Top 50 Underappreciated Atari ST Games

We look back at the Atari ST games that deserve more love than they got first time around.

Sometime during 1988, I somehow managed to scrape enough money together to buy myself one of the much talked about 16-bit computers. It was a logical step up from the ZX Spectrum, a computer that held, and still holds, a very dear place in my heart.

The computer in question was the Atari ST, and it was simply wonderful. Coming from the garish color-clashing and limited sounds of the Spectrum, the ST was like having your own arcade cabinet in your bedroom. 512KB of memory! A floppy disk drive! A MIDI port! A proper mouse-operated GUI! It was the stuff of dreams.

I stood up for my ST, when all the Amiga users laughed at the lack of a graphics blitter, less colors, and resolution. I argued that the faster CPU was what counted, and let’s not forget the three channel FM audio that was frequently used on Top of the Pops.

Alas, the Atari ST was as much an underappreciated computer as the games I’m about to look at. Okay, so the Amiga was technically years ahead of its time, but the ST brought untold joy to many a teen.

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With respect to my favorite 16-bit computer, and since it’s just turned 30-years old, here are 50 games that don’t get talked about any more. But which we whiled away at on rainy afternoons and long into the night.

50. Jitterbugs

I’m going to start this off with Jitterbugs, from Shadow Software and coded in GFA BASIC by Aaron Fothergill, with graphics by Adam Fothergill. It was a game, which I seem to recall picking up on the front of either ST Format or ST User, back when magazines had cover disks.

It was an odd little title that, although looked very basic, kept me playing for days on end. The idea was to capture a set number of aliens, by placing them in “podules,” from the vast decks of a doomed spaceship.

I have no idea how many levels there were. The game appeared to go on forever. But it was a compelling and oddly addictive game.

49. Sleepwalker

This largely forgotten title was a part of the Comic Relief appeal back in the early 90s. It was a scrolling platform puzzle game released by Ocean Software and created by CTA Developments, and quite an excellent title for those who didn’t fancy having their heads shaved or sitting in a bathtub of squashed tomatoes in aid of charity.

Graphically, it was smooth, fast, and had an amazing cut scene, complete with a voice over from Lenny Henry. Deciphering Lenny’s digitized speech was something of a chore, but the game did, apparently, utilise the enhanced features of the STE, if you were lucky enough to own one.

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48. Advanced Destroyer Simulator

Simulators already had a healthy foundation by the time the ST came along. Thanks to the Spectrum, C64, and so on, gamers could already conquer the skies or relive ear-splitting combat between tanks. Marine warfare had its share too, but most were focused on the stresses and strains aboard a submarine.

ADS had you in command of a destroyer though, and it worked a treat. How else could you float around the Med finding other ships to unleash the full fury of your guns on? The 3D aspect was impressive, but the game was ultimately tedious as hell. However, if you mastered the controls, then ADS shone and became as realistic as the ST could get. Thankfully, minus the seasickness.

47. Code Name: Iceman

Sierra On-Line games were instantly recognizable, and were some of the most played and compelling point-and-click adventure titles ever conceived. Ask most gamers what their favorite adventure game was, and the chances are they won’t say Code Name: Iceman.

Admittedly it was a slow game, with you playing the role of Navy Commander Jonny B. Westland, who must locate a missing U.S. Ambassador or something in Tahiti. Sierra On-Line pushed the limits of the machine, which caused untold disk loading and slow-downs. But you could hook up a Casio Synth and enjoy the in-game music, especially during the dance scene.

It is a largely forgotten Sierra title, although one that’s well worth playing again if you get the chance.

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46. Millennium 2.2

Millennium 2.2 is probably one of the most popular titles in this list, although to be fair the Amiga and DOS versions were generally played more than the Atari ST version.

It was, for a lot of us, the first time we had to focus on the intricate mechanics of micro-management. After the earth had been hit by an asteroid big enough to wipe out humanity, the few survivors left stranded on a Moon base must somehow become self-sufficient enough to continue our species.

It was a balancing act of power, mining, exploration, defence, research, and development, all wrapped up in a neat package with an emotional ending that could bring a tear from a glass eye in one of gaming’s greatest moments.

45. Onslaught

Hewson Consultants were already a familiar name to most 8-bit gamers. The likes of UridiumParadroid, and Firelord were highly regarded games. Onslaught was originally an Amiga game, but ported over to the ST, and done remarkably well, too.

As side scrolling shooters go, it was certainly action packed, and it looked great as well. However, despite doing well when it was released, Onslaught was soon packed off to the great gaming loft in the sky, and all but forgotten until more recently when it was re-released for the iPhone and Xbox 360. Clearly, there’s life in the old dog yet.

44. Aaargh!

Rampage was one of the most memorable games of the 80s. If a developer was to suddenly launch a remake on Steam with HD graphics, I’d probably buy it in an instance without even bothering to read any reviews.

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Aaargh! was certainly inspired by Rampage, but added more of a story and had you fighting the other player’s monster once the level was cleared and you found one of the giant eggs belonging to the mythical Rok.

The graphics were large, colorful, and the controls infuriating to master. Still, beating up a dragon as a Speedo-wearing Cyclops is something that doesn’t happen too often.

43. Hacker

Hacker, from Activision, was a game I enjoyed immensely on the Spectrum. The lure of taking on the then glamorous lifestyle of a hacker was something most young teens would have snapped up in an instant.

Even today, the white text on a black background ‘Logon Please:’ with its flashing cursor brings back fond memories of actually wanting to hack into a missile command base, and playing a game of Global Thermal Nuclear War with the resident supercomputer. The fact that I would have become target practice for some government agency never entered my mind. Probably the reason why my parents never bought me a modem.

42. Strike Force Harrier

The king of the combat flight simulators on the ST was undoubtedly Falcon, the game was immense in every way. However, there were a few other aerial combat sims that managed to slip under the radar. Strike Force Harrier was one.

Graphically, it wasn’t a match for Falcon. The pyramid like mountains, large targets that never diminished in size despite the altitude, and otherwise bland green landscape didn’t quite have the same appeal. But the game was strangely addictive, and of course, there’s the whole vertical take-off and landing thing going on – which is just as cool today as it was back in the 80s.

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41. Voyager

Moving from the limited graphics on the Spectrum to the likes of Stargliderand Carrier Command for the Atari ST caused many a jaw to drop in wonder.

The 3D offerings from these two notable titles still look pretty good today, but one that’s often missing from the list of impressive 3D ST games is Voyager. This Ocean produced game involved a mix of both Carrier Command and Starglider, as you whipped around the surface of one of Saturn’s moons, then took to the skies for a spot of open air combat. It even had a cracking title tune from Jonathan Dunn.

40. G-LOC

I’ll admit here that I liked G-LOC. Not many people did, especially the magazines that reviewed it. But I actually thought it was a pretty good game, and it was one that I was surprisingly very good at, too.

It’s basically a poor man’s Afterburner, taken from the super-cool sit-in arcade machine with throttle handle and joystick, that bucked and jolted you around until you felt rather ill. That obviously didn’t happen at home on the ST, unless you rocked around on your chair.

In all honesty, the graphics were quite bland and the sound was terrible, but it was playable and enjoyable. And I got it for free from my cousin, so I didn’t fork out nearly 18 quid for it. I’d have probably hated it otherwise.

39. Hero Quest

Turning board games into computer games was always a hit and miss affair. You either stuck to the rules of the original board game, and as such left out a huge number of potential gamers, or you got a little creative but lost the favor of those who played the board game.

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Thankfully, I thought Hero Quest was quite an accurate representation of the board game – although to be fair I only played the board game version a handful of times.

As far as turn-based, Dungeons and Dragons sort of games go, Hero Quest was quite absorbing, and could easily chew up a good few hours of your evening before you remembered you had a paper round in the morning.

38. Pro Boxing Simulator

This is a game that I have to admit I never owned. My friend did though, and that’s how I got to spend time with it.

Anyway, I really liked playing Barry McGuigan World Championship Boxing on the Spectrum, so Codemasters’ Pro Boxing Simulator seemed like it would be fun. It was. But I found myself being pounded frequently, either in two-player mode or by the computer. It was infinitely better than being repeatedly punched in the head, though.

37. Mercs

Games like Commando or Ikari Warriors were the bread and butter of the fast action home computer gamer. Nobody really cared what the story was behind the game, just as long as the action was intense, and the body count high.

Mercs was exactly that. After frantically pressing fire to get past the intro where the President of the U.S. has been kidnapped, the action kicked off with enemies coming at you from a multitude of angles. It was great fun, especially with a second player, as you both laid waste to vast stretches of the jungle.

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36. Super Cars 2

Although top-down racers were beginning to phase out in favor of the 3D Hard Drivin’ and Stunt Car Racer, there were still one or two about.

This one, Super Cars 2 from Gremlin Graphics, stood out as being one of the best I can remember playing on the ST. Aside from racing around the track, it had the added benefit of allowing you to launch missiles from the front or rear of your car at the other cars.

Other notable memories include a soundtrack that sounded a little like Renegade on the 128K Spectrum, and driving lessons advertised on the title screen from Woolwich Building Society. You wouldn’t get that at the start of GTA V.

35. Vigilante

Double Dragon, Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja, and Renegade were shining examples of the beat ‘em up genre, a group of games that looked extremely well on the ST.

Sadly, Vigilante isn’t in the shining example group. It was slated by the reviewers of the time, and tossed to the bargain bin almost as soon as it hit the shelves. The coin-op was good, rescuing kidnapped Madonna from the Skin Head gang. The conversion to the ST, though, looked like it was lifted from an 8-bit machine.

But I rather liked it. There was something oddly unique about it, despite the poor animations and even worse controls. It was fun, and frustrating at the same time. But worth a laugh.

34. Oids

As we’ve seen so many times before, a game doesn’t have to push the boundaries of the machine for it to be amazing. Falcon 3.0 and Starglider 2 both stretched the technical legs of the ST, and they were amazing games, but it was Oids that I played most.

Oids may look pretty simplistic, with its Thrust and Asteroids heritage, but it was immensely playable and took up so many hours of my time. The number of times I landed to pick up the little stick androids, and a homing missile suddenly appeared and wiped me out. Incredibly frustrating, but addictive enough to keep going back for more.

33. Ork

It’s funny what you remember about certain games, and what ultimately makes you purchase them. In the case of Ork, it was the really funky music that first drew me to it, the game being played loudly in the local computer shop at the time.

What you had to actually do in the game, I must confess, I have no idea. I never really got all that far. In fact, I think I just used to load it up and listen to the title music. Maybe my mom had a point when she said I was wasting my money on computer games?

32. Cruise for a Corpse

Quite possibly my most favorite point-and-click adventure game ever. You can see the same animations at work here as used in Flashback and Another World, but Cruise for a Corpse was, I felt, always overshadowed by Another World.

Graphically, it’s simply stunning. The large sprites and detail in each scene were a joy to behold. And there was a real sense of accomplishment when you finally completed the game – something that’s often missing in games these days.

31. Hunter

An open world game on the modern PC isn’t such a big deal in this day and age. However, back in 1991 on a computer such as the ST, it was one of the most mind blowing experiences an 18 year old could have other than hitting the nightclubs on a Saturday night.

Hunter was an immense game, with a huge free roaming map, missions to complete, a day and night cycle, and vehicles to drive around in. Speaking of which, you got in helicopters, hovercraft, and entered buildings to have a look around. There were even other characters, and I seem to remember running over some cows while driving a tank? I don’t think I ever completed any of the missions mind you, I must have just spent all that time wandering around and whistling at how wonderful the game looked.

30. 3D Galax

The town I grew up in, in the late 80s, only had a single computer shop – attached to the rear of a carpet shop, would you believe – with a limited selection of games available. We therefore had to rely on the computer flea-markets that cropped up every so often.

It was there that I picked up this one. One of the more notable games on a disk, among Garfield and a few others, was 3D Galax, a kind of 3D version of Galaxians. It was a little tricky to get the hang of, but it soon became one of my most played games in the collection. Great title tune from Ben Dalglish as well.

29. Dan Dare 3: The Escape

Dan Dare 3 for the Spectrum was an underappreciated game in its own right, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed (along with the previous two). So I thought it would be fun to see what the ST version was like.

In some ways, I do prefer the Spectrum version. There’s a lot going on for such a limited computer. But the ST version of Dan Dare 3 was a favorite of mine for many years, even after completing it. One thing though, did anyone else think that The Mekon looked like he was sitting on the toilet?

28. Battle Command

Carrier Command was Realtime Games’ biggest hit outside the wireframe work on the Spectrum. Its sequel, Battle Command, wasn’t quite as warmly received despite the glowing reviews it got.

Although the resource management from Carrier Command is missing from Battle Command, this really just being a 3D shooter with a tank, it was a magnificent game nonetheless.

Graphically, it was just as good as Carrier Command – the helicopter dropping off your tank at the beginning is still one of the most amazing animations I’ve seen on the ST – and in many ways a bit more enjoyable to play, since you didn’t have to concern yourself with anything else other than hunting down the enemy and completing your mission. In essence, it was 3D Tank Duel with better graphics. Still very playable, though.

27. Shadow Warriors

A pair of memorable Ocean titles now, which I remember picking up from a charity shop in Manchester as a part of the Ocean Ninja Collection.

Shadow Warriors was a beat ‘em up I was rather fond of back in the day. Of course, it was the coin op conversion of Ninja Gaiden, which had you as a ninja fighting your way through waves of masked goons to reach the end of level bosses. Classic stuff, really.

The animation of the ninja was really impressive, however the game itself was infuriatingly difficult, even with two of you playing. Nevertheless, it was one that kept you coming back for more.

26. Sly Spy: Secret Agent

Side scrolling shoot ‘em ups/beat ‘em ups were ten a penny on the ST. Most of them were reasonably good, some were pretty terrible.

Sly Spy: Secret Agent was somewhere in the middle. While I thought it was good, and I enjoyed playing it, the other people I knew who had ST’s hated it. Okay, there were times when it was a little bland. But the whole James Bond theme and style, complete with sound-a-like music, along with the various levels where you’re free falling, riding a motorbike, or scuba diving made for an interesting game.

It looked good too, with large graphics, decent enough animations, and some nice touches here and there, including a hat-throwing henchman.

Ah – it’s one of those long lists. As such, we’ve done that irritating thing where we split the article over more than one page. Apologies as always – we try not to make a habit of this, and only do it if load times start to get a bit silly. Back to the list, though…

25. Powermonger

Peter Molyneux is best remembered for Populous and Populous 2 on the ST (among other games, of course), but in between the two Populous titles, Bullfrog and Electronic Arts released a seriously underappreciated game, Powermonger.

The depth of this game was incredible, and with it came some wonderful features such as weather patterns, carrier pigeon messaging that took ages to travel from one arm to the next, resources, and each individual character had his or her own life to get on with – which you could click to find out their allegiance and so on.

It really was ahead of its time, and in many ways it was much better than having the God-powers that Populous granted you, as strategy and defensive positioning were needed. It was like a huge elaborate game of chess that lasted weeks.

24. Dreadnoughts

Dreadnoughts wasn’t the sort of game you played if you only had a quick ten minutes to spare before arranging to meet someone. It was long, laborious, and to the outside viewer, not very interesting. However, if you liked a good strategy, then this was one you’d no doubt enjoy playing.

It may have been a slow game to play, but once your Watch Officer had an enemy vessel in sight, it actually became quite thrilling to chase it down and unleash a barrage from the 14-inch guns.

23. Stormbringer

The Magic Knight series was immensely popular on the Spectrum, and a collection of my most played games ever. The fourth and final game in the series, Stormbringer, was a classic send-off to a great series of games, so when it appeared on the ST I nabbed a copy as soon as it hit the shelves.

Graphically, it was so much better than the Spectrum, obviously, but the same Windowmation interface was present, as well as the humor and jingly music, minus the color clash.

22. Eye of Horus

I’ll admit, I never actually bought Eye of Horus, I borrowed it from a friend who then moved to Canada a few months later and I forgot to hand it back. Daniel Fry, if you’re reading this I do apologise and no you can’t have it back, I don’t know where it is.

Eye of Horus was more of a classic exploration, shoot ‘em up, and puzzler that brought back the game’s cartographer after their hiatus from the Spectrum days. A neat touch was being able to change into a bird and shoot your way through some of the sections.

21. Slayer

Zynaps was a great game and a hit on the Spectrum for Hewson. Slayer, which is very similar, didn’t fare quite as well.

One of the reasons was the extreme difficulty level, and the fact that it didn’t bring anything particularly new to the table. But once you mastered it, Slayer came into its own and you began to enjoy some of the extra features – like being able to angle the ship to slide through some tight sections of the levels.

20. Forgotten Worlds

Forgotten Worlds was a pretty impressive arcade machine, with a dial where you could aim the gun through a full 360 degrees.

Naturally, you didn’t get the dial on the ST conversion, and there were other elements missing from the arcade with this release, but on the whole it was a really smooth and entertaining scrolling shooter.

Having another player to fight alongside you was even better, even when the inevitable question of “why are we flying, and what the hell I am supposed to be doing?” cropped up.

19. Footballer of the Year 2

I was never very good at football games, probably because I didn’t play football, but I enjoyed both the Footballer of the Year games on the Spectrum.

Footballer of the Year 2 on the ST didn’t differ a great deal from the Spectrum version, except for the better graphics. You could still end up losing yourself within the many layers of buying goal cards, take a chance mini-games, and that odd transfer routine where the scout was looking for a player who is excellent, and you were classed as being excellent, and he still wasn’t interested in you. Despite the fact you’re the only who has scored for Norwich City over an entire season!

18. Fallen Angel

As far as scrolling beat ‘em ups go, Fallen Angel was, admittedly, pretty dire. But there was something oddly addictive about it that made you want to carry on beating up chaps in suits and bowler hats, who hit you with umbrellas – because that’s what every Londoner looks like.

Flawed though the game may be, it actually looked and sounded better on the C64 than the ST, it was pretty cool and caused untold damage to the joystick as you beat up a hairy busker on the Underground.

17. Academy

Tau Ceti on the Spectrum was simply ground breaking, an astonishingly good game that took the old rubber keyboard by storm. Its sequel, Academy, did even better.

On the ST though, it didn’t fare quite as well, being squashed in between the more advanced 3D games that had already launched for a more powerful platform.

Academy is still a treat to play though, and if you enjoyed Tau Cetiand Academy on the Spectrum, then the ST version will put a smile on your face.

16. Blood Money

You couldn’t move for side scrolling shooters at one time, and the ST was the perfect platform for them to flourish on.

There were lots of them. One I had was a weird indie title, which escapes me now, that had you flying a ship that looked like a frying pan. It was silly, but incredibly addictive. Another shooter that I played until the disk went caput was Blood Money.

This was a startlingly good game, with superb sampled speech at the intro, an excellent soundtrack, fantastic animations, and some cunning level design where you could rise or fall vertically and enter a shop to spend your collected coins at. It was also David Jones’ (of Lemmings and GTA fame) second game after Menace.

15. Midwinter

It’s really quite amazing how far the ST could be stretched when there was an exceptionally talented programmer(s) behind the keyboard. In the case of Midwinter, we have an early form of FPS, set over a huge frozen post-apocalyptic wasteland map, where you’re tasked with recruiting individuals to the militia to help fight off an invading force.

It was years ahead of its time, and quite a complex game to get into. Once you dug deeper though, and traversed the land on your skis, you soon came across a hang-glider, snow buggy, and you could ride cable cars up the mountains. A remarkable game that no one seems to mention these days.

14. L.E.D. Storm

L.E.D. Storm was a cracking little game that I managed to pick up for a mere $1 from a charity shop. A top down racer that was fast, frantic and exceptionally addictive, L.E.D. Storm was a Capcom conversion that worked particularly well on the ST.

The L.E.D. part, as I’ve just discovered, stood for Laser Enhanced Destruction, not that it mattered a huge amount as you were glued to the screen from the second you started a level. In fact, you could finish a level and realize that you didn’t blink or breathe throughout the entire time. Also, there’s another amazing chip tune from Tim and Mike Follin, who (among other games) did the music for Chronos on the Spectrum.

13. Lethal Xcess: Wings Of Death 2

The vertical scrolling shooter scene was dominated by visions of Xenon and Xenon 2: Megablast, but in my humble opinion, the best vertical shooter for the ST was Lethal Xcess – yes, even better than the original Wings of Death (I’ll prepare to be flamed on that one).

The large sprites, frantic gameplay, two-player mayhem and so many enemies and gun fire on screen at once that your face turned into a grim mask of concentration when playing. It’s just one of those games you can happily play for hours on end, even after hearing that scornful laugh whenever you lost a life.

12. Sidewinder

While we’re on the subject of vertical scrolling shooters, another fine example is the vastly underappreciated Sidewinder. A Mastertronic budget title that, although simple, was immensely playable and had some great digitised explosion sounds.

Once the screen started to fill up with the enemy the noise that came from the old ST was chaotic. It also had a weird electric guitar-sounding title tune as well, if I remember correctly. Either way, another game that I spent far too much time in front of.

11. Electronic Pool

Dodgy physics aren’t a modern gaming phenomenon. Take Electronic Pool, a game where you could pot every ball from the off and struggle to pot one that’s directly over the pocket.

There was something oddly compelling about Electronic Pool though. The strange explosion sound as you hit a ball, the fact that the white could rocket around the table at warp 9, and the inevitable problem where the rules of Pool seem to be totally ignored. Still, regardless of all that, Electronic Pool was one of those games that I played when I just wanted my mind to wander aimlessly – the kind of thing you’ll find on MiniClip these days, I suppose.

10. Paco and the Tunnels of Doom

This odd little Boulder Dash game was, I think, something I picked up off the front of a magazine. It was written in STOS BASIC, and had Paco digging his/her/its way through the dirt to pickup diamonds. But you couldn’t move upwards unless you had dirt above you to dig into.

This resulted in a clever bit of forward planning as you started each level. It wasn’t particularity hard, but there were times when you suddenly realised there was no way you’d be able to get the half dozen or so diamonds left in the top corner of the screen. A fun waste of time.

9. Graham Gooch World Class Cricket

Moving away from the frantic blasting of aliens and such, the more sedate sport of cricket was often seen being played on my ST toward the end of its life.

I bought this game for my dad, who loved playing Test Match on the Spectrum, but rather than a resource management kind of xricket game, Graham Gooch World Class Cricket involved some fast thinking and joystick/mouse movement that he simply couldn’t get into.

I liked it though, and it lasted until I traded in the ST for my first PC.

8. Flood

Flood was an amazing platformer that you had climbing, jumping, swimming and blowing enemies up while you tried to find a portal to the level.

Each level was slowly flooding, hence the name, so you had to be quick enough to collect all the empty pop cans, packets of crisps and so on before the water level reached too high a point. And there was also a strange anti-you who followed you around the level intent on killing you off.

Between that lot, the levels got a little frantic, but the whole thing tied together nicely in a neat little package.

7. ATF 2

I absolutely loved ATF on the Spectrum, and ATF 2 on the ST was just as good as far as I was concerned.

It didn’t have the complexity of a full on flight sim, and there’s a lot more tactics involved than in the standard shooter or something visually similar like Afterburner. It was all about tipping the balance of power in your favour, something which could take some time but when you put the effort in was very rewarding.

6. Bonanza Bros.

Bonanza Bros. first appeared in the arcades, but I only got to play the ST version after borrowing it from a friend. It was a great little stealth game where you controlled Robo and Mobo who are tasked with testing the security of an unknown financer who pays you for lifting certain objects per level.

It’s a large, colorful game with a tight time limit and a difficulty level that’s soon ramped up. There are a few games recently that are a nod to the genius of Bonanza Bros., which just goes to show you how good it was, and still is. Although, to be fair it was a bit too short; two players though was immense fun.

5. Gobliiins

Gobliiins was a thoroughly odd, but interesting puzzle and adventure game. You control three goblins with different abilities, moving them through the wonderfully drawn scenes to find objects and solve puzzles, with the view to eventually stop the evil wizard from torturing the king with a voodoo doll.

Some of the puzzles were a little obscure, but the game was certainly original, and it had some great animations and comic moments.

4. Rod-Land

Okay, so Rod-Land is a bit of cutesy, simple platformer, but I rather liked it. The game was a little like Bubble Bobble, and probably a thousand other games of that type. But it was smooth, fun to play, and had some great animations.

The main draw for me was the fact that it actually felt like an arcade game in my bedroom, and not some shoddy conversion that lacked the key factors that made arcade games so good. It’s a game my daughter now plays via emulation and loves it. I even get to play two player with her, which as far as I’m concerned is what gaming is all about.

3. Tonic Tile

I have to admit that I never really liked Arkanoid. I can’t tell you what it was about Arkanoid that I didn’t like, but I much preferred the likes of Batty on the Spectrum, and especially Tonic Tile for the ST.

Tonic Tile had everything, a great soundtrack, fantastic graphics, fast gameplay, and that annoying issue with all break-the-wall games, when you’re left with a single brick that’s near impossible to hit. In my opinion, a much forgotten game that was better than Arkanoid.

2. Warhead

An amazing, yet unbelievably difficult game to master. Graphically, Warhead was incredible, a true 3D space shooter with nausea inducing tendencies and a cruel learning curve.

Once you got into it though, and mastered the whole quad-thruster and missile targeting thing, it was pretty splendid and you could spend hours warping from one star system to the next taking on the Sirian Armada.

1. Utopia

There was no shortage of city-wide management and god games available for the 16-bit platform. SimCityPopulous, Warmonger, and others were great titles, but one that doesn’t get quite as much love as the rest is Utopia.

Set somewhere between SimCity and PopulousUtopia has you building your colony in the familiar kind of 3D isometric view that most of this genre stuck to, utilising the advice from a collection of elders, and trying to increase the Quality of Life for your colonists while keeping attacking aliens at bay.

It was one of those games that draws you in, and won’t let you go until several hours have passed, and you realise your dinner has gone cold. There’s a lot going on in Utopia, and keeping on top of every little detail and micro-management was well worth the time invested.

Honourable mentions:

Mean Streets – A puzzle game where you got to fly around in a hover car and call up digitised people on your futuristic carphone. You also received faxes in-car as well. A bit dull at times, but interesting if you got into the mystery.

Impact – Another Arkanoid clone, looked really basic but as you broke the bricks it played a little tune.

Advanced Rugby Simulator – A Codemasters classic, I can’t remember if this is the one where the streaker appears mid-game?

Virus – Not so much underrated, but not talked about much these days. Virus was light years ahead of its time, but difficult to master.

Tai-Pan – Loved this on the Spectrum, pretty much everything was the same, even the music.

Star Trek: The Rebel Universe – An okay USS Enterprise sim, but with odd images of Kirk and Spock appearing to wear lipstick and pout.

Creatures – A decent, but tough, Thalamus title. Artwork by the legendary Oliver Frey too.

Anyway, what are your suggestions?