Eric’s Collecting Adventures: Multilevel Shareware eBay Haul

August 1st, 2006 by TheGameCollector

Eric's Shareware Haul[ Eric Lambert is the owner of an impressively large collection of PC software. I’m happy to welcome him to VC&G with his first contribution. — RW ]

Imagine my delight this week when a job lot of vintage games I won on eBay came with seven — count ’em, s-e-v-e-n — Softkey Titanium Seal shareware games still in their original packaging. Such forgettable classics as VGA Slots and Stellar Defense II and… hold on a sec, what’s this? Wolfenstein 3-D? The great-granddaddy of the FPS? Sure enough, my eyes did not deceive me, Wolfenstein 3D Shareware, complete with the laughably generic subtitle “Escape from Multilevel Castle Maze.” Reading the description on the back of the package, I try to remember that when this was hanging on a hook at Babbage’s, people probably had no idea what to expect from it. The genre was, for the most part, still in its infancy, and the technology was cutting-edge. The warning at the end is classic: “This game is not for the faint of heart.” I wonder if the guy who wrote that copy ever went on to play Carmageddon, Postal, or GTA 3.

Eric's Shareware HaulNow look at all the hit games also available from Titanium Seal. There’s…um…I guess Duke Nukem II kind of led into Duke Nukem 3D and the whole Quake revolution in shooters, but really, Wolfenstein was the big hit of the bunch, propelling id Software into its Doom phase. How many of the folks at SoftKey do you suppose gave Wolfenstein a second glance at the time? How many people involved in its publication had any idea of the impact it would have on gaming? How many careers do you think that one title launched? More than enough to make up for all the lost bets on the other titles? I remember playing some of them, and they were great games, but they never took off like Wolfenstein did. This Multilevel Castle Maze did what nobody really could have predicted — it revolutionized not only the way we play games, but the industry as a whole. It opened up new technologies, new styles of play, and a whole new level of marketing, an influence we can see in the online distribution models (like Steam) that are currently increasing in popularity.

And all for $5.99 (US). What a bargain!

15 Responses to “Eric’s Collecting Adventures: Multilevel Shareware eBay Haul”

  1. Adam Vandenberg Says:

    Raptor, that one had a following, at least at college.
    Zone 66, wasn’t that a shooter written by demo coders? I could never, ever get that thing to work on my machine.

  2. gnome Says:

    Raptor had distinctly impressive graphics. Also distinct was my computers incompetence in running the bloody thing.

    Brilliant article. Welcome!

  3. Eric Says:

    Thanks, gnome. It’s good to be here.

    Glad you enjoyed the article. Keep an eye out for some more cool stuff in the near future.

  4. MegaKitsune Says:

    I know a place to get it for free. 😛

  5. nixon Says:


    You have it correct. Zone 66 was programmed by the demo group Renaissance. Doing a quick looksie, the lead programmer went on to 3D Realms and worked on Prey, and is now over at PayPal.

    Some of the music was done by the great C.C. Catch who was one of the great MOD musicians of the early 90’s demo scene. He also happened to do the music for One Must Fall 2097.

  6. RedWolf Says:

    I, for one, love Halloween Harry. But I’ve never heard of Xargon I. Anybody know what that game is like?

  7. Eric Says:

    Why yes, yes I do.

    “You have discovered an ancient civilization deep in the jungles of Madagascar. Transported through time, you must explore the magical, mystical world of Xargon.

    It’s a game of intense arcade action and bold exploration. You control the hero, Melvineous, on his exploration through a strange land populated by bizarre creatures.

    Ten vividly illustrated levels of action for you to explore, packed with animated enemies, stunning music and digital sound effects.”

    So says the packaging, anyway. Screenshots look like it was in the style of the old Commander Keen/Duke Nukem side-scrollers.

    Oddly enough, I actually have a full version of Xargon 2.

  8. RedWolf Says:

    Awesome. Now that you mention it, Eric, it does sound familiar. I wouldn’t be surprised if I downloaded off a BBS and played it at least once back in the day.

  9. dave davis Says:

    I have all the old Redneck R

  10. dave davis Says:

    Rampage Games anyone interested
    Can you up load them an play them on this website?

  11. dave davis Says:

    They are still cool games to play

  12. Eric Says:


    Aside from the whole copyright issue (I believe Interplay still holds the rights), RR was built on the same engine as Duke Nukem 3D — the Build engine. Build ran best under DOS and 95, could be persuaded to run without much trouble under 98, and causes headaches on anything newer. It’s not impossible to get these games to run under XP, but I believe getting them to run through a browser would be.

    If you’re just talking about uploading the files so anybody who wants to can download them, Interplay might have somethings to say about that. A couple of years ago, people started passing around copies of DN3D as abandonware, and Interplay went the whole cease-and-desist route.

    I agree that they were cool games, but I think RNR and Shadow Warrior unfortunately suffered from ‘me-too-ism’ — everybody loved DN3D, and Interplay introduced these others, they looked more like copies than unique games.

  13. RedWolf Says:

    Eric, you missed the best Build game of all — Blood! It’s probably tied with Castlevania: SOTN as my favorite game of all time. I’m planning on doing a feature on it eventually.

  14. Eric Says:

    Now that you mention it, I remember Blood. More specifically, I remember playing the demo of it on a PC Gamer CD. Never did find a copy of it, though.

    At least, not yet.

  15. MegaKitsune Says: