This article was alot more difficult than I initially imagined, scouring the depths of my booze addled and time ravaged mind isn’t as easy as it used to be.
In the end I think the effort was warranted. Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I’m a big fan of the Amiga (I currently have four of them in the ‘game room’) and stuck with the format long after all you traitors jumped ship and got your PlayStations, Saturns and PCs.
The winter of the Amiga’s years wasn’t all doom and gloom, those of us who stuck by the old girl were handsomely rewarded with some of the finest games which not only have you probably naver played but may not even have heard of (if you have then feel free to pat yourself on the back).
Although some of these are now freely (and legally) available, others are difficult to track down, you won’t find them on emulation sites, eBay may be your best bet.
Uropa 2 – 1997
The first game in the list was developed by Aussie devs Austex Software and published by a firm in the UK called Vulcan Software (although it was originally shareware). Several of the titles in this list are Vulcan published titles. The reason for this is simple, Vulcan once wrote and published their own games (such as the Valhalla series) but during the dying years of the Amiga they continued to offer support to the diminishing community by publishing many third party titles for the system.
This turned out to be good for the Amiga but bad for Vulcan themselves, when they finally decided to start producing titles for the PC they found themselves lagging behind their competition technically and have been unable to regain any momentum since. They are technically still around but they are currently only distributing PC versions of their Amiga titles over at www.vulcan.co.uk and www.amiga.com.
But I digress, Uropa 2 is not actually a sequel to anything. It’s named after it’s setting, on one of the moons of Jupiter. The game is a mish-mash of styles, the bulk of the game is a beautifully drawn, isometric viewpoint adventure game which is interspersed with 3D driving/flying sections.
Your task is to quell an uprising of evil droids on a distant outpost by directing your infiltration droid to free hostges and take out the rebellious enemies. Along the way you must disguise yourself as an enemy droid and hack varous types of machine and all this at least ten years before Bioshock.
It’s also quite hard, and a little insulting: the game presents you with the message ‘Game terminated due to lack of player skill’ should you snuff it.
Final Odyssey – 1997
Another game published by Vulcan, this time developed by Peter Spinaze. This is an attempt to meld the gameplay styles of Zelda and The Chaos Engine with ancient Greek mythology.
Venture into the perilous labyrinth to free your beloved from the evil minotaur in this top down action adventure.
The challenge is a tough one but it employs some neat touches, for instance when you collect a health pick-up and your life counter is already full it will count toward an extra life counter meaning that skilled players can build up a stock of extra lives in the early stages of the game for use later on.
It’s also a real looker, every pixel has been lovingly hand crafted and it is one of the best looking 2D games on any format (although the CGI intro is a little rough).
Trapped 2 – 1997
Back when 3D was starting to appear in games such as Doom over in PC land people would look upon the lowly Amiga and pour scorn down upon it for it’s inability to display that extra dimension. Not so, said we, in a display of what I like to call ‘The Amiga Spirit’. We will learn to master the Z axis and then we will show the world!! This may have been followed by an ‘evil plan’ laugh, I don’t really remember.
And so the humble Amiga ventured out into the 3D world. Where the PC had Doom we had Gloom and Alien Breed 3D and where the PC had the Elder Scrolls we had this.
Okay, looking at it now it’s clearly uglier than a bag full of hammers but it was something of a revelation in the Amiga world when it was released.
Whereas it’s predecessor had been a psuedo 3D RPG similar in style to Dungeon Master this was fully 3D. Every enemy, building, tree, the camera movement, everything – all realised in glorious 3D-o-vision, something almost unheard of on any system at the time (even the PC was still churning out 3D games with 2D sprites at this time).
Evil’s Doom – 1998
Speaking of Dungeon Master it just so happens that this type of game is one that I feel has been sadly neglected over the years, whilst the point and click has seen a resurgence in recent years the DM clone has been restricted to little more than a few DS games.
Evil’s Doom was a valiant effort to bring about a renaissance for this lost genre on the Amiga. It’s good too.
It doesn’t deviate too much from the standard party of four structure but it does it’s thing with a great deal of style. The graphics are a little grey but other than that it’s an absolute essential for fans of the genre.
It’s also available for free on aminet (http://aminet.net) so if you have an Amiga or UAE then you have no excuse not to check it out (it can be a pain to get up and running under UAE though).
onEscapee – 1998
Remember Another World (or whatever the hell you Americans called it, Out of this World or something)? Remember Flashback? Ever wonder why there weren’t more games out there like these?
Well all is not lost, Invictus gave us onEscapee (pronounced One Escapee) to satisfy these particular cravings. As you can probably work out, it owes a heavy debt to those games but manages to hold it’s own thanks to the strength of it’s graphics, atmosphere and great puzzles.
There is alot of trial and error involved and it’s not an easy game by any stretch of the imagination. The good news though, is that it’s also available on the PC and it’s free! Head on over to http://onescapee.invictus.hu/index.html to check it out.
Genetic Species – 1998
Another game published by Vulcan and developed by Marble Eyes. This time we’re in first person shooter territory.
Although technically the game doesn’t outdo it’s PC competition it’s gorgeous to look at (or it was at the time anyway), it’s fast paced, fun and has one particularly interesting game mechanic.
Borrowing from Paradroid the game featured a device which, when fired into an enemy allowed you to take over their bodies. This is useful for infiltrating groups of enemies undetected (although once you start shooting them in the face they start to suspect that something may be up).
The Speris Legacy – 1996
What the Amiga sorely lacked was a decent Zelda clone. Whilst several games had a decent stab at replicating Nintendo’s classic (such as Legend and Dragonstone) no one really came close. The Speris Legacy was an attempt by Worms developer Team 17 (although the game itself was developed by Binary Emotions) to bring the classic formula to Commodore’s beige box of wonder.
Whilst it falls a little short of full Zelda greatness it’s a very good and it’s beautiful graphics are evocative of many of the best JRPG’s.
You can also have a bash at this for free by heading on over to Dream 17 (www.dream17.co.uk) where all of the Amiga output from Team 17 is available absolutely free (and legally too!).
Tales from Heaven – 2000
Another game which tries to emulate a Nintendo classic is Tales From Heaven. This time we’re borrowing from Mario 64 to bring a bona fide 3D platformer to the Amiga.
It’s a technical marvel, a 3D platformer for the Amiga was something that many wouldn’t even have bothered to try yet here it is courtesy of Darkage Software.
You’re going to need a beefed up Amiga (or a fairly high spec PC running UAE) to get this up and running. That’s if you can track it down, although it’s not worth a great deal monetarily it is still notoriously difficult to locate. Keep an eye on eBay.
Fayoh 2 – 1998
This list isn’t just about commercially published games you know. Some shareware games of the era were of an equally high standard, such as this effort form NC Gamez.
Guide your blob of discarded chewing gum (seriously) through a whole ton of fiendish platform stages. This is similar in style to Super Mario World with each level becoming accessible through a central hub.
It’s forerunner (Fayoh) is also a great platformer but this outdoes it with superior level design and graphics.
You can find both games available for free on the wonderful aminet.
R3 The Art of Rocketry – 1995
Another shareware effort this time from New Zealander Bruce Webster. It’s not phenominal graphically but I ploughed untold hours into it in my misspent youth.
Basically a derivative of Thrust and Gravitar. Negotiate your ship about the labrynthine levels, competing with the realistic gravity in order to collect and deliver your cargo which earns you money to upgrade your ship in order to take on the more hazardous levels.
It’s a fantastic little game and one of my all time favourites. And it’s freely available on aminet (although getting it to work with UAE can be tricky). Also, I couldn’t find any screens for this and couldn’t coax WinUAE into running it on this occasion.
Well, that brings us to the end of our round up. Hopefully this may inspire you to take another look at a period in the Amiga’s life which you may have overlooked.
Article from Gamersyndrome.com