This month in... Crash '87
In his editorial, Graeme Kidd lamented the glut of poor games with big movie, TV and arcade licenses attached. Were game developers spending too much time and money on the licenses while neglecting the actual games? And was this just a temporary phase or would it become a trend?
Crash made some changes to their review system: reviews would now be signed, and the rated categories were massaged (Getting Started and Use Of Computer were replaced by Presentation).
The Newsfield Awards were held just before Christmas. The winners were:
- Best Game of 1986: "Starglider 128"
- Best Platform Game: "Cobra"
- Best Strategy Game: "Zoids"
- Best Shoot 'em Up: "Uridium"
- Best Sports Simulation: "World Games"
- Best Graphics: "The Pawn"
Domark released the first additional question set for their popular computer adaptation of the Trivial Pursuit board game. "Trivial Pursuit Young Players Edition" would, unsurprisingly, feature questions aimed at youngsters and include topics such as Grange Hill, Duran Duran, Ah-Ha and The Wizard of Oz.
US Gold apologised for problems Spectrum +2 owners were having with "Gauntlet". The game would simply "not work", and there were reports of other problems with Kempston joystick interfaces. A fixed version had already been released.
WH Smiths decided to stock "Kat Trap", the game that resulted from the Crash Genesis competition. Domark reported that sales had already surpassed 15000 before 1987 began (a good amount, given that it had only been on the shelves for about a month), and with the extensive Smiths chain now also stocking the game things were looking good.
Two new software houses launched. VonSoft rather bizarrely stated they expected to capture 5-10% of the market with 20 releases in the first 4 months of 1987. They had announced one game, "A.R.E.N.A.", which was never released and appears to have been the only game they ever had in the works. The other company, Alternative Software, faired a lot better becoming a well established budget label (though their first release, "Howzat" was reviewed in this issue and scored 11% "Howzat is truly a screamer. I wouldn't wish this on anyone. In my few years of games reviewing I haven't seen a sports simulator that has been as boring to play as this.")
- Jon Ritman, Bernie Drummond and Chris Clarke took on a bunch of the "best on-screen footballers Crash could provide" in a "Matchday" tournament. Jon walked away unbeaten with Bernie in second place and Chris a miserable last, which he blamed on Bernie nicking his favourite joystick.
- "Stormbringer" David Jones/Mastertronic - "As in previous Magic Knight games, our hero can manipulate the objects which he finds lying around - the windowmation system allows the player to interact with the central character."
- "Ranarama" Steve Turner/Hewson - "Steve Turner is still taking inspiration from the C64 game "Paradroid", programmed by his partner, Andrew Braybrook - when it's complete, Ranarama will take the hero into a sub-game whenever it's time to fight a wizard."
- "Judge Dredd" Melbourne House - "Should go down well with fans of the cartoon strip"
- "Scalextric" Leisure Genius - "Two cars compete, racing along a horizontally-split screen. In one-player mode the computer takes control of one of the cars, and can be given one of three levels of ability."
- "Jail Break" Konami - "Konami, the kings of the coin-op arcades, have decided to produce their own conversions for home micros, and first off the production line for the Spectrum should be Jailbreak, priced at £7.95"
- "Gauntlet" US Gold - 92% Crash Smash "This conversion is let down a little by the graphics and sound, but the gameplay more than makes up for such deficiencies."
- "Top Gun" Ocean - 90% Crash Smash "A fast and addictive air-combat game in two-player mode; not so good one up."
- "Bugsy" St Brides - 84% "Tries hard to be funny and very often succeeds."
- "Kayleth" Adventure Soft - 88% "Kayleth follows in the footsteps of "Rebel Planet". As with that game, this one has a lot to offer the dedicated adventure enthusiast."
- "The Colour of Magic" Delta 4/Piranha - 88% "The Colour of Magic is a super book (a Corgi paperback) and therefore the Quilled and Illustrated computer game was always going to be something worth playing. But the Delta 4 team of Judith Child and Fergus McNeil have done a really competent job of coding the concept."
- "The Archers" Level 9/Mosaic - 90% "I think the game is much better than the radio programme. Some of you might well say that isn't saying an awful lot and I might be tempted to agree." Sacrilege!
- "Dracula" Rod Pike/CRL - 89% "But wait a minute, I'm a fair way into this review and I haven't mentioned its chief selling point which concerns its 15 Certificate - apparently the first computer game to receive such an accolade from the British Board of Censors. There's only one thing wrong here and that's the conspicuous lack of blood and gore in the pictures that would warrant such a certificate."
- "Impossaball" Hewson - 89% "An original, addictive game that is more than just another bouncy-ball program."
- "Agent X" Mastertronic - 85% "For the money [£1.99], Agent X is a crucial purchase, because without it you miss all the fun!"