If you've read the feature on memory in another section of the mag, there's not much more to add. Basically, cartridges and disks have an amount of storage capacity, known as memory; the memory is simply the amount of storage space. Computers have built-in memory to store the information from floppies. There's a lot more to it than that, so if you haven't already done so, go and read the feature... blah... blah...
Right, the Amiga can take 1-Megabyte disks, which can store a decent-sized game. Project X occupies 3-4 disks permitting large amounts of data (like sprites and backgrounds), so Project X has quite a lot to it. Don't think that extra disks automatically make a game better though, just larger (if used properly).
High Density drives (allowing 2-MB of data) have yet to make it to low-end Amigas (although you can buy one externally), which means that you may have to do a little swapping with the disks. Not so much with the A1200 though - the extra built in RAM can store two disks' worth of data (the A600 can only store one). This will encourage software companies to include more sound samples and animation frames in games (and of course, utilise the AGA graphic potential).
The consoles' maximum cartridge capacity is 2 Megabyte (or as the console industry likes to put it, 16 Megabit).
Although expensive to develop, these carts. can cram in a large amount of data. And would
you believe it, a 4 Megabyte
cartridge is planned, allowing games to be four times the size of Mario 4 !
And hot news! Street Fighter 3 is one of - if not the - first game to take advantage of this huge cartridge capacity. Considering the price of SF2 though, I wouldn't really like to know how much the third version is going to cost (mind you, StarWing is on sale for around £50, despite the chip used, so maybe SF3 won't set you back an arm and a leg).
The SNES has a built in PCM chip, meaning that any sample can be reproduced into the SNES' sound chip. SNES soundtracks can sound great (just listen to Super Star Wars for example); likewise with some MegaDrive soundtracks (Sonic and Strider immediately spring to mind). However, samples on both systems can sound muffled, and the MegaDrive sound effects, particularly, can sound weedy.
Both Amigas have the same sound chip (although the A1200 has a very slight enhancement), and speech and sound (when sampled properly) sound crystal clear (for 8-bit quality anyway). However, the Amiga is blessed with only four sound channels, which is the reason why in some games, when there are a few sounds played together, the soundtrack loses one of its channels (or 'clefs' if you like) - listen to R-Type 2 for the perfect example.
All machines feature stereo sound.
The price of games on the
Super Nintendo are far too high (yes, I'm sure you're already aware of this). I mean, most games on the SNES cost £45 a time - not cheap at all. MegaDrive games are priced more fairly, with most costing £40, but even this is a touch hefty.
The standard Amiga game rarely goes above the £26 barrier; which I'd say, is a reasonable price for a game. You can even pick up cheap classics for under a ten pound note (SWIV and Turrican 2 being good examples). Amiga 1200 games will also be priced at a very fair £26, making their console counterparts look very expensive indeed.
The console units are priced more attractively (at around half the price of the Amiga), but remember that the Amiga also has a keyboard and can help tremendously for work etc. (this magazine wouldn't exist without the Amiga).
The Amiga may set you back a bit at first; but after you've paid for it, you won't have to keep forking out for expensive software, like you would with a console. I don't mean to criticise consoles deliberately, as they have some great games. I also realise that cartridges, shipping, translating etc. can cost. Even so, console manufacturers don't have to worry about piracy (which plagues the Amiga), so a price-drop in games wouldn't cut too large a hole out of the console developers' pay-packet. Also remember that cheaper software = more sales, so how about a price-drop S & N?
All machines offer great value for money, so it's up to you to decide which machine will suit your requirements.
Commodore Amiga 500/500+/600:
Although the standard version was released around eight years ago, the Amiga can still hold its own against the consoles. Arcade games on the MegaDrive and SNES tend to be more playable (mainly because of the extra buttons on the joypad) and are often superior technically. Having said that, there are a fair amount of games that are far superior to their console counterparts (Super R-Type aka R-Type 2 has little of the slow-down or jerkiness of the SNES version for example, and Lemmings, Speedball 2, SWIV, Rainbow Islands and Desert Strike either look or sound better - or both - than the console counterparts).
The standard Amiga's graphics are crisp and clear, and the sound is also high quality (listen to the PD Odyssey to hear what I mean). When handled by proper programmers, the Amiga can produce stunning results.
If you have the extra cash, you'd be advised shelling out for the superior Amiga 1200; but that certainly doesn't mean the A600 (the only standard Amiga you can buy now) is a bad buy.
Commodore Amiga 1200:
See the feature this very ish.
Super Nintendo Entertainment System:
Super NES games, on the whole, are a great laugh; the stunning near-arcade graphics are very tempting. The soundtracks on games are also pleasant to listen to (but only if the sound chip is used to the full), and overall, I'd have to say that the SNES is the best choice at the moment for out-and-out arcade games. (This may change when some future A1200/CD≥≤ titles have been displayed, though.)
Street Fighter 2 and StarWing have been the main selling points for the SNES, so a good user-base is guaranteed. The overall technicality of the SNES easily beats that of the MegaDrive (although maybe it's not quite as fast) and Mode-7 is a nice additional bonus.
If you can live with the fact that you may have to save up a lot for a new SNES game (unless you're rich, of course), you'll find that the Super Nintendo is a welcome addition to your home.
Sega MegaDrive (Re-designed version 2 now available):
Becoming a little dated nowadays, the MegaDrive may not be the machine for people who want loads of technical thrills, but software like Ecco and Sonic are still impressively impressive. The main advantage of the MegaDrive over the SNES is that there is a greater range of relatively cheap software for it. This has obviously been proved - as in Christmas '92, the MegaDrive was the number one choice for buyers.
The sound-chip isn't stunning, but programmers can still do marvellous things with it; and although the graphics are a touch dated, that doesn't stop the MD from producing occasional classics.