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Released: 1994

Genre: Platformer

Format reviewed: Amiga CD32

Publisher: ICE Software

Developer: ICE Software

I’ve been on a retro manga kick lately, and Akira has been a big part of that. I could hardly have avoided it – if you ran in even vaguely geeky circles during the early Nineties, you probably came across Akira at some point. The anime was a critical smash and turned a whole generation of new fans on to Japanese pop culture, and the serialisation of the manga version (over 2,000 pages in length!) was a cornerstone of the launch of Dark Horse UK’s magazine Manga Mania. As the audience significantly crossed over with gamers, you’d expect an opportunistic publisher to step in and capitalise on the success of the property – and unfortunately, one did.

ICE Software’s tie-in game was one of the worst Amiga titles known to man, and was rightly given an absolute panning by the press, with scores frequently dipping below 20%. The first level starts us off on the famous motorbike, but is basically impossible due to the extreme levels of memorisation required to pass it, and no fun is to be had in attempting to best it. Beyond the initial, the game turns into an extremely dull platform game, which is basically so badly put together as to be literally unbeatable. We can only imagine the once-eager faces of Akira fans, twisted into bitter disappointment by one of gaming’s most dreadful tie-ins.

But what really gets us is this CD32 version, which is just the kind of lazy conversion that all too frequently blighted the machine during its brief lifespan. There’s something to be said for putting software on the shelves, but if we’d been at Commodore we’d have rejected Akira for release – you wouldn’t want this kind of garbage weighing down your fledgling console.

If you’re interested to find out what the Amiga CD32 accomplished during its short life, pick up a digital copy of Retro Gamer issue 33 via GreatDigitalMags.com for a full Retroinspection.