What is an “Amagon” exactly? If your guess is a bunch of letters strung together, you’re close!
PUBLISHER: Sammy Studios
RELEASE DATE: April 1989
Let’s begin with semantics: what is an “Amagon” exactly? If your guess is a bunch of letters strung together, you’re close! According to the official Amagon press release by American Sammy, it’s a Marine who can morph into an Incredible Hulk-esque character. Good ol’ “American” Sammy was aiming squarely for the mid-80’s male audience with this game; people who loved their Stallone, Van Damme, and Scharwzenegger movies. But does it work, or does Amagon need to get his oily pectoral muscles out of our Nintendo?
Amagon is stranded on an island, and the only way he can get off of it, is, naturally, to destroy every single living thing on it. Elements of Altered Beast, Adventure Island, and Contra will smack you in the face. The Adventure Island-esque enemies are cutesy and non-descript, and though they do attack you, is it necessary to use a gun? Even Sir Higgins used a hammer or boomerang. It doesn’t particularly bother me in an ethical sense, but their presence feels strange and out of place. The actual gameplay is similar to Contra, in that you’re all guns blazing through the game, until you decide to shapeshift after getting the “strongman” power-up. One you have become AMAGON, LORD OF THIRD-WORLD ISLAND, you run amok with your fists, smashing everything in your path; no bird or tree varmint is safe. Amagon handles the transformation segments a lot better than Altered Beast did, in part because Amagon can actually move fast unlike the Beast. If you’re Lord Amagon, you usually have about four to five hit points, but beware if you’re cadet Amagon. The latter is the weakest Marine you’ve ever seen: one piddly hit knocks him down. Again, this worked in Contra when you’re dealing with bullets, but when a bee launches his stinger bomb at you? Yeah, let me see your credentials, Amagon. For the record, I am trying to write the word “Amagon” as much as possible because there’s a chance I’ll never be able to use it outside of this review. Amagon!
Does Amagon ever reach the end of the island? Probably, but it’s hard to care with the lack of personality embedded into the thick hollow shell that is the main character. No one should play this game unless they’re Amagon-curious, and that should be a very small percentage of the population.