This month in... Zzap!64 '86
This month's editorial warned readers to expect some divisive reviews. Not divisive in that reviewers were unable to agree, but in the sense that they had some truly great games, some utterly awful, and few in between. So some "savage criticism" was in store.
One amusing aspect of the editorial is that Roger Kean seemed quite bothered by the fact that a reader had written in to complain about Kean's assertion that the C64's xmas release schedule was "disappointing". It was a perfectly politely worded letter, and just goes to show how much the world has changed. Makes one want to weep.
A minor correction for last month's issues: "Ballblazer" should've been awarded a Gold Medal rather than a Sizzler.
Duraplug released a four-in-one Multiline electrical plug... was this a new thing?!
There was scepticism about how well the C128 had been selling. While the machine had been generally favourably received by software houses, there were few games being released that made use of it. Supply issues were also a problem. With the Amiga just around the corner, would C128 sales pick up, or would it go the way of the C16 and Plus4?
Zzap had invaded Compunet and were running a regular gossip column by The Shadow, along with art critique by Brigitte Van Reuben.
"Deathwake" from Quicksilva promised a mix of arcade action and strategy.
More woes for the C128 as it emerged that the C64 mode wasn't quite as compatible as intended. There were two extra registers in the display chip which some software may have "accidentally written over". "Frankie Goes to Hollywood" was the first reported casualty.
Wrestling was heading to the C64 in the form of "Rock’n'Wrestle" from Melbourne House. And rather good it was, too.
A rather curious adventure game from Global Software was announced which was to be set in London's South Bank. The game would feature "multi-character real-time adventuring" and would come with a free guided backstage tour of the Royal Festival Hall.
Robcom released two new bits of kit: the Magic Monitor Interface which enabled the C128's 80 column display on any monitor, and the Disk Alignment Kit for the 1541 drive.
Ultimate's next C64 game was to be "Dragon Skulle" and would once again star Arthur Pendragon.
Firebird were to release an adventure called "Runestone" that was similar to "Lords of Midnight". Interestingly this was a conversion of a Spectrum game done by none other than Chris Yates and Jon Hare before Sensible Software was created!
Scot Adams was busy working on "Questprobe III - The Fantastic Four".
Level 9 were following up "Red Moon" with "Price of Magic". Rumours started to circulate that BT's new MUD company, Confucious, was connected with Level 9.
An interview with Tony Crowther.
Martin Galway was interviewed via car phone as he drove home from London. The car phone was a very new piece of technology (I remember reading this interviewed and being amazed) and everytime he crossed cellular tower zones the call would drop.
The Compunet art gallery was dominated by the work of 18 year old Bob Stevenson.
A short piece of what makes Level 9 adventures so special.
- "The Fellowship of the Rings" Melbourne House
- "Mercenary: Escape from Targ" Novagen
- "Yabba Dabba Doo!" Task Set
- "Wild Ride" Interceptor
- "Arc of Yesod" Odin
- "ICUPS" Odin
- "Zoids" Martech
- "The Young Ones" Orpheus
- "Transformers" Denton Designs/Ocean
- "Fight Night" US Gold - 93% Sizzler "Definitely the best in its field, Fight Night is just so realistic. Sprite work like this has just not been seen before on the 64."
- "Bounder (Metabolis)" Gremlin Graphics - 97% Gold Medal "An absorbing, demanding and totally innovative approach to the ageing platform formula."
- "The Eidolon" Lucasfilm/Activision - 97% Gold Medal "Lucasfilm's most original release yet, containing outstanding graphics and gameplay elements. The Eidolon is both immaculate in it's [sic] conception and execution. Not to be missed."
- "Revs" Firebird - 96% Sizzler "An exciting and innovative approach turns 3Revs [sic] into simulation at its best."
- "Deus Ex Machina" Automata - No score given "This may be over a year old now, but Deus Ex Machina is as fresh and original today in its Commodore reincarnation as it was when it first appeared on the Spectrum."
- "Worm in Paradise" Level 9 - 90% "There are over 220 locations, all with graphics, and the Wizard reckons that this game is going to be responsible for more sleepless nights than Nescafe, insomnia, and indigestion put together! Definitely worth trading-in a limb for."
- "Desert Fox" Sydney Developments/US Gold - 87% "An excellent blend of strategy and arcade action."