Sunday, May 22, 2022

Ports of Entry: Ocean Software

Unknown lead platform:



First released for Amstrad CPC & ZX Spectrum in March 1986

Released for Amstrad PCW in June 1986

Released for MSX in 1986

Amstrad CPC is more colorful than ZX Spectrum, so it can't be ruled out, but both are fairly monochromatic overall.


The Great Escape

Released for C64 & ZX Spectrum in 1986

Ported to Amstrad CPC in 1986

Ported to PC in 1986

This is mostly monochromatic on any platform, suggesting original Spectrum design.



First released for C64 & ZX Spectrum in 1988

Released for Amstrad CPC & MSX in 1989

Ported to PC in 1989 by Astros Productions


C64 seems most likely, as it's the most colorful platform.

Target: Renegade

Released for Amstrad CPC, C64, & ZX Spectrum in 1988


Rambo III

Released for Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, C64, MSX, & ZX Spectrum in 1988

Released for Amiga in 1989

Ported to PC in 1989 by Banana Development


Batman: The Caped Crusader

Released for Amiga, Amstrad CPC, C64, & ZX Spectrum in 1988

Released for Atari ST in March 1989

Released for Apple II in December 1989

Released for PC in 1989

Batman (1989)

Released for Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, C64, MSX, & ZX Spectrum in 1989

Ported to PC in 1990 by Astros Productions

F29 Retaliator

Released for Amiga and Atari ST in 1989

Ported to PC in 1990

2D elements (such as the cockpit) in the Amiga version use 32 colors to Atari ST's 16, although the 3D view only uses 15.


Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Released for Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, C64, PC, & ZX Spectrum in 1991

Amiga does 64 colors to Atari ST & PC's 16.


The Addams Family (16-bit)

First released for SNES in March 1992

Released for Amiga and Atari ST in 1992

Ported to Nintendo Super System in 1992

Ported to Genesis in 1993



Released for Atari ST & PC in 1992

Ported to Amiga in 1992

Ported to PC-98 in 1993 

PC version appears to use 256 colors in VGA mode.



Released for Amiga, Atari ST, PC, & SNES in 1992.

Weirdly, Amiga is only 16 colors here, while SNES is 32 and PC is 48.


Jurassic Park (8-bit)

First released for NES in June 1993

Released for Gameboy in 1993


Jurassic Park (computer)

Released for Amiga & PC in 1993


Mr. Nutz

First released for SNES in August 1994

Released for Gameboy & Genesis in 1994

SNES seems most likely as Gameboy & Genesis credit "sound conversion" to outside sources.


Heart of Darkness

First released for PC in June 1998

Released for PlayStation in July 1998

Select chronology: 

8-bit era:
Title Lead platform Date Contemporary ports
Hunchback Oric 1983 Initially an arcade game
1984 ports to various microcomputers
Top Gun Amstrad CPC 1986
Batman ??? 1986-3 Simultaneous releases on Amstrad CPC & MZX Spectrum
1986 releases on Amstrad PCW & MSX
The Great Escape ??? 1986 Same-year releases for C64 & ZX Spectrum
1986 port to Amstrad CPC by James Software
1987 port to PC
Head Over Heels ZX Spectrum 1987 Same-year ports to various microcomputers
Platoon Commodore 64 1987 1988 ports to NES & various microcomputers
RoboCop ??? 1988 Same-year releases on C64 & ZX Spectrum
1989 releases on Amstrad CPC & MSX
1989 port to PC
Target: Renegade ??? 1988 Same-year releases on Amstrad CPC, C64, & ZX Spectrum


Early 16-bit era:
Title Lead platform Date Contemporary ports
Rambo III ??? 1988 Same-year releases on Atari ST & various 8-bit microcomputers
1989 release on Amiga
1989 port to PC
Batman: The Caped Crusader ??? 1988 Same-year releases for Amiga & various 8-bit microcomputers
1989 releases for Atari ST, Apple II, & PC
Batman ??? 1989 Same-year releases for various microcomputers
1990 port to PC
F29 Retaliator ??? 1989 Same-year releases on Amiga & Atari ST
1990 port to PC
Terminator 2: Judgment Day ??? 1991 Too many to fit here


Late 16-bit era:
Title Lead platform Date Contemporary ports
The Addams Family NES 1992-1 1993 ports to Game Gear & Sega Master System
The Addams Family ??? 1992-3 Same-year releases on SNES, Amiga, & Atari ST
Same-year port to Nintendo Super System
1993 port to Genesis
RoboCop 3 SNES 1992-9 Same-year port to Nintendo Super System
1993 ports to Game Gear, Genesis, & Sega Master System by Eden Entertainment
Epic ??? 1992 Same-year releases on Atari ST & PC
Same-year port to Amiga
1993 release on PC-98
Pushover ??? 1992 Same-year releases on Amiga, Atari ST, PC, & SNES
Jurassic Park ??? 1993-6 Same-year releases on NES & Gameboy
Jurassic Park SNES 1993-11
Jurassic Park ??? 1993 Same-year releases on Amiga & PC
TFX DOS 1993
Mr. Nutz ??? 1994-8 Same-year releases on Genesis, Gameboy, & SNES


32-bit era:
Title Lead platform Date Contemporary ports
Wetrix Windows 6/12/1998 1998 port to N64, released before PC version
Heart of Darkness ??? 6/26/1998 Same-quarter releases on PC & PlayStation
Silver Windows 1999-5 2000 ports to Dreamcast & Macintosh


  1. Heart of Darkness…you mean based on the book that’s both stereotypical and slurring other races AND condemning white imperialism AT THE SAME TIME?

    1. I'm not really sure why the game's called that. I can't think of anything particular it has common with the Conrad novel, except that both involve some amount of horror.

  2. Batman (1989) was bundled with Amiga 500 with the extremely influential Batman Pack, so I would suggest considering Amiga the lead platform for that because of the importance of the bundle.

    On Pushover - Amiga doesn't always use its full colour palette for technical reasons (or it's made to match lowest common denominator with ST, which was very common so you could use the same graphics files on both).

    Amiga uses a planar display where all the first bits of the display are stored as one chunk of RAM as one bitplane, second bits are stored as one chunk, third bits are stored as one chunk, etc. So more bits you have the more bitplanes you need and slower all drawing operations are (because you need to do them to each bitplane). Additionally if the game uses "dual playfield" mode (for hardware parallax scrolling for instance), it can't use the full number of bitplanes for the two playfields, but it's limited to 8 per playfield for 16 total.

    (Of course this is further muddled by Amiga's hardware sprites having semi-independent/semi-shared colour registers and Amiga having hardware support for changing its colour palette on the fly mid-frame. So Amiga games when they want can be much more colourful than their palette nominally allows. Colour on Amiga is complicated.)

    1. Limited to 3 bitplanes that is for dual playfield, so 8 colours per playfield, 16 total with the two playfields. (Actually one has to be transparent, so 15 visible.)

    2. Was Batman developed with the understanding that it would be bundled with the Amiga 500, or was that something negotiated afterwards?

      Any idea why Pushover might have been limited? I do get that artists might have done that to save themselves the trouble of an ST conversion (or because ST was the lead platform), but the PC/SNES versions are more colorful. So it seems strange to me that Amiga only had 16 when other platforms had more. Use of dual-playfield mode doesn't seem to be the case here, though for other games would suggest to me that Amiga is the lead platform, or at least that the programmer went the extra mile to ensure a quality port.

    3. I don't know if the development of Batman was started with the bundle in mind, but the game launched with the bundle right from the start.

      Looking at Pushover in detail now and comparing it with the PC version on youtube, I believe it's not taking any advantage of the Amiga hardware. It has significant slowdown in the Amiga and ST versions compared to DOS even in situations that the Amiga should be able to cope with easily using the Blitter to draw the moving objects which leads me to suspect it's doing everything with just the 68000 CPU. So I suspect this is a case of lowest common denominator Amiga+ST port from the PC.

      As sidenote, SNES isn't usually useful for comparing graphics, since the console graphics have to be majorly redrawn anyway. SNES has unusual pixel aspect ratio, since the screen is 256x224, 256x239, 512x239, or 512x448 at 3:4 aspect. If you use the PC/Amiga graphics on SNES they would look squashed and vice versa. Sega Genesis/Megadrive though has approximately same pixel aspect as the computers.

    4. Hmmm. Actually looking further. PC is using its extra colours so poorly that I'm actually not sure it's the origin platform for the graphics. PC could be a marginally enhanced port and the baseline was Atari ST. If you study the PC screenshots carefully, you see the extra colours come from the PC having rectangular areas of the level background tiles where the palette is darkened by a shade or two. It's not even done subtly, it's very obvious where the seams are once you notice them.

    5. Sorry for spamming the comments, I can't edit since I don't have an account... One last discovery: the pattern of darkening in the background tiles seems to be the same for all levels in the PC version, so that's not even something they've added by hand to the levels. So it's very minimal automatic enhancement.

      Outside that darkening effect the PC version graphics are pixel identical with Amiga & ST.

    6. No problem, and thanks for that deep dive and info!

      Regarding SNES aspect ratio, it looks like the graphics weren't really redrawn, per se. All of the versions seem to look "correct" at square-pixel aspect ratios - squares appear as squares, circles appear as circles. Amiga/ST level layouts are somewhat modified to use the wider space available, but for the most part this just means more background tiles.

      I'm actually inclined to guess that this was developed for SNES first (there's no way it isn't using the sprite layer for the dominoes), then ported to Atari ST and the Quavers branding added, and that version used as the basis for Amiga/PC.


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