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Released: 1991

Genre: Platformer

Format reviewed: Amiga 500

Publisher: Renegade Software

Developer: The Bitmap Brothers

Submitted by: Retro Gamer

I might be wrong, but aren’t gods meant to be all-powerful beings? Surely, if they wanted to, they could transmute you into a spot on a baboon’s arse, and then telepathically tell that baboon to rub arses with another baboon to kill you. Put another way, if you want to pick a fight with a god then you either better be pretty good mates with one… or, better still, you better be one.

Well, according to the story behind the classic Bitmap Brothers game Gods this isn’t the case at all. When the citadel of the gods comes under siege by four large end-of-level guardians, rather than simply use one of their giant-sandaled feet to flatten them to dust they instead place an advert in the Olympus Beagle asking wannabe heroes to save their castle. The deal-clincher is that the gods will grant their saviour a seat beside them if he completes his task.

Gods was the Bitmaps’ follow-up to the excellent Speedball 2 and, though living in completely different genres, there are clear parallels to be found between both games. The undeniable Greek influences behind Speedball’s fictional future sport are pushed centre stage here, and once again we also got to steer around a hero who’s a fan of wearing body armour and face-obscuring helmets – although this time one who couldn’t rely on assistance from his burly teammates.

Gods was a tough side-scrolling shooter in the vein of Capcom’s Magic Sword and Magician Lord. It features labyrinthine levels with multiple paths, levers to pull, doors to unlock and plenty of enemies to vanquish. And though the game only had four stages – divided into three smaller sections – it was certainly no walk in the park. Often it wasn’t made clear where you had to go; enemies would come out of the walls, and the volume and ferocity at which they did so would increased with each level. They would also get really quite cunning, thanks to the game’s impressive AI.

Though I always found the controls a little fiddly and Herc is rubbish at multitasking, Gods remains one of my all-time favourite Amiga games. It has the visuals, music, and atmosphere to keep me coming back for more.

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