The Best Free / Open Source Games For Windows, Linux And Mac (Part 1)
As part of some light relief from all the recent software releases welcome to the first part of an ongoing series reviewing free or open source games for the Windows, Linux and Mac platforms.
This regular series of articles will aim to introduce you to the best games available with an emphasis on the game still being actively developed (where possible) and an active community for help and support if it is required.
As an occasional gamer myself the intention is to not only appeal to the more hard core gamer but also introduce quality free games to people who may only pick up and play a game a few times a month.
Secret Maryo Chronicles (SMC)
The Secret Maryo Chronicles is a 3rd party classic left-right scrolling platform game developed using operating system independent tools so it is available for the Windows, Linux and Mac. The project was conceived on 1 March 2003 and has been actively updated since resulting in an highly polished and near professional experience. A variety of associated Download links can be found in the Related Links section at the end of this article.
- Processor: 500 MHz
- Video Card: 64 MB OpenGL Compatible 3D Accelerated Graphics Card
- RAM: 256MB
- 800x600 Screen Resolution
- 16 Bit Colour Display
- Keyboard + Mouse
- Processor: 1 GHz
- Video Card: 128 MB OpenGL Compatible 3D Accelerated Graphics Card
- RAM: 512MB
- Sound Card
- 1024x768 Screen Resolution
- 24 Bit True Colour Display
Using an Athlon XP 2600+, 4GB RAM and NVIDIA GeForce 6200 graphics card running Windows 2000 I downloaded the base Windows package (~55MB) and Music Addon (~35MB) and installed them both in the usual way. Installation went smoothly and resulted in several shortcut icons being added to my Start - Programs - Secret Maryo Chronicles group.
There are download versions able for other operating systems including Linux (multiple distributions) and Mac.
There is an option to display controls from the setup application or via a link where the shortcuts are installed. Control types supported include keyboard and joystick. For the purpose of this review the keyboard control type was used.
As soon as the game starts it reminds you of the 80's and 90's classic scrolling game genre and no doubt Super Mario World has had some influence (probably no surprises there) and the graphics are just as cute but more polished and hi-res after all it is the 21st Century now.
The backgrounds include multiple levels of parallax scrolling which give a good effect of movement and reminds me of my many days sitting in front of a Commodore 64 and Amiga. For an open source game the sound effects and music were are pleasant surprise and sounded like a professional had composed them.
The game is not very forgiving with accurate collision detection (but that is probably no bad thing). You can take several approaches to playing the game from wanting to collect every star available and eliminating every enemy to just quickly jumping through the level avoiding the enemy and traps. In the early stages until you get more proficient with the control mechanisms I suggest trying not to dwell too much on collecting every star. There are several bonus items on each level and when required a small help message will appear giving you hints and tips. You can save part way through a level but to stop you saving all the time (and therefore cheating) it will cost 3000 stars.
If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions for games to feature in the future please contact us via the usual methods.