Keyboard warriors; it’s time to check out best Atari ST games of all time!
Back in a time where floppy disks reigned supreme and keyboard commands were the way to success, the Atari ST sat on desks around the world soaking up gaming glory.
Here’s a little factoid for you – the ST part of the name actually refers to the gubbins that make this thing tick. It means Sixteen/Thirty-two in reference to the external 16-bit bus and the internal 32-bit wizardry.
And also, the ‘Atari Sixteen/Thirty-two’ isn’t a very catch console name.
You can pick up an Atari 104ST system for around $400 these days. But the question still remains…
… which are the best Atari ST games to play on it?
Luckily, we’ve answered that for you. Check out everything you need to know right here!
Table of Contents
Prince of Persia kickstarts this list of the best Atari ST games of all time, and what a way to start!
Not only is this one of the best Sega Game Gear games of all time, but it’s also the first title that we ever got to play as the Prince himself, running, climbing and jumping over chasms like a true boss.
And talk about a tense storyline… players have just 60 earth minutes to stop Jaffar from stealing the princess.
No, the evil lad from Aladdin isn’t moonlighting in two games. This is a different guy!
Imagine Castle of Illusion for adults; that’s the general vibe of this 2D dungeon dwelling side-scroller.
Don’t expect any insane graphics or mind-blowing cutscenes – we’re dealing with a floppy disk here, after all.
Still, this game is a joy to play on any platform, and the Atari ST does a great job of providing us with plenty of spikes, walls, mirrors, and other deadly obstacles to contend with.
Populous sees players taking control of a god. Great, yet another game to fuel my god complex…
The aim here is to rouse the people that worship you and defeat the armies of the other gods that are also trying to become the rulers of the world.
Build a civilisation, cultivate land, and gain followers. Think an early version of Black & White, and you won’t be far off the mark.
Populous encompasses everything we love from games like Rollercoaster Tycoon and Sim City with epic tales of heroes and battles to the death.
Engage in holy war, battle gods with your phenomenal powers, and send blights upon the land if you get angry.
With 500 worlds to conquer, there’s no chance that you’ll get bored easily with this one!
Super Sprint takes the 13th spot in our best Atari ST games, a topdown racing epic that always reminds me of a virtual Micro Machines track.
Obviously this is a pretty simple arcade game port with two players racing against each other on simple tracks.
Still, that doesn’t stop it from being addictive as hell.
As the game progresses, more obstacles appear to throw you off course… literally. We’re talking traffic cones and tornados.
I know they have two different severity levels, but in Super Sprint they’re both equally as intense.
Grab collectables to upgrade everything from your engine to tyres and beat your loser friends as many times as humanly possible.
Who loves being the Dungeon Master when playing D&D? Well, in this point and click RPG, you’re leaving the storytelling up to the Atari ST and jumping into a dungeon-crawling adventure of epic proportions.
There are no turn-based attacks to be found in this game though; all the action is 100% real time with players wielding that pointer like a sword…
… essentially clicking on an enemy and attacking them.
Still, that’s not where Dungeon Master really excels.
There’s a growth system in this game that boasts a real different approach to most games. Basically, the more you use the same move, the better it becomes.
I guess practice really does make perfect.
Like The Witcher, different symbols relate to different spells too. It’s all very well put together and a cracking game thirty-five years later!
International Karate + roundhouse kicks its way into the best Atari ST games of all time!
Who needs Ryu VS M.Bison when you can have two identical-looking Karate masters going head-to-head in respectable combat.
As a bona fide Karate Master myself (I got a black belt when I was about 10… does that count?), I bloomin’ love this game. Some of you might be thinking ‘but this is called Chop N’ Drop?
Same game, different title, just to confuse us all more.
There are no special moves, fatalities, killer finishers or gimmicks in this game. It’s just all out Karate, which is refreshingly simple.
I’m not sure why this match is going on outside Buckingham Palace, but whatever…
Battle on beaches, use passwords for secret backgrounds (I guess that explains the guards above), and get Pac-Man to run on for a cameo.
Ok, so there are a few gimmicks, but the game is pure fighting from start to finish and a bit of fun for you and a friend to battle it out on.
Xenon 2: Megablast joins the ranks of titles such as River Raid and Ikaruga, with players moving through continuously scrolling levels dodging obstacles and blowing up enemies.
Like R-Type, there are some massive bosses to destroy at the end of each level. Collect cash to spend on upgrades and collect gnarly powerups while flying through grimy futuristic levels.
What’s great about Xenon 2 is that the general vibe of the game changes as you progress through the levels.
When you start off playing, there’s a natural space vibe with more traditional creatures, but the whole feel gets more mechanical and robotic.
And in certain labyrinth levels, players can move backwards to reverse out of tight spots which is pretty innovative for this type of game.
Ok, so it’s no Ikaruga, but it’s still a great game!
Those of you that regularly read my articles will know just how much I love the Gauntlet series, so there’s no surprises that Gauntlet II has made this list of the best Atari ST games of all time!
This top down dungeon crawler has a strong Links Awakening feel to it. And in terms of gameplay, it’s very similar to the first Gauntlet.
Clear screens of enemies before moving onto the next. Simples!
Control a Barbarian, a Valkyrie, a Wizard, or a bow-wielding Elf as you destroy undead cretins in randomly generated levels.
Throw potions, gather sustenance when your health is low, and do whatever what it takes to stay alive.
What I love about these games is that they are unapologetically simple to play. It’s just button mash action that takes no real brain power. Just sit back and unwind, all will killing ghouls and goblins.
What more could a person want?
We need to take a trip all the way back to 1938 for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure.
That’s a very strange title, why the emphasis on the graphic adventure?
Well, this game is very similar to Maniac Mansion and has a very distinctive graphical style.
We’re talking heavily rendered scenes with text-heavy point and click action taking up residence at the bottom of the screen.
I know I might not have sold it that well there, but trust me – it’s epic!
So what’s the storyline here?
Well, if you’re familiar with the movie, a lot of the in game locations and themes will feel pretty familiar.
In short – stop Hitler from getting his grubby Nazi hands on the legendary Holy Grail.
Indie will have to use all of his skills to knock back the world’s biggest douchebag and his Nazi army, but be careful. I know you won’t be expecting this from a Lucasfilm adventure, but Indy can actually die.
I know… maybe the developers of this one were j just having a bad week or something. It’s not in keeping with their other titles, but what the heck; Indy is the kind of dude that lives life on the edge anyway!
Speaking of Maniac Mansion, here it is!
It’s almost like I planned that link before writing this article…
Lucasfilms made a lot of classic games back in the day. Who can forget the title at Number 2 in this list too (no scrolling ahead!) I know most of us probably think of Star Wars and only Star Wars when George Lucas is involved, but he’s had his fingers in lots of pies over the years.
In Maniac Mansion, players follows a guy called Dave who is trying to save his girlfriend Sandy Pantz…
… which ironically is what the guys from International Karate + get when fighting on the beach.
A meteor has turned a scientists mind to mush and made him go gaga. Dave and his friends have to delve into his creepy mansion to find Sandy, using point and click action to direct the characters in every situation.
Maniac Mansion has traps and puzzles galore to contend with and tonnes of humorous moments all the way through.
Once again, it’s one of the finest titles in the genre and one of the best Atari ST games that you simply must have in your collection.
Midwinter is up next, a game where the unflappable Captain John Stark protects his home and his people from impending armed forces.
Oh, and the game itself is set in the midst of a nuclear winter in a post-apocalyptic world after a meteorite crashes into the planet
Yeah, it’s as good as it sounds!
Midwinter is steeped in strategy and tactical gameplay. Certain characters won’t work with others, and specific actions have different outcomes.
In short; this is one for the types of people that give their friends nosebleeds when playing chess because they have to concentrate so much (Josh, if you’re reading this, you should be ashamed of yourself).
Race around on snow buggies, access cable cars, and control over 32 recruits in the FVPF, the Free Villages Police Force… which sounds like a tribute act to the village people.
Hunter takes the 5th spot in this list of the best Atari ST games of all time. As you can see from the writing on the box, he’s a professional that’s on his own, which means he’s on a mission with nothing to lose.
Wield all sorts of epic explosives while riding bikes and windsurfing. It’s a 3D game that has some serious GTA feels to it, albeit early pixelated ones.
There are lots of missions to undertake, all with multiple different ways to complete them. I guess it’s a little like the Pick a Path adventures of yesteryear, just with with a heck a lot more firepower.
Interact with NPCs and commandeer vehicles. Pop handguns like a wild gangster or stealth your way into situations without notifying the authorities.
It’s a lot less ‘blue’ than GTA and looks like a Microsoft Paint game, but then again it was 1991!
Rick Dangerous looks a lot like Indiana Jones… he also acts a lot like him too, come to think of it.
In this quest, Rick crash-lands in the Amazon and has to find a nefarious tribe. Not only that, but he’s got to work his way through Egypt and eventually fight Hitler’s forces.
Talk about jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire!
Move through around 100 screens as you fire bullets and dynamite at your enemies.
Don’t just rush in though; there are traps and obstacles to deal with, requiring players to memorise dangers as they play through the same bit continually trying to crack this tough game.
It looks a bit like Zelda crossed with Lemmings which is an unusual pairing, but it’s super fun to play and an addictive title that keeps pulling you back in for more.
Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe takes today’s bronze medal, proving that sports should have a lot more gurning and VR Trooper-style suits.
Players manage the worst Speedball team in existence. Brutal by name, brutal to watch on the pitch, Brutal Deluxe should probably have been sacked years ago.
It’s your job to the get them to the top of the leaderboard once again, bot managing and playing Speedball matches against a variety of opponents.
Using powerups and pure unadulterated skill, players must rack up points and in a game that has about as few rules as Super Mario Strikers.
Winning money allows you to upgrade players and purchase better ones, a little like people do in UK football.
I guess Brutal Deluxe are a little like Leeds United… which has now probably lost us about 2 readers…
The Secret of Monkey Island officially takes the runner up spot in our list of the best Atari ST games ever made, another Lucasfilm title that has gone on to receive legendary status.
In fact, I think it’s safe to say that Lucasfilm owned the point and click genre. You could even say that they pointed future games developers in the right direction…
Back to true form, it’s impossible for your character to die in this game. That means maximum exploration and no worrying about death… which is how life should be!
Chat your way through endless situations as you move through Treasure Island style settings as you pick from pre-determined commands.
Find buried treasure, run away from hooked pirates, and learn how to buckle your swash for some swashbuckling action.
And don’t forget; if you’re a fan of Point and Click games, you can read all about them as part of our best gaming books collection!
Turrican II: The Final Fight is officially the best Atari ST game!
With a simple plot that revolves around machines killing humans and one dude trying to show them that humans aren’t to be trifled with, this game feels like R-Type and Metroid combined.
Ok, so Bren McGuire isn’t exactly on the same level as Samus, but once he dons the Turrican armour he becomes an ultimate fighting machine!
Go anywhere, shoot everything. That should be Turrican’s mantra as you move through the six exciting worlds.
Using your arm cannon (very Samus) and blast beam (also very Samus), players can fire in all manner of directions before crouching down into a small shape while rolling around…
… should this be called Metroid: The Final Fight?
Listen, ever since Power Rangers and VR Troopers came onto the scene, I’ve loved any kind of power armour. Turrican might be a Metroid copy, but it’s still a cracking game filled with exciting challenges and lots of nail-biting moments.
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Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 33 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.