For the last time in the 1980s here’s Live Circuit. And
with the Christmas hols on it may encourage YOU to put pen to paper to write a
letter on all things Speccy. Remember, this is your forum to have your say. And
there’s a £40 software prize for worthy letters!
Letter of the Month
At last, the SAM Coupe has arrived, and not without a lot of excitement and
debate. I’ve read stories of people selling their Amigas to move to the
Coupe, and some complaints about the price of the new machine.
Several people are moaning that the Coupe is too expensive when compared to
the likes of the Atari ST, and it’s true that 512K Coupe with disk drive
costs about the same as the 520 STFM. What many people seem to forget is that
owning a computer is comparable to owning a car — it’s not really
the initial cost of the machine which is expensive, but the petrol and
insurance and in the case of computers, the cost of software. At present the
cost of 16-bit software is in the £20–£30 range, while 8-bit
games are in the £8–£15 region (for full-price). It’s a
Secondly, a plea to software houses to support the Coupe. Now, I know most
of the major 8-bit software houses (Ocean, US Gold, Activision etc) are likely
to release several SAM titles, mostly along with the conversions on the Speccy
and C64. But what about those software houses which predominantly cater for
16-bitters? Will they bother with the new machine? In short, will the games
released for the SAM Coupe be simply flashy versions of 8-bit games with pretty
graphics and nice sound, or will we see more advanced games?
If the Coupe is to succeed it is vital that its advanced features are used
properly by the software houses. They must not use the machine’s Speccy
compatibility as an excuse for not bothering to do anything more adventurous
for the machine. Of course, more advanced games may have to be that bit more
expensive than the run-of-the-mill stuff, but the extra would be money well
MGT have got everything right it seems, and the machine certainly deserves
to succeed. I hope the software houses are imaginative enough to treat the
Coupe with the respect it deserves, and not as ‘just another 8-bit
machine’. Will we see Damocles on the Coupe? (Please Novagen!). David Clark
Already some software houses, including US Gold, have promised
SAM Coupe games, and MGT are confident that it’s very simple to convert a
Spectrum game into a special SAM format making use of the sound and graphic
capabilities. Actually, your question about SAM Coupe games being
‘just’ souped up with flashy graphics and sound is quite amusing,
because that’s what a lot of Atari ST and Amiga games are!! Whether
predominantly 16-bit software houses, or even the majority of 8-bit producers,
will release games for the Coupe, we can’t say as yet; at the moment
it’s a situation of ‘wait and see’ how large the sales of the Coupe
will be. Anyway, here’s hoping that software houses take note of your
comments and apply them to any SAM Coupe games being planned. And if they do,
you’ll be able to spend your £40 software voucher on SAM Coupe games
because you’ve won Letter of the Month!
Have you got your Sam Coupe yet? If you have, write in and give
us your thoughts on the machine — we’re waiting to hear from you!
Letters to: LLOYD MANGRAM’S FORUM (SAM), LIVE CIRCUIT, CRASH.
SAME OLD 0890
As I was reading issue 69 I turned to the budget games section. There before
me was the perfect game to buy, Operation Gunship. I went to my local computer
stockist, but unfortunately they didn’t have it. A month later in issue
70 I turned to the last page, there was the perfect chance to win Operation
Gunship. All you had to do was ring a number and answer three questions, easy.
I asked my parents very politely if I could use the phone, I then rang the
number and waited for the questions. All I got was someone talking about their
visit to Ocean software, THIS WAS LAST MONTH’S. I was utterly appalled,
do you trick your readers into ringing bogus numbers? John Harris
This is all a bit strong isn’t it? The only problem was
that the recording of the new script for the phone-in quiz was a little late
(script reader gone on holiday, I’m told). But, hopefully that
shouldn’t happen again.
I am writing this to ask you first of all what has happened to Outrun Europa
from US Gold. There was a preview in the May issue, but the game still
hasn’t appeared in your review section. Usually the game is reviewed the
next issue, indeed the preview stated that the game was due for release in
June. but the game seems to have vanished. Has it been released, if so why
didn’t you review it, or is it still in production and due on the streets
in the near future. I hope you can help me as from the preview it looked like a
very good game, and as I have Outrun I would like to get the sequel.
And a long time ago there used to be a cartoon adventure called Terminal Man
which added to the variety of CRASH and made a good read. I’m not asking
for the same cartoon back, but it would be a good idea to come up with
something similar, but perhaps this time a bit more serious. Final
question, can you suggest where I can get my hands on a good machine code
editor and assembler for the +3. D A Alcock
As far as we know Out Run Europa has been cancelled following
the announcement of Turbo Out Run a couple of months back, and by all accounts
Turbo should be a hell of a lot better. Terminal Man may make a return one day,
when Oli hasn’t got to do five jobs at once. And as for a +3 Assembler,
try asking at your local independent software shop, they’ll be able to
check with distributors.
As a new starter (at 25 years old) with my second hand 48K Speccy I thought
myself quite clever as I completed Arkanoid I and II. That was until my mother
got Speccy hooked. I’d been playing Zybex for about a week and was
nowhere near the end, then she came along and on her second attempt went
straight through to the end. Needless to say I haven’t played Zybex
since. Terry Young
That’s nothing. My cat can play Renegade better than I
I’m writing this letter for the sake of those little black fluffy things
wandering round CRASH every month. I think you ought to be more careful about
their safety. Last month (p.29) one fluffy thing was being chased by another
with a chainsaw! And on page 73 another was being clobbered with a snowball
(poor devil). I’m sure they don’t appreciate this, so if you
don’t do anything about it I’ll report you to the RSPCFT (Royal
Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Fluffy Things)! Robert Western
How do you know fluffy things don’t enjoy bashing each
other about? Anyway, they’re Olibugs — after their original
creator, our (grovel) esteemed Ed.
Do you have any world-shattering opinions for 1990? Don’t
keep them to yourselves: bore everyone else with ’em! Write to Lloyd
Mangram, Live Circuit, CRASH, and hope the snow has not cut us off from the
rest of the universe.
...as you all should very well know. And just to remind you
ELSPA (European Leisure Software Publishers Association) have launched a new
campaign. Pages are being donated free of charge by loads of mags, including
CRASH, for ELSPA to print the Piracy Is Theft advertisements. The message is
now incredibly important, especially for Spectrum owners, as software houses
are beginning to cut down on the amount of Speccy games released. This is due
to the fact that sales of Speccy games are getting so low, because of the
amount of piracy, software houses cannot pay the programmer a fair wage. (Sob!)
What would the 90s be without Speccy game thrills?!
CRASH says don’t copy a game because not only are you now breaking the
law, but if you copy a £10 game, you are depriving the following people:
You are depriving your local store keeper of about £3.00 (the cost of a
doctor’s prescription); depriving the distributors of £2.00 (about
the cost of employing someone for 30 minutes); depriving the software house of
£3.50, (the cost of 10 A1 colour posters which you’ll be only be too
happy to grab off their stand at the PC Show for free), and the programmers of
£1.50 (the cost of a loaf of bread, and a pat of butter). Put in those
terms it does sound criminal doesn’t it? More information on the subject
can be obtained from FAST (Federation Against Software Theft).
‘Blake! Blake, my darling!’ What is it Crystal?
‘Is it true? Oh! (sob, sob) Tell me it’s not!’ What is it, my
darling? What has upset you so? ‘Oh! (Sob, sniffle) That you fathered
Alexis’ new game Dynasty Wars?’ Crystal — I just didn’t
know how to break it to you. (Enter Alexis) ‘So!!’ Alexis!
‘Crystal!’, ‘Alexis!’, ‘Blake!’, ALEXIS!!
‘Ha! Ha! It’s not your game Blake!!’ Alexis!! ‘Oh,
Blake!’ (Crystal faints) ‘No! I love another!! You were just cheap
money Blake!!’ Alexis!! ‘US Gold fathered my game!’ What!
(Enter US Gold) ‘It’s not your game, Alexis!!’
‘Whaaaat!!’ ‘No! It’s mine and it’s an Oriental
slash-’em-up on a grand scale, converted from the coin-op by Tiertex and
it’s due to be born in mid-1990! ‘You traitor!’. ‘Ha
WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
It’s a magazine, innit? Ah, yes! But not any magazine.
No, this is the Complete Computer Entertainment Guide! A handy mag for anyone
who’s new to computing! Lots of great stuff to get you started on
graphics, joysticks, music, communications, education, service, books and,
naturally, games!! Out now it costs £1.95 and makes an ideal Chrissy gifty
for anyone you know who’s getting a Speccy in their stocking!!!
We’ve banned him reading My Little Pony monthly, but
there’s plenty of other ‘gerrooovy’ comix, as Mark Caswell
Marvel, 70p Monthly
These guys swap their line up around almost as much as The
Avengers. Reed ‘Mr Fantastic’ Richards, Sue ‘Invisible
Girl’ Richards, Johnny ‘Human Torch’ Storm and Ben The
Thing’ Grimm make up the super hero team who’ve been thrilling
kids for years.
True believers among you will already know that the FF gained their powers
whilst manning an experimental spaceship: cosmic rays penetrated their bodies
and changed ’em for good. Reed Richards gained the ability to stretch his
body, Sue Richards can turn invisible, Johnny Storm bursts into flames and
bashful blue eyed Benjamin Grimm means what he says when he shouts
‘it’s clobbering time’ — he turns into an orange rock
pile! Many baddies have attacked them and their HQ over the years (it used to
be the Baxter Building, but that was destroyed), but Truth, Justice and the
American way have prevailed. Action-packed and well drawn in the traditional US
style, this colour comic is well worth a look.
The Sleeze Brothers
Epic Comics, 65p Monthly
El’Ape and Deadbeat are the Sleeze Brothers, two ex-cons
turned private eye. The Big Apple is a city floating in the intergalactic void
where the minority of rich inhabitants live in the ‘civilised’
sector, whilst the other 99% live in conditions that would probably shock the
most flea bitten rat. It is here that the Sleezes make their living, and not
all the jobs they take on are above board. Sergeant Pigheadski, a two headed
minion of the law is out to catch them, although in the best traditions of a
certain bungling French detective, his plans don’t always go right. The
Sleeze Bros bear more than a passing resemblance to the Blues Brothers, right
down to the pork pie hats and cool dude shades. The misadventures of these
lovable rogues with their strange humour and detailed and funny drawings make
for compulsive reading — once you get into the style.
More strip stuff next month!
THE CORK REPORT
Mark ‘Corky’ Caswell, ever pushing the limits of
journalism and our patience, pops down the road to use the phone and finds out
what software treats are in store for next year...
Eee, come on team, I know it, I know it. Yes, the squeaky-voiced footy
fanatic is back thanks (we think) to Audiogenic: Emlyn Hughes’ Arcade
Quiz is almost here. Can you answer such trivial questions as ‘Who was
the world’s tallest man?’, and ‘What was Judy Garland’s
real name?’. If you’re a clever clogs maybe you can. Find out early
in the new decade when the game appears, and no peeking at the answer
Also on the way from Audiogenic and scheduled for an early 90 release is
Wreckers, the story of a galactic lighthouse attendant’s fight for
survival against nasty little alien creatures. Quite why they’ve chosen
your lighthouse to attack isn’t made clear, but expect a preview of both
games next month.
Back To The Future II starring Michael J Fox is pulling the crowds at the
movies, and by next summer the antics of Marty McFly in both Back To The Future
II and III will be pixelated by Mirrorsoft and whisked onto your computer. The
game will cost less than a brand new DeLorean we are assured, so keep your eyes
peeled for more info soon.
After Vendetta System 3 are to go cutesy with Flimbo’s Quest.
Flimbo’s girlie has been kidnapped by a horrid Professor, and is being
held in a seven load platform world filled with nasty mutated creatures and
lots of danger.
Shadow Warrior is one of the next arcade projects underway from Ocean and
all about a Ninja tired of kicking his fellow countrymen. Pastrami, hot dogs
and the Statue of Liberty (in that order) beckon — end result: punch-ups
with all manner of scum in the streets of New York. Serves him right, he should
have stayed at home.
Talking of punch-ups: System 3 have just announced the Easter release of
Last Ninja II — The Special Remix (sounds a bit like Thalamus and
Sanxion: the Spectrum remix). Apparently the game has been given better
graphics, sonics and heaps more playability.
After last month’s news of Virgin’s Dan Dare III, we note that a
second Judge ‘Old Stoney Face’ Dredd game is under development,
along with the Saga Of The Silver Surfer. Both games are due for release early
next year and whilst we all know about Dredd, The Silver Surfer may not be too
familiar to most of you. He’s an alien named Norin Radd, who after being
exiled from his home planet became herald to Galactus... blah, blah —
comic waffle... blah... (Snip! — Ed)
The sequel to Carrier Command is almost here, called Battle Command.
Programmed, like the original, by Realtime, Ocean are releasing it early 90 on
16-bit: Let’s hope it doesn’t take as long as its predecessor to
appear on the Speccy! Also from Ocean will be Nightbreed, based on the Clive
Barker movie that made Ocean’s Software Manager, Gary Bracey, a star (or
rather didn’t — Ed). The movie which ‘contains more monsters
than any other film before’ will appear on the big screen at Easter and
so should the game.