Back in the late 1980s and the early 1990s, Psygnosis developed a number of games which really were ahead of their time in terms of technical excellence. The company was able to squeeze the Amiga hardware like no other, and Agony is a further example of just that. Alestes has been turned into an owl, and he needs to confront the evil wizard to regain his human form. Agony is made of 6 long and intricate levels which look simply gorgeous, exploding with detail and colors. Graphically breathtaking, the game literally comes to life and is by far the best looking shooter on the Amiga. The abundant parallax scrolling is silky smooth and each layer includes classy touches such as huge moons, stranded fisherman boats, suspended bridges agitated by the wind etc. Sometimes, you’ll wish to have the time for some sight-seeing but enemies will hardly give you the time to even breath. The attention to detail further enhances the atmosphere generated by the visuals. Specifically, the first level by itself is a graphical marvel and a real tour de force that shows what the A500 hardware can do in expert hands. Flying over heavy sea (with beautifully animated waves), and intermittent rain you’ll have to deal with relentless enemies while the fury of nature will be unleashed on you. The animation of the owl is flawless as it moves across the screen with a rarely seen elegance. To be honest, not everything is perfect in the graphics department since although enemies are fairly varied, they tend to be almost monochromatic. Bosses are better designed but in turn lack a bit of frames of animations. Surprisingly, the intro and outro only include a bare-bone screen shot and this is unexpected considering that Psygnosis games are often remembered for their outstanding animated intros. Agony’s in-game graphics look so good that you won’t be missing additional eye-candy though. The music is extremely well done, it is very inspired and powerful and truly conveys a sense of undertaking an overwhelming quest against the furious forces of magic and nature. Gameplay is maybe where Agony slightly falls short. Nothing is inherently wrong with it as controls are tight and responsive and power ups are pretty nice. It is even possible to activate magic spells through the use of scrolls which can be occasionally picked up. They consist of homing shots, satellites, invincibility etc. Unfortunately, magic spells only last for a short amount of time and this is a bit of a downer since each spell can only be used once per game. Agony is an (un)fairly challenging shooter, and it will require some time and dedication to be successfully completed especially because the last 2 stages are very hard. Set your joystick on auto-fire and try to save all the spells you have for the last two stages because you will certainly need everything you have. To conclude, if you enjoy shooters and feel like getting back into Amiga retro gaming, you should definitely consider starting out from Agony, it will not disappoint you.