This month in... Crash '86
The Personal Computer World Show was about to happen and publishers were busy announcing/teasing their upcoming games. Full details of what was on display would be in next month's issue, but there was a boatload of previews to do.
Not one but two winners had been chosen for the Genesis competition Crash launched a few months earlier. The first was a shoot em up called "Kat Trap" by John Eggleton that would hopefully be out by Christmas, while the second - "The Sewer" by Martin Lee - was planned for Spring. While "Kat Trap" did make it out and was well received, "The Sewer" seems to have disappeared without a trace. Rather intriguingly, one of the two designs to receive an "Award of Merit", one was called "Leper Attack at Lemming Rock" by Ian Bell - possibly the Ian Bell of "Elite" fame?
- Interview with Dave Perry. At 19 years old he had already become one of the star programmers of the UK games industry. At one point the question of when Dave expected to become a millionaire - around 30 seemed like a good age.
- Pete Tamlyn examined the state of role playing games (with particular regard to those on the Spectrum). He talked to various people, including Greg Follis (Gargoyle Games) and Mike Singleton. Rather interestingly, Gargoyle had designed the world of Graumerphy ("Heavy on the Magick") before the actual game and had plans to publish a book about it - as far as I know, this sadly never happened.
Adventure Top 30
- "Heavy on the Magick" Gargoyle Games
- "Spellbound" David Jones/Mastertronic
- "Lord of the Rings" Melbourne House
- Gremlin had a busy few months ahead with "Avenger", "Footballer of the Year", "Trailblazer" and "Future Knight" all set for release.
- Electric Dreams had signed two movie licenses - "Aliens" and "Big Trouble in Little China".
- While it had previously just focussed on the C64, Ariolasoft revealed it was going to show the Spectrum some love too. "Deactivators" would be first, followed by "The Stole a Million" and "Camelot Warriors".
- Digital Integration announced its motorbike racing sim "TT Racer" which had taken Rod Swift two years to "get the high standard he was aiming for."
- Martech had a bevy of games lined up: "W.A.R.", "Cosmic Shock Absorber", "Catch 23", "Uchi Mata", and "S.D.I.".
- Steve Crow was finishing up "Firelord", his first game for Hewson. Dominic Robinson had taken on what many people considered impossible: converting "Uridium" to the Spectrum (and doing a great job of it). Steve Marsden and David Cooke (of "Techinician Ted" fame) were working on "City Slicker".
- Melbourne House were showing off "Fist II" and "Dodgy Geezers" (from the guys who wrote "Hampstead" and "Terrormolinos").
- Pete Cooke's new game was revealed to be "Academy", a follow up to "Tau Ceti". This game blew me away with its depth - you could even completely customise the HUD. CRL announced that the much hyped "Cyborg" was coming to the Spectrum. Well, it never actually arrived and the C64 game itself was a complete disappointment. "3D Game Maker" looked interesting - it promised the ability to create Ultimate style isometric games. CRL had a couple of other games in production, namely "Doctor What!" and "Room 10". I had the latter for the C64 and actually rather enjoyed it, though perhaps that was partly due to the fact that I had shelled out my hard earned cash for it.
- Elite had a two new arcade conversions in the pipeline. The first would be "Paperboy" followed by "1942". Elite announced that it had rebooted "Scooby Doo". It had been one of the most hyped games ever up until that point and the inhouse development had been abandoned as the gameplay "didn't live up to the ambitious concept." Gargoyle Games were brought on board and managed to do a decent job (albeit a very different game than what was originally planned).
- Alligata announced "Pub Games" and "Vandal".
- Macmillan had formed a new label, Piranha, and had an impressive line up of games on the way. Don Priestly's excellent "The Trap Door", "Rogue Trooper", "Nosferatu" and "Strike Force Delta" were revealed. Piranha had managed to grab the license for Terry Pratchett's "The Colour of Magic" and signed up the brilliant Delta4 to develop it.
- AdventureSoft were continuing to bring Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson's adventure books to computer with "Temple of Terror" and "Sword of the Samurai". A work by Isaac Asimov was being used as the basis for a futuristic adventure called "Kayleth".
- Durrell were readying "Chain Reaction", "Killer DOS" (which never saw the light of day), Clive Townsend's excellent "Saboteur II" and Mike Richardson's "Thanatos". Rather interestingly, a remake of "Thanatos" is in production by Automata.
- Palace Software were busy working on "The Sacred Armour of Antiriad".
- Argus Press Software announced a bunch of games from its various labels. "Wibstars" was a spoof game based on the software distribution industry where the player was put in charge of shipping "product". Quicksilva had two games, "Star Wars" (based on the satellite defence program, not the movie - unclear if this actually came out), and "Glider Rider". Mind Games had "TimeTrax". Strategy specialists Lothlorien were finishing up two games: "Johnny Reb II" and "Legions of Death". And finally, "Miami Dice" was a craps game from Bug-Byte.
- A follow up to the great "Fairlight" was on its way from The Edge. "Fairlight II" expanded on the original in pretty much every way and would include the ability to switch between two characters. Also due for release were "Mindstone", "Psi Chess", and an arcade conversion of "Shao-Lin's Road". An adventure creator called "Dreamscape" was teased. It would be based on Bo Jangeborg's graphics utility "Grax" which he used for the Fairlight games. Sadly it doesn't look like this was ever released.
- Odin announced its next game would be "I.C.U.P.S.", and would be published under its Thor sublabel.
- Firebird detailed several of its upcoming games. "Hive", "Future Games" (oddly enough this ended up being released by Mastertronic),"Empire" and "Druid" were due to hit the shelves by Christmas.
- Mikro-Gen's next game would be "SAS Strike Force". "Frostbite" was also mentioned as being the next game by Dave Perry, though it doesn't look like that was actually by him.
- Gargoyle Games had formed a new label, FTL (Faster Than Light), which would be publishing original arcade games (at the rate of 5 a year!). First up was "Lightforce" which showed of their new technique (called "Lasermation") to hide the Spectrum's colour clash problems. Following that would be "Shockway Rider" and "Samurai Dawn" (which never saw a release). They also teased a new game called "George" which was "an executive type game involving lots of artificial intelligence techniques, aimed primarily at data processing professionals."
- "Dan Dare" Virgin - 92% Crash Smash "A game which lives up to the image of the cartoon character."
- "Stainless Steel" Dave Perry/Mikro-Gen - 89% "A slick shoot'em up without too much depth."
- "Dynamite Dan II" Mirrorsoft - 93% Crash Smash "A very worthy successor to Dynamite Dan I!"
- "The Boggit" Delta4/CRL - 90% Crash Smash "This game is awarded a SMASH not just because it is amusing at the expense of a game and a theme familiar to everyone but due to its standing as an adventure - the game reads well, plays well, and the presentation is slick and polished to a tee."
- "The Very Big Cave Adventure" St Bride's School/CRL - 82% "Certainly the Big Cave Adventure offers a great deal; it's not only a super spoof but a polished and well orchestrated adventure in its own right."
- "The Graphic Adventure Creator" Incentive - Crash Smash "The response to this product should be extraordinary."