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Pang

Pang, also called Buster Bros on some consoles in NA, is a lesser-known arcade game loosely based on Asteroids: shoot large things (balloons) to break them into littler ones until you clear them all.

Though the Pang arcade game never became very well known, this particular port for the Amiga is very close to arcade perfection and represents the graphics and music absolutely beautifully.

Players control cutesy Japanese male characters in safari gear that use various weapons that shoot upwards to destroy the balloons. As stages are cleared, players travel through 50 levels across 17 different geographical locations around the world. These locations create beautiful backdrops behind the frantic and addictive old-school arcade action. The different locations are both a mental bridge to track one’s progress as well as a visual reward. The graphics really are a lot of fun, and the music is awesome.


As balloons are popped, various power-ups drop down that can create faster shooting guns, freeze the balloons from falling for a short time, add playing time, create shields, and create grappling hooks that attach to the ceiling. Some of the levels put obstacles in the sky - some which can be destroyed, and others that can’t.

Users can decide to play a two-player simultaneous mode in a cooperative fashion. However, during this mode any time a player dies it stops all of the action for both players and the level restarts, which can be annoying.

All-in-all Pang is a lot of fun to play and highly addicting.

Notes about playing on classic hardware:

As with many arcade ports on the Amiga platform, many early (pre-1991) games just don’t work well on any machine other than a 500. Note the two ADF versions below as a result of this sadly common issue. If the ADF for 500s is played on AGA hardware, graphical glitches will explode like fireworks all over the place.

Also, it appears this game was originally created for PAL and plays beautifully in this mode. Therefore, if you can boot into PAL mode, we recommend doing so (especially with the AGA ADF below). This is one of the few PAL action games that will go full-screen and animate gorgeously with no detrimental slowdown for the most part.
4.3
4 total votes

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User avatar
Shot97

by Shot97 Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:02 pm

It really is a cute little fun game. Perfect way to waste 30 minutes or so. I think I came pretty close to winning the entire game the last time I played, it's pretty addictive once you get the hang of it. And yes, great graphics, I "think" it had pretty good music, although it has been awhile... So don't quote me on that. While it didn't see release in America, I love that it actually utilized the extra PAL resolution. There's nothing worse than a European game being designed in 320x200 NTSC graphics mode but then having something stupid about the way it was designed that made it incompatible with NTSC Amiga's. Pah, I would have been so angry if I was a European and saw all these games not taking advantage of the machine. This game, I can see why it didn't get released over here, despite being a good game. It's simply not a game the people like my dad would have wanted to play or buy, and I do believe people similar to my father made up a big chunk of Amiga sales here. We actually did get most of the well loved European games, contrary to popular belief, but this would be an example of a great one we didn't get to see... Well, unless your computer store or magazine featured some special stuff to order from overseas. I believe Amiga World did a whole article on getting stuff directly from Europe working on our NTSC machines... So... In case you are from the states, don't worry, there's a good chance you can get this game to work just fine on your NTSC machine. It's too bad about it being designed with only the 500 in mind... I mean I'll always say that machine does not get the love it deserves these days, given that most newer homebrew games are not being designed to run correctly on the 500. In terms of homebrews and demos especially (Amiga demos are still a big thing with competitions to this day) I hate that most people are not trying to push that machine to its limits. Just look at what they can do with the C64, they have not begun to push the limits of the Amiga, and they should. Having said that, back in the day, certainly a 1990 game like this, it's just sad they didn't give a care about the other machines. AGA has never really meant much to me, but I do understand those that love that machine for its extra capabilities while maintaining compatibility with the older machines, for the most part. Again, if I was a European who spent the extra cash for the more powerful Amiga's and I popped in a game like this only to see no amount of screwing around with things got it to work, I'd be incredibly angry. Angry enough to write those companies and ask what gives? I understand writing things with the 500 in mind, but here you seem to be utterly ignorant that the Amiga is a name for a line of computers, not just one. It's too bad when people come across these examples because it's usually not a company taking advantage/exploiting the 500 and its quirks, thus creating an incompatibility with other machines... In that case, okay I guess, if you really couldn't do it any other way... No, most of the time they just simply didn't care, which would have been extraordinarily disheartening to users who believed in Commodore enough to shell out money for the newer machines. Again, thinking of an article I read in Amiga World, after a year on the market users as well as the magazine were incredibly angry with the lack of software and games being written for the 4000. I actually remember my dad thinking about the 4000 quite a bit, he was just waiting to see what would come of it... Well, not much ever did unfortunately. Some of that is Commodore fault for making a machine that simply was not the upgrade in computing that the original 1000 was compared to all else. But sadly, a lot of that blame is with developers who simply didn't care. I guess it was a fantastic thing for those that got a 500 or 2000, to have that machine pump out simply great stuff from start to end... I mean I'll always adore all eras of the Amiga, especially the DOS VGA era where some people started to abandon it. For a machine with technology largely from 1985 to have the ability to make near perfect (and still sometimes better) ports from 256 color VGA games in 1993 it's simply amazing. Even the terrible late Sierra ports. They let the machine take it from 256 to 32, rather than expending any effort in making sure those were the right 32 colors... Even those games look pretty damn good on a CRT monitor. They run like crap, but just the fact that they look good with minimal effort... Imagine what could have been with that machine in 1985 if more of the companies that designed games on the C64, AppleII, or DOS actually gave the Amiga the respect it deserved... Anyway, the Amiga 500 was in my opinion the best bang for your buck if bought new in 1987... If you stuck with it until 1995 you really had very little regrets, I know my father didn't. The only game I remember wishing at the time was on the Amiga was Wing Commander II, and these days the only VGA games I'd rather play in DOS are the ones that had later CD versions with voice acting. Star Trek 25th Anniversary and Star Trek Judgment Rites are the 4th and 5th seasons of Star Trek as far as I'm concerned, and if you have the DOS CD version like I do, you've got the entire original cast with you. 25th was released on the Amiga as an AGA only game (I think they could have done that on the 500 just fine) but alas, it's just the text. So that would be the rare example I'd take DOS over the Amiga. To bring it all back to point, regardless of how much I personally love the 500, I'm sure I could have ended up loving the the AGA Amiga's if my father had ended up getting one... But its stuff like this that made him decide he should just keep reading Amiga World... He truly wanted to upgrade into the Amiga line, like so many of us, he fell in love... But there was too many bad signs that made him hold off... Even when Commodore went Bankrupt my dad would make frequent trips to our local Amiga store (Slipped Disk was the main one) to ask what they thought of it all, if Commodore would come back... Even after he made the leap to the PC in 1995 I vividly remember the day he talked to me about the Amiga being sold to Gateway from Epscom. He had bhttps://amigalove.com/download/file.php?id=1399ought gateways in 1995 and 1997, so we were both excited to learn in 1997 that they now owned the Amiga... Well, yeah, the less said about that the better...ha... But it says a lot about how much that computer meant when a 40 year old adult is hanging on to the idea of a comeback in 1997. If he had gotten a 4000 I'm sure he would have stuck with that until this century, so I guess he made the right decision but it's just sad thinking about how willing people were to support Commodore and how not only them but the game companies and software companies simply did not give the people willing to be nudged a little push. Amiga 1000/500/2000 forever in my book, retrospect, knowing everything I know... But its sad that a great little time waster game like this, as great looking as it is, I sincerely doubt there was any reason other than ignorance that caused this game not to work with later Amiga's. Of course, the fact that the 4000 and 1200 were not out when this game was released is something to consider, I'd never mark the game down for not writing for a machine that did not exist... But when the vast majority of much older software worked just fine on those newer machines, well, you can certainly give a few extra points to the companies that did keep the future in mind. And of course far too many European games completely bypassed AmigaDOS, something they were proud of, they thought they were taking advantage of the hardware... Not when a whole bunch of people bought that machine because of its ability to multi-task... If I had a hard drive back then and I was forced to deal with these custom bootloading games... Almost a deal breaker in my mind. Hard drives were just soooo expensive back then, to not be able to use that hard drive as an investment to protect your games from the not so stable floppy disks... To have to buy a separate program just to copy those disks unto your own floppies when you'd rather just install the thing! I know there are some fantastic games that really did utilize having full control of the machine, and if they were only 1 or 2 disks, maybe that's so bad in retrospect... I mean I love that I have a hard drive for the games that took advantage of it, but I also love that I'm forced to keep a collection of floppies, because there's nothing like the sound of the Amiga's floppy drive. But if I spent the serious cash for what would have been precious little space at the time for a hard drive, that's one of those things that would have made me, if I was an adult at the time, seriously take a step back and consider my options. Anyway, Pang is a fantastic "little" game. Just an arcade game to waste some time with, nothing that deserves to go on any all time best lists... Perhaps it deserves to make an under-looked gem list, but I know my list would be filled to the brim with extraordinarily great and top selling American games that are just unforgivably overlooked these days... So I don't think it would make my list, but I still love the game for what it is. Sometimes we just want to waste a little time, and this game is fantastic time waster. But it really is too bad there's so many games that cause people like Intric8 trouble attempting to get them to work on the 1200, which, despite my objections, is indeed what many people want to have "if" they want to have a real Amiga today. It's a good thing though that somebody took it upon themselves to screw with the game so it can now work with AGA machines...and, of course, it's also great that you have both those options to download here, and that the review itself mentions these things at all.
  • 0
User avatar
intric8

by intric8 Tue Sep 27, 2016 9:37 am

I went down the Pang road based on your recommendation after totally failing with two arcade legends: Ghosts n' Goblins and Gauntlet II. I spent days trying to get either to work on my 1200. I was able to get Gauntlet running just fine in emulation, but I really don't want to play that game in a tiny emulation window. It demands a full-CRT experience. I may pull my 500 out of a box, but usually there is a "fix" that someone from the Amiga community dispersed for AGA hardware a year or two or three after the original release. There is supposedly one for GnG out there somewhere (and I thought I had it nailed off of EAB's FTP server) but kept running into trouble. Talk about frustrating - the code bases out there for a lot of these is pretty rough stuff. It's annoying. But I do appreciate your rec on Pang. It was a nice diversion once I got it working right.
  • 1
4.3
4 total votes
Developer:
Mitchell
Publisher:
Ocean
Designer:
Toshihiko Uda
Artist:
Thierry Levastre
Programmer:
Pierre Adane
Music:
Tamayo Kawamoto, Pierre‑Eric Loriaux
Genre:
Action, Arcade
Player mode:
Single-player, Two-player Cooperative
Origin:
Japan
Release date:
1990

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