Live Circuit

Silliness abounds at the Towers this month folks. We’re celebrating Jetman’s fifth birthday! Ol’ Dog-brain first appeared in CRASH in July 1985 when he was sent on a mission to retrieve the Eye of Oktup. He’s found it, lost it, Monsta’s eaten it, but as yet he hasn’t got it to keep. Many thanks go to Loony Jetman’s creator, John Richardson, for providing Jetman with such original adventures and adding plenty of new words to the CRASH dictionary (Bwah, Doohicky, etc...) over the years and, of course, RARE/Ultimate for the wonderful game itself. Until nex’ munf then...

RPGING

Dear Lloyd,
I would like to express my views on computer role playing games (No! Don’t stop reading!) It’s my opinion that role playing, like computing, has been seen as a ‘weirdo’s’ hobby — full of chanting devil worshippers and the like.

What has this to do with computer games? Well, recently, there’s been an enormous amount of software entering the market calling itself ‘RPG games’. Examples are The Bard’s Tale, Times of Lore, Pools of Radiance, Heroes of the Lance and Iron Lord. All of these claim to contain elements of an RPG. Most of them are not technically RPGs but are what I consider to be good attempts at computer RPGs.

The problem is with these games is the computer itself. We all know that the human brain is more versitile, more flexible, more realistic than any computer system and is more able to cope with the complex rules of a RPG than its mechanical imitator.

A computer can handle fight sequences and the like but not computer interaction, NPCs (Non-playing characters), arguments between players and the all important atmosphere provided by the vivid descriptions of a GM.

Not even the 16-bits could cope with these, for all their graphics and large memory.

On the other hand, I am pleased to see the two hobbies merging, especially since they are both scowled upon by the majority of people. It is my hope that the two hobbies will together gain a bit of respect in the world by writing and advertising together.
David Anthony Lascelles

A very topical letter indeed David — what with Times of Lore and Tower of Light both receiving very favourable reviews this month.What we could be witnessing is the creation of a new breed of games — of course, you’re right, a computer cannot really handle all the complexities of a real RPG. But we have a culmination of both activities, and should be dubbed Computer Role Plying Games (CRPGs). It’ll be interesting to see what reaction this month’s two CRPGs receive when they hit the shops. Hopefully, it will generate more interest in ‘real’ RPGs which is a great hobby and a marvellous outlet for imagination.
LM

YOO HOO LOONY!!!

Dear Lloyd,
What is this mag’s game? Do you know that a third of the Jetman strip is nearly always missing? This is because on the other side there is either a competition form or a software company form. So when I cut out the form bang goes Jetman. I like to read it again and again but I can’t if a third of it is missing.

Congrats on the warning announcement on the 0898 phones. I think it was a very wise thing to do. But yesterday I phoned the competition line and spent two minutes listening to some berk waffling on about games in the shops before I was asked the three questions.

Personally, I think CRASH is a great mag!
Simon Aquilina

From the top then. Well, yes it does occasionally happen that Jetman is printed with a form on the other side of the page. Naturally, we try to avoid this with competitions et al. However, we don’t see the ads before they’re printed in CRASH so it’s difficult to know if they contain a form or not. Production Dept promise that they’ll keep an eye on it in future.

The whole objective about the 0898 line you refer to is that it’s a release and competition line. Designed to keep you up to date when games are appearing in shops. A lot of people have to travel miles to their nearest software shop — and a lot of the time disappointed not to find the game they want has been released. The competition is usually sponsored by one of the companies releasing games during the month to generate more interest.
LM

SAVIOUR OF THE PLUS 3

Dear Lloyd,
As one of the few survivors of the (Atari) ST onslaught I am a member of the Spectrum +3 resistance group; fighting to uphold the honour, respect, pride and quality earned over the years by the tough Spectrum.

As a +3 owner I’m glad to say that at last we’re winning the battle as ST sales drop — and with the support of the many brave, trustworthy +3 owners standing head held high we can do it in style.

So now all you +3 owners rally now and join the forces of +3d, the new +3 user group. It’s free of charge and with a monthly newsletter containing members letters, +3 news. tips, answers to queries, program listings and reviews we aim to prove the Spectrum is still the best and out numbers ST users.
Lee Davies

Nice to see someone making an effort to support the Plus 3!
LM

THE GREAT ISSUE 65 DEBATE

You loved it! ‘Oh no we didn’t!’ You didn’t? ‘Oh yes we did’. What a mixed mailbag I’ve had to deal with! Here’s the ‘pick of the post’. Awful expression.

Jon Williams speaks for quite a few when he says, ‘What happened to Front End, Comms, PBM, Adventure Trail, Tech Niche, Arcades, Frontline and the brilliant feature?’ Well Jon, to be honest, over the last year interest in these sections (apart from Front End, which is now Live Circuit) has been minimal. The readers poll showed, once again, that these specialised subjects are not rated highly by the majority of readers, and you can’t please all your readers all of the time! However, CRASH should be back in the arcades soon, and features will be returning — but will be game orientated, take a look at this month’s Batman special.

Next! ‘As for the tape, terrific, four great games, great value and a snip at £1.50 but it doesn’t make up for butchering the magazine.’ Yes, it was a bit thin, wasn’t it Phil Darke? A point also raised by Nick Humphries: ‘Don’t you think it was a bit thin? Why didn’t you charge £1.95 for a 100 page magazine and cassette?’ And Phil Darke would be prepared to pay 5p more ‘I for one would pay £2.00 for it!’. Yes, but would everyone? But hold on. Stephen Davies liked it a lot, ‘I think the new look CRASH is utterly fab, amazing, brilliant!’. Any new readers? (most moans came from established readers — most of them had not used their Speccy for years but still bought CRASH!) ‘I haven’t bought your mag since November 1987. But then what do I see? CRASH, it’s changed and what’s that? A tape with four completely utterly brilliant games on it. I’d just like to congratulate you on a wonderful magazine and may it live for eternity!’ Thank you very much Matthew Tink from Norwich.

The debate will, no doubt, continue...
LM

Licence to Spill (Blood)

It was easy to spot all the wonderful game opportunities in the latest James Bond escapade, Licence to Kill, at a recent preview held by computer game licencees Domark: helicopters hooking flying planes up by their tails, Timothy Dalton water skiing on his bare feet behind an amphibian plane as it takes off, and of course the extended finale as Bond despatches several gasoline tankers driven by the baddies on a tortuous mountain road.

The Atari ST version was almost completed in time for the film preview and looks action-packed enough for any arcadester, but the Spectrum game was still a week or so off, although Domark assure us it should be ready in time for the film’s general release at the end of June/early July.

And the movie itself? A mixed bag for this, the first Bond to earn a 15 certificate because of the increased amount of violence. And violence there is aplenty. However there’s a distinct lack of the familiar ‘cartoon strip’ Bond music to hurry the action along — an odd and sad omission, which was probably felt necessary by director John Glen to give a more serious overtone to Dalton’s second film in the role. As a result the action sometimes seems to lag.

That other essential ingredient of a Bond movie — the villain — is happily well in place in the form of the largely unknown George Davi, who plays Sanchez, an unbelievably wealthy cocaine smuggler. Davi’s face, delivery and massive grace are superb. He’s REAL bad.

Bond is out for revenge when his CIA buddy, Felix Leiter, is done in by Sanchez after the drug baron escapes from custody in Florida. Bond is on his own, disowned by M and the service, as he chases Sanchez to Latin America and the heart of the drug business where money is dirty and loyalty gets paid in blood.

On the way, Bond is helped out by two plucky women and Q — Q, who finally gets his biggest role as he sneaks away on ‘holiday’ to prove that M may have disowned his favourite agent, but hasn’t abandoned him. Watch out for some of the most spectacular flying scenes and stunts ever. Licence to Kill may just disappoint ardent Bond fans, but it’s still a pretty deft roller-coaster ride of fun and mayhem.