Developed by Renegade and published by The Bitmap Brothers in 1991.
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"Into the Wonderful": those are the immortal words that accompany the introduction to one the best-known Amiga games of all time, and never were truer words spoken. From the opening introduction to the closing credits, this game exudes style from every pore and orifice.
The game follows the adventures of an unnamed warrior, who seeks the ultimate prize of immortality from the very gods themselves. His task is to venture to the Ancient City, where he must slay the guardians that reside there; only by doing this will he be granted what he seeks.
On the surface, the game might appear to be a standard platform game. It certainly has platforms, and it also has enemies to shoot and power-ups to collect. Below the surface, however, lurks an intricate system of puzzles, triggers and secrets, all waiting to be discovered by the player.
The game is made of four worlds, each of which contains three levels, including a final end-of-world guardian. Between each level, the player is given the chance to purchase supplies from a wandering shopkeeper; supplies include food, weapons, shields and similar items.
A big part of the game involves collecting treasure from slain creatures, or from the numerous secret areas within each level. Collecting treasure is vitally important as it is used to purchase power-ups from the shopkeeper. The enemies become progressively stronger throughout the game, so the player must be able to upgrade his/her arsenal to stand a chance.
The game features a basic inventory system, allowing the player to carry a small number of items. These typically involve keys to open doors or activate switches, as well as carrying items required to solve puzzles within the level. The inventory is flawed in that despite having five slots, the player can only carry four items as the item selector will always drop the contents of an occupied slot.
Gods is not a game that can be fully appreciated in a single sitting. It's quite clear that it would take months to master the game and to come anywhere near close to beating the game, let alone discovering all of the bonuses and secret areas. This is a game for the long-haul.
To this end, the game employs a password system that will generate a password based on the player's score and statistics. The player earns one password per world and this will allow the player to resume play from the first level in each world. The slightly ridiculous problem with this system is that the player must actually beat the first level in the world to earn the password. So, imagine the frustration of slogging through the first world, beating the guardian and then dying in the first level of the next world before earning the password!
Gods is certainly not without it's problems. The chief of which is the way enemies are teleported into existence right in front (or behind) the player, requiring quick reactions and the ability to turn on dime so as to be able to dispatch said horrors before they can sap a big chunk from the hero's trifling health pool.
The controls also suffer from being slightly fiddly. It's all too easy to end up jumping when all you really wanted to do was to face a wall in order to activate a switch (or vice versa). Getting on and off ladders can also be tricky, especially when falling off a ladder can often lead to a serious reduction in health if the player falls too far.
Despite the issues with the gameplay, there is simply no denying that Gods looks absolutely gorgeous. Mark Coleman produced some stunning background art and animated sprites; along with Dan Malone, these artists are responsible for that very specific style that made the Bitmap Brothers games so recognisable.
On the sound front, Richard Joseph created some great effects, but the opening music by Nation 12 is fantastic and lets the player know from the off that this a game with high production values.
My main reason for doing this video was to get a decent HD video on to YouTube; the game deserves to be seen in HD. I tried to show as many secrets as possible, although I lost a few speed bonus awards, but I think I put in a good effort.
In review, the game suffers for it's aggressive difficulty, but it's impossible not to bowled over by the presentation and level of intricacy in the game's puzzles. Despite it's flaws, Gods still deserves it's reputation as one of the classic and best-loved Amiga games ever made.