Astal was the first 2D 32-bit game I had ever seen in motion. It was shown at a gaming convention in Los Angeles in 1995 and I remember spending most of my time gawking at it and thinking to myself that a tidal wave of Saturn games was going to wash over me in the upcoming months.
Sadly, that Saturn tidal wave turned out to be a nothing more than a few disappointing sprinkles. After nearly 20 years of playing countless 3D games, Astal is the one game I can come back to again and again thanks to its beautiful graphics, distinct gameplay, and mesmerizing presentation.
The charm of the game is that it will very seldom lose its appeal. It’s still not the best playing side-scrolling game, but even when I fire it up on the Saturn, I consider it one of the best looking games to ever grace my TV screen.
For those of you too young to remember this game, Astal was a new-age hero that moved with sublime energy and lived in a floating aura of colors. Luminous floating clouds, pastel backdrops, brilliant purple vortexes plastered his platforming world.
Add to the already mesmerizing graphics was a stream of celestial tunes and musical compositions that created a game world so unique and extraordinary that one would think this was more of a symphony than a game. Many of Astal’s foes that you encountered were pure fantasy but so delicately and skillfully constructed.
Astal may not have been the best playing game, but the hand-drawn graphics made it a timeless beauty. And even after all these years, I can say one thing — there has never been a 2D game that looked as beautiful as Astal. Not then, not now, and perhaps, not ever.
Tell Us! What do you think is the best looking game from the 16 32-bit days?