Top 5 Amiga Games

And so begins the first entry in a series of my top five things. We start off on a topic very close to my heart: computer games.

I first played an Amiga when I was 7; my mate Ed had a 500+ and we used to go round to his mansion house after school as often as possible to hit some Moonstone, Lotus 2 or Cannon Fodder action - ah, good times. Anyway, I quickly realised that this proper computer thing dicked all over the Mega Drive, and started to pester my parents relentlessly for one.

Eventually they caved in to my incessant whining and bought an brand spanking new Amiga 1200 as a family gift one Christmas. Shit hot.

Workbench

Although it had a relatively short shelf life as PCs started invading the home, bringing with them Doom and Quake, I have many fond memories of sneaking out of bed at 2am to play some of these games till dawn. Sometimes those all-nighters were worth having my joystick confiscated for a week. These are in no particular order - enjoy.

The Chaos Engine

Arguably one of the best shoot-em-ups ever made, I’d still probably rate this in my Top 10 games of all time, let alone Top 5 Amiga games. Everything is perfect; the range of characters, the graphics, the difficulty curve, the intro & storyline, the sound. And oh the music! For a special treat, here’s an MP3 of part of the techno-esque soundtrack for your ears.

  • Navvie

    The Chaos Engine character Navvie
  • Thug

    The Chaos Engine character Thug
  • Mercenary

    The Chaos Engine character Mercenary
  • Brigand

    The Chaos Engine character Brigand
  • Gentleman

    The Chaos Engine character Gentleman
  • Preacher

    The Chaos Engine character Preacher

Rainy Sunday afternoons were all about this game for me. I’d get my mates round and we’d group round the TV, and spend all day taking turns to try and complete this game. We could never get past the final zone, it was fucking hardcore. It’s such a fast game I think I wore out at least two Quickshot Pros on it, not to mention the floppy disks. Classic.

Screenshot of The Chaos Engine on the Amiga

Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk

Dizzy

One of the most underrated Dizzy games this one, especially for those hardcore Dizzy fans, who often deem it too easy or too short. As far as I’m concerned though, these supposed caveats are positive points. I’m not the most patient person in the world, and the other Dizzy games often gave me rage - they were too long or too annoyingly difficult. Prince of the Yolkfolk has the best title, the best music, the best graphics, and it was ultimately a lot more accessible to those succeptable to rage - and subsequently a lot of fun.

Those excellent folks at vgmaps.com have a massive map of the whole game - it’s great.

Map of Dizzy: Prince of the yolkfolk

Syndicate

A Syndicate agent

Syndicate was the first really violent computer game I played, which probably explains a lot to those who know me. It was also the first RTS game I played, and while it now has many contemporaries, it was massively ahead of it’s time. Four sinister looking cyborg agents roaming around cyberpunk locations, armed to the teeth with missions to assaninate, “pursuade”, rescue or escort; it was exciting, shocking, and to be honest, pretty brutal.

Screenshot of Syndicate on the Amiga

Even to this day when I play Syndicate I’m slightly horrified by some of the choices it presents to the player. An example: the police are swarming in from all angles, sirens blazing. Using a bit of common sense, you start blowing up their cars, killing four birds with one stone, as it were. Suddenly you hear this ghastly noise, the sort of noise that raises the hairs on your neck, and realise a bunch of civilians have been set on fire by one of the exploding cars, and are now running around screaming. The choice: concentrate your attentions on the incoming police officers subsequently saving your skin, or put the burning civilians out of their misery by gunning them down, putting you in danger of getting killed by the cops. What a choice; fuck Grand Theft Auto - this is the shit.

The New Zealand Story

Screenshot of The New Zealand Story on the Amiga Screenshot of The New Zealand Story on the Amiga

In Polzeath, Cornwall, there is a bar called the Doom Bar. If you were to go there, you would certainly enjoy the rowdy atmosphere, the excellent beer and possibly the sleek, modern interior. Before it was done up a few years ago however, it was the great dingy surfer/biker bar of the Atlantic Hotel, where I spent a good few Summer holidays. There was a massive arcade room in the back, and when we weren’t in the surf we would eat cheesey chips and spend our holiday allowance. Every year I spent my entire small fortune on this Japanese beauty whilst everyone else hammered Track and Field, or Golden Axe - I loved it.

The evil kiwi-collecting walrus from The New Zealand Story

When it was ported to the Amiga, my aforementioned friend Ed acquired it, and we spent many, many hours attempting to finish it - which I think we did only once. The New Zealand Story is a perfect example of a platform game. It’s fast, fun, amusing, difficult, addictive. The weapon upgrades are fantastic, and the flying vehicles are varied and often hilarious. The music is great also, I wasn't able to find an mp3, but fans of computer game music should definitely check it out.

Turrican 2:

The Final Fight

Out of all the games listed here, this is probably my all-time Amiga favourite. It’s a flawless game. Free fact.

On the surface it’s a jump'n'shoot platformer, but it’s the attention to detail that makes this great. The strenths and weaknesses of every enemy and weapon are superbly balanced, the bosses are big and scary, the levels are sprawling labyrinths; I probably spent more hours in front of this game than I did at school.

Screenshot of Turrican 2 on the Amiga

Turrican also has a reputation for some of the best game music ever, you can download a selection of MP3s from all three Turrican games over at nemmelheim.de

And there is it. My top 5 Amiga games. I should honourably mention that the following games each came very close to making it here: Alien Breed, Cannon Fodder, Desert Strike, Lotus 2, The Secret of Monkey Island, Pinball Fantasies, Supercars II and Zool – Jolly good.