30. Stunt Car Racer
It’s another one to file under “it’s at what number?” There’s no question that Stunt Car Racer is one of the iconic and influential games of the 16-bit era. The sense of speed and height, the tension when you jump over a gap, the physics… it’s all here and it’s improved infinitely when you can link two Amigas together to play it with somebody else. Simple but enduring like little else.
29. Birds Of Prey
Crikey. Another flight sim, eh? Why do you lot have to like them so much anyway? Are you deliberately making my job harder, or what? But it does seem like Birds Of Prey was a big player in the simulation market at the time, what with an unfeasible number of planes that all handled tangibly differently, the incredible detail and a healthy stack of missions to tackle – although a faster Amiga is recommended to get the most out of it. (I think I got away with it again…)
Project-X, on the other hand, is a fearsome side-scrolling shooter that needs no introduction, but it’s got one anyway. Not only is it one of the most technically proficient games of its type on the machine, it’s also absolutely diamond hard, to the point where many joysticks were no doubt witnessed to have flown out of windows back in the early Nineties. The unfair difficulty level and the horrible power-up selection system spoiled the game to a large extent, but were happily mostly rectified for the Special Edition re-release in 1993, making it a far more enjoyable – if still flawed – blaster that you had a cat’s chance in Hell of getting somewhere near the end.
What’s not to like about Rodland? I absoutely love it. Sure, it’s a single-screen arcade platformer, it’s nauseatingly cute and it lacks any real depth. But ultimately, so what? It’s tons and tons of fun, whether you’re playing solo or with somebody else, and although 40 levels might not sound like much, the final quarter of the game is tougher than it looks. Anyone can pick it up, but find it almost impossible to put down. A textbook coin-op conversion and a fantastic Amiga game in its own right.
26. Worms: The Director’s Cut
One Worms game isn’t enough to satisfy NAG members, oh no. If you’ve ever been to one of our meets (or intend to when sanity is restored) it won’t have taken long to realise this is a real favourite within our group. For some, this might be the best Worms instalment of them all – it’s an Amiga exclusive and one of the last high-profile titles, coming out as late as 1997, retaining the original graphical style whilst introducing some of the weapons and features that became the mainstay of the series (can you imagine Worms without the likes of the Holy Hand Grenade and Concrete Donkey now?). If you have an AGA machine, this tops the original without a shadow of a doubt.
Alright, boys and girls, can you stop this now? Voting for games I don’t know the first thing about, I mean. You all knew what you were doing here didn’t you? Dune appears to be an intriguing strategy/adventure hybrid based on the book and the film, and it certainly has something of a cult following. That’s as far as my knowledge goes, so I’m sorry if anyone feels I haven’t done this justice – I’m not being paid enough to research this any further y’know.
In an era where so many gamers were obsessed with Sonic, there was an equal obsession in Amigaland about obtaining our very own fast and cute mascot. Zool was a major contender in this field, and Superfrog followed not too long afterwards. It is, without doubt, bright, bouncy and quick. It’s got a recognisable lead character and an odd Lucozade tie-in, an excellent soundtrack and vast, coin-filled levels. It’s a bit frustrating to play at times, what with the leaps of faith and spikes that kill you instantly, but it was well-loved and holds appeal to younger players even today – that trademark Team 17 polish and presentation doesn’t age.
23. Arcade Pool
It’s yet another entry for Team 17 in this rundown (no, they’re not sponsoring us, honest). Arcade Pool is probably not the first game of theirs you think of, but despite its modest appearance and straight-to-budget release, it’s one of their best. It isn’t a complex, involving simulator like, say, Archer Maclean’s games, but it’s scarily addictive, boasts seemingly thousands of pool variants, allows up to eight players (Survivor mode – more commonly known as Killer Pool, where you have three lives and lose one every time you fail to pot a ball upon your visit to the table – is a real highlight) and will keep you glued to the screen for hours. All of this for ten of your English pounds. A tenner – that can’t be right, can it?
22. Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge
If you approached (socially-distant, natch) a stranger in the street and asked them to name a trilogy of games associated with the Amiga, they might threaten to call the police – but if they don’t, there’s a decent chance they’ll mention Lotus. It set the standard for 16-bit arcade racers, and even though the baffling half-screen display in single-player mode is a little restrictive, this is a seriously fast and challenging driving game that’ll keep you occupied for weeks before you complete it fully. Fittingly, given the licence, it even has a track set in Norfolk – hurrah, indeed.
21. Scorched Tanks
Not content with voting two Worms games into the chart, we’ve only gone and nominated the older, broadly similar Scorched Tanks at an even higher position. Of course, in itself Scorched Tanks isn’t an original concept, being based on a PC shareware title called Scorched Earth, but this is the only non-commercial release in the list and it’s easy to see why. It’s scarily addictive, with plenty of calculations required for working out the correct angle and power to score a direct hit on your opponents, and spending your cash wisely to accrue a suitable set of weapons and shields. Unlike Worms, you can’t move (unless you have a teleport power-up) and you don’t control a ‘team’, but this stripped-back feel in some ways makes for a better, purer and fairer game. A brilliant multiplayer effort and another staple of NAG meets.
It’s getting exciting now, isn’t it? Turn the page to discover the top half of the standings…