AMIGA alive

AMIGA alive

Gaming: More of the best - Amiga games you must have seen, part 2

We're not through with you, yet. There's even more stunning games for the Amiga that we need to talk about!

When researching for our previous article ("Best of the best - Amiga games you must have seen"), many more outstanding games came to mind. Again, with a slightly different perspective, where childhood memories or commercial success take a step back, and the focus is on technical, conceptual, aesthetical, or historical aspects. Again, let's look back and show our appreciation for the true gems of Amiga game development!

(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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Ashes Of Empire (Mirage, Midnight, 1992)

If you get a big box game on multiple floppy disks, with a heavy, high-gloss printed manual, a fictional setting that was directly modeled after the political events at the time - namely: the collapse of the Soviet Union - , with an intro sequence that speaks of "the unthinkable" - namely: nuclear holocaust - , and a introduction VHS video tape cassette, yes, a 20-min. movie that shows you how to play, well, then you know you've got something extraordinary.

"Ashes Of Empire" is a vaaaast game, a mixture of realtime simulator with great 3D graphics, and complex strategy game. You meet lots of different people, you control different vehicles, you move a lot, over big distances, you manage your resources, oh boy, "Ashes Of Empire" is such an ambitious, interesting, serious, well-done game, the magazines gave it rave reviews when it came out, and it won't let go of you quickly. Or: "... you're in for the campaign of your life.", as Amiga Format magazine put it.

You can watch the 20-min. introduction video on YouTube:

Deluxe Galaga AGA & Deluxe Pacman AGA (Edgar M. Vigdal, 1995 & 1997)
Shareware games on this list? Hell, yeah, and these are so good, they easily beat a lot of commercial releases: Deluxe Galaga and Deluxe Pacman both feature equally super-smooth classic arcade action, with superb music and soundfx, beautiful graphics, flashy extras and gimmicks, flawless playability, and numerous levels. Sadly, Mr. Vigdal passed away in 2015. His creations live on, have become classics, and especially Deluxe Galaga is often cited as one of the best shareware and arcade games on the Amiga platform.

You can download Deluxe Galaga AGA from AmiNet:

You can download Deluxe Pacman AGA from Amiga Future: (CD32)

Deluxe Galaga AGA being the more widely known title, here you can watch a longplay of Deluxe Pacman AGA:

Dune II: Battle for Arrakis (Virgin, Westwood, 1993)

The father of true real-time strategy gameplay. Dune II was a complete departure from it's predecessor. Sure, before Dune II there have been similar ideas, or partial real-time-strategy concepts, like in MicroProse's "Command series" ("Conflict in Vietnam", "Crusade in Europe", ...), or Mega-Lo-Mania and Carrier Command on the Amiga, and other games on different platforms. But Dune II was the first game that combined all the ingredients that were to be forever associated with the term "real-time-strategy", and made it a popular gaming genre: top-down view, scrolling map, radar, mouse control, single or multiple unit control, unit tactics, resource gathering and management, base building, armed conflict, in-game technology and advancements, and of course everything is driven by an in-game "realtime" clock instead of players taking turns.

Dune II is still a fine example of a realtime strategy game, with smooth gameplay and good graphics and sound.

Here's a longplay video of the game:


Hunter (Activision, 1991)

The mother of true 3D open world gameplay. Before Hunter there were Adventure (Atari VCS2600), Elite (BBC Micro, C64, ...), Mercenary (Atari 8bit, C64, Amiga, ...), and others with similar concepts. But Hunter was the first to have everything combined in one game: non-linear "sandbox" gameplay, free movement in an open world map, using different vehicles for transport, with lots of different objects to pick up, use, and puzzle together, in a persistent realtime-driven game universe, presented in 3D graphics from a 3rd person point-of-view close to the action.

Was it revolutionary? Ummh... no. Not at the time. It was ahead of it's time, hinting at what would later become one of the biggest franchises in computer gaming: in 2001, with the full force of CPUs, GPUs, massive storage capacities, and a very different setting and tone, "Grand Theft Auto III" would enter the world of free 3D roaming and become the most successful video game of the year with over 17 million units sold. The rest is history. A history that - in a way - started with... Hunter.

Here's a nice review and playguide by famous LemonAmiga:

MYST (PXL, ClickBoom, 1997)

MYST was among the first games that introduced the power of CD-ROM to the gaming world: content, graphics, and sound galore! Certainly not theeee most playable game of all time, but this one's totally about atmosphere. Have a glass of red wine, and let yourself sink into the slow-moving world of MYST, with it's moody graphics and sound, and occasional puzzle minigames.

ClickBoom ported MYST to the Amiga, the first Amiga game that due to it's huge amount of graphics data completely relied on CD-ROM, and by porting it they basically said: "It can be done! This is the future."

Here you can watch a longplay video of the game:

Nightlong: Union City Conspiracy (ClickBoom, 2000)
ClickBoom, the name that strikes fear into the hearts of the competition, delivers the biggest Amiga game ever: 3 CDs full of content! If you want to dive into a storyline that keeps you occupied for hours and days, this is the game for you. While not really introducing new concepts - basically it's a point-and-click adventure with puzzles - it stands out from the rest with it's polished 3D-rendered graphics, movie sequences, in-game speech and music, Bladerunner-esque futuristic ambience, and the endless amount of it. With MYST (see above), ClickBoom said "It can be done!" - with Nightlong they said: "MYST was just warm up exercise!"

Here's a longplay video of the game:

Payback (Blittersoft, Apex Designs, 2001)

Did you know you can play the original GTA (Grand Theft Auto) on the Amiga? Well, not really, but kinda. Maybe better. According to Wikipedia, the authors made "every effort [...] to ensure that Payback beats GTA in every way." Well, maybe not in every way - certainly not when it comes to commercial success and sequels - but in some ways.

It's loud, bold, fast, beautiful, open, violent, politically incorrect, supports PowerPC and Warp3D - and deserves way more attention and sales than it got. Amiga support has been dropped years ago, but it's heritage lives on in Payback 2 for iOS and Android.

Here's some footage from the original Amiga version:

Quake (PXL, ClickBoom, 1998)
First there was Doom. It shook the world of computer gaming, and changed it for good. Then there was Quake. It took the world by storm, and revolutionized gaming again. On the PC. Sigh.

But then there was ClickBoom (you've heard the name before), and they did the first port of Quake to the Amiga. What a daring move. It even has a few improvements over the PC original (e.g. 32k colors on graphics boards, as opposed to 256 in the original). Hardware demands were ridiculously high - 68060 blatantly recommended - and playability on lower spec Amigas was questionable.

Later ports by other people, after Quake had become open-source, made use of PowerPC CPUs and OpenGL rendering, both technical advancements that were becoming more common at the time.

But ClickBoom's port was the first -
it's friggin' Quake on the Amiga, need we say more?!

"This is madness..." - "This! Is! CLICKBOOM!"

Here's some footage of ClickBoom's Quake running on a A1200-060:

Second Samurai AGA (Psygnosis, Vivid Image, 1994)
"First Samurai" was a fine, moody, top-notch game, but "Second Samurai" took it's predecessor's style pleasantly over-the-top. Just like in "First...", our samurai fights, jumps, evades, climbs, picks up things, now even jetpacks through the air, and he does so in beautifully detailed graphics, huge sprites, animated backgrounds, some interesting game mechanics, throught increasingly bizarre fantasy worlds, with a realtime mixing larger-than-life soundtrack, and TV-style scene transitions. The whole thing evokes an undeniable manga anime movie feel, and it's damn good at doing so. Both "First Samurai" and "Second Samurai" are equally enjoyable platform games, but we pick "Second Samurai" for it's over-the-top style, and AGA graphics. Hallelujah!

Here you can watch a video of "Second Samurai":

Tornado AGA (Digital Integration, 1994)
Tornado is one of those Amiga games that originated on the PC platform with it's massive CPU horsepower and graphics accelerators, thus pushing the level of detail and realism to new heights on the Amiga. Yes, the game has received some average reviews, due to it's CPU demands. But have an Amiga with a decent CPU upgrade, and you get a beautiful, realistic, serious flight simulator that's unsurpassed until a few years later (see below: TFX), and to some degree not even then. And it has a rare feature for a flight simulator on the Amiga: simultaneous two-player network mode via nullmodem serial link. Very nice!

Of course we pick the AGA version over the OCS/ECS version for smoother colors.

TFX / Tactical Fighter Experiment (CU Amiga, Digital Images Design, 1997)
TFX wasn't released for the Amiga by the original company, due to it's hardware demands (reportedly about one frame per second on a stock A1200!) and the uncertainty of the Amiga market around 1994. Only three years later we could see TFX when it was "posthumously" released by CU Amiga magazine on one of their coverdisks. What a waste of time. Yes, CPU upgrades were expensive in 1994, but that's no excuse. Get it out to the people! TFX is without any doubt the most realistic flight simulator ever on the Amiga. It looks and feels just right, the 3D graphics engine is among the best, and it's one of the very few Amiga flight simulators that give you free head movement inside the cockpit, adding greatly to the playability and atmosphere.

From today's standpoint, TFX, Alien Breed 3D II and some others, are examples of great games that didn't get the attention they deserved, due to the stalling Amiga market and hardware development. History shows: The Amiga hasn't died, and it won't, today we have the horsepower, and TFX has become a high point of Amiga gaming in it's own right.

Here's some footage:

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Thanks for reading!
What's your opinion? Did we miss more outstanding games? Or do you have corrections? Please leave a comment!

And, if you haven't done so yet, make sure you read part one of our "Amiga games you must have seen" series of articles:

Additional sources:

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