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The best PC games for low spec systems

The best PC games for low spec systems

December 14, 2014 3:02 pm0 comments

Playing games on the PC has always been a great option, and one of my personal favorites, although the need to constantly upgrade your computer to be able to run the latest games became quite taxing as we continued playing.

Yes, I’m sure we’ve all been there at some point, and for that same reason we came up with a special edition where we’ve gathered the best PC games for low spec systems, so you can see the great number of gems available which you can play and give a second (or a even a third) chance to your older computers.

We’ll maintain a similar expositive structure of that we used in previous special editions, although unlike those, we’ll go further and search for titles that can be run in on any PC, even in those with more than 15 years on their backs.

Basic criteria to pick the best PC games for low spec systems.

What we’ve shown you in the introduction will give you an idea of what ground we’ll be covering, in case you have any doubt, we’ll clarify this in a simple way in this paragraph.

In this series of articles, we’ll pick older games, able to be run in a Pentium II with 32 MB-64 RAM, although you’ll also find games on the list that you’ll be able to play without any inconvenient in an ‘ancient’ Pentium I.

I know that for many people this type of games will seem rather uninteresting, but the truth is that most of them have aged really well, and they’ve got just the right amount of retro in terms of visual quality, although the best part is that their gameplay is still intact so far.

Having said that, we’ll start with the list that, mind you, is not ranked by importance, which means that the game on number 10 is as important as the game on number 1, and the other way around as well.

As always, I encourage you to leave your opinion in the comments, and why not, your suggestions with the tiles that, according to you, should be on the list.

8-Diablo 2 + Lord of Destruction Expansion

The first chapter was a tremendous game that got me hooked for months, but the second one was, hands down, a true revolution.

I remember that specialized media didn’t make it any justice in their reviews at the time it was presented, something that is evident after seeing that today, after 14 years, Diablo 2 still counts with an huge community of players and it still gets you hooked like the first time.

The expansion is an essential complement, because it adds numerous elements that complete a title in which making ‘Baal Runs’ or ‘clones’ for hours become a fun routine.

A game that you just can’t miss, especially if you like the action RPG genre in which it’s framed.

Minimum requirements:

  • Windows 95.
  • Pentium II 233 MHz.
  • 32 MB of RAM (64 MB RAM for online play).
  • 4 MB Graphics card with minimum resolution of 800 x 600.
  • HDD 950 MB.

7-Resident Evil 2

For me, it’s pretty clear: the second chapter of the well-known Capcom horror franchise represented an important step forward that allowed us to visit a pre-rendered Racoon City, the impressive details of which blew us away at the time.

Its graphic quality is undoubtable and truth is, it has aged pretty well thanks to the use of pre-rendered scenarios that, as we know, don’t use polygons, which removed the heavy burden of moving real 3D scenarios.

Two characters, Claire Redfield and Leon S. Kennedy, split among two discs with a story that could go both ways with small differences, puzzles, scares and an elaborated storyline and the possibility to unblock Hunk and Tofu are some of its many virtues.

If you haven’t played it, you should, and if you’ve done it already, it wouldn’t hurt to give it another go, it definitely deserves it.

Minimum requirements:

  • Windows 95.
  • Pentium 166 MHz (133 MHz graphics accelerator card with 4 MB)
  • 24 MB of RAM.
  • SVGA graphics card with 2MB.
  • 110 MB of HDD.

6-Heroes of Might and Magic 3

One of the best turn-based strategy games, thanks to its simple but highly addictive approach and the multiplayer mode that can be played on the same PC.

I had the opportunity to enjoy it in the company of other people, and days would go by before you could even get bored, this fact basically helped by its quick unfolding and simple gameplay without further complications, and the variety of castles and spells.

It’s evident that time has gone by and its pre-rendered graphics don’t have the impact they had back then, but since it doesn’t use polygonal graphics, the requirements are really low and it maintains a decent visual quality.

I’d recommend it without any doubt. It guarantees countless hours of uncomplicated fun and bomb-proof longevity.

Minimum requirements:

  • Windows 95.
  • Pentium II 133 MHz.
  • 32 MB of RAM (64 MB RAM for online play).
  • SVGA graphics card.
  • 425MB.of HDD

5-Final Fantasy VIII

One of the best parts of the saga, and also one of the best games in history.

This title introduced several graphic improvements in comparison to Final Fantasy VII, mostly noticeable on the permanent adult aspect of the characters, though the scenarios are still pre-rendered.

Concerning gameplay, it also present great changes compared to the previous chapter: they removed the matter system and the cards.

A unique game that resists the passing of time. If you haven’t played it yet, I encourage you all to do it, you won’t regret it.

Minimum requirements:

  • Windows 98.
  • Pentium 200 MHz.
  • 32 MB of RAM.
  • 8 MB 3D accelerator.
  • 400 MB of HDD.


Another undying classic whose mods were as huge as the enormously popular Counter Strike.

It was an authentic revolution and it’s still a great value nowadays, being much more than a simple FPS. Although, in terms of graphic quality, it hasn’t aged that well.

In spite of all, it’s still a highly recommendable gem. You shouldn’t let it get away.

Minimum requirements:

  • Windows 95.
  • Pentium 133 MHz.
  • 24 MB of RAM.
  • Graphics Accelerator Card 8 MB.
  • 400 MB of HDD.

3-Ultimate DOOM

I know many will criticize this pick. This game might not be more than a bunch of pixels in “2,5D”for new gamers but it marked a lot of us and it still represents what a first person action game should be.

Ultimate DOOM was a twist to the revolution that was the original DOOM, introducing a new episode to the initial three and flawlessly designed levels.

I can’t deny it, I’m a total sucker for the “industrial-apocalyptical-space-supernatural”mixture (yes, the whole shebang) to be found in the classic DOOM saga, and how it was resolved despite the technical limitations at the time.

Ultimate DOOM is still nowadays a fantastic experience, a difficult game with labyrynthical and non-linear levels. The atmosphere of the game is, thanks to the music and the sound effects, one of the best I’ve ever come across in a FPS.

Minimum requirements:

  • MS-DOS-Windows 95.
  • 386-33 MHz CPU.
  • 4 MB of RAM.
  • 20 MB of HDD.
  • VGA graphics card.

2-Starcraft + Expansion

A classic of real time strategy and undoubtedly one of the best of its kind, it earned its place of privilege within a much concurred genre.

Initially, I remember the game not being quite well balanced, and it wasn’t until a couple of updates later that Blizzard revealed its true potential.

As you may know, it also became one of the most popular games inside the world of electronic sports, causing a massive frenzy in countries like South Korea that would continue with its next chapter.

Personally, I think Starcraft 2 is a good game, but the original is simply unique, and just because of that, I believe you should give it a chance.

Minimum requirements:

  • Windows 95.
  • Pentium 133 MHz (works in less but will pedals).
  • 32 MB of RAM (idem, operates in 16 MB but too slow).
  • SVGA graphics card with 1 MB.
  • 80 MB of HDD.

1-Need for Speed III Hot Pursuit

Need for Speed II set the bar really high, thanks to its high graphic quality and its eye for detail, including complete descriptions of every sports car in the game and videos where we could see them in action.

All in all, the third chapter went a step beyond and introduced new elements that brought a unique touch to the franchise, like patrol cars and the limit of fines you could get before being arrested.

In my opinion, one of the best racing games of all time. Yes, its graphic quality has been widely overcome, but in its time it was a true revolution and it’s still fun to play nowadays.

I’d recommend it without any doubt, especially to those who prefer arcade racing games instead of the hardcore simulators.

Minimum requirements:

  • Windows 95.
  • Pentium 166 MHz (133 MHz with 3D card).
  • 16 MB of RAM.
  • SVGA graphics card.
  • 90 MB of HDD.

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