This month in... C&VG '88
There were big changes at the mag, with Tony Takoushi "getting the boot" and replaced by Julian Rignall. This issue hit 114 pages.
Mandarin Software were developing "Grand Prix Circuit", an F1 racing sim to be published by Accolade.
Elite's lineup for Christmas included "Space Harrier 2" for the 16bits (seems that Grandslam actually had the rights for that, weird) , "Mike Read’s Pop Quiz" and "Storm Warrior". Their arcade truck racer "Supertrux" was narrowly going to miss the holiday season and was due early January.
A new arcade attraction in Tokyo saw sit down Outrun cabinets repurposed in a game in which drivers would steer real remote controlled cars around a complicated track. Video from cameras mounted on the bonnet was streamed to the screens.
"BAAL" was the next 16bit game due out from Psygnosis. Screenshots certainly looked nice, but would it play any better than their previous offerings?
Gremlin's foray into the recently crowded post-apocalyptic-vehicle-combat genre was "Motorway Madness" (maybe it was released as "Motor Massacre" ?).
Alternative Software got the game rights to "Postman Pat" and hoped to have it on the shelves by Christmas.
A screenshot appeared of "Let Sleeping Gods Lie" from Elektra appeared, with C&VG declaring "the whole thing looks most bizarre." (it wasn't that bizarre!)
German software house Axxion was hoping to break into the UK market with a series of games for the Amiga and ST. The first title, "Way of the Little Dragon", was due in time for Christmas with "Crystal Hammer" (Arkanoid clone - released as "Growth" ?) and "Powerstyx" (Qix clone) following soon after. Three further titles were in development: "Gunshoot", "Skyblaster" and "Spaceport". Not the most creative company (or capable of actually releasing titles, for that matter)...
"Butcher’s Hill" was Gremlin's take on "Operation Wolf".
In what was an apparent first for the UK, a shop called "Software Circus" opened on Oxford St and claimed to be the first computer software only store in the country.
Go! managed to get their home computer conversion of Capcom's "LED Storm" on the shelves right on the heels of the European release of the coin-ops.
Publisher Softgold, who handled the international marketing and distribution for a bunch of German developers, were touting their upcoming wares. These included takes a deep breath: "Graffiti Man", "Down at the Trolls", "Oxxonian", "Danger Freak", "Starball", "Grand Monster Slam", "Circus, Circus", "The Paranoia Complex", "Mini Golf", "Wall Street", "USS John Young" and "Persian Gulf Inferno".
After their legal run ins with Nintendo and Megiagenic, Rainbow Arts were hoping a renaming and repackaging of "The Great Giana Sisters" and "Katakis" would placate the Japanese companies. The latter would re-appear as "Denaris", but there would be no return for the sisters...
Sony's Video Walkman was due out in the UK in the new year. It would take 8mm video cassettes, sport a 3" LCD screen and last up to three hours on one charge. There was no official price mentioned, but it would likely set you back about the same as a regular VCR.
No big name blockbuster movie licenses for Coktel Vision this summer as they were releasing a game based on softcore adult flick "Emmanuelle". Details were vague...
Novagen were about to release their third 16bit game, a scrolling shooter called "Hellbent". This time the programming was being handled by newcomer Donovan Prince (an "unlikely name" according to C&VG), rather than Paul Woakes.
"Sticky Decision" was a new shoot 'em up from Gremlin. Meanwhile, they were getting in on the footie market with a game based on "Roy of the Rovers".
Magnetic Scrolls were signed up to produce a series of mini-adventure games for Tony Rainbird's "Official Secrets" discount mail order and adventure club. As far as I know, only one materialised: "Myth". I think I may have all of the issues of the club magazine, "Confidential".
There was a much larger than usual Arcade Action section.
John Minson took a break from ranting to go interview Gerry Anderson about Thunderbirds, Supermarionation and how depressing Hollywood could be. A pilot for "Space Police" was about to be released and Anderson revealed he was in talks for a new Thunderbirds movie.
C&VG attended the 3rd annual Festival de la Micro in Paris, which didn't sound terribly interesting.
The movies reviewed this month were: "Colors", "Stand and Deliver", "Nico", "The Seventh Sign", "The Hidden", "Taffin", "Bird", "Imagine: John Lennon", "Switching Channels" and "Kansas".
A round up of the current offering of footie games. Topping the strategy rankings was "Tracksuit Manager" from Goliath Games, while Sega's "Sega Soccer" narrowly pipped Sensible's "Microprose Soccer" for best arcade. While "Emilyn Huges International Soccer" was reviewed very favourably in this issue, it missed the deadline for the article.
Keith Campbell pondered: are adventure games dead? Level 9 was going to start producing fantasy role playing games with graphics along the lines of Sierra games, Magnetic Scrolls were elusive about their plans, while Infocom announced all new adventures would feature graphics.
- "Operation Wolf" Ocean - ST 91% Spectrum 91% C64 92% C&VG Hit "So what is our advice should you only be buying one coin-op conversion this Christmas? Buy Op-Wolf - it's a brilliant conversion and you will get a lot of fun out of it."
- "Afterburner" Activision - Spectrum 90% C&VG Hit "Afterburner, is an excellent conversion, and while Keith Berkhill goes for a stroll on water, Spectrum owners at least can revel in one of the fastest and most impressive arcade games to appear in the six-year history of the machine!"
- "SDI" Activision - ST 81% "SDI is a very simplistic game, but that's where its appeal lies - you can load it any time, put your brain in neutral and blast away until your heart's content."
- "Savage" Firebird - Spectrum 87% C64 78% C&VG Hit "Savage is definitely one of the best arcade games yet seen on the Spectrum. If you don't buy it, it's not worth your while having a Spectrum. Savage could be the game that puts development house Probe well and truly on the map. Congratulations are due all round."
- "Emilyn Hughes International Soccer" Audiogenic - C64 94% C&VG Hit "The best way I can describe EHIS is to say that Audiogenic has taken the style of graphics from International Soccer, made them much better, added myriads of extra frames of animation and new moves, blended in the league and cup bits from Matchday 2, put in a spot of Tracksuit Manager options here and there, and come up with quite an amazing product."
- "International Karate+" Archer Maclean/System 3 - ST/Amiga 93% C&VG Hit "Some may say that beat 'em ups are past their prime, but I defy anyone to pick this up and not get totally hooked. It's got all the elements of a classic, and has the timeless gameplay that'll keep you coming back long after 'big' games like R-type and Starglider II have been relegated to the software shelf."
- "Turbo Cup" Loricels - ST/Amiga 81% "The Porsche is amazingly well defined, complete with recognisable interior and Loricels logo on the door." (weird review - he basically spent two pages describing what a racing game is, noting annoyances, while completely failing to say what was fun about it)
- "Red Storm Rising" Microprose - C64 93% "Red Storm Rising is ace, fab, brill, wicked and totally awesome. Well up to the Microprose standard of quality sims. I can't wait for the next one."
- "Laser Squad" Julian Gollop/Target Games - Spectrum 97% C&VG Hit "Laser Squad is one of the hottest games I've ever played. If that isn't enough, Target is releasing expansion packs for the game, with more scenarios and ideas. Me, I want to see a construction set."