The Retro Critic


Here’s a game that’s awesome right from the start.

If nowhere near as awesome as its Japanese version, unfortunately.

Amagon is a side-scrolling NES game in which you play as some tough guy whose plane crashes on a deserted island and who is then forced to cross it on foot.

So far, so Lost.

The game’s original title is already glorious: “Totsuzen! Machoman”.

And as for the plot, feast your eyes on this genius synopsis, courtesy of Wikipedia:

The storyline written in for the original Japanese release was somewhat different. The main character is a scientist named “Jackson”, who transforms into his “Macho Man” form, using the special drug “Macho Max” that has been taken from his plane, by the creatures of “Monster Island”

What do you mean you don’t get it?

Come on, that plot totally makes sense!

Looks like someone hasn’t been taking their “Macho Max”.

Now THAT’s one storyline which would have made the first season of Lost much more bearable.

The game is instantly loveable and instantly absurd.

Level 1 Amagon

Fans of senseless animal cruelty in retro games should love Amagon since it’s pretty much all about shooting cute bunny rabbits (with bow ties?!) who fall out of trees in the mouth. Also birds, bees and whatever else happens to be breathing nearby.

Or not: even mushrooms are a threat here.

Though I’ll grant you it’s worrying that these mushrooms are bouncing around all over the place.

You’d think that some super-serum would be put to somewhat better use, say like perhaps fixing the plane you crashed? Or breaking it apart and turning it into a boat to leave the island somehow? I’m just sayin’, maybe these guys aren’t Amagon’s biggest problems right now:

Hamsters Amagon

These hamsters wouldn’t last two minutes in Krusty’s Fun House, they’re harmless.

I’m all for getting rid of blue bees, though.

Blue Bee Amagon

They shoot fireballs and s***!!

It’s weird how this type of game discriminates against specific animals, by the way. Usually, 90% of all of them are good to kill but there’s always an inexplicable 10% of animals you don’t get to massacre as they are either part of the background or platforms for you to jump on.

Turtle Amagon

Sure that’s embarrassing for them and all but it’s a pretty good deal when compared to instant brutal death!

So one second you’re riding rocket-powered turtles like you’re some kind of Tarzan Flash Gordon…

*writes Tarzan Flash Gordon down in notebook*

*makes Tarzan Flash Gordon: The Movie*

*makes millions*

*loses it all on designing a real rocket-powered turtle*

*comes back to review*

The next you’re literally clubbing elephants to death!

Elephant Amagon

Like it’s totally a good thing!

Also, I wonder if lobsters are altogether frightening enough to qualify as valid villainous sprites. I mean look at this guy:

Lobster Amagon

He couldn’t hurt a fly!

Or whatever’s kinda like a fly underwater.

As for the bosses, they’re mostly a selection of ugly big giant heads save for some evil tree and a skeleton. Oh, and whatever this last guy’s supposed to be:

Alien Nun Amagon

I’m guessing a space wizard alien nun.

Those are always trouble.

The game may look rather basic visually but it is admittedly inventive with its main character who can become muscle-bound every so often and achieve more devastating attacks that way. The rifle becomes no match for just how darn macho you can get.

No need to fight two-faced floating lion heads (yeah, that happens) with some puny non-Macho Maxed body! Yay!

Amagon is an altogether pretty fun game with a likeably goofy sense of humour…

Small Amagon

Bird Armadillo Amagon

And although it feels more like a passing joke that somehow became a very playable game, it still works surprisingly well. Abandoning the original story in the Westernized version of the game, however, was obviously a mistake as that could have added a welcome extra burst of madness to the proceedings.

As it stands, this is definitely an underrated NES title, one that’s good fun while it lasts but which you’re unlikely to truly remember past completing it. The game’s ending itself is so rushed you’ll forget it even happened almost instantly.

Ending Amagon

The End Amagon


Was I playing a survival horror game this entire time and I just didn’t know it? I guess that armadillo did look at me sorta shifty…

Still, that’s a lazy ending if I ever witnessed one. I bet the original Japanese game had, like, exploding salt-shakers with brain goop oozing out of ’em onto flying windows made of crackers and ham or something similarly surreal.

Oh well, can’t have it all.

And now, if you don’t mind…

Amagonna get outta here.

(you knew that awful pun was coming)

The End Review