This month in... Crash '86
Compared to the previous few months, there seemed like a relative dearth of good games released for the Spectrum. Crash pondered whether this had anything to do with the recent release of the Spectrum 128K. Game compilations (often tied to a charity) were coming out at a ridiculous rate - would this result in the cost of games for the consumer (typically kids) going down? or will the revenue developers see take a big hit as people choose cheap compilations over "single" release games?
The InDin industry event had taken place just before Christmas. "Little Computer People" (C64) from Activision won the award for "The Best Alternative Software". The InDin was still being held when I started working in games in London in the mid 90s... looks like it may have been another victim of the decimation of the UK industry.
In an interesting move, Crash got Julian Rignall (from Zzap!64) in to look over a few games that took advantage of the new 128K hardware. The games were:
- "Daley Thompson's Supertest" and "The Neverending Story" from Ocean
- "Technician Ted - the Megamix" from Hewson
- "Sweevo's Whirled" from Gargoyle Games
- "Robin of the Wood" and "Nodes of Yesod" from Odin
- "Three Weeks in Paradise" from Mikro-Gen
- "Gladiator" from Domark
There was a "Back Backlash" from readers in the letters section, with people writing in to complain about people who had previously written in to complain about the sometimes violent (e.g. Friday the 13th) or sexual (e.g. Dun Darach) covers.
- Palace Software, who were working on followups to "Cauldron" and "The Sacred Armour of Antiriad"
- MC Lothlorien, who were well regarded for their strategy wargames.
- A great interview with Mel Croucher about his upcoming game ID, life after the PiMan, and the state of the games industry. Croucher complained that the trend in games was for developers to shy away from creative products as they focussed what technical wizadry the programmers could deliver. The obsession with arcade ports and software houses clamouring for arcade port rights were the most obvious sign of this. Not only that, when a company would release something new and fresh, it wouldn't take long for the clones to appear - often technically superior in some way with a much bigger marketing budget. Croucher lamented the loss of small independent software houses due to the arrival of large, powerful publishers. He was tired of games where the goal of the player was to kill people, believing that games had a lot more to contribute to society. It really is a great interview and it shows just how far ahead of the time he was.
- David Ward and Colin Stokes from Ocean, on life after the dramatic demise of Imagine.
- Elite (Firebird)
- Commando (Elite)
- Way of the Exploding Fist (Melbourne House)
- Lords of Midnight (Beyond)
- Fairlight (The Edge)
- Lord of the Rings (Melbourne House)
The 1985 Crash Readers Awards
- Best Game Overall - Elite (Firebird)
- Best Platform Game - Technician Ted (Mirrorsoft)
- Best Shoot Em Up - Commando (Elite)
- Best Arcade Adventure - Fairlight (The Edge)
- Best Text-Only Adventure - Mordon's Quest (Melbourne House)
- Best Graphical Adventure - Red Moon (Level 9)
- Best Flight Simulation - Tomahawk (Digital Integration)
- Best Sports Simulation - Hypersports (Imagine)
- Best Wargame - Arnhem (CCS)
- Best Graphics - Fairlight (The Edge)
- Best Sound FX - Starquake (Bubble Bus)
- Best Music - Fairlight (The Edge)
- Tackiest Game of the Year - The Great Space Race (Legend)
- State of the Art Award - Fairlight (The Edge)
Quite a sweep by Fairlight there, and well deserved. A real shame that the only reason people know The Edge (the publisher, not developer) these days is because of crap like this.
- "Transformers" (Denton Designs/Ocean) - 60% "A bit of a disappointment, given the idea and the people who wrote the game"
- "Bombjack" (Andy Williams & Paul Holmes/Elite) - 92% "A great arcade conversion, don't miss it!"
- "Costa Capers" (Steve Marsden & Dave Cook/Firebird) - 64% "A must for Technician Ted fans, otherwise check it out first"
- "Realm of Impossibility" (Ariolasoft) - 10% "Could have been a passable game a couple of years ago. A joke today"
- "Blade Runner" (Andy Stoddart & Ian Foster/CRL) - 58% "A rather disappointing game, overall"
- "Rasputin" (Paul Hibbard/Firebird) - 79% "A complex 3D game which should appeal to fans of the genre"
- "Heavy on the Magick" (Gargoyle Games)
- "Dr Blitzen and the Islands of Arcanum" (Mirrorsoft) (another one in the Technician Ted series)
- "Way of the Tiger" (Gremlin)
Scans of the full issue can be found here.