Saturday, 26 July 2014

GROW: Flight of the Amazon Queen (Amiga)

Released:    1995
Developer:  Interactive Binary Illusions
Publisher:   Renegade
Creators:    Steven Stamatiadis, John Passfield
Additional Programming: Tony Ball
Platform:      Amiga
Genre:          Point and Click Adventure
Players:       1 player

The Amiga faithful were a hearty crowd, full of patience and hope.  They waited for years for a port of Wing Commander and even played the slow as molasses, 16 color pixel fest that finally arrived.  They suffered through inferior arcade ports and fighting games reduced to one button. 
The titular plane.
The one area they never had to compromise on were Adventure games though.  The two button mouse that was standard on the system made games like Leisure Suit Larry, Loom, Monkey Island and Zak McKracken a pleasure to play.  The graphics were pretty much static and the engrossing stories, conveyed via text, didn't care about flashy new sound cards or massive storage space.

Sadly though, by 1995, even this bastion of Amiga gaming would be stormed and brought asunder by the PC's expanding open architecture.  Soon Sierra and Lucasarts would be eyeing game designs that required speech and massive amounts of animation, impossible to play without CD-Roms and hard drives.  The 14 disk swap extravaganza that was Indy 4 told the tale.

I wonder if they put the ark up on its side....
But one bright shiny beacon was yet to lift the hearts of Amiga users, and it would come from a couple of guys from down under: Flight of the Amazon Queen

Flight of the Amazon Queen is a point and click adventure, clearly modelled on the designs of Lucasarts.  Just like SCUMM games, Flight has no deaths and keeps the player always moving from one puzzle to the next.  The art style is also heavily influenced by Lucas games using many of the same poses and angles.  The game almost feels like a missing Lucasarts game, with maybe just a bit less polish.


Sadly there is no chainsaw.
It's the late 40's and you play Joe King (Joe-King... joking?  Get it?... damn I love puns) pilot for hire, who is contracted to fly the world famous actress Faye Russel to a shoot in the Amazon jungle in your plane the Amazon Queen.  A lightening storm brings the plane down and from there on out a mad cap story about dinosaurification rays, lederhosen, comic books, cross dressing, jet packs, amazon princesses and unspeakable rashes ensues.

Zoologists do not get short changed in this game.
The game is very tongue-in-cheek and parodies both pulp style storytelling as well as pop culture (Abbot and Costello make guest appearances, and there are references to everything from He-Man to Godzilla).  The humor is really quite good, with some groan inducing puns thrown in, but in such a way that you know that they were purposely made
bad.  The humor is also quite whimsical, with characters that make no logical sense appearing, only to be made aware of this in almost fourth wall breaking fashion.

The puzzles are mostly logical and can be figured out without having to do a massive amount of pixel hunting.  Occasionally there can be a bit too much back tracking and the map layout could have been made a bit more helpful at times to avoid unnecessary screen loads, but it's definitely manageable.

The Amiga's ageing ECS graphics get some serious loving in this game.  The sprites are colorful, the animations are fluid and because it was developed for the Amiga load times from disk were taken into account, keeping them at a minimum (granted, nowadays they are still a bit unbearable... but this was 1995). 

Everything was crisp and clean, easily identifiable and the color palette used to great effect.  A beautiful game.

Now look at that bit of perspective drawing! No polygons required.
While the game isn't quite as good as Monkey Island or Indy 3, it can clearly hold its own in the point and click arena and was a much better game to play than most of Sierra's efforts (especially since you didn't have to worry about dying every time you tried something).  The humor is good natured and the plot keeps you going.  The last big scene before the ending actually had me laughing out loud. 
If you want to enjoy this game today, the trusty old Amiga version is of course still a load of laughs, but there is also a CD-Rom version that includes full spoken audio which can be downloaded for FREE from or from the SCUMMVM website.  There's no reason not to be enjoying the heck out of this classic.

Review by Trantor



  1. Flight of the Amazon Queen - or FAQ as it is known - is a wonderful adventure game. I fail to remember whether I played this on my Amiga or on a PC though, but today the right way to experience these classic games is imho through ScummVM on an Android tablet (or a jailbroken iPad).

    Great review as always!

  2. yes fond memories of this game. great review by the way.