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Old 28 September 2009, 18:56   #1
switchblade
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Why are platform games on the Amiga really mediocre?

I hate to be negative when it comes to the good ol' Amiga, but I honestly believe that despite the Amiga being a huge technical achievement when it comes to graphics and audio, it didn't seem to translate the game play mechanics well when it comes to side-scrolling platform games. Now I know the Amiga wasn't designed to primarily be a gaming machine, but it certainly ended up getting that reputation anyway, so we'll just have to stick with it.

It seems to me that despite having good titles like Turrican and Leander, there were a bunch of crap ones like Shadow of the Beast, Zool, Superfrog, Rick Dangerous, Kid Chaos, and others related to them. It's either due to level design, game difficulty, wonky controls, or either the game just simply not interesting you at all.

So am I the only person here who's alone in their opinion?
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Old 28 September 2009, 19:05   #2
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Originally Posted by switchblade View Post
I hate to be negative when it comes to the good ol' Amiga, but I honestly believe that despite the Amiga being a huge technical achievement when it comes to graphics and audio, it didn't seem to translate the game play mechanics well when it comes to side-scrolling platform games. Now I know the Amiga wasn't designed to primarily be a gaming machine, but it certainly ended up getting that reputation anyway, so we'll just have to stick with it.

It seems to me that despite having good titles like Turrican and Leander, there were a bunch of crap ones like Shadow of the Beast, Zool, Superfrog, Rick Dangerous, Kid Chaos, and others related to them. It's either due to level design, game difficulty, wonky controls, or either the game just simply not interesting you at all.

So am I the only person here who's alone in their opinion?
The Amiga was originally designed as a games console, so yes it was specifically designed as a games machine.

Beast - suspect gameplay, but technically as proficient as anything the Genesis and SNES could do at the time, in fact the conversions to the other consoles showed just how Amiga specific it was.

Zool - gameplay wasn't so bad, programming let it down

Superfrog - Seriously?

Rick Dangerous - wasn't a platformer in the traditional sense

Kid Chaos - was ok for what it was

There were lots of good platformers, Ruff n Tumble, Fire n Ice, Tearaway Thomas, Switchblade 2, Beast 3, Arabian Nights, Soccer Kid, Assassin, Brian the Lion, Chuck Rock, Chuck Rock 2.... and on and on, in fact, direct your browser to this link: http://hol.abime.net/hol_search.php?N_ref_category=16

Thing is, Amiga was more able at doing every game type of the time, Genesis and SNES either were not capable or there was no market for other game types (i.e. flight simulators or general 3D vector graphics were poor on Genesis and had to have additional hardware in the case of the SNES).

Amiga was a "jack of all trades", thats where its strength lied.
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Old 28 September 2009, 19:32   #3
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So am I the only person here who's alone in their opinion?
No, you're not alone, the Amiga had a lot of crappy games, the ratio of good games/all games must be one of the smallest on any system...(i verified that, i tried ALL the amiga games on lemonAmiga (with the whdload/adf versions on Winuae), did the same for the Genesis (good genesis) , msx (tosec) and Mame, the ratio of good games/all games for the genesis/mame/msx is far greater than on the Amiga.

But there were great games on the Amiga, thank God the Amiga had GODS... and Turrican II.
PS: Rick dangerous 1 and 2 are a great games.
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Old 28 September 2009, 19:42   #4
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No, you're not alone, the Amiga had a lot of crappy games, the ratio of good games/all games must be one of the smallest on any
It's easily beaten by the NES where you find thousands of crappy games. I couldn't list all the good Amiga games. Sure there are shitty Amiga games too, but each game system has them.
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Old 28 September 2009, 19:44   #5
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Gotta agree with Switchblade about Superfrog. A game that proves you can indeed 'polish a turd'.
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Old 28 September 2009, 19:46   #6
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You also have to consider that developing for the Amiga was cheaper than the consoles, that has an impact on polishing a title or just making do. No licensing requirements for a start.
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Old 28 September 2009, 20:00   #7
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Platformers were mostly best on Console but the Amiga had one or two really nice ones - nothing really special but always a lovely atmosphere

I know i'm probably in a minority on these forums but although Super Frog was far from dire, it also wasn't anything you could boast at console owners

Soccer Kid was classy i thought

Lionheart was gorgeous and quite unique

I by far preferred Amiga Mr Nutz although again that may have been down to atmosphere

Ruff n Tumble was impressive despite some that say 30fps just isn't impressive

Zool was particularly poor i'd say as there really wasn't anything in the way of depth for control or it's very basic gameplay.You could have fun playing it i guess but it was so very simple regarding these things

Amiga games were their own thing and i wouldn't honestly change any of these games - they felt very Amiga.Although we never got a game to rival games like Super Mario Snes, Amiga still had plenty to boast about over console owners

Putty Squad of course was real nice and no matter how hard i try to like the Snes version, it lacks the vibrancy of the Amiga game - um i mean demo as it's unlikey certain people are ever pull their finger out over this one

I think it was when Amiga tried to mimick console style games that it had problems - Amiga worked best when it did it's own thing

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Old 28 September 2009, 20:07   #8
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Just to reiterate, I am only specifically talking about side-scrolling platformers. Adventure games, RPG games, and any simulation games don't count.

And I never said the Amiga is horrible at platform games; I just think that at times, Amiga platformers also seem to lack something that not everyone can explain.

I honestly thought Superfrog was mediocre because there's not much about the game that stands out much as being amazing. And I believe that the World 1 music got really annoying to listen to after awhile.

Lionheart, IMO, is actually an amazing game. Level design is awesome, as well as the platforming bits. But I really hate the fact that the hero can only attack with a short sword and his rather tiny legs. So even stuff like that can count as a relevant flaw of the game.

It would be nice if we had Mega Man and Castlevania like clones for the Amiga. Maybe even Earthworm Jim for the Amiga would've been kickass.
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Old 28 September 2009, 20:43   #9
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You could as well mention shmups (with side scrolling or not), most Amiga arcade games may have looked good (not always) but they had no gameplay and worst of all many of them didn't even run at full frame rate (something that would have been unacceptable on consoles, except for some minor slowdowns in some games).

I remember games like Assassin (a bad strider rip-off) or Leander (and several others) where they couldn't display more than a couple of enemies on screen without going below the frame coz them wise guys were using too many bitplanes, overscan, etc., this of course shattered any hint of gameplay that could have been present there.

I seems to recall that the james pond games were well crafted, tho.

Quote:
It's easily beaten by the NES where you find thousands of crappy games.
There's absolutely fantastic games on the NES which have no equivalent on Amiga (not even close), i never understood why they all sacrified gameplay and frame rate in order to use as much colors as possible and bigger bobs in Amiga games, that was stupid (again).

Quote:
You also have to consider that developing for the Amiga was cheaper than the consoles, that has an impact on polishing a title or just making do. No licensing requirements for a start.
But no protection to buy from rob northern, no need to waste time to obfuscate the code or code a track loader

Quote:
Amiga was a "jack of all trades", thats where its strength lied.
But also it's weakness as it was much more tricky to code than consoles which had simpler hardware back then. A special tiles mode for the gfx would have helped tremendously.
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Old 28 September 2009, 20:46   #10
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There's absolutely fantastic games on the NES which have no equivalent on Amiga (not even close), i never understood why they all sacrified gameplay and frame rate in order to use as much colors as possible and bigger bobs in Amiga games, that was stupid (again).
Sure, but not as many as you would expect. There are gazillions of side-scrolling NES games which are practically unplayable. The AVGN showed us only a few so far.

Last edited by Retro-Nerd; 28 September 2009 at 20:54.
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Old 28 September 2009, 20:48   #11
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I think one of the issues with platformers on the Amiga is, and let's be honest here - Up should not be jump on a strict platformer.

Turrican was programmed with this in mind and made the jumps more tailored to an "Up = jump" standard... and did it beautifully. But Turrican is a run-n-gun more than a platformer and so doesn't count for this exercise.

I haven't really played a straight up platformer yet that I enjoyed on the miggy although I've yet to try Superfrog.

Games with platforms that are essentially other types of games though? Brilliant. Rodland, Bubble Bobble, Turrican in a way... all awesome on the miggy. But until I see a jump button for a platformer... no dice.
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Old 28 September 2009, 20:51   #12
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A jump button doesn't mean automatically that it's a good game. Noticed this disscussion in a some US forums several times. Computer games are designed for joysticks and they work fine this way.
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Old 28 September 2009, 21:01   #13
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Yeah, look at Bionic Commando there's no jump and it still sucks, look at Sonic it only needs 1 button and it still rocks
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Old 28 September 2009, 21:02   #14
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Well Sonic is only fast. The gameplay is pretty boring.
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Old 28 September 2009, 21:06   #15
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It's a NES thing I guess. I remember when I first played on a MasterSystem (after I had played on C64 and also Amiga), the concept of 'Up' not being jump was quite strange Like Retro said these games were designed that way. Note that it doesn't say anything about the quality of the platformer itself It's just not a point that there wasn't a button for jump that make all platformers 'suck' on joystick based systems
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Old 28 September 2009, 21:15   #16
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I like jump buttons in Amiga games too, if they are optimized for gameplay. There are WHDLoad patches with jump button support, but some doesn't really work properly since the jump mechanics are still intact for a "stick up" control.

Turrican on the Sega Mega Drive is similar. The game has of course a jump button, but the coder used the jump mechanics from the Amiga version. It doesn't work.

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Old 29 September 2009, 02:37   #17
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I liked the gameplay in Aladdin, and Marvin's Marvelous Adventure seems to have an endless amount of fun and varied levels. Lionheart has beautiful controls, I think. The designers of that game were true Amiga fanatics, and the gameplay is perfect with both joystick and 2-button control pad. Mr. Nutz was the same, it hit the hardware and made full use of the Amiga's strengths, with tight controls for joystick and pads. But with both of these games you just need to practice all the moves and get good at them to fully enjoy the gameplay. Flink was also another great platform game, which sadly only came out on the CD32 so isn't as accessible as most other Amiga games. It was made by the same guys who made Lionheart, and it's a beautiful game to play.

Halloween Nightmare will be a good Amiga platform game when it's finished. It will have several control options too (Joystick, 2-button pad, CD32 pad, Keyboard, Playstation pad, maybe USB controllers as well).
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Old 29 September 2009, 03:21   #18
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Originally Posted by hitchhikr View Post

But no protection to buy from rob northern, no need to waste time to obfuscate the code or code a track loader

But also it's weakness as it was much more tricky to code than consoles which had simpler hardware back then. A special tiles mode for the gfx would have helped tremendously.
A cartridge cost a lot more than licensing Copylock.

Not a weakness no, I'd rather the Amiga was able to do everything, rather than one key area the best.
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Old 29 September 2009, 03:47   #19
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I just think that at times, Amiga platformers also seem to lack something that not everyone can explain.
Console game developement budget and japanese attention to detail missing perhaps? If the amiga had been "big in Japan" I am sure we would have seen a lot more polished platformers rather than UK and Euro software houses rushing out stuff to get on the shelves and occasionally producing a diamond in the rough.
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Old 29 September 2009, 13:53   #20
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Ohh, I forgot to mention Yo! Joe! It's one of my favourite Amiga platform games, and definitely one of the best two-player games. There aren't many other Amiga 2-player scrolling platformers apart from 'Allo, 'Allo.
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