Amberstar, Atari ST

Amberstar is a huge, sprawling Role-Playing Game that was first released by German developer Thalion in 1992.

It’s a game that certainly does owe a debt or two to Richard Garriott‘s famous Ultima series, although Amberstar is unique (and good) enough to stand on its proverbial own two feet.

Amberstar is a truly brilliant game, but it does have a problem or two. Mostly with getting started – or gaining a foothold. It’s a slow and painful process. The interface and conventions are all a bit old skool and archaic, but when you get used to them the game really opens up. Getting past the first few dungeons, though, is a real task. Especially if you attempt it blind. I recommend playing with a walkthrough or guide – otherwise you’ll likely get nowhere.

In my mind, though, Amberstar is arguably the best game ever to come out of Germany. At least during the 16-bit era, and that’s saying something because a lot of good games came out of Germany during that period.

High praise indeed, but Amberstar is a classic game that plays much better than it looks and is well worth a play today.

See also: Amberstar PC MS-DOS version on The King of Grabs


No Second Prize, Atari ST

No Second Prize is a 3D motorbike racing game from German developer and publisher Thalion, with mouse controls and an emphasis on fun, rather than realism.

Which suits me, because realism in these games can really become a problem when all you want to do is complete one lap of the course without crashing, but can’t seem to be able to do that.

Thankfully, No Second Prize is fairly easy to get the hang of. Swiping the mouse left and right banks the bike when cornering, and within a few races you will no doubt be good enough to be challenging for first place (in the easier races at least).

Of course: much better motorbike racing games have been released onto the market since No Second Prize was first released in 1992 (Road Rash 64 springs to mind), but this game is still worthy of a play right now. Especially if you like race games. It hasn’t aged too badly, at least on the playability front. Graphically No Second Prize is basic, but fast and smooth and reasonably colourful.


Amberstar PC

Amberstar, PC

Amberstar is a German-developed RPG that was originally released for the Atari ST, Amiga and PC MS-DOS in 1992. It is an incredibly difficult game to get a foothold in, but is worth the effort because it is such an interesting gaming challenge to take on.

Amberstar is extremely detailed, different (possibly arcane), tense, and atmospheric. Some say that it is a cross between Dungeon Master and the Ultima series of games, and I’d probably agree with that. It is a curious mix of real time and turn-based gameplay, mixing first-person and overhead viewpoints.

The screenshots here are from the PC DOS version of Amberstar, as that version has the most colourful graphics (and the least bugs).

If you’re going to play Amberstar, which I highly recommend you do if you’re an RPG enthusiast, then I would advise playing along with an online guide or walkthrough. It really is that tough. Great game though!