This month in Crash '87
With yet more consolidation of software houses, Graeme Kidd painted a rather bleak outlook for innovative and original games. Fewer, bigger companies spending more and more on licenses and marketing meant there was little room for fresh ideas. The only hope, in his eyes, was a system much like book publishing where "authors tout their wares around the large publishers."
More tweaks were made to Crash's review process. The quality of software had improved substantially since the early days and it was time for Crash to take a step back and judge games on a scale where 50% meant an average game. No doubt this would mean lower scores overall.
The annual Earl's Court Toy Fair took place and was apparently dominated by lasers. More significantly, though, was Nintendo's stand where they showed off their new console and robot assistant. The reporter didn't think much of R.O.B.: "I asked for a demonstration of this system using the robot assistant, and have never seen anything so complicated and difficult in my life." Atari were also there, but disappointed by showing the 2600 (yet again) and a slightly odd "games computer", the 130XE.
Crash declared "merger mania" as Mastertronic bought Melbourne House, and Mirrorsoft acquired Spectrum Holobyte, Nexa Corporation and PSS.
The runner up of the Genesis competition, Martin Lee, travelled to Domark's HQ to discuss plans for the development of the game based on his design. "The Sewer" would be programmed by Graham Stafford (of Design Design) and, perhaps controversially, would be developed on the Amstrad first. It never made it out on any platform.
- An interview with Bernie Drummond (with a little bit of Jon Ritman) on "Match Day", "Batman", and his suspicion of food additives.
- "Head over Heals" Jon Ritman/Ocean - "Head over Heals contains 300 Batman style rooms, shown in 3D isometric projection, and is designed to be played in several parts."
- "Auf Wiedersehn Monty" Pete Harrap/Gremlin - "Starting out from Gibraltar, the furry hero has to make his way through the platform-ridden countries of Europe, performing at least one task in each country."
- "Sigma 7" Mike Richardson/Durell - "The conflict starts in the inky blackness of space, piloting a Sigma scout ship you have to dispose of waves of enemy fighters."
- "Operation Vulcan" Robert Smith/CCS - "One or two people can participate in Operation Vulcan - the computerised version of the Tunisian campaign, and the method of play follows on from the format used in Mr Smith's earlier games."
- "Grange Hill" Colin Jones/Argus - "Colin Jones spent over a month designing Grange Hill for the Spectrum, as he didn't want to let the complexity of the storyline interfere with the flavour of the television programme."
- "Into the Eagles Nest" Pandora - "It's sort of a 'Gauntlet meets Commando' type of game. Our hero tromps around each floor of the castle, which is viewed from above and scrolls in four directions."
- "Throne of Fire" Mike Singleton/Melbourne House "It's been a long time since Mike Singleton fans have had much to cheer about - rumours of Star Trek and Eye of the Moon not withstanding. So while the faithful wait for the next game written by the great man himself, perhaps a game designed by him might suffice."
- "Feud" Binary Design/Bulldog - 91% Crash Smash "An excellent start to a new label, which proves that budget arcade adventures are alive and well!"
- "The Legend of Apache Gold" Incentive - 88% "The Legend of Apache Gold is an entertaining adventure which is far from difficult. Both experienced players and novices would find much to do and explore in this land of the Indians."
- "Dodgy Geezers" Melbourne House - 86% "Humour is the name of the game here, and this program offers much amusement to those who either just read the cover, or really get to grips with the intricate plot."
- "Winter Wonderland" Incentive - 89% "Winter Wonderland's location descriptions are never particularly long, but they are always well-constructed, imaginative pieces with clues as to how you might proceed. A good example of what Incentive's "Graphic Adventure Creator" can do."
- "Forgotten City" HAWK - 87% "Forgotten City is a superb adventure for a game only available via mail order. The location descriptions aren't particularly long and evocative, and the vocabulary can be strict on occasions, but it has many strong points - not least of which is its ability to skip along merrily while keeping the adventurer thoroughly engaged."
- "Ranarama" Steve Turner/Hewson - 90% Crash Smash "The Gauntlet style has been beautifully incorporated into what is basically a shoot'em up extravaganza."
1986 Reader Awards
- Best Overall Game: "Starglider" Rainbird
- Best Platform Game: "Dynamite Dan II" Mirrorsoft
- Best Shoot'em Up: "Uridium" Hewson
- Best Arcade Adventure: "The Great Escape" Ocean
- Best Adventure: "Heavy on the Magick" Gargoyle Games
- Best Strategy: "Rebelstar" Firebird
- Best Simulation: "TT Racer" Digital Integration
- Best Graphic: "LightForce" FTL
- Best Music: "Ping Pong" Imagine
- Best Sound FX: "Dynamite Dan II" Mirrorsoft
- Best Programmer: Stephen Crow
- Best Software House: Elite
- Best Advertisement: "The Great Escape" Ocean
- Least Pleasing Game: "World Cup Carnival" US Gold
- State of the Art Award: "Starglider" Rainbird