Leonardo, the graphics package from Creative Sparks first announced November and the basis of a competition we ran in the Christmas issue will be appearing in the shops on 11th March, Gordon Reid, Creative Sparks’ Product Manager assures us some 18 functions have been added to the package in the interim: ‘It just kept on getting bigger throughout the final stages of development,’ says Gordon. Anyone wanting to know how they could possibly enter the drawing competition will now be relieved to know that Creative Sparks will be running the whole thing again in conjunction with CRASH — so look out for the details in the May issue.
Meanwhile, the few people who still sent in entries for the Leonardo Competition before the closing date — 28th March — will receive a complimentary copy of Leonardo from Creative Sparks for showing willing, and they are welcome to re-enter, but this time they really will have to use Leonardo to create their entries.
Other readers wondering who won what in the other Christmas Issue competitions should check the results page at the end of the magazine where lists and lists of names appear. Sorry, but we haven’t yet been able to make up our minds who will win the Ultimate and Hewson Consultants map drawing competitions, there were so many brill entries. Next ish, promise.
A broken Spectrum out of warranty can be a major problem, and you can insure against the risk of being lumbered with expensive repair bills once the warranty has expired. Buying insurance can be a bit of a minefield at times, and it’s always worth shopping around and examining the small print on policies as well as looking at the price.
Speaking to a lady at the Domestic and General Insurance Co it seems that you could insure your Spectrum, or indeed any computer costing less than £150, against breakdown, fire, theft and accidental damage for five years from date of purchase for £31.60. You would have to take out this insurance while your computer was still under warranty, however, or very soon after the guarantee had expired.
The Micro Repair Club, which has its registered office in Wokingham, but currently uses the same address as Domestic and General’s head office on its press releases, can offer five years breakdown insurance on a home computer for £57.95 and you can join the scheme at any point in your machine’s life, providing it is in good working order.
It’s a clear case of reading the small print, taking a choice and paying your money one supposes.... Sadly, Which? Magazine published by the Consumers Association, hasn’t looked into breakdown insurance for home computers, but their more general article on domestic appliance insurance in their May 1984 edition might be a good starting point if you are thinking of insuring your computer.
Any letters on the subject from readers, insurers or Spectrum repairers marked ‘Insurance’ would be welcomed, and maybe we could pass on some information and experiences...
Report and pictures by JOHN MINSON
A history lesson. When the Romans left Britain the nation fell into darkness and from the misty chaos of this crucial era came myths... of warlocks, shapeshifters and mighty heroes.
With this background, the Museum of London made an atmospherically fitting setting for Hewson Consultants to launch Dragontorc of Avalon, sequel to the CRASH Smash, Avalon. High technology met artifacts from several thousand years of history, including some replica torcs.
Torcs? They’re the twisted golden jewellery that the Celts wore before charging into bloody battle — ‘wearing your wealth round your neck’, is how Dragontorc author Steve Turner describes it.
A lot of preliminary research went into the game, which Steve says is an extension of the reality of the time. As in Avalon you command Maroc the mage, this time in battle against Morag the Shapeshifter, Witch Queen of the North, who threatens Britain with a reign of horror using the all-powerful Dragontorc.
Hewson called the first game an ‘Adventure-Movie’. For Dragontorc, they’ve coined the phrase ‘Sensory Animation’ to refer to the fact that interaction between Maroc and other characters depends on previous events, race etc. For example, elves are naturally timid — but win their confidence, and you can gather a small army.
This sophistication brings Dragontorc even closer to traditional role playing games, so it comes as no surprise to find that Steve is a Dungeons and Dragons fan and that Maroc began life as a D & D character.
Unlike many text adventures the problems here have multiple solutions but that’s more like life, according to Steve, and it means that if you’re not quick enough with the arcade elements you can find some other way.
March 28th is the day on which the mists of time roll back and once again Britain will fall into the Dark Ages.
After the disappointment of Legend’s The Great Space Race, you might expect Legend to have developed a bit of a complex, especially about hype! John Peel, Legend’s svenghali, is unworried about such things — except that he wants no one to think that Legend only sells games through hype. But it turns out that they have developed a complex. It’s a new game called Komplex and it should be on sale by the time this edition of CRASH hits the streets.
To konfound the kritics Komplex isn’t being hyped at all (yet, anyway), in fact John Peel refused to say very much about the game beyond telling me that it is Legend’s first ever arcade game, and that it will be followed within a very few weeks by what he calls Komplex — The Editor. The Editor tape will contain all the usual gamut of cheats normally gathered painfully by hackers all over the country, infinite lives, no monsters, relocation of objects etc, etc. Maybe Legend haven’t lost their bottle after all — at CRASH we’ve been telling software houses for months that the ‘cheat’ aspect of games has become almost as important to many people as the actual content, always given that the game is good enough to grab the attention in the first place.
Anyway, there it is — Valhalla, The Great Space Race and now Komplex. Could John just squeeze out one more word on it before giving up non-hype for Lent? ‘It is a fast action arcade game, but there is a long term mission/quest element where you, the player, are the hero. I’m not making any claims for the graphics until people have had a chance to judge for themselves.’
He was persuaded to pass on one comment from someone who had a chance to see the game, and that was that they really liked it because it isn’t a clone of anything — it’s original. At which point John Peel, fearing a bout of uncontrollable hype coming on, signed off. Komplex is for the 48K Spectrum, priced £9.95, and we’ll be reviewing it next month.
SOFT AID made its debut appearance at the LET show, at the price of £4.99 rather than £2.99 as was expected when we wrote about the project in March. Still a good deal, nevertheless.
And the furry fellows at Gremlin Graphics are also doing their bit for the Computer Trade Weekly/ Soft Aid Ethiopian Appeal with a specially commissioned children’s adventure, Tinderbox. All profits will be donated to the Ethiopian Appeal.
‘Budget software sells’ is the less than amazing conclusion that software companies are coming to. Gilsoft’s Gold Collection of eight adventures is now on the market at £1.99, including Magic Castle, Mindbender and Devil’s Island.
Beau Jolly is spending a quarter of a million pounds on TV ads for the launch of Megahits, which contains ten games on two cassettes for £19.95 — and given that six out of the ten were CRASH Smashes in their day, the package is hardly a rip-off.
Atlantis are continuing their range of budget tapes, with Nicotine Nightmare (reviewed this issue) and Self Destruct founding their new Atlantis Gold label, which will retail at £2.99. The main Atlantis label will, of course continue to provide titles at £1.99.
And Artic’s slashed the price of most of its Spectrum games to £1.99, with the exception of World Cup, and this includes the Artic adventures A–G.
Jokes about Argus Press Software’s shopping list for other companies abounded at the LET Show — they’d already bought Quicksilva by that stage.
At LET they stitched up a deal with Lothlorien which they now describe, quite naturally, as ‘Britain’s leading computer wargame company’. APS will now be handling the production and marketing of future Lothlorien titles. And Quicksilva themselves have tied up a similar deal with Bug-Byte through which they’ve gained the exclusive rights to seven titles developed by Bug-Byte — for a sum which the modest fellows at Quicksilva feel unable to disclose for some reason.
And Rod Cousens, Quicksilva’s MD goes on record as saying that Quicksilva intends to see considerable expansion in the field of publishing third party software this year.
Perhaps someone should start some budget software houses too?
Exciting news from A ’n F who are about to hatch Chuckie Egg II. They’ve asked CRASH to be official scrutineers of the Grand Chuckie Egg II National High Score Competition.
There will be six regional heats, one each held in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, North England, the Midlands and the South of England, and they will be held during August.
Entrants need to use the save routine in the program to record their high score and send it off with the tear-off part of the inlay card to enter their appropriate regional playoff, which will be fought out between the top 20 scorers from each region.
Regional winners pick up £100 and a Silver Egg trophy, while runners up gain £50 and a Silver Egglet. The dozen regional finalists forward to the National Final to be held in London, where the top prize will be £500 and the Golden Chuckie Egg; the runner up will take home the Golden Egglet and £250, while the person in third place will walk off £150 richer.
Full details of the competition are to be found on the Chuckie Egg II cassette inlay. We couldn’t see the game in time to review it for this issue, but we’re promised that Chuckie Egg fans won’t be disappointed by the new 120 screen arcade adventure starring Henhouse Harry and the haywire chocolate egg factory. Full review, next issue.
Tim Langdell of The Edge has been in touch to say that some naughty dealers have been flogging off the sample copies of Brian Bloodaxe to unsuspecting punters. ‘Is there no end to the human potential for greed?’ I hear you cry.
Trouble is, these sample copies — clearly marked as such, and mailed nationwide to dealers — had been specially doctored to make sure no-one could get a head start in the competition contained in the game. So a few people have already been in touch with The Edge in the belief that they’ve finished the game and are in line for the prize — only to find that they’ve been flogged one of the doctored copies and haven’t completed the game.
If you’ve got a copy of Brian Bloodaxe that is, or looks like it was marked ‘Sample’, the best thing to do is take it back to the shop you bought it from and ask for a proper copy.