Playing Scorpio (Amiga)

The A600HD getting a CF card has meant that I’ve spent a couple of days playing Amiga games… and there are loads of great shoot ‘em ups out there for the Amiga that I could be playing like Battle Squadron, Uridium 2 or Disposable Hero (and one or two like Xenon 2 that aren’t much cop as games but, bizarrely, still well-remembered amongst Amiga users) so, with a wide range of decent titles to play, finding myself hooked on an early blaster like Scorpio is a bit hard to explain…

Allow me to wallow in nostalgia for a bit (after all, it’s my blog and you’re not paying) because the first time I played Scorpio was probably around the end of 1988 when I got my first Amiga 500; it was second hand and came with some [ahem] less than legitimate floppies including Katakis and something that looked a bit like R-Type turned onto it’s side even to the point of replicating a few set pieces like the circle of guns.

I think the sheer cheekiness of Scorpio has some bearing on why I’ve played and enjoyed it over the years, it doesn’t avoid some of the larger “bear traps” of shoot ‘em up design since it drops the player back at the start of a very long stage when they buy the farm and the difficulty curve is, to paraphrase Richard Richard, “effing vertical” to the point where clearing the first level is reason to celebrate – but for such an early Amiga title (and one that doesn’t appear to just be Atari ST code shovelled over) it’s neatly executed and, as long as the player is a masochist, doesn’t get annoyed by the looped sample that passes for background music and likes memorising attack waves, is enjoyable to play as well – but it just has that whole “look at me, I’m a rip-off of R-Type but vertically scrolling so they can’t sue” attitude going on and it always raises a little smile, even when it’s repeatedly and mercilessly pummelling me into dust…

Fun with Compact Flash

So what happens if you take an Amiga 600HD with an extra megabyte of RAM and a stuffed hard drive, a spare 32Mb Compact Flash card and a little 2.5” to CF adapter that cost 99p including shipping from eBay? The answer, apparently, is an Amiga that boots Workbench at an incredible speed and can load games almost as rapidly courtesy of WHDLoad!

So after an afternoon of “work”, I get to play Battle Squadron, Turrican, Wings of Death and other classics on a real Amiga… with a Megadrive pad. The next steps are to find a 2Gb or thereabouts CF card (and possibly an Amiga mouse, currently I’m using the keyboard to operate Workbench) on eBay, register WHDLoad and fill the card up with loads of shiny games! The A600 doesn’t appear to work with every game (I’m guessing they’re only really happy with an A1200 and converting my A1200 ‘030 to CF is now on the “to do at some point soon” list because I want Uridium 2 and Turrican 2 in particular) but enough good titles work to keep me happy and there’s always the option of transferring disk images and writing out to floppies.

I’d like to thank a couple of folks over at the Retro Gamer forums for making the entire thing possible; gave me loads of pointers to get everything going and DPrinny for giving me the A600HD at Retro Reunited last year. Ta very much guys! =-)