RetroReview : April Amiga Apocalypse – Part Five
Dateline 27th April 2012
Apart from establishing that the Amiga was far superior to the Atari ST, if you were still playing 8-bit computer games that the Amiga was the way to go and providing an albeit expensive alternative to the fledgling console market, what else have we learned about the Amiga during the merry month of April ?
Well the variety of titles were there. There were plenty of groundbreakers too – Another World, Flashback, Kick Off, Sensible Soccer and Populous to name but a few. The fact that all of these ended up on consoles goes to show the quality of the games and their enduring appeal which very much catered to all markets. The best thing though is that, unlike the PC at the time, the Amiga was very much at it’s best whether it was used for programming, educational uses or games. The PC simply couldn’t hold a candle at this time if you wanted to play games software.
So, with a last hoorah we wave farewell to the Amiga with much sadness in the heart, but look forward to May where the Sega Master System steps into the limelight…..
TEAM SUZUKI – It’s probably fair to say that fans of motorbikes were given a pretty shoddy treatment when it came to computer games. The one you’ll all think of is Road Rash, but that had beat em up elements and wasn’t a straight bike game. So Team Suzuki was a rather nice surprise when it rode into view. Using vector graphics, allowing you the choice of mouse or joystick control, the ability to change the view of your rider and the ever popular replay mode were all included and made for a very nice package indeed. The controls take a bit of mastering especially with the mouse, but everything else is done pretty well. By far and away the best bike game at the time, though connoisseurs of more arcadey fare like Hang On will probably do best steering clear.
ULTIMATE SOCCER MANAGER – Being a fan of Premier Manager, which incorporated the Kick Off game engine when going to play matches, and the statistic heavy fledgling Championship Manager series, this was a game I was very much looking forward to. The thing is though, once you get used to a certain style of game, unless one comes along and plays in a way that makes you feel comfortable you tend to feel quite coldly towards other games of that genre. USM is most definitely in that bracket and left me completely unhooked and longing for something else. Its just too laden down with statistics, so you feel the football side is just a small part of it. It does appear to have been done very well and if you fancy being a chairman of a football club it’s probably a good game to practice on. For me though, it’s just too in depth and too stop start. Ultimate Soccer Strategist would be a better title.
VIZ – You know when someone takes a great book and turns it into a fairly underwhelming TV series or movie ? Somehow something gets lost in translation and you end up with a pretty unsatisfactory experience that has you longing for the source material. Well Viz The Game falls firmly and squarely into that hole. There is no denying the original humour of the classic comics is there, as are all the characters. It’s just a series of sub games at the end of the day though and none of them are particularly well done. The main race section is good to start with but laden with unavoidable deaths, which frustrate, and the bonus games for the main characters just consist of joystick waggling. Quite frankly this sort of game was just not up to standard for 1991.
WINGS – Ah the feel of the wind rushing through your hair, the ability to go up-diddly-up and down-diddly-down at your own pleasure. If only those pesky Germans wouldn’t keep engaging you in dogfights and having you go on strafing runs or missions to shoot down barrage balloons. Yes it’s a World War One flying simulator, but from the software house Cinemaware you know you are in for a bit of quality. It’s not your standard shooter either, with a proper storyline and diary sequences which paint the picture of the sort of hell you have entered. The flying scenes are great with quality graphics and little detail touches dotted all around (like your pilot turning his head to show you where the Germans are and the bullet holes appearing in your plane as you get shot at). The strafing scenes are done from an isometric view, and are very well done, as you gun down enemy troops and supplies whilst avoiding shooting Red Cross vans. You can play all the way through too, picking a new name of your own choice for your pilot. At the end of each pilot’s lifespan – and believe me you may find you get through a few – you will be shown a war memorial with your pilot’s names on and their service records, which is very touching. Wings is an experience and by being an arcade style game rather than a simulator is one of the best flying games ever. It’s also one of the Amiga games you must play.
X-OUT – I am no fan of shoot-em ups but X-Out isn’t a bad game to play for a few hours. It conjures up images of R-Type with it’s look and game style which is no bad thing. You can increase your ship’s weaponry with add ons galore, giving you ample firepower to dispose of the alien hordes that come at you. There are some very impressive graphics on display, with an excellent game intro. It all looks superb and plays very nicely indeed. If it does have one flaw it’s that it does take a little getting into, but once you have had a few blasts you should be OK. One of the better shooters on the Amiga and a worthy addition to your collection.
YOGI BEAR & THE GREED MONSTER – I may be scraping the bottom of the barrel with this one, but if you want a colourful, fun, quite large, occasionally difficult and pretty addictive game based on a licence you can do a lot worse than this title. It’s based on the largely forgotten Yogi’s Treasure Hunt TV series. You take Yogi through a number of levels and have to find the key to open a door to release his friends. Along the way you have to collect sweets, which you then use to throw at enemies. It’s very formulaic stuff at the end of the day and hardened gamers will probably breeze through this in no time. However, it’s definitely above average and if you like Yogi and his chums then this is for you as it is undeniably the closest thing you will get to a decent Yogi Bear game.
ZYNAPS – The classic 8-bit era shoot em up comes to the Amiga and my goodness me, did something go horribly wrong. Zynaps was a fun game back on the Spectrum and Amstrad but with the added power of the Amiga everything gets the haphazard treatment. Whilst it looks OK, the controls are far too stiff, which for a game of this genre is not good. How can you move quickly when everything is unresponsive ? The collision detection is ropier than the contents of a rope shop and before long you die another unfair and painful death which has you longing for something better. There was simply no excuse for something like this being churned out when, with a bit of thought, it could have been great. A real disappointment.
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