I was 12ish, me and my family I had an Amiga 500 (not 500+, not 600, and certainly not 1200), Xenon had been played to death and Menace just got impossible. I was impatient! Gaming was far more creative back in the early 90’s. Developers didn’t have the technology available to them to create massive MMO’s, or sandbox style GTA games. They relied on their ‘imagination’. Whatever that is…
This leads me on to Electronic Arts and Bullfrog. Remember Populous? What a game. Never completed it, didn’t really care, played it for years (and incidentally is now out on gog.com for $5.99, whatever that is in her majesties currency – a bargain!). I don’t want to talk about that, groundbreaking as it was, I want to talk about one of their hidden gems that, apparently, and much to my surprise was a box office flop. Flood. What a cornucopia of unbridled irreverence this game turned out to be. I stumbled across a copy of this via my cousin who used to procure illegitmete copies of Amiga games via his science teacher. Anyway, the protagonist of this game is a green amorphous character called ‘Quiffy’ (I had to look that up on Wikipedia, his name) and you lived in the sewer. Your task was to escape through the flooding sewer you lived in collecting ‘trash’ as you go along, defending yourself with an assortment of weaponry.
The graphics were quirky and comic. The settings were excellent and well drawn (again, in the days of sprites!), colourful and creative. The sound was the same. When you picked up any items of trash it made a crunch noise. In today’s gaming currency of mp3’s and gigabytes of data for each game you’d not be impressed, but given that the individual sound files would be measured in bytes rather than megabytes, I’d say proportionally they were much more pleasing!
Playability on this title was second to none. Always challenged and always enjoyable, you could walk on the walls and ceilings (I think?), spraying your enemies with fire from any choice of the wide array of weaponry at hand. Now that last bit was the most memorable bit of this game for me. You could pick up, throughout each different level, a varying selection of terror weapons. I’m not going to cheat here so I’ll remember what I can. There was a flame thrower, grenades, boomerangs and dynamite. I’ll have to check Wikipedia for any more – turns out there were shurikens as well. Nice one. The highlight of the weaponry was the flamethrower – it would appear as if from nowhere, as big as yourself springing forth from you ‘hand’, emitting an enourmous line of flame. Every now and again, when you tried to pull this weapon out (fnrr fnrr) you would release a rubber chicken instead. Outstanding.
Now on to the enemies, I can’t really remember these so have reverted, again, to Wikipedia to refresh my memory. ‘Bulbous-headed Vongs’ apparently, some kind of squid thing that drops further litter for you to clear up. Bastards. There was also a giant teddy bear enemy called a ‘Psycho Teddy’. It had teeth in its gut… one touch from it and you were dead. Ace.
I don’t like nostalgia much, you only remember the good bit’s of the past usually, but that is just my cynicism. It was a game that show-cased creativity and wit that seems to be rationed nowadays. I suspect you can get a copy of this game along with any Amiga emulator on the internet. I’m not condoning piracy but have a look anyway. Now enough of my getting older ‘everything was better in those days’ outburst. This was a good and memorable game. If you want more details, have a look on Wikipedia. I’m now going, I have things to do.