This month in... Zzap!64 '86
More changes were afoot, with Strategy Front writer Sean Masterson moving on and the start of a make over that would take effect during the next few months.
Last month Zzap! teased readers by asking them to check out a screenshot of the hotly anticipated arcade conversion of "Gauntlet"... and then failed to print it. To make up for the error they provided not one but four shots.
After a year of silence, Lucasfilm was almost finished writing "Labyrinth", a game tie in with the Jim Henderson movie. Activision would be publishing it, along with another film adaptation... the not quite so fondly remembered "Howard the Duck".
The final of the Activision announcements was Mah Johngg puzzler "Shanghai".
"Tracker" promised a full on strategy/arcade experience with the player controlling up to eight "skimmer craft" at one time.
Well known Compunet contributor Martin 'MAT' Sneape was working on a sidescroller beat'em up called "Knucklebusters" to be published by Melbourne House. The only thing of note that I recall about it was an utterly epic 16 minute Rob Hubbard tune. Melbourne House were also beavering away on a "Judge Dredd" game.
Nexus had two new games in the works: "Assault Machine" and "PSI Warrior II" (unreleased).
Epyx's new action simulation would see the player take command of a "Destroyer" in the South Pacific during WWII.
Ariolasoft hoped to have several titles out in time for Christmas: "Zarjaz", "They Stole a Million", "Blitzkrieg" and "Camelot". They had also created a new label, Reaktor, which would kick things off with: "The Centurions", "Mountie Mick’s Death Ride" and "Warehouse Shoot-Out".
Access/US Gold were to release an add-on for "Leaderboard". "Tournament Courses" would provide four new courses, but Zzap! warned readers not to expect any new features.
Sean Masterson bid farewell, with a hint of bitterness. He felt strategy games didn't get the coverage they deserved but acknowledged there was hope in the increasingly complex games finding their way into the mainstream.
There was a big round up of games, joysticks and peripherals that would make for good stocking stuffers this Christmas.
This month's Zzapback featured:
- "Scarabaeus" Arioloasoft
- "ACE" Cascade
- "Who Dares Wins II" Alligata
- "Electrosound" Orpheus
- "Batalyx" Llamasoft/Ariolasoft
- "Space Harrier" Chris Butler/Elite
- "Flash Gordon" Mastertronic
- "Scooby Doo" Gargoyle Games/Elite
- "Paperboy" Elite
- "Bugsy" St. Brides/CRL
- "Uchi Mata" Martech - 89% "An addictive and challenging simulation which requires quick thinking as well as fast reactions."
- "The Sentinel" Geoff Crammond/Firebird - No rating, but Gold Medal "The Sentinel is without doubt an exceptional piece of software. It deserves credit - hence the Gold Medal award - but it defies rating since it is in a class of it own."
- "Trapdoor" Don Priestly/Pirahna - 89% "Trapdoor is one of my favourite games at the moment, it has everything an arcade adventurer could wish for: great puzzles, super graphics (especially on the main character Berk himself) and it's absolutely packed with humour."
- "The Sacred Armour of Antiriad" Palace Software - 93% Sizzler "The Sacred Armour of Antiriad is simply superb - there's no other word for it. Dan Malone's mini-comic is brilliant and the storyline is extremely well thought out."
- "Leather Goddesses of Phobos" Infocom/Activision - 91% Sizzler "I think what the Wizard found most impressive about Leather Goddesses was that the author has not allowed the temptation of being simply rude or risque to weaken the structure of the game itself. The puzzles are every bit as good as one would expect and there's enough logical gameplay here to keep you busy enough to justify the usual high Infocom price tag." (It cost £24.95)
- "The Pawn" Magnetic Scrolls/Rainbird - 95% Sizzler "What is difficult to remember is that this is the first game from a new company. In parts it is a little inconsistent, in others, minor bugs may be lurking, waiting to pester you. The game will be remembered as a classic, despite its faults. And rightly so. The Pawn is one of the best graphic adventures this year and will keep you hunched over your beloved keyboards for ages."
- "Bobby Bearing" The Edge - 93% Sizzler "An exceptionally cute and playable exploration game."
- "Ace of Aces" US Gold - 88% "An excellent program which lacks that little something to make it a classic."
- "Montezuma’s Revenge" Databytes - 83% "A highly playable platform game marred by its price tag." (£9.95 cassette/£14.95 disk)
- "BMX Simulator" Codemasters - 83% "A must for BMX fans and worthy of a look if your [sic] too old for the real thing."
- "Trailblazer" Shaun Southern/Gremlin Graphics - 93% Sizzler "The graphics are really effective and colourful, and the whole thing plays superbly, especially in two player mode. If you're looking for an unusual and immensely addictive race game, then look no further than this, it's great."
- "Boulderdash Construction Kit" Databyte/First Star - 97% Gold Medal "This is a Boulderdash player's dream come true - an easy to use construction kit which allows you to design the screens you've always wanted to play."