- Manufacturer: American Sammy
- Machine: Nintendo Entertainment System
The software market for the NES is filled with companies that are household names, such as Konami, Data East and Taito. At the other end of the spectrum, particularly because Nintendo's roots are in Japan, are companies not yet familiar to American game players. One such company, American Sammy, has released a scrolling adventure called Amagon, which it hopes will bring the company into the forefront of the American NES market.
The character in your control is Amagon, a celebrated soldier in his native country. Armed with only a machine gun and the strange ability to turn into a hulking superhero, he is sent to overtake a mysterious, beast-ridden island in the South Pacific. His mission is hampered by myriad creatures that vary from scene to scene, ranging from wasps to fireballs to scorpions to bouncing mushrooms. The goal is to cruise over the landscape without getting hurt - certainly nothing new as far as video-game strategies go - and to plug away at all attackers. Bonuses are revealed when certain enemies are shot, giving Amagon a higher score, extra bullets or a "Mega-key". The Mega-key is the potion that turns Amagon into Megagon, the muscle-bound dynamo when the Select button is hit. Instead of shooting a gun, Megagon punches his way through his attackers. In this form he can also generate a powerful laser beam to fend off his attackers, but that weapon chips away at his ability to maintain his large size.
Again, similar to other games of this ilk, there is a "boss" character at the end of each level, and it, too, comes in different forms: Lion Head, Devil Tree, Cosmic Man and many others. These threats are more resistant to damage than the other adversaries you meet, so they need to be struck many times to be dispatched. Unless you are in the Megagon form, it is unlikely that you will survive.
You'll have to be at the top of your game to keep Amagon out of severe trouble. He can jump atop some of the obstacles in his way to avoid enemy contact, but you'll still have to be quick on the trigger to save yourself. In some cases you'll risk falling off a precarious perch, like when you are riding a floating cloud, to get around adversaries and on to the next segment of the game. While the challenge is strong in Amagon, it sometimes lacks the variety that urges you to try again and doesn't offer much that hasn't been done before. The graphics and sound are adequately handled, though I wish there was more action in the way of character animation. Amagon comes on a one-meg cartridge - offering more storage than most game cartridges for the NES. It appears the extra capacity was used to provide the large complement of enemy characters you face and for the colorful backdrops that set each scene.
Seeing that it's difficult to get through just one scene scratch-free, Amagon will undoubtedly keep players busy for hours trying to successfully traverse all 12 of its levels. Though it doesn't offer much in the way of innovation or new concepts, it will test your abilities to the maximum.