Team 17 is a British-based video game developer and publisher that emerged from a merger between the British publisher 17-Bit Software and Team 7, a Swedish developer, on December 7, 1990. Team 17 made a significant impact on the late ’80s and early ’90s home computer video game landscape. Later on, they achieved great success with their long-running Worms franchise. Over the past 32 years, they have developed over sixty titles and published nearly seventy titles. Alongside the aforementioned Worms series, they have created several other classics and notable franchises, including Alien Breed and the Overcooked series. Now, Evercade fans finally get the long-awaited first collection cartridge.
What on the Team 17 Collection cartridge?
This compilation contains ten Amiga games with the vast majority of them being Amiga CD32 games. The titles are Full Contact, Alien Breed Special Edition, Body Blows, Project-X Special Edition, QWAK, Arcade Pool, Alien Breed: Tower Assault, Alien Breed 2: The Horror Continues, ATR: All Terrain Racing, and Kingpin: Arcade Sports Series Bowling. That means that this set consist four shooters, two fighters, two sports, a platformer and a racing title. Making it quite a eclectic bunch.
The shooters are the standout of this set with three Alien Breed games, with Interplanetary Corps Johnson and Stone taking the lead across several games to see what happened to the members of their crew. Explore for weapons and take out creatures in a familiar ode to space shooters in general and alien movies of the time. Graphically, with their top-down camera and fast gameplay, all three games are classics in their own right.
Project-X Special Edition is an excellent space shooter and is best described as a clone of Gradius and Parodius. It is an exceptionally fast-paced game with one very nice touch: even when you die, you get to keep all your weapons until you lose your last life. For readers from North America who probably are not very familiar with the game, it was never released on our side of the pond.
Next, the fighters. Those are Body Blows and Full Contact. Body Blows feels like an updated version of the original Street Fighter (Street Fighter 1, that is) but can be extremely fast compared to its inspiration. The characters are somewhat goofy and can also spam the player if they don’t see it coming.
Full Contact is Team 17’s first-ever game and was developed in 1990 and released in early 1991. In this game, the player is defending their dojo and sensei in a martial arts brawler that has a skill set that is more in-depth but much slower than a classic like International Karate. Sadly, both of these games use one button as an attack alongside a direction, and this leads to some extremely broken gameplay, which is a bit weird as other fighters of its era already had a directional pad alongside action buttons. Both games really do have their fun moments.
Surprisingly, the most represented genre in this compilation is the sports genre, a genre not usually seen in multiples in these kinds of compilations. Arcade Pool was an excellent 1994 release with plenty of modes of play, like 8-Ball/9-Ball with both United States and United Kingdom rules, along with other modes. The pace is very smooth and feels very good with all the Evercade systems, whether it is the home gamepad or the portable’s controller scheme.
Kingpin is a graphically great game but with a completely broken skill set, with hazards like oil in the lanes being so severely over the top that a strike is considered a miracle. The tournament mode would have greatly benefited from this game if it weren’t for the mentioned issue. The original game on the Amiga CD32 also suffers from this very same problem, so this is not down to a CD32 problem, it’s the other way around, but it’s an excellent port of a bowling game if you can get used to its quirks.
Speaking of quirks, the platformer in this set is known as QWAK, a 1993 classic that serves as a bridge between the final two consoles made in North America it was released for: The CDTV, a 1991 system that sold fewer than 55,000 units and is known as one of the most expensive of all time. It was priced at $1,000 (in 1993 dollars, which would be around $2,200 in today’s money). Aside from that, QWAK is a wonderful platformer-jumper game where you play as a small duck that uses its eggs to take out enemies, gather keys, and collect fruit to get more eggs. This game has dozens of levels and is my favorite game in this collection. It is highly addictive and plays exceptionally well with the Vs. Controller.
The final game, and the only racer in this collection, is another classic: ATR: All Terrain Racing, released in 1995. It combines elements of RC Pro-Am and rally racing. The opponents in this game are very difficult and usually race in what racers call the “Perfect Line,” so you need to memorize each track to achieve a qualifying position to continue. The tracks are well-designed, and the graphics are pretty decent. However, this game became infamous in a negative way due to a dispute between Team 17 and Amiga Power’s reviewer, Jonathan Nash. Following the dispute, Jonathan gave the game a rating of 38%, which led to one of the very first lawsuits for defamation in regard to manipulating a review score for unwarranted purposes. Therefore, ATR’s inclusion in this collection has some historical relevance as well.
Well, with ten games, some great and some forgettable, you get a trail mix of fun and frustration. The shooters left something to be desired, even though some of them are classics. Personally, I would have loved to see Alien Breed 3D included, but if there is a Team 17 Collection 2 in the works, considering the success of this series on the Home Computer line, it would be a good addition in due time. The fighting games will leave a bit of a sour taste in the mouths of fans of the generation and the genre. I appreciate the inclusion of Team 17’s first-ever game and can give it a pass on historical relevance. The other four titles ranged from pretty bad to excellent, with QWAK being the star of this compilation.
If you are an Evercade enthusiast, then keep a close eye on Retrolike.net, as we will be closely monitoring all upcoming releases this year!
:Playing some of these compared to their CD32 and Amiga Computer originals, the Evercade did some of these games even better justice than the original platforms. The Alien Breed games alone would have made this compilation worth the purchase, but alongside one or two stinkers, the vast majority of the games are worth your while.