After finally getting my Atari ST out of storage and running again, I also got a chance to dig through my games collection and see what was still working amongst all the disks that came with it. Though I did get a few compilations over the years, including one with Star Wars arcade games, easily the best value compilation I ever owned for the system was the one that originally came bundled with it.
Called the “Power Pack”, it was a collection of twenty games representing a mix of original titles and arcade conversions that were made popular during the era. The games in alphabetical order:
- Black Lamp
- Bomb Jack
- Double Dragon
- Gauntlet II
- Space Harrier
- Star Goose
- Star Ray
- Super Hang-On
- Super Huey
There was such a massive amount of value in the bundle that it could be the only games some users would ever need for the system which was something that caused much annoyance to publishers at the time. There was certainly enough games in there that chances were high that a couple of them would become favourites for owners during the life of the system.
Sega’s arcade games of the era were a really big deal so getting conversions of those in the bundle made it quite appealing. Sadly now, Afterburner feels like the one that has aged the worst due to it not playing as smoothly whereas Space Harrier and Super Hang-On still hold up well. The mouse controls in Space Harrier may make the game a little easier but I also found it much more enjoyable as a result. I played a heck of a lot of Space Harrier.
Original games like Nebulus aka Tower Toppler and Eliminator (both by the same developer, John M. Phillips) showed the system could create arcade like experiences without the need for a popular license. They even ran at a better clip than arcade ports too. Even now I still admire how smooth Eliminator runs.
The other arcade conversions in collection were also successful in delivering a good experience for players. I spent an incredible amount of time playing Gauntlet II and Double Dragon which were great co-op games. I wish I was a better R-Type player though because I couldn’t get further than the 4th stage in that game and that was a rare occurrence too.
Other games such as Starglider not only showed what the platform was capable of early on with its fast wireframe 3D but was a precursor to something a lot more spectacular from developer Argonaut Software in the game’s sequel (also on the ST) and then later on with the SuperFX powered Starfox on the SNES. They really did some cool stuff over the years…
Getting all those games with the ST from the beginning really defined what my expectations were when purchasing other titles for the system because there were always something I could go back to play if the new ones didn’t meet my expectations. With magazines also providing guidance on what’s good I probably became much more careful with spending during that time too.
Still, having mates around to come check out Double Dragon is a great memory I have of first owning an ST and it wouldn’t have happened if not not for the best games bundle ever. 🙂