This month in... C&VG '88
Grand Slam were bringing the "Pacmania" coin-op to home computers (the Amiga, ST and Spectrum versions would be first, with C64 and Amstrad to follow next month). The software house was also working on a computer game based on board game "sensation" "Espionage".
Chris Crawford was updating his well received "Balance of Power" with some "new trouble zones of strategic importance". These new countries were: Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan and Nicaragua. The update would be hitting the Amiga and PC in November as "The 1990 Edition".
Martech was releasing a "relatively standard addition to the shoot 'em up genre" in the form of "Rex" for the 8bits.
EA's Accolade label was focussing on sports for the upcoming Christmas period with "Serve and Volley" (tennis), "T.K.O." (boxing, which apparently featured "realistic broken lips"?!), "Rack'em" (snooker) and "Fast Break" (basketball).
The annual Golden Demon Awards took place in Nottingham. These were thrown by Games Workshop to celebrate the talents of model painters. Ivan Barfleet from Birmingham took out the top price with his "vignette of a battle mammoth". Rather interestingly, Games Workshop head honcho Bryan Ansell teased a few enticing snippets about how they were working on a role playing game for the 16bits which would run on a central server with hundreds of players connecting.
There was a brief mention of "Times of Lore" from Origin. The interesting thing about this back in the day - for me at any rate - was that it featured Martin Galway's first credit since moving to the US and joining Origin. The game director was Chris Roberts, and it turns out Martin and Chris went to school together. Chris Yates (from Sensible) was credited with additional programming. More details can be found in this interview.
A screenshot appeared of a game ("Skelter") Paul Woakes was working on alongside "Damocles". It's unclear if this was actually released, but it was to be a "sort of 3D Asteroids".
Mediagenic secured the game rights (and Bruce Willis likeness rights) to a new "cop thriller" movie, "Die Hard" (the game doesn't appear to have made it out). Meanwhile, Arnie was appearing in "Running Man" from Gram [sic] Slam and a movie tie in from Ocean featuring him as a Russian cop ("Red Heat").
"Powerdrome", written by Michael Powell and published by Electronic Arts, promised a futuristic racer with lovely 16bit 3D graphics.
Electronic Arts had setup a UK office and the first game due out from it was "Fusion".
Nintendo tried to ease concerns that a world wide chip shortage might result in low supplies of the NES units and games.
D&D style kids TV show "Knightmare" was coming back for a second series.
Konix's wildly successful Speed King joystick was to be joined by two new ones: the Predator 9 and the Megablaster.
Hewson's budget label Rack-It was to release a shoot'em up called "Battle Valley".
Domark was to ditch the 3D vector graphics of its first two Star Wars games in favour of sprites for "Return of the Jedi".
There were a few rather nice looking screenshots of games in development by "'crazy' German boys". The font used for the blurb was too small for my old eyes to read.
A small profile of Andrew Braybook in conjunction with a disappointing review of his latest game, "Intensity". Mention was made of the controversy surrounding his previous title, "Morpheus", which ended up being published by Firebird despite court action from Hewson.
Movies featured this month were: "Good Morning Vietnam", "Rambo III", "The Running Man", "Biloxi Blues", "Jimmy Reardon", "Pathfinder", "Frantic", "Buster" and "No Man's Land".
John Minson provided a guide for how to make the most of the upcoming PC Show.
- "Pool of Radiance" US Gold - C64 9/10 C&VG Hit "Overall Pools is a game which no role player or adventurer should be without and people new to role playing should seriously consider buying as an introductory guide."
- "Heroes of the Lance" US Gold/SSI - ST 8/10 C&VG Hit "HOTL is the best ST game I've ever played, even beating my old favourite, Captain Blood. Any game that can keep me up to 4 o'clock in the morning has to be worth checking out."
- "Vindicator" Imagine - Amstrad 8/10 "The Vindicator is really three games in one, and unlike many efforts of this kind each game is of excellent quality and has plenty of original quirks."
- "Armalyte" Thalamus - 9/10 C&VG Hit "I seem to have exhausted all the superlatives in this review, but believe me; Armalyte will knock your socks off!"
- "Rocket Ranger" Cinemaware - Amiga 9/10 "Rocket Ranger is the latest, and easily the best, Cinemaware game from Mirrorsoft. Like all the Cinemaware range, it features state-of-the-art graphics, sophisticated music and sound effects, and snazzy packaging. This time they've remembered to put a game in too!"
- "L.A. Crackdown" Epyx - C64 8/10 "Whatever about [sic] the specific verdict on LA Crackdown you have to give Epyx full marks for persevering with this unique game play system. It really is one possible future way in which adventure games can develop - which may turn out to be a life saver for the computerised lateral thinking puzzle."
- "Star Ray" Logotron - Amiga 8/10 C&VG Hit "Star Ray is by far the best pure blaster yet produced on 16-bit. It's slick and beautifully presented."
- "Fish!" Magnetic Scrolls/Rainbird - Amiga/ST 10/10 "Scrolls really seem to be cleaning up on the adventure scene this year. Mind you, it has to be said they haven't had much competition. With their old enemy Level Nine not producing anything new of late they have had the field to themselves, then there is Infocom. What's happened to them - no new game since Christmas."