This article originally appeared on Den of Geek UK.
The Amiga was a brilliant 1980s home computer that was ahead of its time, thanks to its custom architecture. By the middle of the 1990s, its parent company, Commodore, had gone bust, and the Amiga was left behind. However, what remains is the glorious legacy of a distinctive computer with a broad library of great games.
Famous Amiga releases include Lemmings, Sensible Soccer, Speedball II, The Chaos Engine, Populous, Worms, Hunter, Another World, and Cannon Fodder. You won’t find them on this list, though. These are the underrated Amiga games. And every one of them is a corker.
Screenshots courtesy of the Hall of Light.
50. Resolution 101Resolution 101 is a decree that allows criminals to earn their freedom by tracking down other criminals. So much for the plot, which is just an excuse for a lot of shooting.
The game world is a city constructed of 3D objects for the buildings and 2D sprites for the multitude of foes. It’s a very fast-paced shooter where the player’s vehicle zips around the city. It’s like Battlezone on steroids.
The cheesy music is good but gets a bit repetitive and can be turned off. While Resolution 101 doesn’t have much longevity, it’s good for a quick blast.
49. Alcatraz (1992)
Predating Michael Bay’s The Rock by four years, Alcatraz sees the former prison taken over by drug cartel boss Miguel Tardiez. As a commando, you must infiltrate Alcatraz without the help of Sean Connery.
The action is split into various sub-games, each of which is pretty good in their own right. A horizontally scrolling exterior section allows both action and stealth approaches, with numerous hiding places in the shadows. There’s also a rope-climbing section with searchlights and a first-person section.
If you like Alcatraz, check out its predecessor, Hostages.
48. Conqueror (1990)
The Acorn Archimedes gave the Amiga David Braben’s Zarch, which was released under the name Virus, but also a tank simulator called Conqueror that used the same game engine.
Unlike the futuristic, alien invasion setting of Virus, Conqueror is set during World War II with a selection of American, Russian, and German vehicles. As World of Tanks players know, trundling around in a tank and shooting at other tanks is very enjoyable.
There’s a strategy option as well as a more basic arcade mode. Controlling the tank takes some practice, with four keys used to control track movement forward and backward, and another four to control turret elevation and rotation.
47. The Gold of the Aztecs (1990)
This adventure is so difficult that it would make Indiana Jones hang up his hat and whip and return to his university. On the first screen, after parachuting into the jungle, the protagonist is trampled by an elephant. After that, death comes in many ways, from snakes and dangerous plants to belligerent tribesmen and falling from great heights.
It’s worth persevering, if only for the challenge or getting farther than your friends, who will have usually given up by then. The Gold of the Aztecs eventually heads underground, where a giant octopus dwells in the depths. In one excellent scene, a horrific monster chases the player through a dark cavern.
At the time, The Gold of the Aztecs was promoted on the strength of its graphics and animation, which were constructed with a tool called Animator on a Mac connected to an Amiga. The game is ambitious but quite fiddly to control.
46. Birds of Prey (1991)
This flight simulator from Electronic Arts contains an excessive number of aircraft. Amiga flight simulators usually concentrate on one or two types of planes or a wider selection from a specific era, but Birds of Prey features forty aircraft, including the X-15 experimental rocket plane, the B-52 Stratofortress, the F-117 Nighthawk, the Hercules, and the Jumbo Jet.
The list of mission types is extensive, with air interception, air superiority, long-range bombing, bomber escort, close support and ground attack, border/sea patrol, reconnaissance, troop drop, supply drop, stealth bombing, stealth reconnaissance, and test pilot operations.
Birds of Prey’s developer, Argonaut, was also known for the 3D Starglider games and later went on to develop Star Fox for Nintendo.
45. Citadel (1995)
Citadel, or Cytadela in the original Polish version, was one of a number of Doom clones that appeared on the Amiga. The basic Amiga models were not well suited to the kind of fast texture mapping required for these types of games, but plenty of developers decided to try anyway.
The best Amiga Wolfenstein 3D and Doom clones included Alien Breed 3D and the original Gloom, but unlike those games, Citadel works on an Amiga 500, albeit with a screen size that is best described as “postage stamp.” On faster Amigas and a bigger screen size, Citadel looks better.
When played in the hard difficulty mode, the player loses a small amount of health by running into a wall. Citadel must be the only first-person shooter where the player can die by head-butting his surroundings.
44. Infestation (1990)
Opening with a flashy, animated intro, as most Psygnosis games tended to do, Infestation first appears to be a Battlezone-style shoot-’em-up, with bugs instead of tanks on a planet’s surface. In fact, the bulk of the game is set in an underground base.
Once inside the base, the game is about exploration and puzzle solving. The player can remove his helmet for a wider view and access blueprints of the levels. The infestation is a large number of alien eggs that must be destroyed with cyanide gas.
Infestation is hard and requires some commitment from the player. Let’s look at all the ways that the player can die: asphyxiation, starvation, overheating, freezing, radiation poisoning, an attack by robots, tripping on a wire, the base core reaching critical mass, falling, egg secretion contamination, being crushed by a closing door, general head injuries, being poisoned by vicious moon marauders, electrocution, cyanide gas poisoning, a collision with one’s own dropship, and a head explosion caused by rapid depressurization. It’s a good thing that in space no one can hear you scream in agony.
43. Cavitas (1992)
Hiding in the depths of Amiga obscurity is a rare game called Cavitas, which, appropriately enough, involves exploring a gloomy cave system. There are six levels to navigate, and it is the kind of game that would have been at home on the Spectrum. Think Starquake or The Ice Temple.
An interesting characteristic of Cavitas is that the caverns are dark but illuminated by two beams on the ship and other light sources throughout the levels. Progress is made by exploring, finding keys, destroying enemies, and locating parts of a spaceship.
Nite Time Games, the developer, would go on to create a quirky maze game called Mean Arenas.
42. Midwinter II: Flames of Freedom (1991)
In the late Mike Singleton’s Midwinter, the world was covered in snow at the dawn of a new Ice Age. In the follow-up, Flames of Freedom, the ice has melted and barbecues are an option again, but sadly, all is not well. As part of the Atlantic Federation, you must liberate a group of islands from the clutches of the dastardly Saharan Empire.
Midwinter II is incredibly jam-packed with the kind of character customization options later seen in the Elder Scrolls and Fallout games, a massive area to explore, a series of missions, and enough air, sea, land and amphibious vehicles to satisfy even the A-Team.
The original game was perhaps more focused and the similar Hunter is better, but Midwinter II is a good example of the kind of epic scope that can be achieved with limited technology.
41. Blob (1993)
“Imagine a universe of a different dimension—a dimension of height, of ground, of gravity and time.” So proclaims the box for Blob, a platform game that is viewed from above. The camera zooms into the screen as Blob falls and zooms out as he climbs.
The platforms on which Blob gambols are suspended in space with what appears to be an infinite drop below. Certain floating tiles affect Blob in different ways, with some collapsing, some preventing his progress, and others causing him to hover.
Although only a blob, the central character is expressive and responsive, and the concept is original. The developer, Jonnathan Hilliard, programmed Blob at university, was recruited by Core Design, and so started his career in the games industry.
40. Shadowlands (1992)
Shadowlands’ unique selling point is light. A system called Photoscape casts light upon the environment, leaving shadows in the unlit areas. Light is not just a visual effect but actually affects the gameplay. For example, it changes the behavior of creatures and plays a part in solving puzzles.
The game itself is a role-playing game set in the usual fantasy world. Commands are issued by clicking on the appropriate body parts in character portraits. For example, the head is used to read and eat, the hands are for combat and manipulating objects, and the legs are for moving. At the time, it was seen as a logical interface, but it’s still a step away from simple context-sensitive controls.
A decent sequel called Shadoworlds retained the lighting system but changed the setting altogether to a futuristic space station.
39. Storm Master (1992)
Silmarils, a French publisher mainly known for RPG and adventure games like the Ishar trilogy, released this imaginative kingdom simulator. Storm Master is an action strategy game set in a fantasy land where wind is important and battles are fought with flying sailing ships.
The strategy portion is coordinated from a map of the island of Eolia. The aim is to conquer the enemy island Sharkaania. Various scenarios are available: The Realm of Eolia, The Golden Age, The Decline, The Great War, The Great Famine, and The End of a World. A council advises on things such as production, religion, trade, and science.
The flying ships are designed using Leonardo da Vinci-style blueprints before being launched to do battle in the sky in the optional 3D combat sequences. Badly designed ships won’t make it off the ground.
38. Statix (1994)
Tetris is a perennially popular game that has appeared across numerous formats. Sometimes, it’s transformed into a variant such as Welltris, which is viewed in 3D from above, or Faces: Tris III, which involves building rows of portraits.
Statix has a much better idea and places the shape-matching action on top of a seesaw. As well as matching the right shapes, you have to stop the seesaw from tilting too far in either direction. When shapes are combined, they will disappear and thus upset the balance.
This sounds rather stressful, but some mellow music helps to turn Statix into a relaxing experience. Alternatively, try a two-player duel game against a friend and try to overload their side of the seesaw.
37. Apocalypse (1994)
This game is Apocalypse Now without the “Now.” In fact, the game’s cover art looks suspiciously similar to the VHS cover of Francis Ford Coppola’s war film.
In this update of the 8-bit game Choplifter, a helicopter pilot must rescue hostages and bring them back to base. The action is set in a jungle, on a battleship, and inside an ancient temple. The graphics are updated for 16-bit, with some nice fiery explosions.
Apocalypse is a tough game. For example, in the first level, a giant gun will quickly destroy your helicopter if you don’t take it out as soon as possible. With only five levels, it’s not a long game but is fun while it lasts.
36. RoboCop 3 (1992)
Ocean was the king of games based on films, and their traditional method was to create different sub-games based on key cinematic scenes. The result was usually lots of inferior mini-games rather than one good one, with notable exceptions such as Batman: The Movie and Robocop 3.
The developer of RoboCop 3 took the sub-game approach. However, Digital Image Design was known for flight simulator F29 Retaliator and 3D space game Epic, so the developer abandoned the 2D graphics of the previous RoboCop games for a 3D engine.
There are sections where RoboCop drives, fights, flies, and shoots, but they all have a similar feel and are knitted together with atmospheric cutscenes. The shooting sections are the highlight, as Robocop wanders around corridors killing criminals using his H.U.D. interface.
This one was also notorious for introducing a piracy-battling dongle system. One that Ocean abandoned shortly afterward…
35. Pacific Islands (1992)
In the near future of 1995 (well, it was in 1992), “disaffected renegade Soviet communists, backed by North Korea, have invaded the Pacific atoll of Yama.” It’s up to your American tank platoon to bring swift justice to these invading ne’er-do-wells.
A group of sixteen tanks is split into four units that are each controlled in a separate quarter of the screen. In order to concentrate on one unit, each quarter can be expanded to fill the whole view. It’s easier to play than it sounds. The game engine is interesting, with 3D buildings and flat sprites for the tanks. Beyond the tactical battles, there is also a strategic section.
Pacific Islands is the second game in a trilogy that started with Team Yankee and ended with War in the Gulf.
34. Fireforce (1992)
This update of Green Beret provides everything that the military enthusiast could want, including a good selection of weaponry, helicopters, hostages to rescue, medals, terrorists to kill, and a virtual career path with retirement (or death) at the end.
One of Fireforce’s key influences is Vietnam films of the 1980s. There’s an M72 Light Anti-Tank Weapon that can be used to blow up watchtowers in a suitably cinematic way. A Rambo-style knife can be used to silently cut the throat of unsuspecting bad guys.
Fireforce is not a perfect game and the intelligence of the enemy leaves a lot to be desired, but it’s very memorable. Just don’t miss the helicopter at the extraction point.
33. Deliverance (1992)
Deliverance is a sequel to Hewson game Stormlord. Although originally meant to be a straight port of the Commodore 64 version, Amiga developers Peter Verswyvelen and Kim Goossens had grander plans that involved large levels, massive sprites, and detailed graphics.
The most obvious influence on Deliverance is the Bitmap Brothers’ Gods. A butch warrior called The Stormlord hacks and slashes his way through weird monsters, bats, and spiders crawling up the walls and along the ceilings.
The ambitious vision eventually caused the developers to run out of time, and Deliverance became a little less impressive by the fourth and final level, which is a side-scrolling shoot-’em-up.
32. Cybercon III (1991)
Cybercon III is the name of a “Super Defense computer gone mad” in a scenario that will be familiar to anyone aware of Skynet and SHODAN. Cybercon III is actually kind of similar to the later System Shock.
As with a lot of early games of this ilk, it takes some time to learn how to play. Each game tended to implement very custom interfaces, which made Amiga games wonderfully diverse but also a little baffling to newcomers.
Exploration of the 3D world, which was sometimes described as a “virtual reality” at the time, is through the visor of a power armor. Learning to control the suit’s systems is necessary to progress in the game.
31. Historyline 1914-1918 (1993)
Ace German developer Blue Byte was the company behind The Settlers and Battle Isle, a science fiction-themed wargame that provided the game engine for Historyline. Swapping the futuristic setting for the trenches of World War I proved to be an interesting choice.
The Great War was characterized by stationary armies in trenches, and most World War I games on the Amiga, such as Knights of the Sky and Wings, are about the more mobile war in the air. World War II was much more common in games.
Although an intro sequence covers the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the origins of the war, Historyline also contains a good amount of period information in the game itself. Although the combat is hex-based, like most wargames of the time, it’s much more accessible than most.
30. Thunderhawk AH-73M (1991)
“Things are getting desperate… Yes, Mr. President.” Thunderhawk opens with an impressive cinematic introduction that involves a thunderstorm, a helicopter, the White House, and a man running down a corridor to meet the President. This helicopter simulator was a game from Core Design, of Tomb Raider fame, who clearly decided that a Psygnosis-style introduction was in order.
Thunderhawk takes an arcade-style, action-based approach to helicopters, but uses the mouse rather than the joystick for basic flight controls. This is one simulation that doesn’t require a degree and a hefty tome to play. See Shuttle: The Space Flight Simulator and ProFlight for simulators that do.
The game engine is fast and fluid, and there are six campaigns, from Europe to Alaska, with a wide selection of weapons and aircraft. Thunderhawk late became successful on the Sega CD/Mega-CD system, although that version is quite different from the original computer release.
29. Escape from Colditz (1990)
Colditz Castle was a World War II prison for POWs who had a tendency to escape from other camps. It is debatable whether it was a wise decision to house all the best escapees in the same place.
Based on a board game from Gibsons Games, Escape from Colditz tasks you with helping British, American, French, and Polish POWs exit the castle. Each of the four men is housed in his own quarters and need to explore German areas to find the necessary escape items.
The isometric view engine and graphics build a sense of location. and exploring restricted areas is tense. There are disguises, a daily routine, keys, men acting as lookouts, solitary confinement, and, of course, tunnels. Whistling The Great Escape tune during play is optional but recommended.
28. Corporation (1990)
Somehow, Doom appeared in 1990, and it was called Corporation. Admittedly, Corporation isn’t a fast-paced shooter, but rather a kind of action-adventure in first-person 3D with 2D sprites.
The idea is to penetrate a multi-storey building as a secret agent with James Bond gadgets, including a jet pack. The corridors and rooms of the building are populated by robots and monster holograms. A time bomb can be used to destroy many of the floor’s walls in a single explosion, so Corporation has some rudimentary destructible scenery, a feature that would later be a key part of the Red Faction series.
Corporation came with an offer to digitize your face and load it into the game via a floppy data disk. It’s unclear how many players took this offer.
27. Sabre Team (1992)
Sabre Team takes its inspiration from the SAS’s 1980 rescue of hostages in the Iranian embassy siege in London. One of the game’s missions is similar, with a rescue attempt in the American embassy in London. The others involve a mountain fortress, a cruise ship, and a missile factory in the desert. The gameplay is similar to Laser Squad and UFO: Enemy Unknown with carefully equipped squads first deploying and then making turn-based moves based on a limited number of action points.
The original 1992 version of Sabre Team for the Amiga 500 was slow to process turns, but the 1994 version for the Amiga 1200 and CD32 resolves that problem. It also starts with the embassy assault instead of a jungle mission and includes some professional voiceover work that sounds like it’s from a TV news channel.
Special forces missions are always gripping, and games like Sabre Team and Hostages live on today in the form of tactical first-person shooters like Rainbow Six.
26. Lamborghini American Challenge (1994)
In the beginning, there was Crazy Cars and it was bad. Then there was Crazy Cars II and it was bad, too. Eventually, there was Crazy Cars III and it was pretty damn good, actually. However, that wasn’t enough for French publisher Titus. Crazy Cars III was given an officially licensed name and re-released as Lamborghini American Challenge. Now it could race alongside the Lotus games and Jaguar XJ220.
Apart from the licensed name change, the major difference between Crazy Cars III and Lamborghini American Challenge is the split-screen mode that allows two players to race against each other.
The driving model feels fluid and the races are spread across the U.S.A., with some good weather effects to accompany the scenery. There are cops, gambling, car upgrades, and everything else you might expect from a street racing game.
25. The Lost Treasures of Infocom (1992)
This is a compilation of 20 Infocom text adventures that covers fantasy, science fiction, adventure, mystery, and horror. Infocom was the king of interactive fiction and The Lost Treasures is well named.
The compilation includes the five games from the Zork series, the Enchanter trilogy (Enchanter, Sorcerer, and Spellbreaker), Planetfall plus its sequel Stationfall, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and all of these games are worth playing.
As well as six floppy disks, the chunky box contains a 272-page manual and a handful of documents and maps. These are games that require a lot of reading.
24. Bloodwych (1990)
Bloodwych is a dungeon crawler RPG with distinctive box cover art by fantasy artist Chris Achilleos, who may be familiar to readers of Fighting Fantasy books.
The game distinguishes itself from RPGs like Dungeon Master and Eye of the Beholder by its simultaneous two-player mode and split screen. Of course, multiplayer games that used a split screen had the unfortunate drawback of allowing your opponent to peek at your part of the screen.
Another interesting feature of Bloodwych is a detailed conversation system that allows you to talk to both enemies and members of your own party. There was an expansion called Bloodwych: The Extended Levels that added new places to explore.
23. Deuteros: The Next Millennium (1991)
In the strategy game Millennium 2.2, the remainder of mankind must survive on the moon in the year 2200 after the earth has been hit by an asteroid. In the sequel, Deuteros, mankind is back on the earth a millennium later and is now beginning to explore space and colonize other planets.
Using Earth City as a central command center, you can access training, research, production, and resource screens. The game starts slowly, as you work out how to build a mining rig, shuttle, and orbital factory, which will allow further space-based construction. The scope of Deuteros expands as you advance and burdensome tasks become automated as researchers come up with new inventions.
These days, Deuteros would be described as a 4X strategy game (“eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate”), but it is sadly somewhat neglected.
22. Gem’X (1991)
Gem’X was the Candy Crush Saga of 1991, although in those days, there were no microtransactions and games were owned outright unless they had been pirated, which was quite common.
The idea is to make the gems on the left side of the screen match the gems on the right side using certain color transformation rules. Presenting the game is Kiki, a male fantasy Japanese girl who has brought along her friends. Yes, games were often aimed at the male members of the species in those days. The presentation is sparkling and the audio is top notch, with some excellent music and speech. “I love you,” says Kiki.
According to artist Frank Matzke, a sequel called Super Gem’Z was developed, but it was abandoned when the Amiga master copy was stolen at a computer show in Cologne. The company Software 2000 refused to publish it.
21. Fly Harder (1993)
Fly Harder is a shiny version of Thrust that was first released in Germany in 1993 and then more widely in 1994. In the UK it was sold for a very reasonable as an original budget title.
Admittedly, there are only eight levels, but the game is challenging enough to last some time. The aim of the game is to safely guide energy spheres across the map to overload reactors. The player controls a spaceship that is constantly being affected by gravity. In itself, controlling the ship is difficult enough but when a sphere is attached, its inertia causes extra problems.
Fly Harder offers keyboard control remapping, a feature that was strangely not particularly common on the Amiga. There’s a version for Commodore’s CD32 system, too. But as with many releases on that console, the CD version differs little from the floppy release.
20. Flood (1990)
Populous. Populous II. Powermonger. Syndicate. Theme Park. These are all amazing Amiga games associated with Bullfrog. However, Peter Molyneux’s company also released a curious game called Flood.
Flood is so named because waters rise, filling the levels and eventually causing the main character, Quiffy, to drown. The aim is to collect pieces of rubbish and escape. Although it could be described as a platform game, Quiffy can climb up walls and across ceilings as well as leaping about.
The weaponry includes a large flamethrower, a boomerang, and grenades that can be used to fight a strange bunch of enemies. A mysterious ghost follows Quiffy around and must be avoided. It all adds up to a slightly bizarre game with an unmissable end sequence.
19. Damocles: Mercenary II (1990)
With planetary landings recently added to Elite Dangerous in its Horizons expansion, it’s worth looking back at a game that had such a feature in 1990: Damocles. As the game begins, the player is hurtling through space, through a solar system to a distant pinpoint, which becomes larger and is revealed as the planet Eris. The spacecraft then proceeds to land on the planet.
The sword of Damocles, in this case, is a comet that is about to hit Eris. Everyone has departed, so it’s up to the player to resolve the crisis, which can be achieved in a number of ways, including destroying the comet and even destroying another planet to alter the comet’s trajectory.
Such an early 3D game has limitations of course, and the world is sparsely covered in buildings, with large empty spaces in between. However, as with Amiga games such as Hunter, the abstract 3D style adds to the charm.
18. Virocop (1995)
By 1995, legendary developer Graftgold was very familiar with the Amiga hardware and had a back catalog of great games, including Rainbow Islands, Fire & Ice, and Empire Soccer 94. On 8-bit machines, its famous games were the likes of Uridium and Paradroid.
Virocop began development as a tank shoot-’em-up before evolving to be set inside a virtual world where D.A.V.E. (“Digital Armoured Virus Exterminator”) zips around themed levels destroying viruses. The character of D.A.V.E. was originally based on KLP-2, who appeared in Graftgold’s Spectrum game Quazatron.
Although developed for the Amiga 500, there was an enhanced AGA chipset version for the more powerful Amiga 1200 machine, which included a whole new world. Virocop was the final Amiga game from Graftgold and, as a parting gift, it was also an Amiga exclusive.
17. Legend (1992)
Legend was known as The Four Crystals of Trazere in the U.S. Behind these generic fantasy names is a detailed role-playing game that is a kind of prequel to Bloodwych. The developers added some great little touches, such as a dragon who draws a map and a chicken option that causes the characters to run away Monty Python and the Holy Grail-style.
The world is traversed on an overview map, but the game changes to an isometric game upon entering certain locations. Each of the four characters possesses a special ability: hiding in shadow, a bardic melody, a berserker rage, and spellcasting. The magic system is freeform and is the basis of a massive number of spell combinations. Runes provide magic effects, such as damage or healing, and are combined with ingredients to create spells.
A year after Legend’s release, Mindscape published a sequel called Worlds of Legend: Son of the Empire, which used the same game engine and is set in a new land inspired by China.
16. Jetstrike (1993)
Jetstrike is a sideways, multi-directional scrolling game with a bunch of aircraft that can only be described as a “plethora.” As well as the usual modern military planes, you can fly the Red Baron’s Fokker triplane, that tiny jet from the pre-credit sequence of Octopussy, and a dragon.
The 2D graphics suggest that Jetstrike is a shoot-’em-up, but there are some simulation elements, too. Pushing the joystick right increases the throttle and pushing it left decreases it. Pulling the joystick back pulls the aircraft nose up and pushing it forwards pushes it down. As the view is from the side, this takes some getting used to, and initial attempts at taking off will probably result in a nasty crash.
For Amiga 1200 owners, there’s an enhanced AGA version with better graphics. The CD32 version is similar, but boasts a CD soundtrack with the memorable tune “Drop the Bomb.”
15. Nitro (1990)
Nitro is a racing game featuring a Roger Moore James Bond Terminator. Clint Eastwood and Sylvester Stallone also make an appearance as racers in their Pale Rider and Rambo guises.
There are 32 tracks to complete with city, forest, desert, and apocalypse themes, and three players can race at the same time with two on joystick and one on the keyboard. There is no split-screen mode so racers must avoid falling behind.
Micro Machines and the Super Cars games may be better known, but Nitrois an uncomplicated game that is well worth your time. Programmer Jamie Woodhouse would later create another racing game called ATR: All Terrain Racing and the platformer Qwak for Team 17.
14. Space Crusade (1992)
In 1991, Gremlin Graphics released the excellent HeroQuest, a fantasy game based on a Milton Bradley/Games Workshop board game. In 1992, Gremlin followed this up with Space Crusade, which was also based on a board game from the same two companies.
Unlike HeroQuest, Space Crusade is viewed from a top-down perspective, which is less pretty but gives a good overview of the tactical situation. During combat, the game changes to the more aesthetically pleasing isometric viewpoint.
Each mission is set on an alien hulk and allows up to three players to board as Blood Angels, Imperial Fists, or Ultra Marines. Each team of Space Marines takes turns moving and attacking aliens. Further missions are available in the expansion Space Crusade: The Voyage Beyond.
13. Supremacy (1990)
Supremacy is the gaming equivalent of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels and sees the player manage a series of planets across four different solar systems. Each system contains a variable number of planets, depending on the difficulty level, and an unpleasant alien at the other end who must be conquered. The ultimate bad guy, Rorn, is very difficult to defeat.
Once purchased, an atmospheric processor can be used to terraform lifeless planets. From a central interface, other screens can be used to manage various planetary and interplanetary ships, set tax rates, and train troops, which can be sent to attack enemy planets.
Supremacy is really about numbers, and there is very little direct control over certain key events, such as battles. In this sense, it’s similar to a football management game, but instead of teams and players, you’re managing planets and ships.
12. Ruff ‘n’ Tumble (1994)
Ruff ‘n’ Tumble is a run-and-gun game that will appeal to those who liked the Turrican games, Gunstar Heroes, and Metal Slug. In the male computer game version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a small blond boy called Ruff Rogers takes a trip down a rabbit hole to find his marble and appears in a strange new world controlled by Dr. Destiny and his Tinhead Army.
The gameplay is fluid and action is frantic. The graphics are excellent and the enemy characters have a wonderful metallic look. There are big bosses, some nice weapons, and great music and sound effects.
As an exclusive Amiga game, Ruff ‘n’ Tumble isn’t perhaps as well known to run-and-gun fans as it should be.
11. Yo! Joe! (1993)
Yo! Joe! is a game from the Japanese company Hudson Soft that was developed by German team Scipio and published by Blue Byte. The style is distinctly Japanese and the game feels as if it is a conversion from the consoles, but the only other platform it appeared on was PC DOS.
The Joe of the title, Joe Maroni, and his friend Nat Gonzales must make their way through a castle, a pyramid, a monastery, and a mysterious kingdom in this platformer. It can be tackled alone as Joe or with a friend in the two-player co-op mode, which is a great way to play a game like this.
The soundtrack is marvelous and there are some bonus horizontally scrolling shooting sections to break up the platform levels. Yo! Joe! is a somewhat forgotten Hudson Soft game that is waiting to be rediscovered.
10. Paradroid 90 (1990)
Five years after the release of Paradroid on the Commodore 64, Andrew Braybrook brought an updated version to 16-bit platforms. Five large spaceships have been overrun with a variety of droids and the aim is to clear each one. Each ship contains up to 16 decks and there is an extra pirate ship called the Arabella that can be accessed by finding hidden keys.
Paradroid 90’s brilliant concept is that the player’s own droid is weak, but can take control of other droids for a limited time. When the host is destroyed, control returns to the basic droid. Powerful or fast droids are preferred as hosts, but feebler maintenance models can be used as a last resort or as stepping stones. There is a droid transfer puzzle sub-game, but this can be turned off in the main menu.
Andrew Braybrook updated another of his 8-bit classics to 16-bit, but this time, Uridium 2 was only released on the Amiga.
9. King’s Bounty (1991)
King’s Bounty is the progenitor of the Heroes of Might & Magic series. The latest game, Might & Magic Heroes VII, was released in 2015. The game also spawned a newer series that began with King’s Bounty: The Legend. But back in 1991, the original King’s Bounty was converted to the Amiga.
The game is set in a fantasy world in peril and is played in two modes. In the RPG portion, a sorceress, knight, barbarian, or paladin travels by horse or by boat across four continents, collecting treasure, recruiting armies, and fulfilling contracts taken out on villains. When a battle occurs, the game moves to a mode similar to the Spectrum game Chaos.
King’s Bounty’s combination of exploration, adventure, army building, and battles is a winning formula as can be seen by the continuing popularity of this style of game. But it all started here and the Amiga version is a damn good one.
8. Banshee (1994)
Available only for Amigas with the AGA graphics chipset, such as the A1200 and CD32, this is a Danish vertically scrolling shoot-’em-up. Its influences are coin-op 1942 and home computer favorite SWIV, but with a high level of polish and excellent graphics.
As with many shoot-’em-ups with seemingly endless enemy attack waves and tough bosses, Banshee is a difficult game, but two players can fly together to even the odds.
With an art style reminiscent of the Bitmap Brothers’ games, nice weather effects, and an abundance of animated background detail, Banshee is one of the Amiga’s top shoot-’em-ups. As an exclusive Amiga game, it’s not nearly as widely known as it should be.
7. Odyssey (1995)
Odyssey was published by Audiogenic in the later period of the Amiga’s commercial life when it was being flooded with Doom clones and the Sony PlayStation had arrived. However, Odysseyharks back to earlier platforming adventure games, such as Audiogenic’s own Exile.
At its core, Odyssey is about visiting islands and getting from one location to another by solving puzzles that prevent progress. These puzzles generally involve switches and doors but some areas are inaccessible to the human character. As the game progresses, crystals allow the player to transform into different creatures, such as a spider, a grasshopper, and various birds. These additional powers open up new areas.
There are six islands with exterior and interior sections as well as a final castle to tackle. Be sure to check out the Amiga Format magazine coverdisk demo, which features an exclusive training island.
6. Super Tennis Champs (1992)
Super Tennis Champs is the Amiga’s answer to Super Tennis on the Super Nintendo. It was originally released as plain old Tennis Champs on an Amiga Powermagazine coverdisk, and later earned the SNES-esque Super prefix when it was published commercially by Audiogenic.
The original game had been written in AMOS, a popular entry-level BASIC language on the Amiga, but programmer Elton Bird rewrote the core of the enhanced version in Blitz BASIC in around a week and a half. The Super Tennis Champs enhancements include a scrolling court, more characters, more options, and a simultaneous four-player mode using a joystick adapter.
Bizarrely, Samuel L. Jackson’s ubiquity is such that he was even linked to this game. A tennis player character called Julius was identified by Amiga Power as Jules from Pulp Fiction. Jackson even made an appearance on one of their magazine covers.
5. Roadkill (1994)
New Zealand-based Acid Software released a number of impressive Amiga games, including Guardian and Skidmarks. Roadkill is the company’s over-the-top racing game that is presented as a violent futuristic event.
The cars have names like Inferno, Hammer, Demolition, and Cyclone. The tracks are suspended high above the ground and have names such as Maximum Overkill Grand Prix and Badlands Megasmash. Racers can attack other cars with missiles and there are kill zones in each track.
Although only a single player game, Roadkill is nonetheless an addictive racer. It was originally released for the CD32, but eventually made its way to the Amiga 1200.
4. Qwak (1993)
This is a cute platform game featuring ducks who fling eggs at their opponents. It’s the kind of game that was common on the Amiga, but it’s also one that gets everything just right.
Each level is only one screen in size, but the compact graphics manage to pack in a lot of detail. The aim is to collect keys, avoid the enemies, and escape through the exit. A second player can join in and fling his own eggs.
Qwak was sold by Team 17 as a mid-range title, but it was superior to a great many full-price games costing twice as much. Programmer Jamie Woodhouse would later port his game to the Game Boy Advance, Windows, Mac, and mobile.
3. Dynablaster (1992)
Dynablaster is the official Amiga version of the Japanese company Hudson Soft’s Bomberman. The concept is brilliant and involves opponents dropping bombs in arenas to destroy each other while collecting bonuses to increase the length of explosions and the number of bombs that can be dropped.
There is a single player mode, but Dynablaster is at its very best when played with five players using the supplied joystick adapter. Players gather around the same computer with four on joysticks and one on the keyboard. Although in the 1990s gaming was usually portrayed as a lone hobby, a lot of Amiga games turned it into a social event. Something has been lost with modern multiplayer games where the players are on different continents rather than in the same room.
Bomberman clones were popular on the Amiga and the public domain scene saw a lot of shareware and freeware versions, the best of which is Master Blaster.
2. No Second Prize (1992)
Thalion, a German developer known for games like Dragonflight, Amberstar, Ambermoon, and Lionheart, released a very slick motorbike racer called No Second Prize.
No Second Prize succeeds in the two key areas of speed and control. The 3D engine is fast and recreates the feeling of hurtling around a track at high speed. The bike is controlled by mouse, which allows a fine degree of control when tilting on corners.
With twenty European tracks and various replay modes, including a helicopter camera, No Second Prize is the Amiga’s best motorcycle game.
1. Stardust (1993)
Stardust is a renowned Amiga game that was created by Finnish developer Bloodhouse, distributed by Daze, and originally sold at a reasonable mid-range price. Unfortunately, despite high review scores, it wasn’t a big success, and so Bloodhouse turned to Team 17 to publish the game as Super Stardust and with a higher price tag.
The game is an upscale version of Asteroids, with ray-traced graphics and extra features that include weapon upgrades and bosses. There are two Thrust-style levels where the ship must navigate caverns.
The most impressive and memorable section is seen in four tunnel sequences. The ship flies into the screen, avoiding incoming obstacles. The background is formed of only six frames of animation with four colors, but the effect is spectacular in action.