This month in... C&VG '88
This month saw Eugene Lacey take over as editor. Lacey came from editing Commodore User, and had been a C&VG staff writer sometime earlier.
Go!'s "Bedlam" promised arcade action featuring up to 18 aliens at any one time.
Sega's Master System recently launched in the UK and now a slew of titles were heading its way. These included: "Kung-Kid", "Fantasy Zone II", "After Burner", "Global Defense", "Zaxxon 3D", "Alien Syndrome", "Rescue & Mission", "Zillion II: The Tri Formation", "Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars", "Super Boys Monster Land", "Cube Zone" and "Maze Hunter 3D".
Horror author and C&VG writer John Gilbert was busy designing a horror game for Piranha called "Coven" (it was never released).
C&VG got to play a demo of the eagerly anticipated "Impossible Mission II". The sequel promised enhanced graphics and sound, more puzzles, and more robot guards.
Domark were making a game based on TV game show "Krypton Factor". The headline said "Krydon Coded". I don't understand.
"Thundercats-Ho!: The Movie" got a UK release on VHS.
After an apparently frantic bidding process, Activision came out on top with the license to "R Type" and were apparently looking to snag the home computer "Afterburner" license too. Elsewhere, Mastertronic got the rights to "Double Dragon", and US Gold snapped up "Road Blasters", "Rolling Thunder", and "Shackled". Ocean and Firebird were rumoured to be battling over "Operation Wolf" (Ocean won).
Go! were to publish conversions of four Capcom games: "Street Fighter", "1943" (I'm not sure if that link is to the correct version), "Black Tiger" and "Tiger Road". They also had the rights to six more titles throughout the year and into 1989.
Firebird were to start releasing budget titles for the ST. Initial titles would include "Thrust", "Harvey Headbanger" and "I-Ball". The rumoured price was £9.95.
Rack-It had cast their net globally in the search for games to publish. Aussie Mike "Crocodile" Sentinella had created an homage to "Boulderdash" called "Anarchy", Hungarians Lajos Palanki and Peter Vitray had programmed "Ocean Conqueror" in their spare time while at college, and Danes Eric Christensen and Peter Jepsen were behind "Thunderforce".
The Entertainment Software Trade Awards were held in London's West End. The winners included:
- Best Full Price Game: "Paperboy" Elite
- Best Budget Game: "BMX Simulator" Codemasters
- Best Adventure: "Stationfall" Infocom
- Best Arcade Game: "Arkanoid"
- Best Music: "Wizball"
- Best Graphics: "Guild of Thieves"
The Third British Play-By-Mail Convention was to be held on the 20th of February at the Porchester Centre in London. C&VG would have a stand there along with twenty two PBM companies.
Ocean claimed to have released the first interactive VCR game in Britain with "ABC Sports' Winter Olympics". The game consisted of a video tape of Winter Olympics coverage, and a playing board with cards. The player would be told to "Pause VCR" at various points and depending on when they managed to hit pause, they would be awarded points and a number of spaces to advance on the board. It retailed for £19.95.
"The Guide to Fantasy Art" was a new book showcasing 8 top fantasy artists, including Boris Vallejo.
"Yes Chancellor" from Topologika would allow the player to take control of the central bank, setting policies on inflation, interest rates, social services, wages and foreign trade.
On the b-side of the "Trantor" cassette was a song from the band Resistor. Go! put out a call for bands interested in appearing on future titles.
C&VG cover artist Chris Achilleos was releasing his own art book called "Beauty and the Beast".
Adventure game pioneer Scot Adams was now working for a Florida software house called Starsoft on arcade conversions and had no plans to return to adventures,
Ian Machin and Tony Takoushi surveyed the current crop of joysticks for the NES and Master System (because the bundled dpad controllers weren't up to scratch, apparently). The Competition Pro Extra & 5000 and Euromax Micro Handler & Professional came out on top.
An interview with Joe Dever, creator of the Lone Wolf role playing game books. Apparently the series - up to book 11 by this point - had sold 5.4 million copies worldwide.
This month's movie reviews covered: "Robocop", "Lost Boys", "Near Dark", "Gardens of Stone", "No Way Out", "China Girl". The Woo-Woo Kid", "Tough Guys Don't Dance", "King Lear".
Interview with young British racing car driver Johnny Dumfries, who had endorsed "Grand Prix Simulator" from Codemasters.
In the fantasy role playing section, "Star Wars Role Playing Game" and "Orc Wars" were reviewed (75% and 78% respectively).
Tony Takoushi thought "Dark Castle" for the Amiga was pretty decent, and ranted about developers just using up all that "lovely, lovely"16bit RAM for overwhelming sound effects and digitised pictures rather than for something deeper... which I tend to agree with.
- "Hotball" Satory (ST/Amiga)
- "Northstar" Gremlin Graphics (Spectrum/Amstrad/C64/ST)
- "Predator" Activision
- "Roy of the Rovers" Piranha (C64/Spectrum/Amstrad)
- "Blood Valley" Gremlin Graphics
- "Terramex" Quicksilva
- "Halo Jones" Piranha
- "Rastan Saga" Ocean - C64 7/10 Game of the Month "John Megan's interpretation of Rastan is a competent rendition, incorporating most of the games' map. The real problem with the conversion is that the graphics just fail to impress in the way they stunned in the arcades. As it is, it's just another good coin-op conversion and the game genuinely deserves better." (Wow, what a weird review given it was rated the best game of the month!)
- "Star Wars" Domark - ST 9/10 ST Hit "Star Wars, the computer game, will be a hit with fans of the Film, the coin-op, and fast action arcades, in other words, everybody."
- "Knightmare" Activision - C64/Spectrum 9/10 "Arcade adventurers everywhere should find Knightmare a thoroughly enjoyable game. I know I did."
- "Matchday II" Jon Ritman/Ocean - Spectrum 10/10 C&VG Hit "Matchday II comes highly recommended. It has taken Matchday as a basis to build on, and the improvements are worthwhile."
- "RISK" The Edge - C64 9/10 "I've always thought that The Edge had some of the most creative and imaginative people in the software industry and RISK proves me right."
- "Gryzor" Ocean - Spectrum/Amstrad 9/10 "This game is highly recommended. Why not start the New Year grappling with Gryzor?"
- "Combat School" Ocean - C64 9/10 C&VG Hit "If you fork out for Combat School you are guaranteed several hours of fun. Possibly the best coin op conversion of the year and an extremely deserving C&VG Hit."
- "Eye" Endurance Games - C64 10/10 C&VG Hit "But stick with it because Eye - based on this year's big board game smash - is confusing at first sight, simple to learn once you actually start playing and has that hook, hook, hookability - to keep you playing for eons."
- "Tetris" Mirrorsoft - C64 10/10 C&VG Hit "Although the game itself cannot boast amazing graphics or digitised sound effects, neither are needed and indeed would only serve as a distraction from what is a brilliant, and totally addictive game."
- "Andy Capp" Mirrorsoft - C64 9/10 C&VG Hit "The graphics are truly excellent, capturing all the characters perfectly. Despite my reservations of Andy Capp as a hero - you can even get him to steal her handbag - I quite enjoyed playing the game. Perhaps it was the slob in me coming out."
- "The Hunt for Red October" Argus Press - ST 9/10 "The Hunt for Red October resembles an adventure game, in that you must work out the various tactics as you go (reading the novel first helps considerably)."
- "King of Chicago" Cinemaware - Amiga 9/10 C&VG Hit "King of Chicago is the first so-called computer movie to live up to the name. It is as huge as it is flexible. The graphics, stereo sounds, and musical score fit the game perfectly. This is bound to rocket straight to the top of the 16bit charts. Justifiably so!"
- "Garrison" Rainbow Arts - Amiga 10/10 C&VG Hit "With 128 levels of sheer arcade quality action and addictiveness which makes grown men weep, Garrison is the definitive Gauntlet doppleganger. US Gold will have to make the official Gauntlet for the Amiga arcade perfect if they want to sell any copies."
- "Amigas" Pandora/Interceptor Micros - Amiga 9/10 "Amigas looks and plays very much like Arkanoid, although there are a number of additional features worthy of note." (Yes, C&VG repeatedly spelled the name of the game incorrectly)
- "Bad Cats" US Gold - Amiga 8/10 ST Hit (huh?) "Bad Cat is an imaginative package which scores highly in the sound and graphics departments but is sometimes a little frustrating to play because of the rather bewildering set of joystick controls used in different parts of the game."
- "Test Drive" Accolade/Electronic Arts - Amiga 8/10 C&VG Hit "The annoying thing about Test Drive is the amount of time it takes to get from one part of the program to another, the continual disk access being a consequence, no doubt, of the graphic richness of the piece."
- "Scruples" Leisure Genius - ST/Spectrum 128/Amstrad 9/10 C&VG Hit "If you fancy a laugh during the Christmas holidays, or enjoy playing Scruples but have difficulty finding opponents, then this could be right up your street."
- "Insanity Fight" Microdeal - Amiga 10/10 C&VG Hit "Insanity Fight is, without doubt, the most playable and impressive looking vertical shooter yet to emerge for the ST or Amiga."
- "Tanglewood" Microdeal - ST 7/10 C&VG Hit "If the solution sheets supplied with the evaluation copy, are anything to go by, Tangewood should keep problem solvers busy for weeks."
- "Deflektor" Gremlin Graphics - Spectrum/C64 10/10 "With practice and demo modes, and enough levels to keep you going for weeks, Deflektor is well worth a look if you're after an arcade game that'll exercise the brain cells as well as test your dexterity."
- "Cosmic Causeway" Gremlin Graphics - C64 9/10 C&VG Hit "This is basically Trailblazer, only more. Lots more. Much more. Brilliantly more."
- "Mean Streak" Mirrorsoft - C64 7/10 C&VG Hit "Mean Streak is a pretty playable game, with reasonable graphics and a neat driving soundtrack - in fact the music was the thing I liked most about the 64 version of the game. Not a mega-game - but not a bad addition to your collection" (What a bizarre review - it's like someone was holding a gun to his head)
- "Jinxter" Magnetic Scrolls/Rainbird - Amiga/ST 10/10 "I proclaimed "Guild of Thieves" better than "The Pawn". I now proclaim Jinxter more entertaining even than Guild. As the Guardian might say: 'If you gotta doofah that'll play it, you'd be wossname if you didn't go out and buy watchercallit. Narmean?'"