For a kid that didn't get much of an allowance, sometimes demo disks were the only way for me to enjoy "new" games. It was better for me to plop down $10 for a magazine, demo disk, and mall pretzel with cheese rather than save for six months and buy a game that I might not end up liking.
I recently found a bunch of my old Official Playstation Magazine demo disks. I've had emotions bouncing back and forth between, "I own most of the full versions of these games now and this could be the worst way to waste time" and "wow, this could be a really cool look into gaming history."
I had some time to waste, so I grabbed the first disk I saw in the binder, OPM No. 5, February 1998.
For those of you that don't know the format, OPM would send out a demo disk that generally had half playable demos and half teaser trailers with each of their magazines. This is an especially solid disk.
Resident Evil 2 (video)
The first thing I noticed was how terrible the compressed PS1 footage looked on an HD TV.
Second thing I noticed was that Capcom has had a hard-on for action oriented survival horror games since 1998. They might not have fully implemented that until Resident Evil 4, but this trailer shows no less than 6,000 gun shots.
Pandemonium 2 (Video)
Pandemonium was one of those games I always remember sitting front and center on the shelves for cheap. I always held it in my hand, read the back, looked at the pictures, and then set it back down. I could never figure out exactly what it was. I liked the colors, but that was about it.
I watched the 2 minute video with gameplay footage and I still don't know what it is. Anyone know if it were any good?
Tomb Raider 2 (Playable Demo)
All of my Tomb Raider instincts came back to me. I battled the tigers with the backwards strafe and fire (with the occasional roll) and the importance of walking when near edges. The one thing I forgot was how often my finger found R2 and I lit a flare. I burned through them all in the first minute or two.
I remember the demo. I played it over and over again doing speed runs, finding all the secrets, trying to do it without killing anything when I was a kid.
There were two things I noticed that were different from the final version.
Tigers seem to endlessly spawn in the opening area every 90 seconds or so. Also, there seemed to be more keys needed to open doors than I remember in the final version.
Crime Killer (Playable Demo)
I don't remember this game. I tried to find more information about it because it just seemed like a weird game. I found a 15 year old IGN review (3/5) and a Gamespot review (6.8/10) but nothing else on the game. It's some sort of take on car combat where you drive around police vehicles and shoot down enemy cars.
The demo itself was a mess. Textures were dropping, the cop car handled like a pinball machine, and there were hundreds of aircraft firing missiles and lasers onto these city streets, but not really hitting anything.
Command and Conquer: Red Alert (Playable Demo)
No! RTS games do not belong on a console. Just NO!
C&C has similar problems to Warcraft 2. Huge frame rate drops, terrible controls, and everything looks like a messy blob.
2 disks of fun and mouse support were bullet points on the splash screen. That should say a lot when two bullet points were hardware related.