I know what you’re thinking. “A standard ‘Best Games Ever’ list, presented in the form of a countdown? That’s a bit of a desperate space-filler, isn’t it?” And, well, you’d be correct – but hey, there’s nothing like a totally subjective chart (compiled from the votes of many NAG members) to get people angry about such trivial matters as “Ooh, I’d definitely put Rodland at number 28 rather than 27″, “Where’s Advanced Lawnmower Simulator?” and “What are you doing in my house?”.
Go on, admit it – you enjoy it really. There’s nothing quite like it, is there? Back in May, when lockdown was actually a ‘thing’, running a poll on our membership’s favourite Amiga games seemed like an acceptable way to pass the time. Do you know, we could count up all the votes (awarding ten points for each first-placed title, down to one point for tenth place) and determine the group’s overall favourite Amiga game ever. Yes, it’s crazy but it might just work. It might, in fact, work like this… (With thanks to the excellent Lemon Amiga for the screenshots.)
Utterly barking flight ‘sim’ which has more than a hint of Choplifter and Harrier Attack about it. It might look like a straightforward side-scrolling shooter but don’t let that fool you – there’s hundreds of missions, even more planes, eccentric controls, glorious explosions, alien abductions, a rubbishly catchy CD32 soundtrack and a quirkiness that’s hard to communicate to someone who’s never played it. Although I’ve given it a good go here.
39. Space Crusade
An excellent conversion of the Games Workshop boardgame that’s a big favourite of mine, so I’m pleased to see it sneak in to the final list. It’s a fairly ‘light’ turn-based strategy game for up to three players and it’s big on atmosphere and tension. Naturally, dice rolls are a big feature (dice with zeroes on them, for heaven’s sake) so there’s an element of luck that either gives you a glimmer of hope in a bad situation, or can devastate perfectly-executed tactics at the drop of a hat. However, the accessibility, variety of missions on offer and the sheer enjoyment of playing it with other people make Space Crusade a superb example of the genre.
38. James Pond 2: Codename RoboCod
The danger of one person writing these comments, of course, is that inevitably we’ll stumble across games I don’t actually like very much, even though seemingly the rest of the world (well, most of Norwich at least) does. RoboCod is a great example. What I see as dull, sprawling, empty and a mere shell of a platformer others undoubtedly think is one of the finest console-esque computer runarounds of its generation, what with its huge levels, massively colourful graphics and plenty of secrets to uncover. You’ll have already long made up your own mind.
Ah, now we’re talking. It looks like a bare-faced rip-off of 1942, but Banshee is a fantastic vertically-scrolling shooter in its own right. The superb presentation, excellent graphics and dark humour complement a game that plays almost perfectly. The playfield is large with tons of enemies being chucked about without it breaking sweat… and it’s tough. So tough that I can barely see past level two, although adding a friend to play with you does take the pressure off somewhat. One of the best AGA-specific games ever written.
36. Gobliins 2
Here’s the other obstacle when it comes to writing about these games by myself; I’m not familiar with all of them. Gobliins 2 is a prime example of this. I know it’s a quirky, humorous adventure which sees you assume the role of two characters. My sources have also informed me it’s annoyingly illogical at times but still enjoyable to play overall. Other than that, I’m out – other than the fact it seems to be popular enough to have found its way onto this list. If you want insightful comment, best look elsewhere, although the fact you’re still reading suggests you’re not all that bothered by such minor details.
Look up the word ‘divisive’ in the dictionary and you’re likely to find a picture of Gods. Yes, it’s a Bitmap Brothers game with its trademark metallic graphics, crisp sonics and slightly unsettling atmosphere, as well as featuring clever AI and more thought than your average platformer. But it’s also slow, and for everyone who loves it, there’s somebody else who finds it frustrating, dull and nothing that special beyond its slick presentation. I lean towards the latter camp myself, but plenty of our members feel strongly enough that it should have an entry in our chart somewhere. So, er, here it is.
34. Knights Of The Sky
Oh God. This was a bad idea. I’m regretting it already. I mean, how am I supposed to fill a paragraph and do justice to a game that lots of people obviously love, but I clearly don’t know the first thing about? Other than it’s a hugely in-depth and (that word again – can someone buy me a thesaurus?) atmospheric flight sim set during the First World War, with all the primitive and – let’s face it – appallingly unsafe aircraft that implies. It’s not one for the causal blasting fan but if you’re into your serious simulators and want to immerse yourself in the unquestionable horrors of a catastrophic war, this is the game for you. Phew, can someone give me a job in marketing?
33. The Adventures Of Robin Hood
Arguably a surprise entry, this one. If you were to casually scroll past you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a bit Populous-like, but in reality it’s an adventure game based on – no! But yes! – Robin Hood, and is notable for being totally free-roaming, complete with characters who move about the world in real-time. You can choose what to do in every situation, but those decisions will have consequences – potentially fatal ones if you push your luck too much. It’s quirky and irritating at times, but funny and charming, and in some ways ahead of its time. Not bad for a single disk release in 1991.
The biggest surprise about the inclusion of one of the most successful and well-known games ever is that it’s only at number 32, despite originating on the Amiga. Its background is well-known, of course – a young Andy Davidson creating Total Wormage in Blitz Basic before taking it to a computer show where Team 17 were so impressed they signed it up – and its multi-player turn-based strategy was an absolute hit on every one of the numerous formats is ended up on, to the point where Team 17 churned out virtually nothing but Worms games for years. This is where it started and it’s still as popular today as it ever was.
31. Shadow Of The Beast II
There’s no denying how important the original Shadow Of The Beast was to the Amiga’s eventual success. On a technical level, it was jaw-dropping and no doubt single-handedly sold thousands upon thousands of A500s in 1989. The visuals, the music, the atmosphere it creates… in many ways it’s a work of art and showed just what this computer was capable of. A shame, then, that the actual gameplay was, at best, an afterthought, and that’s something that unfortunately carried on in the sequel. However, like its predecessor, it clearly left a lasting impression on many Amiga owners and on its own, that was probably enough to win it plenty of votes.
Click ‘2’ to discover what fills numbers 30 to 21…