Amiga S-U

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 Santa's Xmas Caper - By Zeppelin Games

Snowy scenes and fun graphics are the order of the day in Santa's Xmas Caper, a platformer with a Christmas theme. You take the role of the jolly, fat present giver and your task is to pick up the presents in the winter wonderland. As with most platform games of the time Xmas Caper was made (1992) it's a side on viewed affair with the option to go left, right and jump. If you are threatened by one of the enemies in the game then you can paralyze them with a snowball thrown by using the fire button. The enemies are varied and fit with the North Pole and Xmas theme, with penguins, and flying toys among others to stop you giving joy to the good boys and girls of the world. Jumping from platform to platform and using the moving platforms to make the longer gaps is a little bit of a challenge but practice makes perfect. Just don't forget to go down and get those all-important pressies to fill Santa's sack. Lower down you can find the roofs of houses to walk along but take care though because some of those roofs are slippery and missing your fitting or missing a platform can plunge you to doom on spiked railings or just a sudden stop at the end of a fall. The graphics are nice and bold with Santa resplendent in red, and the backgrounds and enemies well drawn and animated. It has a very jolly tune to accompany your quest to be the best Santa you can be that uses the Amiga's sound capabilities to good effect. At the end of the day though it is just another middle of the road platformer and one with the limited appeal of the Christmas season. Good fun for a few days in December and that's it.

Review by Doug Titchmarsh

5/10

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 Super Space Invaders - By Domark

Space Invaders was the game which launched the shoot em up genre for most people and spawned many imitators. It also spawned a few sequels, like Super Space Invaders, which took the original game and built upon its strong foundations. With the advancement of processing power, more could be added to the original gameplay, like better graphics and backgrounds to catch the eye, but also the gameplay gets enhanced. It starts with the standard left - right - drop, right - left - drop attack wave of the original Space invaders, but the sprites are much more detailed in this Super version. And as the levels progress the attack sequences change and so do the invaders. Dropping faster, splitting in two when shot and some other nice little upgrades make these alien critters a lot harder to pick off, and also require changes in strategies to make it through the levels. Luckily though your earth scientists haven't forsaken you, and you can pick up extra power ups to help you turn back the invading visitors. The sound still has that ominous marching beat to keep the menace level high too. The explosions and other sounds had also been updated for this outing but without losing any of the originals feel. After completing a few levels, to clear a stage, you enter a bonus round. The first of these bonus rounds is one of those staples of the UFO aliens cattle mutilation, and your job is to protect the mooing cows from the aliens intent on mutilating them. So Super Space Invaders then, it's Space Invaders with added extras and better graphics. All things considered it's kept most of what made the original great, and added more to make use of the later machines. It's still as playable as the original, although some of the attack formations make it a lot harder.

Review by Doug Titchmarsh

7/10

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 Super Frog By Team 17

An interesting animated intro gives the back-story to this cutesy little platformer and sets the scene for your journey to save the princess from the wicked witch. You are a prince turned into a frog who has super powers (sort of). Your task is to navigate the varied worlds by jumping onto platforms, over obstacles and pits and avoiding the other deadly animals and insects as well as the odd little pebble shaped things with eyes along the way. Hedgehogs can take away your life, as can the bees which hang around waiting for you to jump and be stung and a myriad of other harmless looking creatures. You also collect bonuses along the way such as objects to throw to dispense with the pesky animals which have it in for you, and bottles of Lucozade (yep it has an energy drink tie in) which boost your life energy back up. Falling down onto spikes in a pit kills you and each hit from the other enemy beasties takes away energy until you lose a life. You'll also find trampolines, and spring pads as you progress to help you reach the higher platforms and collect other power ups and bonuses. Graphics are cute and colourful, gameplay is simple to master and as a platformer there isn't too much thinking to do to enjoy this game. Certainly one worth visiting if you like the original Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog games of this era.

Review by Doug Titchmarsh

7/10

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 Super Hang-On By Electric Dreams

Super Hang on is the motorcycle equivalent of Outrun. Speed, thrills and racing against the clock are the order of the day as you lean into the corners to keep the motorbike on the track and pass your rivals. The music in the game is dealt with in the usual high quality Amiga way, giving a good depth to the choice of arcade style in game music on offer. The graphics are pretty good for the time too, with the scenery changing as you progress. And as you make progress the turns get tighter and gameplay gets more difficult as you pass through the stages, which is exactly how a game should be. The impression of speed works well as the scenery passes you down the screen, and also gives an exciting feel to the game as your opponents come into view and you have to dodge around them as well as staying on the road. Super Hang-On offers a decent challenge to the bike loving gamer, and anyone who likes the Outrun style of driving in a virtual world. Stay on the bike, keep the bike on the road and keep the throttle open as much as possible to beat the clock to the next checkpoint at which more time is added to what you have left. Run out of time before the next checkpoint and the all too familiar Game Over sign appears. The Amiga port of the arcade game works pretty well and makes for a worthwhile addition to your gaming collection.

Review by Doug Titchmarsh

7/10

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 Super Stardust AGA By Team 17

Super Stardust on the Commodore Amiga is basically a rehash of Asteroids, but with much better graphics and sound available it has been improved in both departments. Having all the extras on the Amiga over the original hardware means the backdrops have actually been added, giving you some nice eye candy if you have the time to look at that. Before you do look at the background though, you will notice the detailed ship you now pilot, still basically a triangular shape but now coloured and detailed with extra depth. The rocks that come at you look like rocks, and break up into smaller rocklike bits when you shoot them. But shoot quickly as another addition over the original game is a countdown timer which when it reaches zero means all hell is about to come at you. The space rocks now become enemy space ships, the more and bigger rocks remaining at the zero point, the more ships will be coming at you with guns blazing. You still have your thrusters to manoeuvre your ship out of the way (which can still leave you trying to overcome the inertia to stop before getting in harms way elsewhere) and you have a shield. Your shield power runs down as you use it, so use sparingly. Each time you take a hit your power bar drops until you lose a life, so keep an eye on that bar too. So Super Stardust for the Amiga takes the rotate and shoot we know and love from Asteroids and adds bells and whistles. It has lost little in gameplay terms and gained in the sound and graphics stakes, always a good thing.

Review by Doug Titchmarsh

8/10

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 The Power - By Demonware

This is a rather overlooked little puzzle game where you play as Max (a little blob), who must rescue his girlfriend Mini. You have to navigate your way around various mazes moving blocks of different colours around to destroy them, there is a special sequence to do this, as well as other puzzles and it certainly helps to tax your brain. The game can be played in several different modes and with two players as well, which includes a special knockout mode where you have to go head-to-head to complete the level. There are about 100 levels in all and you can add more with the level editor. It starts off sedate enough but quickly progresses in difficulty. The graphics are functional but have that nice cutesy feel to them (hey, Max was a blob in love after all!). The music features The Power (with a nod to the title) by the old electro pop group Snap. There are enough puzzles and different gaming options here to keep you interested for a long time. Maybe it doesn't have quite the panache of games like Lemmings, Klax or Tetris but it's still a worthwhile puzzle game.

Review by Katzkatz

7/10

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 Turrican By Rainbow Arts

My brother was playing on the Amiga way back in the early 1990's, and when I went in to see his latest game purchase this was another of those games which made me want a Commodore Amiga. The music and sound effects coming from that game were really something. Of course we knew the Amiga could do amazing sounds already but additionally Turrican was looking just terrific on the screen. Being the bigger brother I muscled my way in and grabbed the joystick (no joypads on the Amiga back then, at least in our house) and had a go. Turrican has you battling your way through an alien landscape using a laser blaster which can also shoot a continuous beam. The gameplay is classic platform shooter but done to perfection, the usual pixel perfect jumps, and shooting ahead can get you a long way but learning the terrain and enemies is the key as always to making progress. There are a huge variety of enemies trying to kill you from the ground, and flying in from above. From robot sentinels, to bats and flying drones all taking pot shots at you, you need to shoot fast and often to make it through. Just to hinder you a bit more though Rainbow Arts also added blades in some of the stuff you need to jump on and over adding a crucial timing element to the mix. In some places the whole floor pops up spikes to skewer your spacesuit and kill you. Add to that the platformer staple of a drop to doom and there are plenty of ways to end the life of your well-drawn character. The game is immediately playable as it's simple walk and jump is the same as any platformer, but add in the numerous enemies and frantic fun results. Pick up the power-ups to make your weapon all the more deadly (ooh err missus) or to get shields to help you avoid the loss of life bar from an enemy hit. It sounds tough and it is but it's also a hell of a good game to play even now.

Review by Doug Titchmarsh

9/10

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 UGH! - By Playbyte

It's the days of the dinosaur, and while sitting around trying not to get eaten our hero Ugh (played by you obviously) has the great idea of inventing a helicopter style transport cage. Wifey wants to see some money from this great new invention ad so you are tasked with setting up a taxi service to ferry the cavemen between platforms at various levels. The mechanics of the game are simple, you collect the people by landing near them and picking them up and they show you which level they wish to get to. Using the up, left and right on your joystick you pilot your helicage to the customers destination. Sounds easy but when you add in gravity and inertia physics things get a little more difficult to control. Bringing your heli thing down on a platform takes careful use of the up direction as too hard a landing loses a life. Moving left and right is easy until you need to accurately land near your client, land on them and a life is lost as they plummet to the lake below. In addition to the other problems, hit a platform with your rotor, and it's once again curtains for Ugh. Add in a time limit and things get a bit frantic as you juggle time, controlled landings and avoiding everything. Then you get the prehistoric animals getting in the way and ending your life too. With level codes so it doesn't get too frustrating when you run out of lives, you can type a code in to restart where you were if your lives run out. Ugh reminds me a little of the lunar lander games most old computers had versions of, but with some cute background graphics and nice sounds. The characters are a little small but recognisable as cave people. It's quite a challenging but fun game. Not great but it isn't terrible either.

Review by Doug Titchmarsh

6/10

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