin Games 1992 Catalog (pp. 13-14)

Back to the product pages, as we continue our page-by-page survey of the 1992 Virgin Games catalog...

Page 13 features Legacy of the Necromancer, an RPG:


It appears that this was meant to be a Dungeon Master-style RPG, with full-blown character stats and a 3-D dungeon-crawl interface.  But as far as I can discover, this game was never released -- Internet searches come up with an unrelated 1989 text adventure trilogy by the same name.


Page 14 features an enduring strategy classic that was ported to the Sega Genesis later on:



The Dune license appears to derive from the movie, but by 1992 publishers were well aware of likeness rights legalities, and so Paul Atreides doesn't look much like Kyle MacLachlan (although the actor is credited, and clips from the film were used in the CD-ROM versions of the game.)  And the adventure/strategy storyline, with competing Houses vying for control of the spice, will clearly interest fans of the books who don't necessarily care for the movie.  The game has more room to explore the storyline and themes of Frank Herbert's novels, and this initial entry spawned a series released over the following decade.

More to come next weekend, as our trip down memory lane continues.

2 comments:

  1. an enduring strategy classic that was ported to the Sega Genesis

    While this game was an uneasy adventure/strategy hybrid, it was its sequel Dune II that had more of the classic endurance. (And this one only ended up on Genesis via the CD add-on, no?)

    The Dune license appears to derive from the movie, but by 1992 publishers were well aware of likeness rights legalities, and so Paul Atreides doesn't look much like Kyle MacLachlan (although the actor is credited, and clips from the film were used in the CD-ROM versions of the game.)

    I think they may have used beta art in the catalogue here, since Kyle McLachlan as Paul Atreides and Francesca Annis as Lady Jessica are both clearly identifiable in game screenshots (Sting as Feyd-Rautha in other ports, possibly this one also?) ... admittedly they didn't splurge on the likenesses of Patrick Stewart, Max von Sydow, J├╝rgen Prochnow, etc.

    this initial entry spawned a series

    The relationship of any of the Dune games to any of the others could be described as highly tenuous at best 8)

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  2. Yep! I had been quite sure the first DUNE game was ported to the Genesis -- but the North American DUNE cartridge I have is actually a port of the DUNE II PC game, also released by Virgin, and was properly known as DUNE II in some territories.

    On likeness rights, this very well could have been placeholder art used prior to working out the appropriate agreements. Given that the other game on this page seems never to have come out at all, it seems likely this was preliminary artwork.

    It seems there were two series of DUNE games, one in the early-to-mid-90s and another later on. Since they all derive from the same source material, I tend to think of them as a series, just like the Sam & Max games, even though technically they were separate projects carried out under different licensing agreements.

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