The Treasury - Strategy Guides and Hint Books
My collection of official and unofficial guides and hint books for various games.
This page is no longer maintained and even when it was active, had become badly outdated. Take everything said here with a grain of salt.
|Awesome Sega Genesis Secrets
Sandwich Islands Publishing hint book by J. Douglas Arnold. 249 black & white pages with liberal use of screenshots, also includes maps for the Shining in the Darkness section. This is a general-purpose guide that covers a variety of Sega Genesis games, offering hints and walkthroughs, passwords, cheats, and other tips. Also briefly describes the games so it has some usefulness in finding new games you might want to try, as well. I only own a couple of the games covered, but from what I can tell, this guide is quality material; 1991's version of looking up FAQs online, if you will. Rather amusing in retrospect is the introduction text's enthusiastic thoughts on the future of the Sega CD add-on.
|Awesome Sega Genesis Secrets II
Sandwich Islands Publishing hint book by J. Douglas Arnold. 273 black & white pages with liberal use of screenshots. This continues where the first book left off with another selection of Sega Genesis games. A small number of games from the first book are also revisited, but only to offer additional codes and hints, not to rehash the previous volume.
|Prima's 3D Action Gamer's Bible
Prima strategy guide by Michael van Mantgem and Kip Ward. 323 black & white pages without filler illustrations. This guide covers the six big names of the FPS genre in the mid-90s: Doom, Doom II, Heretic, Hexen, Duke Nukem 3D and Quake. There's also an introductory section with tips on playing FPS games in general, a small additional cheats section that offers nods to Dark Forces, MechWarrior 2, Magic Carpet, Fury 3 and Wolfenstein 3D, and an introduction to editing with DETH for Doom-engine games and BUILD for Duke Nukem 3D. For each of the major games covered, you'll find descriptions of the weapons, items, and enemies, a text walkthrough of each level, and a final short section with some thoughts and map suggestions for deathmatch play. It's worth noting that the Doom walkthrough includes The Ultimate Doom / Thy Flesh Consumed, the Heretic walkthrough includes Shadow of the Serpent Riders, and the Hexen walkthrough includes Deathkings of the Dark Citadel. The Duke3D and Quake sections, however, do not cover the expanded versions. Aside from the expansion pack coverage for some games, you generally won't get as much out of this book for any individual game as you would from a guide specific for that game, but as an all-in-one reference it's not bad.
|CyClones Clue Book
SSI's official clue book for CyClones, by Eric C. Biessman et al. 75 black & white pages. Includes some info (but not exact stats) on all creatures and items in the game, as well as detailed maps with advice for every mission. Nothing grandiose, but to the point and handy.
|Disciples: Sacred Lands - The Official Strategy Guide from Mars
Mars Publishing strategy guide for Disciples: Sacred Lands by Mark H. Walker. 191 black & white pages with some filler illustrations throughout. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed by this one; the guide is geared towards the beginner, and has decent tips for getting started, but won't offer so much to someone looking for a deeper mastery of the game. There are also a few typos and other obvious errors that weren't caught. It does have an ok walkthrough for the sagas, albeit geared towards playing on easy difficulty, and a guide to the individual quests as well (as usual, only those included in the initial release, not the gold edition.) There is also a table of all the units and their stats, which is nice, but if you have the GOG edition of the game, this information was rolled into the manual.
|Heretic: The Official Strategy Guide
Prima strategy guide for Heretic by Ed Dille. This is a big strategy guide, 245 black & white pages with plenty of text and not as many filler illustrations as some guides have. There are some strange stylistic quirks in the writing, including frequent shifts between "you" and "thou" forms of address. Perhaps most annoyingly, the "thou" form is used throughout the walkthrough, making it more difficult to read than a walkthrough ought to be. It does, however, include useful maps for every level, though only the original three episodes are covered, not the Shadow of the Serpent Riders expansions. Aside from the style oddities, and erroneous claims such as that Undead Warrior's axes can be shot down in mid-flight or that the effect of the Morph Ovum depends on what weapon you're wielding, the guide contains a lot of interesting information, including a surprisingly detailed section dedicated to co-op tactics.
|Hexen: The Official Strategy Guide
Prima strategy guide for Hexen by Joe Grant Bell. 138 full-color pages. This guide has a lot of useful information on the characters, items, and creatures, and the walkthrough is in-depth with clearly-labeled maps. Interestingly, the guide depicts the golden version of the Wraithverge pickup, which was changed to grey before the game was released. Also interesting is the appendix, which includes some web links. Some of the sites are of course defunct but you can still get Arne's page off of archive.org. In all, this book is worth having if you want a good walkthrough on hand to guide you through the more cryptic portions of the game.
|Totally Unauthorized Hexen Strategy Guide
Brady Games strategy guide for Hexen by Craig Wessel. This book is geared towards the console versions of the game, but aside from a few specifics like cheat codes, nearly everything in it applies to the PC version as well. 111 glossy full-color pages. Maps are included for every level, though the walkthrough is more terse than that in the official guide. Aside from the console cheat codes and perhaps a few differences of opinion on character preference and tactics, there isn't much here that isn't also covered in the official guide, but it's still informative and handy.
|Hexen II Official Strategies & Secrets
Sybex strategy guide for Hexen II by Brett Skogen. 294 black & white pages and rather heavy on screenshots. There is a detailed walkthrough but only the occasional map. There's also plenty of other juicy data in the book. One of my favorite goodies is a brief interview with Eric Biessman on the making of the game; I always find these kinds of behind-the-scenes looks at game development interesting. Overall a worthwhile guide.
|Prima's Hexen II Unofficial Game Secrets
Prima strategy guide for Hexen II by Steve Honeywell. 340 black & white pages, but lots of filler; nearly every page has a large clip art of a pile of skulls taking up the top space. The main advantage of this book over the official guide is its inclusion of maps for every level. Aside from this, I find it somewhat suspect, for instance it claims that "fallen angels will ignore you completely if you ignore them" which is totally false, so take its advice with a grain of salt. If you're a collector or feel the need for the detailed maps, go for it, otherwise stick with the official guide.
|Doom II: The Official Strategy Guide
Prima strategy guide for Doom II by Ed Dille. 217 black & white pages, with minimal filler. Like Dille's Heretic guide, a lot of the information is written in an "in character" sort of style, but the drill sergreant banter in this guide is a lot more tolerable. In addition to the expected basics regarding items, enemies, and so forth, there's a surprisingly detailed section regarding co-op tactics. The walkthrough section is verbose, with labeled maps for every level in the game. There's also an interview with John Romero which makes for interesting reading.
|Quake Authorized Strategy Guide
Brady Games strategy guide for Quake. 167 black & white pages, with minimal filler. Covers the weapon/enemy/item basics as well as detailed sections on the console commands and multiplayer. I learned a few commands from this that I hadn't been aware of before. The instructions in the walkthrough section are fairly terse, but effective, and accompanied by decent maps that have key points labeled and take a multiple-layer approach to dealing with 3D level designs. There are also appendices with troubleshooting info and a plethora of web links (as usual, links this ancient are best explored with the Wayback Machine in most cases). Overall a good-quality guide.
To do list:
- Hexen II Authorized Strategy Guide - Craig Wessel - Brady Games
- Master of Orion: The Official Strategy Guide - Alan Emrich & Tom E. Hughes Jr. - Prima
- Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares: The Official Strategy Guide - John Posidente & Dave Ellis - Prima
- The Ace's Guide: Star Reach and Master of Orion - Shay Addams - Clue Books Express
- Age of Wonders: The Official Strategy Guide - The Stratos Group - Mars Publishing
- Lords of Magic: Prima's Official Strategy Guide - Joe Grant Bell - Prima
- Diablo: The Official Strategy Guide - John K. Waters - Prima
- Heretic II: The Only Official Strategy Guide - Brady Games
- Hank Leukart's Hacker's Guide to Doom - Hank Leukart - MIS:Press
- Unofficial Quake Level Design Handbook - Matt Tagliaferri - Sybex
- Awesome Sega Genesis Secrets 4 - Zach Meston & J. Douglas Arnold - Sandwich Islands Publishing
- Many others... as I said before this page is currently outdated.