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Review: Cloanto Amiga Essentials on Android

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Review by Uniforix
The Amiga 500 appeared in 1987 and was a huge hit amongst gamers for both its amazing graphical prowess and audio capabilities, from the cute chip sounding music of Bubble Bobble, to the dance music of Xenon 2’s “Megablast” from Bomb da Bass. The graphics of Shadow of the Beast dazzling me the first time I saw the Amiga, it is little wonder that people have spent countless hours working to emulate the machine across many different platforms.

Emulation of the Amiga is quite an achievement given the custom chips that deliver its aural and visual beauty, but with the speed of hardware today we can now enjoy the Amiga on our phones and tablets – now that is amazing, who would have imagined that back in 1987!

And that leads us nicely to our review product…

The Cloanto Amiga Essentials is available now on the Android store  phones and tablets, and in is a way to obtain Legal Kickstart ROMs that can be configured in an emulator such as UAE4Droid. Roms are included for Kickstart 1.2, 1.3, 2.04, 3.0 and 3.1, and also included is a Workbench 1.3 disk and demos to get you started.

Starting the “Boing” demo on my Nexus 7 device appeared to cause the emulator to hang, however this is probably related to the current state of the UAE4Droid emulator itself and not the included ROMs, loading the Juggler demo worked just fine, as did the included Speech demo.

Amiga emulation without the official Cloanto roms in place is possible as we all know, so why would you need these you may ask?

Well, Cloanto own the rights to distribute the Amiga ROMs with their products and they are a big supporter of Amiga Emulation producing a great Windows / Live CD solution providing the easiest way to get a complete Amiga Workbench up and running.   Cloanto have also been a presence in the Amiga scene since 1986 producing titles such as Personal Paint and at the end of the day, the Amiga ROMs are not free.

Whether you purchase this particular product will depend on whether you already have the Amiga Forever package on another platform such as Windows,  if you have previously purchased the product on their website then you already have legal copies of ROMs.  Alternatively, if you just want to get up and running quickly on your mobile device, or can’t be bothered with copying the ROMs across to the correct location, then £0.65 is a small price to pay to 1) be legal and 2) support a long time Amiga company.

The Google Play description shows the emulators that will automatically locate the ROMS on installation so its definitely to be thought of as a convenience to buy this particular package.

Would I purchase it? Well, I did, and the convenience makes it worth it in my eyes, so my judgement is that it IS worth your while spending just 65p to support a company that has the Amiga at its heart.

The Amiga Essentials product is a clear cut deal, Cloanto supply a legal set of ROMS, and easy setup of ROMS for the listed emulators. The ROMS did appear to auto-configure my UAE4Droid on my Nexus 7 device.

Verdict: 4/5

I’ve knocked off a point because I think they could have included more demo/PD disks, and I was going to knock off another point for their not being a nice launcher for games, however Cloanto do make it clear that this is not the point of the product.

If you haven’t bought Amiga Forever, this is a quick convenience thing and I hope they produce a fuller package in due course.

More information on Cloanto and their products can be found on their website: http://www.amigaforever.com/

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