AMIGA alive

AMIGA alive

Gaming: Best of the best - Amiga games you must have seen

When people think about Amiga gaming, they mostly think: Great Giana Sisters, Lemmings, and an Amiga 500 - but there's more to it

For one or another reason some games stand out from the rest. Great Giana Sisters and Lemmings are rightfully well known for their great playability and style. Other games push the hardware to its limits, introduce new concepts, make use of later generation Amiga hardware, or are just exceptionally well made in some aspect, giving the player a refreshing and exciting experience.

Some early games are still holding up really well, with beautiful graphics and fine playability, but in today's perception are overshadowed by popular titles like the aforementioned Great Giana Sisters and the likes.

Other great games were developed later, when the Amiga market was shrinking rapidly. Only the most experienced and enthusiastic developers remained, and pushed the Amiga's limits, or made use of advanced expansion devices. Some of these games feature the most stunning technical achievements on the platform, but went by comparably unnoticed due to the market situation.

Let's take a look at the most spectacular Amiga games, from the early days to the present - well done classics to late ones that only hardcore Amiga users have seen with their own eyes.

The best of the best!

(Games are listed alphabetically. Screenshots and videos belong to their respective owners, used under fair use clause / Zitatrecht / ... whatever applies, for educational / documentary / scientific purpose. Sources listed where applicable.)

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Aladdin (Jaguar, Virgin, 1994)
Arcade platform action just like in your animated comic series on TV. Pretty much the perfect game of it's genre, well done classic gameplay, beautiful music and sound effects, with funny and smoothly animated Disney characters. There are other great platformers on the Amiga, like Whiz'n'Liz, Superfrog, Zool, but Aladdin with it's perfect comic style has a unique quality to it.

Watch a longplay video of the game here:

Alien Breed 3D II: The Killing Grounds (Team 17, 1996)
Only Team17 makes it happen! Among the Amiga-native first-person-shooter games, this is probably the most advanced one. How advanced? Textured polygon 3D graphics, moving lights, shadows, alpha blending, 8-channel sound, ... At the time of release there was no Amiga available capable of running this at an acceptable framerate! Patches were released, but still the game remained a little obscure due to its hardware demands. Nowadays you can experience AB3DII in its full glory on a hi-spec machine running an Amiga emulator, or get the groundbreaking Vampire accelerator for your real Amiga.

Body Blows Galactic AGA (Team 17, 1994)

There are many great fighting games on the Amiga, but Body Blows Galactic is the most arcade of 'em all, the most galactic one. Galactic sprites, galactic moves, galactic graphics. In AGA color. Just - galactic.

Breathless (1995)
When Doom came out for the PC, it changed the world of computer gaming forever. Due to the Amiga's graphics chipset's planar organization of display pixels, there seemed to be a built-in limit to the performance of texture zooming graphics, and people said Doom couldn't be done on the Amiga. Well, we know better. Breathless was the first raycasting engine game that runs smoothly on an average accelerated Amiga, and in beautiful 256 colors AGA graphics. It also has a great atmosphere and soundtrack. Amiga Format magazine wrote: "Breathless has boldly taken the Amiga where no Amiga has gone before." We couldn't agree more.

Capital Punishment (Clickboom, 1996)

When Clickboom is involved, you know you get a great game. This one's so great it's pretty hard to even run. When you finally have freed every byte of memory of your A1200 and succeeded in running Capital Punishment, you get the Amiga's most brutal and hardest fighting game. Clearly inspired by the popularity of Mortal Combat coin-op, technically advanced, with a distinct visual style and beautiful handdrawn graphics, and fast, precise action, Capital Punishment fights in a class of its own.

Genetic Species (Marble Eyes, Vulcan, 1998)

One of the later games that takes advantage of graphics boards and sound hardware, and of course greatly benefits from CPU upgrades. The well-known Doom concept with a few improvements - did you know you can and are supposed to mind-walk in Genetic Species? - delivered with next generation graphics and sound. Probably the best Amiga native raycasting FPS game.

Lionheart (Thalion, 1993)
Pixel art at its best, it almost jumps out of the screen. Lionheart is so beautifully drawn, the passion drips out of every single pixel. There's also parallax scrolling, an awesome water effect, and what-not-else. Someone says there's more than 600 colors on screen. Don't ask me, I don't doubt it. Adding great playability and sound, this game is a no-brainer.

Lemmings (complete series - DMA, 1991 to 1995)
They're just so cute. :-) Everything that needs to be said about the Lemmings games has already been said many times before. Simply great games! We may have to pick out Lemmings III / All New World Of Lemmings here, because it has AGA graphics, and thus might look the best from all of the series.

Napalm: The Crimson Crisis (ClickBoom, 1999)
Clickboom's "Napalm" just looks and sounds and plays fantastic. It's the realtime-strategy game to play on the Amiga. The graphics are detailed and beautifully animated, the overall style is just perfect, a gaming experience where simply nothing is missing, you get the full package: thrilling "Red Alert"-type RTS at its best!

You can download a demo from AmiNet:

Note that there's an update to v1.4, which fixes several bugs and adds some improvements (probably to the full version of the game only):

No Second Prize (Thalion, 1992)
Take an Amiga 500, write a 3D racing game. Then optimize the crap out of your code until there's no more to optimize. What do you get in the end? The stunningly fastest 3D game engine the world has ever seen on a stock Amiga 500. We're talking no second prize here, this one takes the cake.

OnEscapee (Invictus, Sadeness, 1997)
Heavily inspired by the acclaimed Flashback and Another World adventure games, this one takes the concept to the next level with far better graphics and sound. It even has its own OnEscapee theme song with vocals!

Watch a longplay video of the game:

Shadow Of The Beast III (Reflections, Psygnosis, 1992)
"Shadow Of The Beast" was a stunning demonstration of what the Amiga was capable of. It was a huge success, spreading to many different platforms, and spawning two sequels. "Shadow Of The Beast III" is probably the best of the series, with improved playability, and finely honed graphics and music.

ShogoMAD (Titan, Hyperion Entertainment, 2001)
ShogoMAD is probably the best first person shooter ported to the Amiga. In a bold move, Hyperion decided to port some modern games to PowerPC Amiga, among which is ShogoMAD. The game didn't make a noticeable impact at the time, but from a technical point of view it immediately sets a completely new standard, as it's one of the few games that more or less demands the most high-end Amiga equipment available at the time. ShogoMAD has always been a great game, and Hyperion did a perfect port of it.

Here's a video of the game:

Speedball 2 - Brutal deluxe (Bitmap Brothers, 1992)
"Icecream! Icecream!" Oh boy, this game... We played our a**es off. The graphics are beautiful, the sound is great, playability is great, it's fast, it's got upgrades, you can foul your opponent, and of course it has this cynical dystopian future background setting and technoid style. Speedball 2 is one of the best arcade sports games for the Amiga.
...and, yeah, "Icecream!"

Super Stardust (Bloodhouse, Team 17, 1994)
Asteroids never looked that good. The classic thrill of splintering asteroids approaching, delivered with spectacular coin-op class graphics and sound, additional weapons and enemies, and a dizzying 3D sequence. You cannot ask for more when it comes to Asteroids on the Amiga.

Turrican I / II / III (Factor 5, 1990 to 1993)
Almighty Turrican can run, jump, roll, climb, shoot, burn, ... - the classic Amiga platform shooter. Everyone has played Turrican. Technically flawless, super playable, action packed, with beautiful classic arcade style graphics and a great soundtrack by Chris Huelsbeck, one wants to retry the game again and again, exploring new levels, meeting new enemies, overcoming new obstacles. And it has a super epic intro picture, which - according to Wikipedia - was inspired by Manowar's "Kings of metal" album cover art. Well, what can you say. It IS epic. Turrican was first released for the C64, then for the Amiga, and turned into a franchise spanning many platforms and sequels. All Turrican games on the Amiga are equally enjoyable, and frequently rank among the best action games for the Amiga.

T-ZerO (Trauma Zero Team, Clickboom, 1999)
Clickboom at it again. The Shoot-em-up to end all shoot-em-ups. CD music soundtrack, pounding techno music, speech samples, highly polished arcade-quality graphics, alpha blending, animated sprites galore... Some say the playability falls behind all the eye-and-ear-candy - but the technical achievement and overall production quality of the game is nontheless jawdropping.

Watch a longplay video of the game:

Virtual GP (Paolo "The Alien" Cattani, Islona / Epic Marketing, 1999)
Now this is the pinnacle of 'em all. No one had expected this, and no one could believe it. It has by far the best Amiga-native 3D graphics engine: Somehow, genius developer Paolo Cattani broke the planar-barrier of the Amiga chipset and brought us 1x1 pixel textured graphics that run smoothly on an average accelerated Amiga (68030 and up)! Additionally it has one of the best physics engines of any Amiga racing game. Sadly, the game slipped into obscurity due to the shrinking Amiga market, and what looked like a rushed, sloppy release. Paolo Cattani moved on to create acclaimed racing games for other platforms, and Virtual GP's groundbreaking 3D engine would never be seen in another game on the Amiga.

You can download a demo version from AmiNet:

Virtual Karting 2 (Fabio Bizetti, Islona / Epic Marketing, 1998)
Before VirtualGP, there was Virtual Karting. Maybe without Virtual Karting there would be no VirtualGP - who knows, both authors are from Italy? When Virtual Karting came out, it looked... ugly. But, boy, was it fast! Then came Virtual Karting 2, and it was just as fast - but it looked better! Somehow someone had found the key to detailed AND fast graphics. Virtual Karting 2 is a fun racer, with almost-revolutionary graphics in its own right, and it feels like the spiritual predecessor to the outstanding, truly revolutionary Virtual GP.

WipeOut 2097 (Digital Images, Blittersoft, 1999)
It was the age of the Playstation. With the arrival of the Playstation, smooth 3D graphics had finally reached every household, setting the standard for pretty much all genres of games. WipeOut 2097, with its super hip visual style, techno soundtrack and dystopian future background story was a huge success on the Playstation, perfectly suited to and totally reliant on the new generation's 3D performance. An Amiga just couldn't do such a thing. Or could it? Of course it could. WipeOut 2097 is one of the few games that require a PowerPC processor and hardware 3D accelerator. Not too many Amigans have this equipment, but those who do get a perfect WipeOut 2097 port, which is one of the most technically advanced, and best racing games for the Amiga.

Zool 2 AGA (The Warp Factory, Gremlin, 1993)
Want a colorful, cute, funny, action packed, challenging, thrilling, beautiful platform runner game with an iconic, likeable player character? For you? And your kids? You like Chupa Chups? Then Zool 2 is perfect. Zool 2 looks great, sounds great, plays great. It has all the concepts and ideas of a modern platform game, and delivers it with cute Chupa Chups style graphics. Maybe not as perfect as Aladdin, but what it lacks in fine-tuning it easily makes up for in eye-popping colors. Thanks, Chupa Chups!

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Thanks for reading! :-)
What do you think? Please leave a comment below! 

UPDATE 2017-09-20:
We've added a second part to this article:


  1. Great blog! Keep up the good work. :-)

  2. Super Frog
    Monkey Island 1 & 2
    Simon the sorcerer
    Giana Sisters
    Cannon Fodder
    Another world
    Pinball fantisies
    International Karate+
    Beneath a steel sky

  3. OMG Aladdin... My favorite game for the childhood. I remember playing it on my Amiga for days with my sister. Wanted to try it again and found it here in case anyone else is looking for it.