Cannon Fodder: Retro Amiga Classic With a Message

Cannon Fodder on the SNES
Erm… okay.

This violent little romp from the now defunct Sensible Software was popular in the early 1990s. Cannon Fodder first arrived on the Amiga in 1993 and was a hit, soon making it onto consoles such as the SNES. Boom, ratta tatta tatta tatt!

Cannon Fodder

Despite its tagline (“War has never been so much fun!”), the sudio intended an anti-war message with the came.

Sensible Software was a dev team in Chelmsford in England, but shut down in 1999. Despite the controversy surrounding the violent nature of the game – which many thought made light of the horrors of war – Amiga Action magazine hailed it as the best game of the year.

Overall, it’s a military action game with elements of strategy. You control a set of men and must journey around wiping out the enemies you come across.

As a child playing Cannon Fodder, the game certainly gave us a sense of melancholia and poignancy for the loss of life displayed.

That was our natural reaction to it – especially with the gravestones on the hillside between levels. Each one marking the loss of one of your team. You can see some of that in the game’s (slightly bizarre) intro.

Compare that to the likes of modern war games like Call of Duty, which rather shamelessly make light of the chaos in World War II with ultra-realism.

And yet, still, we can see why some people weren’t happy with Cannon Fooder at the time.

It all looks rather tame in comparison now – cartoony graphics, black humour, and a quirky sensibility.

Digging beneath that and you have a fun little game that’s fondly remembered in the retro gaming community.

But it’s also one that did manage to leave an important message of the losses that war presents, long before we got round to reading anything such as Storm of Steel or All Quiet on the Western Front.

Cannon Fodder 3

In 2011, Burut CT (apparently a Russian studio) developed a new title in the series.

It met with mixed reviews, with some suggesting its gore levels are pushing things “too far”. Additionally, the game is apparently a bit boring – missing the charm of the original.

Well, 2011 is a fair while back now and Cannon Fodder 3 is almost at retro game level, too, so perhaps it’s time for this series to wave goodbye and waltz with bazooka into the sunset.

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