• Graeme Mason

The Antstream Arcade Years: 1992

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. In the latest of this series, we look back at one such year and the noteworthy games that make it a fantastic time worth travelling back to on Antstream Arcade. This month, we pop into our retro gaming time machine and zip back to 1992. 8-bit home computers such as the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 are facing the end as the 16-bit revolution continues. We shall also pop into an arcade or two to discover what’s going down there.


Xenon 2: Megablast

1992 – What a time of gaming wonder! First off, we have the freshly minted Sega Mega Drive

version of the Bitmap Brothers’ brilliant Xenon 2: Megablast. The lush visuals of the Commodore

Amiga game are replicated adroitly on the console, as is that famous tune that greets the player on

startup. With its range of beneficial power-ups and some hectic shooting action, this is one of the

Mega Drive’s finest horizontally-scrolling shoot-‘em-ups and an excellent start to our little trip back in time.


What They Said: “A great looking shoot-‘em-up that should keep blasting fans happy for quite sometime!” – Mean Machines, Feb 1992.


Sensible Soccer

Let’s slip away from the Mega Drive and boot up the Commodore Amiga – it’s time for some footie action with Sensible Software’s brilliant Sensible Soccer. Choose your team, apply a modicum of tactics and tweak the options before heading out onto the pitch in one of the fastest, craziest and coolest soccer games of all time.


What They Said: “Sensible Soccer is an incredibly enjoyable and playable game. You won’t find a

more controllable footy sim anywhere at this time.” – CU Amiga, Jul 1992.


Reckless Rufus

Whoa, hold the phone – what’s that dusty old thing in the corner? Is that – a Commodore 64? We’d better look at what the old girl is offering us in 1992, a whole ten years after it was first released. Reckless Rufus is the tale of the eponymous cute creature caught stowing away on a space cruiser. Forced to gather crystals on a nearby planet to secure his passage, this is one puzzle game that will have you bemused – in a fun way!


What They Said: “Reckless Rufus is a brilliantly designed game. At every turn there’s a tempting

bridge to be made, but build thoughtlessly and you’ll render one of the level’s five crystals

unreachable.” – Zzap!64, Nov 1992.


Mortal Kombat

While the home consoles and computers are beginning to catch up, there’s still no place like an

arcade. Wondrous sounds and visuals abound, and the big hit of 1992 is undoubtedly Midway’s gory one-on-one beat-‘em-up Mortal Kombat. Choose from a range of exotic fighters and wield multiple powerful attacks before executing your opponent in one of the bloody fatality moves. What fun!


What They Said: “Mortal Kombat has great fighters, with varied and difficult hits, very high definition and good speed. The game that will unseat Street Fighter 2.” – Ação Games, Dec 1992.


Fatal Fury 2

We remain in the arcade and another fantastic coin-op fighter, SNK’s Fatal Fury follow-up. Geese

Howard is history, but there’s a new villain in the form of Wolfgang Krauser. The Fatal Fury

tournament is thus resurrected, and now the player can nip between visual planes with a quick tap

of the buttons. Fatal Fury 2 is another marvellous entry in the famous series with its complex attack moves and fast fighting gameplay.


What They Said: “The scope is there for secret strategies and special tactics, allowing players with enough experience to pull of strings of deadly moves which your opponent has little or no chance of blocking.” – Sinclair User, Apr 1993.


Boogie Wings

Data East’s Boogie Wings is a firm favourite in the Antstream Arcade offices, so we can’t pass up the chance to give it a spin while back in 1992. Take to the skies in the cute biplane or boogie across the land in an armoured tank, both of which can be boosted with an assortment of enhancements. Action-packed, speedy and unreservedly bonkers, there’s nothing quite like Boogie Wings. Let’s dance!


What They Said: “A superbly playable, humorous and utterly unique shoot-‘em-up from the Data

East stable.” – Arcade-history.com


Top Racer

Our pockets relieved of change, it’s back home now for a spin on the Mega Drive’s great rival, the

Super Nintendo Entertainment System. There are four cars to choose from in this punishing dual-

screen racing game, 32 taxing tracks, several of them littered with hazards such as rocks and steel

plates. With each car offering different attributes, selecting the vehicle that matches your driving

style is wise. No Sunday drivers, please!


What They Said: “Top Gear is one of the hottest racing games ever! The pace never slows and the

tracks dish out enough variety to hold even the most die hard, speed king's interest.” – Gamepro, May 1992.


Zool

We’re back on the faithful Commodore Amiga next for the manic and frenzied platform game that

stars that irrepressible ninja from the nth dimension, Zool. Across a series of impossibly-fast and

colourful landscapes, Zool zips, dispatching enemies and collecting extra skills. A Sega Mega Drive

version followed a year later and is also available on Antstream Arcade.


What They Said: “Zool will be around for a long time. It is one of the most original games I’ve seen

on the Amiga. If you buy a game this week, buy Zool – you won’t regret it.” – Amiga Computing, Nov 1992.


Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe

Sadly, our brief stay in 1992 is coming to an end – but there’s time for one more legendary 16-bit

game. Inspired by the violent Seventies flick, Rollerball, Speedball 2 takes all the extreme elements

of the original and infuses them with even more ferocity. So be prepared for a fast, aggressive and

brutal sporting experience!


What They Said: “The options are comprehensive to say the least, with different combinations of

teams, players and equipment available. All in all, the best sports sim available on the Megadrive

and an essential purchase.” – C&VG, Feb 1992.


Not happy with our picks? Here are some more 1992 games on Antstream Arcade. There’s strategy aplenty with The Humans and Castles 2: Siege & Conquest; more cute 8-bit in the form of Codemasters’ Steg The Slug; 16-bit sports extravaganzas Summer and Winter Challenge; plus more arcade action with the frenetic Total Carnage and fantastical Wizard Fire. Finally, we have the Atari Lynx game, Kung Food, for weird gaming on the go. Take that frozen carrot! A trip back to 1992 in the Antstream Arcade time machine is never dull and oddly nutritious!

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!

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