This month in... Zzap!64 '86
Editor Gary Penn trumpeted the success of Zzap!, saying that it had become the "biggest selling Commodore magazine in the civilised World." The healthy sales meant more advertisers, which meant more content - this month the mag hit 148 pages.
A Commodore show took place in Manchester. Commodore did have a stand (which apparently bore a resemblance to Parisian public toilets), where they were showing off was the Amiga. There was little else of interest, aside from Jeff Minter propping up the venue's bar and Martin Galway stopping by.
Piracy was rampant in Malta with only an estimated 12,000 of 50,000 computer owners buying any original software. Maltese based trade body Software Distribution Enterprises was attempting to pressure the government into taking some action.
Newly created label Pirahna revealed their first C64 title: "Strike Force Cobra". The game promised faithful combat and strategy, with editor of military magazine "The Elite" on board as an advisor. "Nosferatu the Vampyre", "Rogue Trooper" and "Trap Door" were also in the works.
"Glider Rider" from Quiksilva had already made a bit of an impression on the Spectrum 128K (helped by an excellent David Whittaker soundtrack) and was heading to the C64.
Rescuing a "poor damsel" from the evil Manic Monk on the planet Milton Keynes was the rather odd back story for Ariolasoft's "Hopeless" (unreleased?).
For some time Imagine had been licensing the home computer rights to Konami's arcade games, but now the Japanese publisher was bringing them back in house. "Salamander" was to be the first conversion to hit the C64.
There were a bunch of games on the way from Electric Dreams. Film tie ins "Aliens" and "Big Trouble in Little China", and sequel to the Atari clasic, "Star Raiders II". Not content with that there were a series of originals: "Prodigy", "Explorer", "Dandy", "Chameleon", "Circus of Fear" and "Hijack". The last two don't seem to have been released.
US Gold were busy working away on the official conversion of the highest grossing arcade machine of all time: "Gauntlet".
Mirrorsoft's "Terror of the Deep" would see the player embarking on hunt for Nessie.
Sean Masterson paid a visit to Delta4's office (aka Fergus McNeil's bedroom) to interview Fergus and co-conspirator Judith Child about their brilliantly funny adventure games. Their next release was to be an adaptation of Terry Pratchett's "The Colour of Magic".
Gary Penn chatted with John Twiddy about his recent C64 conversion of "Tau Ceti" (and very good it was, too), what was in the pipeline, and what he'd really like to work on.
This month's Zzapback! featured:
- "The Little Computer People Discovery Kit" Activision
- "Paradroid" Hewson
- "Winter Games" Epyx/US Gold
- "Wizard’s Lair" Bubble Bus
There were a bunch of pics from the PCW show.
Newsfield rented out the Camden Palace to launch "L.M.", their new mag targeting 18-30 year old men. While the mag was well received, it only lasted a mere four issues.
Three new joysticks were reviewed. The Euromax Professional Plus clobbered the opposition with a 97% rating, with the Cheetah's Mach1 taking second (80%) and Euromax's Elite narrowly coming third (78%).
- "World Games" Epyx/US Gold - 98% Gold Medal "What can I say? Epyx has come up with a sports simulation that knocks the detritis out of any other sports simulation on the market - including their own!"
- "Jeep Command" Bug Byte - 82% "OK, so it's a version of Moon Patrol, but it's a very good one and has plenty of original features to stop you getting bored."
- "Dan Dare" Virgin - 94% Sizzler "After nearly two years of intensive and pensive programming, Andy Wilson has come up with a brilliant game - the best arcade adventure I've played yet."
- "Vietnam" SSI/US Gold - 92% Sizzler "Incredibly atmospheric and realistic. Getting the best from your forces under tough conditions will be the goal of many players for months."
- "Tass Times in Tone Town" Activision - 95% "This is what adventures should be about - experiencing other worlds. There is nothing in this game that can be taken at face value. There is nothing here that you will have come across elsewhere."
- "Deactivators" Ariolaoft - 82% "A very good and highly original puzzle game for people who like to use their brains as well as their joysticks."
- "Sanxion" Stavros Fasoulas/Thalamus - 93% Sizzler "It's one of the most impressive and playable shoot em ups I've seen since... oh, Iridis Alpha."
- "Fungus" Players - 80% "A highly original 'cute' game worthy of anyone's attention."
- "Alleykat" Andrew Braybrook/Hewson - 89% "A lot of disagreement amongst the team - try before you buy."
- "Trivial Pursuit" Leisure Genius/Domark - 91% Sizzler "A competent adaptation of the highly successful board game."