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Thread: Commodore Amiga

  1. #1

    Commodore Amiga

    Quote Originally Posted by Some Stupid Japanese Name
    Well, I'm very curious about the Amiga, so if you and Bvork wanna get into a discussion about it and some of the lesser known great games, I would pay attention!
    Here's a thread for people curious about the system, and for existing fans to discuss it. Here are some facts and rambling opinions:

    Introduced by Commodore in 1985, the Amiga was a line of 16-bit computers with a strong game development community. It was released at a time when their 8-bit Commodore 64 was only three years old and still popular but with rival companies making powerful new computers, it was important to get the system out to tackle the higher end market. Its primary competition was Atari's ST and Apple's IIgs. The latter never really took off but initially the ST was selling better than the Amiga.

    Many games in the '80s were released on both ST and Amiga. The ST was a bit weaker for graphics and lacked hardware scrolling so many of these games were developed at ST level and didn't use the Amiga's full abilities (although they were still impressive). It wasn't until the '90s that I think the Amiga would really shine in the games department. By then the ST was becoming less relevant and the Amiga was getting more exclusives.

    Similar to the jump from NES to SNES, or SMS to Genesis, the jump from C64 to Amiga was a big graphical improvement and many games were refinements of the previous system's concepts. However, I don't think the C64-Amiga situation parallels exactly with what happened with the consoles for these reasons:

    - The Amiga's heyday coincided with other awesome games systems with exclusive games: Genesis, TurboGrafx, SNES and DOS PC. The C64 was in a position in the mid '80s where owning just it would cover you very well. Consoles were dying in support and many of 1984's NA console games were on C64. I love the Atari 800 and Apple II but many of their best games were ported nicely to C64. And DOS PC wasn't really relevant for games yet. I am speaking specifically about the North American market, though. Japan obviously had good Famicom and MSX stuff that most of us couldn't get to yet and Europe had Spectrum and Amstrad games. So, my point is that even though the Amiga was an improvement over the C64 in some ways, I think the C64 was the more important system to own for its time.

    - Despite Commodore being an American company (although founded in Canada in their pre-computer days), and the C64 having sold well in NA, the Amiga wasn't very successful here. This resulted in the Amiga's game development scene being largely European while the C64 had more of a NA/EU mix. To be clear, a bunch of the Amiga's great games (LucasArts and Sierra adventures, Civilization, Dune II, Desert Strike, Prince of Persia, Ultima games, etc.) did originate from NA but these were straight ports mostly from PC and not originally made for Amiga. For space reasons, I won't list many ports from PC.

    Here are some of Amiga's quality games:

    Agony (Art and Magic/Psygnosis)
    This is one I admit I liked more for style over substance. It was decent for gameplay but the art, detail, and animation were incredible.

    Another World AKA Out of this World (Delphine Software/U.S. Gold/Interplay)
    I was amazed at the cinematic nature and surreal art style in this game. I had never seen or played anything quite like it. I was bummed that I didn't own an Amiga at the time but I ended up getting its first console port in 1992 (SNES) and it was a worthy conversion as were others. The Amiga version remained the best one visually until the PC Collector's Edition a few years ago. This game was also a big influence on one of Japan's few Amiga owner-turned game designers, Fumito Ueda, the main man at Team Ico.

    Apidya (Kaiko/Blue Byte)
    Although it took inspiration from Japanese games like Insector-X and Gradius in theme and power up system, this popular Amiga shooter was very European in look and feel. It has held up well over time.

    B.A.T. series (Computer's Dream/Esprit Software Programs/Ubi Soft)
    I preferred and put more time into the second game (also known as Koshan Conspiracy). It was a hard game to categorize as it felt like an open-ended adventure game but had RPG stats/battles, arcade-y minigames, and 3d flight areas. It was quite ambitious for a 1992 game. I think the ST version might have come first but the Amiga and PC versions were very similar.

    Banshee (Core Design)
    Similar to Capcom's 1942 series.

    BC Kid (Factor 5/Hudson Soft)
    Yes, that's Bonk's Adventure on Amiga. It was quite a good port, too (most Amiga ports of Japanese games were hideous bastardizations). I missed the turbo switch super spin, and it was a little odd pressing up to jump, but it retained most of the look and feel of the TG16 classic. It played a little faster than the original and had some nice colour touch ups although I didn't like the new soundtrack as much.

    Benefactor (Digital Illusions/Psygnosis)
    Nifty puzzle-platformer from the lead designer of Mirror's Edge.

    Cannon Fodder series (Sensible Software/Virgin Interactive)
    Kick ass action/strategy hybrid. It did manage to get console ports (even to the Jaguar) but the mouse control on Amiga was more intuitive.

    Captive series (Byte Engineers/Mindscape)
    A sci-fi RPG series, the first was from 1990 and the second (called Liberation) was from 1994.

    The Chaos Engine series (Bitmap Brothers/Renegade)

    Corporation (Dementia/Core Design)
    Following in the path of FPS/Adventure games before it like The Colony, this 1990 release incorporated RPG elements and helped pave the way for later games like System Shock and Deus Ex. A very downgraded port (also known as Cyber-Cop) appeared on Genesis.

    Crazy Cars series (Titus Software)
    This series didn't really get good until part 3. Crazy Cars III had both smooth motion and a great speed sensation.

    D/Generation (Abersoft/Mindscape)
    I have mentioned this game a few times before. After ninjas, cyberpunk was probably my favourite theme back then so I was drawn to this. It blended genres really well (action, stealth, puzzles). The PC and ST versions might have been made first (I don't know) but the Amiga and CD32 got versions with enhanced graphics a few years later.

    Disposable Hero (Euphoria/Gremlin)
    Nothing groundbreaking here but a solid, nice looking shooter.

    Dreamweb (Creative Reality/Empire Interactive)
    Dark, demented, and quite gory for its time. Opinions remain polarized on this adventure game. Some hate how it lets you pick up tons of objects you will never use but that never bothered me as the puzzles were logical enough. I played this way late (it was the very similar DOS version, though) and really enjoyed it. Maybe this will drag dakidski back here as he's a fan.

    Extase (Cryo/Virgin Games)
    bVork has described this in the past much better than I can.

    Flashback (Delphine Software/U.S. Gold)
    Man, I loved this game. I figure most of you have played a console port of it if not the Amiga original. The Genesis version was the first one I played and owned.

    Future Wars: Time Travellers (Delphine Software/Palace Software)
    A couple years before Out of this World, Eric Chahi did the graphics for this, one of better sci-fi graphic adventures of the '80s and still worth playing. The PC version was pretty close in quality but I think the Amiga one looked a tad nicer.

    Gloom series (Black Magic/Guildhall)
    None of the Amiga's attempts at copying Doom could match id's masterpiece but Gloom was a quality corridor series in its own right.

    Hired Guns (DMA Design/Psygnosis)
    This 1993 RPG was ahead of its time with its four-player simultaneous split-screen 3d design.

    Hunter (Activision)
    Like Mercenary before it, this was step towards modern GTA-style sandbox gaming with its 3d environment, ability to grab and use various vehicles, and freedom to choose missions. Games like this are an example of Amiga culture living on in future game eras despite the mainstream seeming to forget most stuff not on Nintendo systems.

    Lemmings series (DMA Design/Psygnosis)
    I hope no one missed out this breakthrough puzzle game as it was ported to nearly everything.

    Lionheart (Thalion)

    Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge series (Magnetic Fields/Gremlin)
    The first game came out in 1990 and it was so much smoother than any racing game you could get on console.

    No Second Prize (Thalion)

    A port of Mitchell's arcade game AKA Buster Bros.

  2. #2
    Perihelion: The Prophecy (Morbid Visions/Psygnosis)
    One of more overlooked RPGs of the early '90s. It was scarce for enemy encounters but it nailed the bleak cyberpunk vibe with cool computer hacking stuff. It also had an Elder Scrolls-like levelling system where skills upgraded through usage.

    As many people probably know, this god sim was the game that put Peter Molyneux on the map long before his hype/promises for Fable backfired on him.

    Pushover (Red Rat Software/Ocean)

    Putty series (System 3)

    Quik the Thunder Rabbit (Stywox/Titus Software)
    I didn't pay much attention to this in '94 as the industry was saturated with these kind of platform games but going back years later when I was no longer sick of them I found it pretty cool.

    Qwak (Team 17)
    A remake of an older BBC Micro game. The Bubble Bobble influence is obvious but this could hold its own as a great single-screen platformer. It was later ported to PC and Mac but I think some of the charm was lost there.

    Reunion (Amnesty Design/Grandslam)

    Rod-Land (The Sales Curve/Storm)
    Oddly, Jaleco's arcade game Rodland never got a 16-bit console port (it was available for NES, though) but there were several Western computer versions, the Amiga one being the most faithful. It wasn't the greatest single-screen platformer but I always thought it had some charm to it.

    Ruff 'n' Tumble (Wunderkind/Renegade)
    I really hated the Dennis the Menace-looking main character but other than that, this was an impressive run 'n gun game.

    Samurai (Vivid Image/Image Works/Psygnosis)
    The "Samurai" series consisted of First Samurai and Second Samurai, the latter also had a Mega Drive game but it was quite a but different. I was a fan of the second Amiga game, a hack 'n slash platformer with an option for two-player simultaneous play.

    The Settlers (Blue Byte)
    One of most revered strategy games on the system. The series originated on Amiga but given the decline of the Amiga market by the mid '90s, its sequels were on PC.

    Shadow of the Beast series (Reflections/Pygnosis)
    My jaw dropped when saw the first game back in '89. It was the most graphically impressive home game I had seen, especially in motion with all the layers of scrolling. SotB 1 and 2 were good action-adventures but I feel SotB3 is the one that holds up best. Normally a series becoming easier and more linear is a red flag but I think in this case having a less frustrating game was an improvement.

    Skidmarks series (Acid Software)

    Slam Tilt (Liquid Dezign/21st Century Entertainment)

    Speedball series (Bitmap Brothers/Image Works)
    I'm not hardcore into sports games (and I was mostly playing Genesis ones like NHL Hockey and Tommy Lasorda Baseball in the early '90s) which is why I didn't cover many in this post but this series stood out for me. It was futuristic handball with RPG-style customization.

    Super Hang-On (Software Studios/Electric Dreams)
    The Amiga had a shitty track record with ports of Sega games (see Wonder Boy in Monster Land diaper fiasco) but this turned out well. It wasn't arcade-perfect but it was great for a home racer in the late '80s.

    One odd thing I found about Amiga fanboys is that they often suffered from Sonic envy. They would tell you that many of the Amiga's mascot platformers were superior to Sonic The Hedgehog when any sane person could tell they weren't. Superfrog was one they would often champion. It actually was quite a good platformer taking some influence from Sonic's speed and level design but ultimately still being a very European experience.

    Toki (Ocean)
    A port of TAD Corp.'s only hit arcade game. Back then I was pretty disappointed with the console renditions of Toki (NES, Genesis). The Lynx version was great but if you wanted to get close to the arcade experience in terms of design, quality, and screen size, the Amiga and ST versions were the best routes to go.

    Turrican series (Factor 5/Rainbow Arts)
    You can't go wrong with any of the three Turrican games on Amiga. Part 2 is probably my favourite. It was a refinement of the first game's formula and more exploratory than T3 and the console games.

    Weird ass action/shooter.

    Walker (DMA Design/Psygnosis)

    Wiz Kid (Sensible Software/Ocean)
    I thought Wizball was odd but this sequel's even moreso. I'm not sure I could describe it briefly (much of the game involves smacking objects into enemies in weird environments) so here's the wiki

    So that's around 50 of the games/series' on the system, and there are many more cool games I left out and I'm sure there are some I forgot. It's a system with a strong and influential history for games even though Commodore itself went bankrupt not long after attempting a console version of the system with the CD32 in 1993. Not that many Amiga games have had sequels in recent years (there has been the occasional downloadable like the new Super Stardust and Alien Breed). Sony's purchase of Psygnosis means they're sitting on a nice chunk of Amiga franchises.

    Let's discuss the Commodore Amiga, its games, and anything else related to the topic. If you're interested in trying out the games I recommend the emulator WinUAE. is a great source of info and pics, and the game archives (google it) has lots of games to download.

  3. Needs Defender of the Crown for Amiga. Loved that game so much!
    6-6-98 - 6-6-18 Happy 20th Anniversary TNL

  4. Great thread, really interesting to see what was going on outside of my video game world at the time (see: stricktly Nintendo). Seeing OoTW and Flashback brought some memories, and a lot of those other games look really fun. Kinda wish I could find an Amiga now.

  5. The Amiga was a bad ass little machine in its day.

    Jump about to about 2 minutes or so in.
    Where I play
    Quote Originally Posted by Dolemite
    I've changed my mind about Korian. Anyone that can piss off so many people so easily is awesome. You people are suckers, playing right into his evil yellow hands.

  6. #6
    I think you have to spell "favorite" incorrectly to truly get European game design. I admittedly love Lemmings (it was even my first PS3 game), but almost everything else on that list that I have played (roughly half of it) I couldn't get into. I couldn't stand the Prince of Persia-style (or lack thereof) of Out of this World and Flashback whenever it was that I last played them, for example.

    Oddly enough, Shadow of the Beast was probably the original Amiga game that I spent the most time with. I had it on both Genesis and Lynx. I beat my head against that wall far longer than I should have, because I loved the world Psygnosis created and the parallax was amazing. I even somehow thought of Metallica's "The Unforgiven" as a theme song of Shadow of the Beast, due to the similar stories.

    Perhaps I should give series like Turrican another go now that I (perhaps) have outgrown trying to compare them directly to Contra. I think some of them are on VC.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Yoshi View Post
    I think you have to spell "favorite" incorrectly to truly get European game design.
    You seem to like them in 3d. Tomb Raider and GTA are as Euro as they come.

    *edit - aren't you a big fan of Ecco, too? That's probably the most Euro-Amiga-like game to appear on another system.

  8. You missed Starglider and Starglider 2!

    Starglider was an amazing pseudo-vector-based 1st person space shooter, heavily inspired by the Star Wars arcade game. It was more famous on the Atari ST but the Amiga had an excellent version as well. Starglider 2 was polygon-based and featured a really cool open world component (another precursor to GTA). Argonaut Software later went on to develop the early Starfox games, of course.

    I always wanted to play Midwinter, another open world-style Rainbird release.
    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure it is always right. -Learned Hand

    "Jesus christ you are still THE WORST." -FirstBlood

  9. #9
    NeoZeedeater nailed most of the great games on the system, but here are a few more that I think are worthy of mention:

    Alien Breed
    Top-down shooters that blend Gauntlet-style gameplay with an Alien-inspired setting. My favourite of the series is Tower Assault, which has some non-linear exploration elements and a lot of subtle control tweaks that make it play better than the previous games in the series.

    Battle Squadron
    A Toaplan-inspired vertical shmup. It's a little weird to have to do a 360 motion to use a superweapon, but you get used to it eventually. Its predecessor, Hybris, is kind of fun too but is not very easy on the eyes.

    Captain Blood
    Drink the blood of your five clones to survive! The Atari ST original is slightly better (the Bluddian speech is actually speech and not just random sounds), but this game still holds up quite nicely on the Amiga. What appears at first glance to be an Elite-style space sim turns out to be a weird adventure game focused on figuring out how to convince the aliens to help you find the clones, and then convincing the clones to come along peacefully.

    A Taito-inspired puzzle game from the same developers that did Apidya. The idea is to match your side of the screen with what is shown in the second screen. Not as easy as it looks.

    Metal Law
    This budget game is very much like ESWAT. It's not quite as good as Sega's arcade game, but the art style is pretty neat and I think the game actually holds up a little better than the Genesis version of ESWAT.

    Moonstone: A Hard Days Knight
    I don't know how NZE missed this. It's one of the best games on the Amiga. It's a hybrid of a beat-em-up and a boardgame, and best played with a bunch of players. You have to explore the land, gathering items and equipment, in order to locate the four keys and then the titular moonstone. Being accosted by monsters or other players results in fantastically brutal IK+-style beat-em-up combat.

    PP Hammer and His Pneumatic Weapon
    This game takes the basic idea of Lode Runner and uses it in a less arcadey and more exploration-based platformer. Simple but fun.

    R-Type II
    This is another exception to the "arcade ports are shit on Amiga" rule. In fact, until the appearance of R-Type II on the PSX compilation, this was the single best home port of the game. It's this close to being arcade perfect.

    Uridium 2
    I actually enjoy this blinding fast dual-scrolling shooter a great deal more than the C64 original. It takes everything I liked about the original and adds more weapons, far better presentation, and a more interesting "core" section.
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by NeoZeedeater View Post
    You seem to like them in 3d. Tomb Raider and GTA are as Euro as they come.
    Yes, that irony is not lost on me. Tomb Raider is essentially PoP in 3D in fact.
    *edit - aren't you a big fan of Ecco, too? That's probably the most Euro-Amiga-like game to appear on another system.
    Yep. I think theme has a much larger impact on what I like and don't than your average gamer. Injecting PoP with Indiana Jones is like hiding medicine in a piece of meat and feeding it to a lion. The same goes for Ecco. I could play underwater and outer space games all day.

    Perhaps I need a guide in the "if you like..." thread that converts Japanese series to European games so I can try the ones I have a better chance of liking.
    Last edited by Yoshi; 23 Jan 2010 at 05:09 PM.


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