Retro Games Ltd. and Koch Media have unveiled the latest retro mini console to hit the market – THEA500 Mini.
Based on the popular Commodore Amiga 500, which ran from 1987-1991, THEA500 Mini features a number of the home computer’s best games, including a couple of racing titles that will spark fond memories for readers of a certain vintage.
Although the Amiga 500 is best remembered as a games machine, it proved to be adept at other home computing applications too and was well-known for its audio capabilities compared to desktop PCs at the time.
THEA500 Mini comes with 25 games in total, complete with three USB ports, 720p video output, USB mouse and gamepad plus four save slots per game. Add-ons available currently include a classic joystick and an additional gamepad.
Players can also access their own Amiga games saved on USB sticks through the new system, as it arrives with WHDLoad functionality.
Although it features Amiga classics such as Simon the Sorcerer, Worms: The Director’s Cut, Speedball 2 and The Chaos Engine, we’re focusing on the racing titles.
Super Cars II
For many, this will be the standout racing title on the THEA500 Mini. Arriving in 1991, this is a top-down combat racing game featuring weapon power-ups and upgradeable cars.
An unlicensed Alfa Romeo SZ features prominently in-game, along with characters called Harrison Ford, Mickey Louder and Ayrton Sendup. So although the title played fast and loose with copyright laws the frantic gameplay more than made up for it.
It also featured a two-player split-screen mode, ideal for your average kid in the 90s.
ATR: All Terrain Racing
Published by 90s Amiga giants Team 17, ATR: All Terrain Racing is another top-down racing game featuring 42 tracks across all multiple surfaces – it’s All Terrain Racing after all. Using 4×4, buggy or formula cars, the goal was to cross the finish line first, avoiding obstacles like oil slicks on the way.
Cars could be upgraded, and multiplayer was possible in Battle and League modes. The tracks also featured shortcuts, and the game carried the strategic element of picking the correct car for the terrain. Compromises had to be made across a full season of racing.
Stunt Car Racer
Stunt Car Racer has a bit of racing sim history behind it. The game was developed by Geoff Crammond, the man behind the superlative Grand Prix series of F1 sims from the nineties and noughties.
Unusually for this era, the graphics were in three dimensions, which at the time – it was originally released in 1989 – was an exciting novelty. As a result, though, the graphics have aged slightly worse than those in Super Cars II and ATR: All Terrain Racing. Two-dimensional sprites retain their speedy, fluid movement decades on, after all.
The game was resource-intensive, but multiplayer was still possible by connecting two Amigas together. With two CRT TVs/monitors required it wasn’t all that convenient, however.
THEA500 Mini is available now for the recommended retail price of £119.99.
Does THEA500 Mini scratch the retro racing itch for you? Let us know in the comments below.