CD32 Undergoes Beautiful Revival
The Amiga CD32 may have been the victim of the worst advert ever seen for a UK console, had a depressingly short lifespan and looked like a breezeblock minus the personality, yet it played host to some sumptuous games in its time.
Released in 1994, Commodore’s last big grey hope was destined to fail, yet it was temporarily the top-selling CD based machine in the UK before Commodore had the rug pulled out from underneath itself. By Commodore. CD32 gamers were well aware that they were never going to get any of the big console franchises on the machine, but what they were disappointed in was the lack of ports of Amiga classics.
Imagining a future of spruced up classics sitting alongside brand new franchises by the dozen, players were let down by a tirade of zero-effort ports of games they were not interested in anyway, although there were a few brilliant games to be found along the way.
Now, years after its sad demise, a few plucky developers are out to right the wrongs of the past. No, there are no brilliant new CD32 games on the way, but a whole host of classic Amiga games are being ported to the platform, properly.
These are not simple ROM dumps, but careful, considered ports. For example, the classic Delphine game Flashback never saw the light of day on the CD32, but has been brought to the machine in a frankly excellent way. The developer has wisely ported the AGA WHLoad version with proper joypad support, but didn’t stop there, going to the effort of including the CDXL introduction sequence from the 2013 remake and new control and difficulty screens, resulting in what could be the best way to play Flashback anywhere.
Other examples are the brilliant Rick Dangerous compilation, which includes the entire Rick Dangerous ‘trilogy’, and the port of Cannon Fodder that includes the intro in the CDXL format, meaning those without the rare and pricey FMV unit can finally view the game as it meant to be seen on CD32.
Yes, there have been ports of Amiga games complied for CD32 before, but never with so much effort and thoughtfulness. The specially designed covers are also as nifty as you like. You need to be able to burn CDs to get the games to work, but should just play in a standard CD32 without any fuss once they have been downloaded and burned.
There is also a rather good project on the horizon that will bring an additional 8MB of fast RAM to the CD32, allowing many more games to run on the machine. This is supposed to eventually sell for around £100, so will be one for the collectors only.
The developers are releasing one game every day on this thread on the English Amiga Board and you can download the games from the developer’s blog. It is great to see a tired old pensioner of a console get a new spring in its step with a fresh injection of brilliant games.
Now, I’m off to play the Super Cars Collection.
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Editor and founder of VoxelArcade and The Smartphone App Review. Favourite games: Uridium 2, Frontier: Elite II, Sensible World of Soccer, Far Cry 3, Zelda: Ocarina, Metroid Prime, Solar Quest, F-Zero GX, Monkey Island 2 and Tetris.