• Graeme Mason

The Antstream Arcade Years: 1994

With the Antstream Arcade search facility capable of narrowing its range by year, there’s a great way to discover the games from a time you remember especially fondly. This week, we look back at one such year and the noteworthy games that make it a fantastic time worth travelling back to on Antstream Arcade. So join us as we pop into our retro gaming time machine and zip back to 1994. It’s game over for the 8-bit home computers such as the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 as the 16-bits dominate – and the arcades are still fabulous places full of neon lights and electronic explosions.


Elevator Action Returns – Arcade


We commence our gaming trip back to 1994 with a visit to the arcades. The golden era of the early Eighties may be a long time ago, but there is still lots of epic entertainment in the local arcade. This belated sequel to the 1983 classic has a grittier and more realistic feel as the player’s agent takes on a gang of vicious terrorists. Explore each floor, eliminate the enemies and disarm the bombs scattered around the building in the brilliant Elevator Action Returns.

What They Said: “While not as simple as its predecessor, Elevator Action Returns is a worthy successor that maintains the spirit of the original.” – All Game Guide, 1994.



GunForce II – Arcade


Let’s remain in the arcades and push past the increasing number of coin-pushers to Irem’s GunForce II, the superb precursor to the famous Metal Slug series. Enemy mutants, aliens and soldiers are threatening world peace – pick up that rapid-fire laser gun and deal out some carnage in this frantic arcade coin-guzzler!


What They Said: “GunForce II is a very good game, a must-play for Metal Slug and run ‘n’ gun enthusiasts, and a damn fun time for everyone else.” – Hardcore Gaming 101, August 2020.



Sensible World Of Soccer – Amiga


Sensible Software returned in 1994 with this massively updated and improved version of Sensible Soccer – so we’d better head home now and give this Amiga masterpiece a run-out. Sensible World Of Soccer includes a multitude of teams from around the globe, a career mode, transfers and custom competitions. A football fan will never be bored with this ageless footie game!


What They Said: “The very best Amiga game in the history of all things ever. Arcade and management happily married.” – Amiga Format, January 1995.



Simon The Sorcerer – Amiga


We stick with the trusty old Amiga for our next game. The Commodore computer may be getting a bit old in the CPU, but there are still plenty of great games for this legendary micro. When ordinary lad Simon discovers an ancient book, he is instantly transported to a magical world. It isn’t long before Simon’s on a quest to rescue the wizard Calypso from an evil being known as Sordid in this elegant and amusing point ‘n’ click adventure for the Commodore Amiga.

What They Said: “Lush graphics, easy gameplay and plenty of puzzles. Will keep you off the streets and out of trouble for some time.” – Amiga Power, March 1994.



Indiana Jones’ Greatest Adventures – SNES


But wait – what’s that grey rectangular device sitting in your brother’s bedroom? He’s out at a mate’s, so what better opportunity to have a sneaky play on his Super Nintendo console? In 1994, Lucasarts gave the Super Star Wars treatment to its other famous series, Indiana Jones, and it’s another rip-roaring platform adventure, albeit with a whip rather than laser pistol!


What They Said: “If you think the Indy movies are among the best adventure films ever made, you’ll have a great time with this game.” – GamePro (US), November 1994.



Ghoul Patrol – SNES

Let’s push our luck and have a go on another Super Nintendo game. Also fresh out in 1994 is Ghoul Patrol, the follow-up to the devilish Zombies Ate My Neighbours. Zeke and Julie are once more fighting zombies, ghosts, demons and more as the nightmare creatures attempt to take over their town. With countless citizens to rescue and weapons to wield, Ghoul Patrol is another creepy SNES game with a wicked sense of humour.


What They Said: “It’s a fun game when played with a friend, and the audiovisuals retain the B-movie kitsch of the original.” – Computer & Video Games, December 1994.


Zero Tolerance – Mega Drive


Time to slip out of big bruv’s bedroom and visit a Mega Drive-owning pal. The Sega console and Super Nintendo are currently engaged in a frantic battle to win the hearts of teenagers up and down the country. Inspired by the phenomenal success of id’s Doom, this ambitious developer has brought the first-person shooter to the Mega Drive. Aliens have invaded the space station – get in there and sweep the place clear of the xeno scum!


What They Said: “A real kick up the backside for the Megadrive – machine link-ups! 3D! Whatever will they think of next? Revolutionary stuff and well worth a look.” – Mean Machines, October 1994.



Kick Off 3: European Challenge – Mega Drive


It’s almost time to head home – let’s squeeze in one more game before our day in 1994 ends. This third entry in the famous Kick Off series dispenses with the overhead view, introducing a modern, sleek, isometric style. With loads more competitions, teams and players, this is another wonderfully playable 16-bit football game.


What They Said: “Kick Off 3 features the best animated goalies I’ve ever seen in a football game. They seem to have a never-ending variety of moves at their disposal.” – Computer & Video Games, June 1994.



Alien Breed: Tower Assault


But mum, please, can we play one more game? Pleeeeeeeease? OK then! We’re back home and ready to stave off the wiggly lines with a quick go on Team 17’s latest Alien Breed game, Tower Assault. Utilising the same to-down view as the previous game, Tower Assault takes place on a deserted outpost – actually, not quite so deserted! Blast more aliens, collect keycards and upgrade your weapons in another brutal and intense Alien Breed instalment.


What They Said: “Lots of new ideas and plenty of variety are packed into a tried and tested formula. Recommended.” – Amiga Format, December 1994.



Not happy with our picks? Here are some more 1994 games on Antstream Arcade. It’s a bumper year for the SNES, with Cannon Fodder, Earthworm Jim and Utopia all coming to the console. Its rival, the Sega Mega Drive, is no less blessed with Radical Rex and speedy racer Top Gear 2, while the Commodore Amiga also has an impressive range of titles: FPS Death Mask, Pinball Dreams, and Marvin’s Marvellous Adventure are all waiting to be discovered, for free, on Antsteam Arcade.


As the wiggly lines return, that’s it for another Antstream Arcade year as we are dragged back to the present day. Stay tuned for another Antstream Arcade Year soon, until then let us know your favourites and first time experiences on discord.




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