Jim Power: In Mutant Planet is one of the latest games for the 16bits era, offering great visuals and sound! The Amiga and ST versions were developed in 1992 and a few months later the game was developed for the SNES and MS-DOS as “Jim Power: In Lost Dimensions 3D” which offered more advanced visuals with 3D-like effects and a few different stages. Note that the game was also released for the 8bit Amstrad CPC.
STORY / GAMEPLAY Jim Power is a prime example of an action shoot 'em up (and platform) game that rarely fails to grant the player with great times of action as well as stunning visuals and sound (much like the Turrican games)! The story takes place somewhere in the future where you play the part of a secret agent (and an avid shooter) from the Special Warfare Unit, on a mission to rescue the President's daughter who's been kidnapped by an evil creature named Vulkhor and taken as a prisoner to a beautiful -but also hostile- planet called Mutant. The main goal on each level is to run and shoot before the time runs out, taking out hordes of mutants (like zombies, beasts and other human-like creatures that wander around), as well as to avoid a variety of deadly traps like spikes, dripping acids or moving platforms! The quest seems hard enough! You must also note that the hero does not have an energy bar except of just some lives, so any contact (or any misstep) with anyone or anything of the aforementioned hazards, will result to instant death! Your weaponry consists of a rapid fire gun and a bunch of smart bombs (that look like fire-saws). You main gun can be upgraded by collecting several bonuses left from the dead enemies. You may also find and collect extra time bonuses in order to extend your ... actual survival. Two out of the five levels in total, are played like a pure shoot 'em up game. These are Level 2 and Level 4 in which Jim is equipped with a jet pack and flies shooting everything in his path. Note that at the end of each level, Jim is again obliged to gear up his jet pack and combat gigantic bosses!
GRAPHICS / SOUND The Amiga version is very impressive and offers 12 layers of parallax scrolling with some amazing sprite tricks to display 90+ simultaneous colors! That is, color sprites are repeated across the screen every 32 pixels which means that the backgrounds are actually hardware sprite repeats! This is why the Atari ST version fails to reproduce equally beautiful backdrops (there is no hardware sprite support). The visuals are simply awesome while the game runs at a smooth 50 frames per second! I must also admit though that the visuals look too "heavy" at times, making things hard for our eyes! Other than that, the game's presentation is in one word amazing! The game's sound is awesome too as it has sampled in-game sound effects along with a variety of fantastic soundtracks (each level has its own!) There is also a wonderful music theme at the main menu, composed by the great Chris Hulsbeck (remember Turrican!). Comparably, the Amiga version is way better than the ST. Jim Power is one of the best late 90s games for the Amiga home computers as it simply pushes the hardware to its limits, giving us a coin-op quality action shooter!
In-game music sample:
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CPU: Motorola MC68000 7.16 MHz MEMORY: 512KB of Chip RAM (OCS chipset - A500), 512 KB of Slow RAM or Trapdoor RAM can be added via the trapdoor expansion, up to 8 MB of Fast RAM or a Hard drive can be added via the side expansion slot. The ECS chipset (A500+) offered 1MB on board to 2MB (extended) of Chip RAM. GRAPHICS: The OCS chipset (Amiga 500) features planar graphics (codename Denise custom chip), with up to 5 bit-planes (4 in hires), allowing 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 color screens, from a 12bit RGB palette of 4096 colors. Resolutions varied from 320x256 (PAL, non-interlaced, up to 4096 colors) to 640x512 (interlace, up to 4 colors). Two special graphics modes where also included: Extra Half Bright with 64 colors and HAM with all 4096 colors on-screen. The ECS chipset models (Amiga 500+) offered same features but also extra high resolution screens up to 1280x512 pixels (4 colors at once). SOUND: (Paula) 4 hardware-mixed channels of 8-bit sound at up to 28 kHz. The hardware channels had independent volumes (65 levels) and sampling rates, and mixed down to two fully left and fully right stereo outputs