Trumpeted on its release as ‘the world’s first 32-bit games console’, the CD32 was a companion to the Commodore family of computers. With similar architecture, the console was effectively a stripped down A1200, removing the keyboard and implementing a CD drive.
Initial results were positive, the machine outselling the rival Mega-CD from Sega. However the bubble soon burst. Troubles at Commodore saw the parent company go bust just months after the console’s release, meaning the machine was never released in the US market and with limited supply in Europe.
Combined with this was an absence of a true ‘killer app’, the majority of the library dominated by ports from the Amiga. Whilst some of these were undoubtedly worthy, adding extra content, improved visuals and controls, many were direct ports of older games at inflated prices compared to the original, offering little to no advantage to the early adopters.
As a result, the console was discontinued in 1994, just months after its release.
Despite this backdrop, I was incredibly excited to save up for one of these as a kid. This was the first machine I had paid for out of my own money, having painstakingly saved my pocket money, and I retain a fondness for it today.
The Spectacular Voyage bundle pack that came with my purchase was a curious one. There was the good (Chaos Engine, Wing Commander), the mediocre (Oscar, Diggers, Microcosm), and the downright terrible; Dangerous Streets had been the lead game in a separate bundle and so to the uninitiated, probably the first game they would reach for and it is amongst the most dire gaming experiences I can recall. Amiga Power savaged it, awarding the game a paltry 3%.
For all its drawbacks, the machine still saw a number of high quality titles released during its short run. Here are a selection of my favourites.