It’s all been go this month! The CRASH team seem completely frazzled. Either they’re doing too much out of work, or it’s true
that so much has been going on in the software scene! But then they all complain about overwork all the time anyway... As for
me, well I have finally got a (silly) Letter of the Month, so read on. Any comments are welcome: Send them to LIVE CIRCUIT,
Letter of the Month
Help! I am in despair! I am a confused little Speccy and I don’t know
where to turn; I am a 48K board living inside a 48+ keyboard. It’s just
not fair, I’ve been broken twice and I’m always getting
‘Manic Miner’ played on me. I’m always getting battered,
especially when the master of the house gets beaten, he takes it all out on me!
It’s not really my fault is it?
I know I’m a computer, and that I can do a lot of things but I
can’t swim can I? So I don’t know why I’m always getting
drowned with juice or tea by the little ones in the house. How many lives have
us wee Speccies got? If I’ve only got one life left, I think I’ll
waste it, I’ll jump off the desk or blow up or something. I’ve had
enough. When they are loading something on me they don’t realise that
I’m screaming at them, they turn the volume down!!!
Please print this letter as there might be some other poor desperate Speocy
out there just like me.
How many lives do we have??? Teresa Scott
No-one said it was going to be easy, but surely, you can’t
give up when you’re faced with the prospect of having Batman running
through your chips, can you? And that might well happen very soon, as
I’ve rewarded your owner with £40 of Software! Incidentally, you
have very neat handwriting for a Speccy!
In reply to Miss Laura Powey: I have just what you need, kiddo. I have in my
possession an Original Copy of, wait for it, My Secret File by Mosaic.
Quote: ‘Are you embarrassed by your secret ambition and driven batty
by your eccentric family?’ you can choose your own secret code so that NO ONE
ELSE can read your secret file.
So Miss Laura, if you would like to take it off my hands then you can have
it, plus its own book of instruction, FREE! Yes FREE. Please write to me at my
address. I do not need it anymore because I am now married, so now I do not
have any secrets, Ha, Ha, from my wife.
Write soon if this is helpful.
Help is at hand then, Laura — I would have posted this on
to you personally, but the Crash office being the pig-sty that it is, your
letter was lost.
Here is a response to the letter from Laura Powey (in the September issue of
A lady’s diary should always be secret!
1. Type in your diary as a ‘REM’ statement or statements.
2. When you have finished, type: POKE 23755, 255 (with no line number) and
press enter, TWICE. The screen is now blank. Then save the program. When the
program is reloaded, the screen is blank. You can only see the listing by
typing: POKE 23755,0 and ENTER.
This will make the diary safe providing your brothers do not know the
This method was picked up from a book called ‘Trade Secret’ by G.A.
Bobker. I hope this helps. Mark Longhorn
Right Laura, there’s two solutions for you. And I
specially printed this for any other secret diary users!
IS IT A JOKE?
In reply to the letter by Adrian Hunt (issue 68) about the
Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act, it’s got to be a joke hasn’t
it? I recently bought a +3 Speccy for file handling, memory capability and
speed of software loading (No more waiting for tapes). Having left the computer
scene for at least 6 months, I was happy to see Romantic Robot’s
Multiface 3, because some of my friends own other Spectrums (+2’s etc)
and also because I had a few games stored in the back of my wardrobe from my
last Spectrum. Saving from tape to disc seemed to be the best move. Sadly the
Multiface 3 is no longer available. Do you think this may in any way put the
Spectrum back a step or two. (What would you rather have, a +3 and still have
to wait for taped software to load or the same software but on disc). Thomas O’Dwyer
It is a pain now that the Multiface 3 is no longer available,
but I’m sure it makes software houses happier to know that their disk
software sales should rise. However, as I said last month, I wouldn’t
think you’ll end up in the slammer for backing up legitimately bought
tape software using your Multiface 3.
I am writing about the pathetic new law on the Multiface. The law claims to
prevent ‘pirating’ but in fact it only makes multiface-users suffer
because pirates will still be able to pirate software by using a twin tape
deck. There’s only one way to prevent pirating and that is to lower the
price of software. This way people wouldn’t have to pirate their own
games or buy them off pirates cheaply as their money would stretch further.
Continue to fight the pirates but bring back the Multiface. Grant Smith
The law isn’t really ‘on the Multiface’ only —
it applies to all areas of copying, including tape to tape. You bring up the
subject of lower price to kill off piracy — and many software houses have
tried using a £4.99 price point instead of a £9.99 point. Sadly,
these attempts have never succeeded, either with the distributors or customers,
so for now it looks that we’re firmly stuck with a budget price of
£2.99 or a standard full price of £9.99.
I’ve just stumbled across an issue of CRASH mag in my local newsagents.
It’s the first issue I’ve ever seen, and it prompted me to unpack
Perhaps you could help me with a few questions. I have a Spectrum 48K, and
would like to know if there is somewhere, whether in Australia or England, that
I can buy a joystick and interface. I’m presently using a Stone Chip
programmable interface, but I find this unacceptable.
Also what would you recommend as the best games in the following categories,
and where are they available? Combat Flight Simulator, both aircraft and
helicopter. Adventure games, fantasy, sci/fi, strategic games.
I realise that this stuff will probably need to be mail ordered, but I hope
you can help me. Shaun Tiernan
Welcome aboard Shaun. To help you out here’s some answers:
The best way to find an interface is either through your nearest retailer or
in the classified sections of mags (like CRASH). For games, why not try writing
to MicroProse as they specialise in the kind of games you’re after.
I am writing in the hope that you may be able to help me out with one or two
Firstly, I hope you can advise me on a suitable word-processing software
package, on disk, for my plus 3. I have all the necessary hardware, including
printer and so the software is all I need. A reasonably basic package would be
fine. Simon Pryde
Simple — what you need is
Tasword 3 from Tasman software. Happy?
Having spent a considerable amount of time and money developing Treble
Champions, we were utterly appalled to read the totally unprofessional
‘review’ of the game in your September issue. We appreciate that in
writing this letter we leave ourselves open to the charge that our complaints
are nothing more than sour grapes, but we can assure you that this is NOT the
case. Indeed, it is worth mentioning here that Treble Champions has already
received two very favourable reviews from Sinclair User (77% Overall) and Your
Commodore (88% Overall). In contrast to these reviews, it would appear that
your reviewers have made no attempt to carry out a serious and professional
evaluation of the game. To add insult to injury, you have even managed to get
the price of the game wrong. The Press Release that accompanied your review
copy clearly stated that the price was £9.95.
Can you imagine the effect your error will have on those readers who,
despite your ‘review’, decide they would like to buy a copy of the
game and then find that the retail price is £9.95 and not £7.95 as
you have stated.
The fact that so much time and effort has gone into developing Treble
Champions does not mean that we are entitled to a good review, but Treble
Champions certainly deserves better than to be dismissed out of hand by your
reviewers simply because they have decided that there are already enough
football strategy games on the market: ‘...those kind people at Challenge
Software seem to think you need a new football managing program...’, and,
‘Despite all this, with endless football management games on the Spectrum
market, I don’t see why Challenge Software thought we needed
This last comment alone is a clear indication that your reviewers have made
no attempt to approach the review with anythiing like an open mind.
By his own admission, Mike does not care for football strategy games,
‘I have to admit to a bit of addictivity about football management games,
or at least, six or seven years ago’, but if he is quite incapable of
putting his own personal likes and dislikes to one side when carrying out a
professional assessment of a game, then perhaps he should allow someone else to
do the review. It would appear that in addition to having to review
‘another’ football strategy game, Mike was also a bit peeved that the
program was multi load. Are your reviewers reviewing games or loading
procedures? Does it really matter if the game is multi load? How does this
affect the quality of the game?
We don’t know how much time your reviewers spent on Treble Champions,
but if they had got as far as saving and loading a saved game (or even reading
the instructions) they would have discovered that a saved game is NOT multi
load. Bearing in mind that Treble Champions has 5 divisions, we think that even
your reviewers will acknowledge that anyone playing the game will load a saved
game far more frequently than the master tape. So, just how much of a problem
is multi load? Mike also says that once the main program has loaded ‘you
wait for hours for it to get on with the rest’. Compare this comment
with our note in the instructions where we explain that after loading the main
program there will be a delay of approx. THREE AND A HALF MINUTES while the
game initializes. Remember, this is a ‘professional’ review.
We now come to the most disgraceful comment in the ‘review’
where Mike says ‘There are no special features to recommend it’.
Any football enthusiast will have great difficulty in reconciling this remark
with the list of features in Treble Champions that will not be found in other
football management games.
It may come as a surprise to your reviewers, but there are thousands of
people (including many of your readers and the thousands that have already
purchased a copy of Treble Champions) that do not share their view that there
are already enough football strategy games on the market and, by dismissing
Treble Champions so lightly, they have let these people down, and they
discredit the reputation of your magazine for serious professional reviews. As
previously stated, this is not a case of sour grapes, but a very genuine
complaint which we hope will be treated with far more consideration than was
given to the review of Treble Champions.
Incidentally, you may be interested to know that as a measure of our
confidence in the quality of Treble Champions, we offered a money back
guarantee to our mail order customers as part of a special promotion when we
first released the game earlier this year. Our offer stated that if they did
not agree that Treble Champions was now the ‘No 1 Football League
Simulation’ they could return it within seven days and obtain a full refund of
Mike and Nick will, no doubt, be astounded to learn that only 4% applied for
a refund. A massive 96% were happy to keep the game This was a remarkable
endorsement of our game, particularly when you consider that Treble Champions
includes a saved game and that our customers had a full seven days to evaluate
the game. So you see, we know that Treble Champions is a far better game than
your reviewers would have your readers believe.
We have not written this letter in the hope or expectation that you will
publish it, but if you wish to do so we have no objection, provided that you
publish the complete letter. Having been associated with your magazine for
over three years, we had expected a professional review of Treble Champions,
and we shall be interested to hear your views on the very genuine concerns
expressed in this letter.
Yours faithfully, R. Clayton, E & J Software
Well, what can we say? Nick and Mike admit to having played many
games like this before, which may have coloured their view (just check out our
budget section this month). Management games have been around a long time, and
their feeling was that the implementation of this one was not staggeringly
innovative. A point to consider is that given two days to review a game,
simulations of this type can suffer from not being checked out in every detail.
In the end CRASH must rely on the views of its reviewers. They’re human,
and complete objectivity is impossible. I’d be interested to hear from
readers on this one: write in!
COMIC CONVERSION CAPERS
Pow, Biff, Zap, Kapow, holy licences, Batman (whoops sorry,
they’re DC Comics aren’t they, silly me) — Covent Garden
based software house The Edge have just announced the signing up of two of
Marvel Comics’ biggest licences. The first will be The Punisher, and will
follow the story of one man’s vigilante fight against organised crime
after his family is murdered by the Mafia. Released initially on the 16-Bit
computers to tie in with the movie now in production and starring muscleman
Dolph Lundgren, the Punisher should see the light of day on the Spectrum in
This will be followed shortly afterwards by The Uncanny X-Men. The
Edge’s boss Tim Langdell commented: ‘We are very excited indeed about this
new addition to our growing line-up of excellent ‘classic’
characters’, although the X-Men games (three are planned) will be based
on the American cartoon series soon to be shown in Britain, rather than a film
tie-in. But until She-Hulk signs up to play the Jolly Green Giant, make mine
Marvel — ’Nuff said.
THE CORK IS BACK!!!
He’s back — back! Mark ‘Corky’ Caswell
has returned to CRASH after a six issue break where he was stationed on the
good ship TGM. But, like anyone with a bit of sense, he realised that the Atari
ST and Amiga is no match whatsoever for the Speccy! Hurrah! But on a sadder
note we’ve said tatty-bye to Mike ‘The Mouse That Squeaked’
Dunn. He’s gone off to be a Systems Analyst for the Midlands Electricity
Board. So next time you reckon your electricty bill is a bit high you know who
to write to...
HELP! D’YA NEED SOMEBODY?!
Know then, oh Prince, that between the years when the seas drank
Atlantis, and Newsfield set up this wonderful computer magazine, much swearing
and gnashing of teeth was heard. Why, because many of Britain’s
adventurers were well and truly stuck on their favourite adventure games. But
verily, help was at hand from a friendly bunch of Trolls and Hob Goblins
calling themselves the Guiding Light helpline.
It was created four years ago by a fair maiden named Jaqueline Wright who
started on a small basis, but found her help was so invaluable to desperate
adventurers, that six months ago she decided to rope her husband and their cat
named Zork (!) into the fun. The line is open from 12 noon to 8pm and they
boast that they can help with over 300 adventures, but remember to ask before
you use the phone. If you don’t, you may just find your parents will hire
the services of a very unfriendly Orc to deal with you.
THE MISTAKE FROM ATLANTIS
Whoooops! Hideous mistake last issue, folks. You remember the
Wordsquare From Atlantis compo? Yes? Well, due to Compo Minion being a
complete ninny, he left out two words Aqua and Heart and then to prove his
utter stupidy even further spelt Cerius wrongly as Ceris. Bah!
So to make it fair to all we’re holding the compo open for another
month and now you don’t need to find either Aqua or Head but do search
out Ceris. The draw for the 30 packs of Atlantis software now takes place on
October 19, so entries by then please.
“F’NAR! Snurkle! Hello, viewers, Finbar Saunders
(I’ve Double Entendres) here. I’m coming on your Speccy soon!!!
Gurckle! Snerrnt! In a new VIZ COMIC game from (flurple! Glurerk!) Virgin
(G’nuk!), Anyone got a good POKE? (Snigger, phlurp! quack!!)”
MUSIC ON THE SAM COUPE!
Who is this young chap tinkling away at the ivories, is he a
famous pop star, is he a ‘roadie’ — trendy speak for long
suffering chap who shifts tons of musical equipment for terribly important pop
stars. (No you fool it’s Speccy music maestro David Whittaker, he who
composed such musical masterpieces as Platoon, Licence To Kill and Tetris).
Now MGT have contracted Mr Whittaker to produce music and sound effect
software for the SAM Coupe computer. His SAM software will consist of machine
code ‘drivers’ that use the SAA 1099 six channel synthesiser,
converting data streams into sounds (no we don’t know what that means
either). Expect to hear lots more about this package when the SAM Coupe appears
Again in an adventurous vein, US Gold are preparing to unleash
their latest SSI product onto the computers of all you square-jawed hero types
(and stop trying to hide behind the sofa). Dragons Of Flame is the latest
instalment in the DragonLance saga. As usual there will be lots of nasty
dragons, Orcs, Trolls etc to kill, as well as Elves to befriend, as the
Draconians attempt to sweep across the land of Qualinesti (or so it says here).
So watch out for a review when the game appears towards the end of November
priced £9.99 cass, £14.99 disk. And remember, brave adventurers hit
first and ask questions later, because all in the land of Qualinesti may not be
as friendly as CRASH readers.
DO YOU WANT TO BE ON THE TELLY?
Imagine the scene, you are a space hero standing on the bridge
of a space shuttle supervising the docking process of your craft with a huge
bomb disguised as a ship. This bomb was sent to Earth by aliens intent on
cleaning up the galaxy (a rather terminal way to do it), and it is even now
deciding whether Earth deserves to survive (help mummy). The only thing that
will help the human race to avoid going BOOM is if a hero type undergoes a
series of challenges set by the aliens.
Sounds like a good plot for a computer game, doesn’t it? Well it
isn’t. It is in fact the plot for a new TV series being planned by
Broadsword Television Productions, the people who brought you the brilliant
Knightmare. It wil be transmitted on the new BSB channel next year, but
Broadsword are looking for contestants now. Teams of three people will be
chosen, but candidates must be between the ages of 11 and 16 on the 1st January
1990. Think you can save the human race with your exteme cleverness? Write now
for an application form to Broadsword Television Productions, Anglia TV.
NOW YOU CAN LOAD-IT WITH EASE!!!
Fed up with your old data recorder crashing half way through
loading your fave game? Well, stop gibbering in the corner and go buy the new
‘Load It’ Data Recorder from Mills Associates Ltd when it appears
With an adjustable dohicky (ie. an adjustable alignment screw — Ed)
to ensure correct tape head alignment and flashing LED lights, this little
gadget should reduce the amount of suicide attempts made by peeved Spectrum
users. Prices we are assured will be very reasonable.
KNOBBLY KNEES COMPO: THE WINNAH!
Remember the Knobbly Knees compo of issue 67? Ugh! What a sight
that was. Out of the many entries that flooded the office, this pair are
undoubtedly the very, very worst (they’re not even at the same
These legs belong to Brian Hughes, who also has the
country’s worst taste in shorts. Luckily he was abroad in the south of
France when he bared all. A goody bag on its way Brian (and the name of a good
GET YOUR LUVVERLY JOBS HERE!!
Ever fancied yourself as a graphic artist? Well, two full time
jobs are up for grabs at CodeMasters. The lucky applicants will be working on
ST graphic development using digital video equipment (sounds fun). If you would
like to apply, please write to Mark Baldock or Tim Miller at CodeMasters
Software Co Ltd. And still on the subject of Codemasters: they will soon be
launching a new label called Cartoon Capers. The first two releases will be
Wizard Willy and Dizzy II.