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Gloom AGA

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Released: 1995

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Amiga 1200

Publisher: Guildhall

Developer: Black Magic Software

Submitted by: Gavin Eke

Several different forces contributed to the Amiga's downfall during the nineties. Whilst Commodore's handling of the Amiga hardware was dubious, it was the explosion in popularity of two genres in particular that found this popular Home Computer wanting.
2D fighters and First person shooters were extremely successful on consoles & PC's respectively, with Amiga fans wanting in on the action.

Many experts & journalists had previously stated that a conversion of Doom would not be possible due to the Amiga's handling of graphics compared to a PC. However, several programmers rose to the challenge & it wasn't long before several FPS contenders came into view. During 1995, Publishing house, Guildhall, released Gloom for the AGA Amiga's. If Doom & Wolfenstein could conceive, Gloom would be it's direct offspring. On one hand, taking visual cues from Doom with it's Space Marines, Sci-Fi/fantasy settings together with a dash of pixellated gore to the flat level designs of Wolfenstein, Gloom was a corridor shooter first & foremost.

Despite not yet sampling the delights of Doom for the Psone, Gloom was a very entertaining introduction into the world of FPS's. Your character had one weapon that spitted bullets of laser death which could be powered up by bouncing balls of energy. Shooting the variety of enemies on display was a pure gory delight as body parts could be sprayed liberally around the play area. The sound effects in particular are noteworthy, especially the sloshing sound of bodies exploding due to laser impact.
Enemy soldiers weren't your only obstacles however, with a special mention going to those Ghosts on later levels that brought a feeling of survival horror to proceedings. Level designs, while simpler than Doom, were often chocked full of nooks & crannies, therefore, it was still possible to lose your bearings at times.

To conclude, Gloom is a very good FPS & probably the best example on Commodores AGA machines. Direct comparisons to Doom would be unfair & do a disservice to the technical achievement on show. Personally, it beats both rivals Fears & Alien Breed 3D because Gloom ran fairly smoothly on base versions of the A1200. However, screen size could also be adjusted to squeeze out extra speed if so desired. With gun-ho gameplay, tremendous sound effects & terrifying monsters, Gloom was a technical marvel. A fitting tribute to the Amiga's final days as a commercial power in a rapidly expanding gaming world.