Monday, 16 January 2012

Ganymed (Commodore Amiga)

So, after writing my top 11 iOS games of last year, I fancied a break before I started on the big boy games. So I was scrolling through GameBase, and as I went through the Amiga games, clicking on random games and looking at screenshots, I saw one that featured AT-ATs. Fantastic! Let's have a go at that.

Echo station 3-T-8, we have spotted something a lot like Imperial walkers, but that aren't actually Imperial walkers.

The game was, and indeed is called Ganymed. An odd title for sure, and no doubt a riff on Jupiter's moon, Ganymede. That moon is largely covered in ice, much like the planet Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back, where AT-ATs march relentlessly in, smashing anything in their path.

And so, with that connection made, I settled down for a good blast.

You know, there have been some really good games featuring large walkers that you must shoot down. Parker's own The Empire Strikes Back, on the Atari VCS/2600, was a tense, thrilling blast, where you took your fragile snowspeeder to battle the Empire's mighty walkers. I spent hours on that game, which may well have been the very first game responsible for giving me an aching thumb.

Who'd have thought that blowing up a metal beast would result in an explosion of jam and custard?

Then there was Jeff Minter's Attack of the Mutant Camels. Although this had a distinctly British sense of humour added to the mix, the core gameplay was much the same, and probably accounted for a lot of knackered fire buttons on computer systems across the globe.

Ganymed is not a really good game featuring large walkers. It is, in fact, a shit game featuring large walkers. Essentially, it's the old Atari Empire Strikes Back game, with arguable better graphics and inarguably worse gameplay. Each level sees you take off in your snowspeeder ship, scrolling from right to left to confront the giant metal beasts, of which there are three.

You're just running around like a headless chicken.

Yes, each level contains a not-exactly-unmanageable three enemy walkers. Defeat them and you whizz off to the next level. Take a couple of hits and you die. Let them reach the right of the screen, and it's game over, quite unceremoniously and without fanfare. Just a message saying "You lost all your ships".

And that's it. It's rubbish. Of all the things to stop on randomly, I managed to hit Ganymed. Out of 50,000 games over 18 systems, I landed on Ganymed. I won't be making that mistake again.


  1. Ah, how delightfully dreadful.

  2. Oooh....the game sounds rough. Though I'd be lying if I said I didn't have some self torturous temptation to play it now. I seem to love bad games as much as bad movies. I'm wired wrong....don't believe me? I thought Bionic Granny for the C64 was good for a laugh!

  3. There can be some fun to be had from playing bad games... this one is just bad and dull, though.

  4. I'm amazed to find anything on this game!

    I wouldn't be surprised if I am the only person in the world to get as far in this badgame as I did.

    Interesting factoids - you can continue to shoot an exploding AT-AT lookalike for points, as long as you don't stop shooting while it explodes you can farm infinite points from them. Using this method as a kid I got effectively infinite lives and progressed quite far in the game.

    Be flying just below the AT-ATs guns, you can shoot them without them being able to shoot back, which leads to the next point.

    In later levels, the shots from the AT-ATs home in on you, until it becomes impossible to dodge them at all. Because of this there is a hard limit on how far you can progress through the game. You'll be shot down immediately, even flying at full speed and dodging.

    There are several backgrounds - not just the snowy mountains, but also a rebel base, spiky mountains with an aurora overtop, etc.

    Phew, never thought my explorations in this game would ever have an outlet. I was just thinking about this game randomly because of it's weird electronica soundtrack.

    1. Yeah I played this a lot was totally unplayable but I really liked that thump thump drum beat and driving bass line in the Thomas lopatic (?) Soundtrack. Kept hoping it was not as bad as I first remembered but it was awful...shame as it looked great and I loved the sound and music.