The history of video gaming is rich with platformers. In the wake of titans like Super Mario Bros. and Sonic, countless other franchises followed the formula of jumping from one platform to another. While there are plenty of other platforming games with considerable renown to them, there are also countless lesser-known titles that didn’t hit the big time like Mega Man or Crash Bandicoot. One of these more obscure games is A.M.C.: Astro Marine Corps. This is a platform shooter in the vein of the old Contra games. It launched in 1989 for the primitive home computers of the era, including the Commodore 64, the Amiga, and the Atari ST. Despite its age, it holds up as a solid run-n-gun platformer, as well as a valuable relic of an era when Spain was one of the most prominent forces in the video game development industry. To that end, it’s worth taking a look at now.
A.M.C.: Astro Marine Corps Premise
As the name suggests, the protagonist of A.M.C.: Astral Marine Corps is a member of a space-age government organization tasked with protecting the galaxy from interstellar threats. In A.M.C., the intergalactic community is attacked by the Deathbringers, a coalition of alien criminals bent on interstellar conquest. The hero must defeat them with standard platformer shooter antics. The game has two phases. In the first phase, you need to reach an alien ship landed on the planet Dendar, which you can then fly to the Deathbringers’ home planet to defeat their ruler and save the galaxy.
The protagonist has a health bar and will lose one of his four lives if it runs out. Some enemies will kill him immediately if he touches them, while others will simply damage him. Alternate types of weapons will occasionally fall from the sky in supply crates, along with powerups like grenades and even temporary invincibility. Both phases have a boss at the end, challenging your space marine’s skills as he struggles to defeat the Deathbringers and keep the galaxy safe.
A.M.C.: Astro Marine Corps Main Characters
As a primarily action-focused platform shooter, A.M.C.: Astro Marine Corps does not have many characters to speak of, nor does it have a substantial amount of lore. There are a couple of characters of note, but these serve primarily as gameplay encounters more than anything else. The game has two bosses, and they’re about as close to a true character as one can get. Here are the characters in A.M.C: Astro Marine Corps.
- The Marine: The main character of A.M.C. is a generic space soldier. Promotional materials describe him as the best member of the titular organization. At the start of the game he is awakened from cryosleep to battle the Deathbringers. He isn’t given much characterization, but over the course of the game he does prove himself to be a capable fighter and an implacable warrior.
- Krauer: This fearsome foe guards the spaceship on Dendar. He is a massive, armored purple monster who attacks with an imposing spiked mace. You’ll have to overcome this menacing brute if you want to take the battle to the Deathbringers.
- The Great Alien King: The ruler of the Deathbringers attacks in a titanic armored battlesuit. As you fight him, you can chip away his armor to reveal the hideous creature beneath. Slaying the Great Alien King will topple the Deathbringer regime and save the galaxy.
A.M.C.: Astro Marine Corps Cheat Codes
A.M.C.: Astro Marine Corps has a wide variety of cheat codes across its various release platforms. As per GameFAQs, there’s a lot you can do to mess with the code of A.M.C. and get a leg up against the vicious Deathbringers. Here is a list of cheat codes divided by the platform they work for.
Commodore 64 Cheat Codes
On the Commodore 64, there’s really only one known cheat code you can use, but it’s a doozy. When you load or reset the game, you can enter the following basic command: POKE 11639,X. Replacing the X with a number will give you that many lives when the game starts. This code is extremely useful for stockpiling lives, and you can use it to plow through the later levels if you go for the big numbers.
Amiga Cheat Codes
There is one unconventional cheat code that’s been recorded for the Amiga version of A.M.C.: Astro Marine Corps. To execute this cheat, you must enter CREEP as your name on the high score screen. Doing so will net you 10 lives, extra time, and extra energy, making the game a lot easier. In addition to this code, there’s a list of level passwords you can use to skip around the game. If you want to jump straight to the Deathbringers’ homeworld, you’ll want to write these down.
- NOSTROMO: Jump to level 2.
- DISCO VERY: Jump to level 4.
- ENTERPRISE: Jump to level 6.
- DAGOBAH: Jump to level 8.
- REPLICANT: Jump to level 10.
- KRULL: Jump to level 12.
- METROPOLIS: Jump to level 14.
Amstrad CPC Cheat Codes
Instead of traditional level passwords, the Amstrad CPC version of A.M.C.: Astro Marine Corps has one password to get into the second half of the game. If you want to skip straight to the home of the Deathbringers, simply enter the code DAGOBAH when prompted. In addition to this level password, though, the Amstrad CPC version has a rather robust system of cheat codes with a very unique access method. You can enter these codes by using them as your name on the high score field, similar to the Amiga’s CREEP code. Here are the high-score names that will give you an edge in A.M.C.
- TIME1: 100 second countdown.
- TIME2: 200 second countdown.
- TIME3: 300 second countdown.
- TIME4: 400 second countdown.
- TIME5: 500 second countdown.
- TIME6: 600 second countdown.
- TIME7: 700 second countdown.
- TIME8: 800 second countdown.
- TIME9: 900 second countdown.
- CREEP: Invincibility. Note that this code will not protect you from energy barriers.
- ZONE1: Skip Zone 1.
- ZONE2: Skip Zone 2.
- ZONE3: Skip Zone 3.
- ZONE4: Skip Zone 4.
- ZONE5: Skip Zone 5.
- ZONE6: Skip Zone 6.
- ZONE7: Skip Zone 7.
A.M.C.: Astro Marine Corps Cheats FAQ
How long does it take to beat A.M.C.: Astro Marine Corps? Despite of its release on home computers, A.M.C.: Astro Marine Corps owes much of its nature to old-school arcade games. This is especially apparent in its short length. With only two zones to speak of, two bosses, and a handful of brief levels in each, you can beat A.M.C. fairly quickly. The game takes about an hour, give or take. Of course, like a lot of old-school platformers, it can also get pretty challenging. If you struggle with the genre, you might find yourself needing a lot of tries to get past some of the more challenging sections in the game.
Can you play A.M.C.: Astro Marine Corps today? A.M.C.: Astro Marine Corps was published by Dinamic Software, a Spanish company that went defunct in 1992. Unfortunately, any hope for an official port of A.M.C. onto modern consoles went down with it. You can find flash-based versions online presented by dedicated fans, but the quality of such unofficial ports will of course vary. There are also emulators, of course. This system is dubious in legality, but if you want to experience this relic from the golden age of Spanish software development, it’s a solid option.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Dinamic Software.