Top 5 platform games on the
It’s always difficult to name a top 5, especially when there are so many great games on the Amiga to choose from. I’ve based this small list on games I love to replay, whether on my Amiga or emulated. They also tap into deep rooted childhood memories and good times to match!
I will emphasise this list “is in my opinion” (ah, the wonders of a blog) as with any “top list” on any subject it will spark debate, which is a healthy thing anyway and hopefully some of you will put forward some of your top platformers for the Amiga as well!
After playing through a few of my favourites, and ones I haven’t played before, my list grew substantially from the initial 5. However, as much as I’d love to waffle on these games will be hailed as an honourable mention and came close to making my list; Superfrog, Rodland, Rainbow Islands, Harlequin, Gods and Wolfchild.
Flashback is an immensely good game with great graphics and great cut scenes to move the game along in-between each level. It moves away from the usual “bouncy, jumpy” platformer and provides more of an RPG feel to it. The controls are smooth and really run well with the graphics. The intense music really sets the atmosphere for the whole game and the sound effects throughout set the tone nicely. Gameplay and appearance is similar in style to Another World but Flashback has a longer, and in my opinion better storyline (the puzzles are trickier but also follow a logical pattern). A great mix of action and puzzle solving Flashback is one I can play over and over again, even the courier jobs in level 2 aren’t all that bad. I love the intro sequence to this game and it sticks firmly in my memory to this day, the graphics blew me away and with the upbeat music felt like you were watching the intro to a movie. Good times.
Amiga Computing 62 (Jul 1993) gave Flashback 94%
The Great Giana Sisters
Whichever way you like at the Great Giana Sisters people will always shout out something about Mario, but I remember first loading this up on my Amiga and being hooked right away (for an eight year old boy the title screen was fascinating in itself). I felt no need to sit there and think “this is just like that NES game” and so I played through without the hindrance of over analysis that seems to limit the mind once you’ve reached adulthood. I took it for what it was, the graphics were bright and colourful, the gameplay fun and easy going but still retained that challenging aspect to it (timing some jumps was essential). It’s certainly not the easiest game to complete and the 2 player option is just basically the same thing over again but you’ll want to make it to the end, just because. It’s also one of the few games on my Amiga I remember my sister playing (alongside Monster Business, Magic Serpent and Chips Challenge) and as far as I remember she was able to get much further through the game than I could… probably had more patience. An awesome game and worth revisiting, the music is pretty lively too.
Article in AUI Vol. 2 No. 9 (Sep 1988) for The Great Giana Sisters
As soon as I read or think of the name Turrican the same funky signature theme tune pops into my head and I instantly feel the need to load it up. Turrican is a fast paced platformer and one where it’s not wise to stop for too long, the amount of enemies on screen doesn’t slow the game down and you’ll always find you’re up against an enemy. The game has a great variety of weapons in order to help you take out bad guys in more ways than one; namely bounce, laser and multiple, (add in the extra morph-ball move) and you have everything you need to make it through the games 5 distinct worlds, each with its own great piece of music by Chris Huelsbeck. I love it for its intensity and non-stop gameplay, the graphics look clean and polished and I find its one of the more challenging platformers for the Amiga. On more than one occasion this game has grabbed my attention, and is one of the few times playing it became more important than being called down for dinner. Turrican II is certainly my favourite of the series but I do have a soft spot for Turrican III, mainly for the cool swingy gadget.
CU Amiga (Feb 1992) review of Turrican II scored 94%
I played this because I saw it being played on Saturday morning TV (either Motormouth or Going Live!). Either way during the shows the contestant played the game either by shouting the controls down the phone or by using a touch tone phone. I loved the little character (Bitmap Kid) and the ‘cool’ (for the 90’s) animated intro sequence. BK had a unique way of taking out the bad guys, although it never made much sense why a snail would change into a candy cane after being engulfed by a whirlwind which came out someone’s pocket… crazy as that sounds when you write it down it makes sense in this awesome game. Another great from the Bitmap Brothers! The game is long enough to keep you amused for hours, until you turn to look at the clock and realise your late for school (you then get to school and remember it’s a Saturday) and feel like a complete ninny, but with the added bonus you can return home and carry on playing. The level designs are brilliant and the secret passages add an extra puzzle element to the gameplay. The game includes an impressive variety of bad guys and extra levels to keep you reaching into to your pockets for a long time to come… ooo er.
Amiga Action 25 (Oct 1991) gave Magic Pockets 93%
James Pond II: Robocod
Who doesn’t want to save a bunch of hapless penguins at Christmas time from the evil yet brightly coloured clutches of James Ponds arch nemesis Dr. Maybe? It’s certainly one of the most memorable platformers for me as I was a huge fan of the James Bond movies (still am, natch) and the first Pond game. In order to defeat Dr. Maybe (who has taken over Santa’s workshop in the North Pole) Pond is equipped with a robotic suit which allows him to extend is body and grip onto very high platforms, and then shimmy along them past all manner of bad guys and deadly traps. Robocod is a great game and a welcome improvement on the gameplay of the first game (I found the underwater controls far too sensitive and the gameplay very repetitive). Robocod also introduces a series of vehicles for our hero to use adding another dimension to the game, these include a car, plane and um, a bathtub. The game looks and feels polished and is definitely the best in the series (the third game felt like a combination of the first and second without the cool robotic suit) and for all its colour and overly cute level designs the game is the most challenging, and in some places just a little bit sinister.
Amiga Power 7 (Nov 1991) gave James Pond II: Robocod 87%
I have also previosuly reviewed Superfrog! Check it out here!