Ho Ho Ho it’s nearly that time of year when we all pretend to like one another, handing out crudely wrapped crap and maybe a card if you could be bothered, lots of drinking and then eating a Christmas meal where everyone pretends to like turkey and Brussels sprouts. Really a meal consisting nothing but pigs in blankets would be ideal.
Apparently a survey recently published shows evidence that kids nowadays aren’t interested in wanting new games for Christmas but instead in game currency for whatever live service titles they’re playing. Its not totally clear whether this only applies to physical games or digital as well, but it’s scary to think that new games are taking a back seat to those that are designed to fleas your wallet as much as possible over as long a time as possible.
So with all that said, we should look at great games from yesteryear. So I’m starting with the games of the Amiga. Back in 1992, the main Christmas present I received was the Amiga 600 complete with Deluxe Paint III and three games. What an awesome bundle.
One of the games that came bundled with my Amiga 600 was Pushover. A great little puzzle game that was published no doubt by a great company with a huge amount of quality titles under their belt… Oh for fuck sake it’s Ocean Software.
In this game, which I must warn was sponsored by Quavers crisps which I have no endorsement from. Though I will be eating these amazing large packs of Quavers both cheese and prawn cocktail flavoured while I write about this particular game. Available at all great local shops and probably supermarkets.
Portraying the role of some random but also incredibly intelligent ant, you find yourself jumping down a forking massive ant hill to retrieve a bag of Quavers. No, I have no idea how any of this makes sense either. Excuse me, I’m opening another glorious bag of Quavers.
There’s 99 levels in this puzzle game. The gameplay loop is real simple. For whatever reason, the ant must knock down all the dominoes in the level within the time limit which magically opens the exit. Different dominoes can perform random actions such as blowing up, floating upwards or splitting in two. Now, who or what set up all these levels and why isn’t something that is ever explained. Probably best not to ask too many questions.
Don’t worry if you screw up as the level won’t end if the timer runs out. You can just continue to try solving the puzzle. And if it fails, just walk off the edge of the platform and plummet to your death. Without lives, you can just keep retrying until you finally succeed.
Did you know that war has never been so much fun? That’s what the intro song to Cannon Fodder says and has no problem telling you to murder your own brother with a gun. This song is, as far as I’m aware not on either PC or console versions of the game which is kinda telling with regards to the awesomeness of the Amiga line of micro computers.
Cannon Fodder is a great top down shoot em up in which you must guide your small platoon through numerous jungles, snow levels etc killing all the enemies with your guns and sometimes blowing up buildings. It shows the humorous side to killing random unknown people in uniform. And the music only helps advance this feeling.
There are 72 levels in total, each obviously getting harder and harder. Although losing troops isn’t the end of the world, it’s best to keep them alive as long as you can. Winning each level sees the remaining troops promoted through the ranks which helps with their fire power which will greatly help in later levels where the enemy will themselves be better. There aren’t unlimited backup soldiers should all yours die in any given mission so be careful. Although new recruits come after completing each level, they can quickly disappear if you keep getting them killed.
Who doesn’t love the Monkey Island games? The first two are incredible and are amongst my favourite games. Luckily the first two are also on the Amiga so I played both back in the early 90s. Unfortunately they were published by US Gold and just like everything they were involved in, they never took advantage of the Amiga 1200 improved graphics chip so the second game doesn’t look as great as the PC version. But it’s still an amazing game.
Developed by LucasArt, both Monkey Island games are point and click adventures with lots of humour. Created using the in house engine SCUMM, it built upon what had been used in previous adventure games from the developer such as Maniac Mansion and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The whole idea behind such games was to outdo Sierra where dying was often easy to do and impossible to predict. Because apparently that’s how you engross people into wanting to keep playing your games. I’m amazed Ocean Software didn’t crap out similar games. Seems like the shady ideas they’d love. I know, I have this thing about trashing Ocean Software, but it’s both fun to do and well deserved.
I won’t bore you with the details about the characters or the plots because everyone knows all that. So instead let me just say, I’m totally surprised a shockingly shit publisher such as US Gold actually went ahead and not only got the rights to release this but also didn’t somehow bollocks it up in the process.
Flashback is always going to be on a list I create about great games for any platform it was released on. I think first time I played this game was on a demo disk with one of the Amiga magazines. Can’t remember how long it was, but it would have been first level I imagine. Pretty sure they used the jungle level as background for the demo disk label. I know the first time I actually played the full game was also on the Amiga. And let me tell you, although it misses some music during cutscenes where you pick up items, it does have the much better title screen background. It’s basically box art. Why the other versions don’t use this is beyond me. I blame the publisher, whom I’m sure is a reputable high quality… oh it’s US Gold. Never mind.
There aren’t many levels in Flashback. In fact there’s only five. Short games were pretty commonplace during the early 1990s, remember this was designed to fit on a Sega Mega Drive cartridge. If it had been developed for the Amiga instead of being a port, obviously there’s no limit to how many disks could be used and thus the game could have been one hundred levels long and no one would ever have seen the end.
Flashback is an action platformer set across multiple worlds and is very similar to style as Prince of Persia and Another World, the latter being also developed by Delphine Software International. The player takes on the role of protagonist Conrad in some futuristic year. Throughout the game, Conrad undertakes missions to save up money to purchase either equipment or tickets that will allow himself to get to another world or game show. I won’t say the exact storyline or what the end purpose is, but not like it’s a super in depth game.
Yes I know for many, The Settlers isn’t the best game in the series but at least it’s better than the latest instalment. It is however the only game that made it onto the Amiga and it’s not a bad, it’s just not as good as the sequel. Or so I’m told. To be honest I haven’t played The Settlers 2 in a very long time but I’ve played the first more recently and a lot more so I know it better.
The Settlers does have an awesome cartoon intro with great music to go along with it. As a whole The Settlers is a very cartoony game which is great because it adds a lot of charm to what is basically a real-time strategy city builder. So you are kinda like a God. A giant hand that seems to hover over the world creating paths, choosing where to build or send your people into battle. Everything in this game needs resources. But resources aren’t infinite. Trees need planting, crops needs planting, stone needs breaking up and collecting etc.
Yes the basic premise throughout all the levels is grow your city and destroy the enemy. It’s that simple. The sequel obviously has a lot more to it but again that’s not on the Amiga so this is the one I’m talking about.