We all have that game we think is the best ever. I know our CEOs favourite one is Super Metroid. Mine is a totally different one. Growing up in a small village, me and a friend mainly played NES, but neighbours had everything from Commodore 64 to PlayStation. Getting a new best friend around 8th grade got me into Amiga. His older brother had one and I think he already had moved from home, so it was free all the time. We played it all, Street Fighter with only 1 button (sic!), Warlords with a broken save function, the amazing port of Silkworm and hundreds of other games.
…and a game with a red and green car. Remember that one?
We mostly played games with two players simultaneously: Rodland, Battle Squadron, Alien Breed, Cannon Fodder, IK+, North & South etc. Amiga’s library of 7000+ games is probably (indisputably I would say) the best in the history of home computers. One game that really caught our attention was that game with the red and the green car: Super Cars II. Coded by Shaun Southern and Andrew Morris at Magnetic Fields in United Kingdom 1991 and published by Gremlin Graphics. A top-down racing game where you could blast your competition if you couldn’t keep up with them. A game so amazing that we played it for several years on the Amiga. The weird sports car with six headlights you drive in the game is actually the super car Alfa Romeo SZ, only around 1000 of it was produced.
The game is quite deep for a racing game because it contains both racing and shooting at your opponents, as well as optional quiz questions between the races that will earn you money or championship points. Or make you lose them. Another awesome feature is that the prices on better engine and weapons keep on changing every time you play. Which makes every played game a unique one. Suddenly you can’t afford buying land mines or homing missiles. That also made that you could invest a lot of money in low priced items and then sell them when they increased in price, making you really rich. Not sure if this was a bug or feature? The game also contains stuff like nitro and you had to afford to repair your car between the races. There are three different levels (easy, medium, hard), all with 7 tracks each.
As you probably know a normal Amiga joystick weirdly enough only had one button, making breaking and accelerating hard since you use forward and back on the joystick for weapons. How did Magnetic Fields solve this? They made a cool option, either you use the button for accelerating and there is no real brake. Or the car accelerate automatically and you use the button to perform really nice power slides. We always used the later feature, which works really well. In every racing game you want to go as fast as possible at any time anyway, right? A lot of developers had to really think through their controller settings on the Amiga, Archer MacLean’s IK+ is another awesome game where you can perform 16 different moves just with a joystick and one button! We played Super Cars II so much we knew the tracks almost playing blindfolded. That really helped because some of them had graphics that were mismatched on the hard level, due to playing on pirate discs.
Super Cars II made us use a whole new lingo in Swedish just for this game. Köra kliniskt rent (driving clinically clean), hoppisar (jumpies/nitro), helsprängd (totally blowed up) etc. Remember that we were young. After some years “our” Amiga passed away after many hours of playing, so no more playing Super Cars II. The PC took over the scene and other games and consoles got our attention until Anders suddenly showed me the Amiga emulator WinUAE on his family’s PC. Suddenly we could play all classic games again in high school and of course our beloved racing game.
So, the Amiga was finally dead. Hmm… that means it’s cheap!? We bought a couple of them late 90s for almost nothing and suddenly we had a huge library again with of course the best game ever. A game that good, it must be common!? Nah… the pirate scene was huge on the Amiga, and especially in Europe and maybe the worst in the Nordic countries, home to a lot of crackers. Not surprisingly a lot of games didn’t sell well but were played by everyone. Super Cars II was one of those games. It took me probably 20 years before I held a real complete copy of the game in my hands. This of course made game developers go bankrupt or turn to video consoles instead where piracy was much more uncommon.
The graphics and controls were absolute magic in this game, but what about the music? Good! Wow! Such masterpieces by legend Barry Leitch! It starts off with a classical tune by Richard Wagner to Magnetic Fields logo in the intro. It’s actually from the opera Götterdämmerung and is called Siegfried’s Funeral March, it can also be heard in the movie Excalibur from 1981. Other than that, it’s just two tunes in the game, the loading screen and the menu music. During the races there are no music at all, which makes the game even better. You can hear the crashes and talk to you rival. Compare with the classic game Alien Breed (Team 17), there is no need for music when the sound effects do the job perfectly.
Ever since the 90s I’ve tried to find a replacement to this “vehicular combat game”. Twisted Metal, Mashed, Rock ‘n Roll Racing etc. Nothing has been that fun except the unknown gem Rumble Racing (PS2) and of course “battle” in Mario Kart 64 (N64)!
Is it the best game ever?
Yes, of course. There can only be one!
What’s the Swedish connection in the game?
If you play single player the worst driver is called Stag Bloomwest,
a pastiche of the Swedish racing driver Stig Blomqvist.
Do we have it in the archive?
Yes, of course!