Okay peeps, what does Images mean to you? (It's my brill disco company and you can book me on 0898 -) Roberts, go and sit in the corner and make some baskets or something... Now where were we? Oh yes, what does Images mean to you? Sod all? Then read on to discover the dastardly (and sometimes downright disgusting) secrets LUCY HICKMAN wriggled out of one of the hottest programming teams in the country...

Startling Images

In the mists of time (well, four years ago actually, but who's counting?), a bright young programmer peep called Karl Jeffrey, programmer of the classic R-Type, got it into his head that he wanted to run a company.

James Sharp

After eating everything in sight for a few days, he realised he'd never grow to the proportions of a pregnant hippopotamus, so that ruled out Maxwell Communications (he also tried falling off a yacht but some bast saved him). So he went for the next best thing - a programming company.

The result was Images, which to date has dreamed up such classics as Chip's Challenge, Back To The Future II, Hunt For Red October and, more recently, the excellento Space Gun and G-LOC.

I WANT TO BE A TREEEE!

To begin with, the guys worked exclusively for Activision, but after scoring hits with Wonder Boy II and Rampage, they branched out (I want to be a treeee!) and were soon in mega-demand (who could resist 'em?) from giants such as Ocean and US Gold.

Gary Hammond

They now have dozens of people working for them, all over the country, and this year things are accelerating for them at a great rate of knots, winning the rights to develop games tar the Game Boy, NES and ultra-hip Super NES.

Their next cunning plan is to produce and publish their own games. Karl ain't giving nuffin' away as to what's on the cards (the walls have ears, y'know) but he promises to tell us all, ASAP (hurrah!).

COLLAPSING CANOPIES

Although churning out classic games of the highest quality (and making loadsa dosh) is their main priority, it's not all work, work, work for these chaps - when they decide to have fun they sure let rip!

Take, for example, the time a group of 'em were working late. Sounds like a damn good excuse to sit around and get blotto, to me. And, coincidence of coincidences, that's exactly what they did! Which was okay until things got out of control and a party on the roof seemed in order...

Damian Stone

Karl explained: 'Loads of people came out of the pub nearby, all as drunk as lords, and came past our offices. Our programmers were playing music really loud and drinking on the roof.

When the lot from the pub came past, a screaming match started then there was a pleasant exchange of bricks and bottles. Rob Hyland (Speccy G-LOC programmer) stepped out onto the canopy of the store below our office to get a better shot.'

Well, I'm sure you intelligent readers can imagine what happened next. Yup, one programmer falls straight through, up to his crotch. One knackered canopy and no hope of children for Mr Hyland (and an £800 bill for Images).

EXPLODING TOILETS

I've already decided programmers are an extremely weird breed of people, with even weirder senses of humour, and at Images they're no exception.

Once upon a time the staff were under siege from a mysterious exploding everything! Programmer Mark Barker, presumably after a serious overdose of The A-Team, suddenly thought inserting explosive powders in joysticks, pens, floor tiles and even toilets seats would be a great crack, giving him a jolly chortle and everyone else a nervous breakdown.

One of the guys freaked out completely when his pen went oft with a bang, so trying to calm his frayed nerves, he reached shakily for a cigarette and lit It with trembling hands.

Yup, you've guessed it - the powder was in the lighter, too! One programmer rapidly transported to a nice room with bouncy cushions all over the walls!

RAMPAGE

Rampage screenshot

This one's not so much a beat-'em-up as a smash-everything-to-smithereens wreck-'em-up! Unusually, you play a baddy - a mad scientist who's been transformed into a giant werewolf, lizard or ape (don't you just hate It when that happens?).

As the name suggests, you go on the rampage, smashing cars, punching helicopters, razing buildings to the ground and eating people to keep up your energy.

Amazingly, you find you LOVE being a wreaker of havoc and causer of chaos, so you spend the game trying NOT to revert back into human form - if you do it's Game Over.

Earned 76% in CRASH Issue 72.

SPACE GUN

Space Gun screenshot

A stupendous shoot-'em-up, this one (see last month's CRASH), where your mission's to rescue a bunch of civilians nabbed by bug-eyed beasties.

The horrors from hell continually try to rip your throat out so use the onscreen free-floating cursor to pinpoint your target and let rip with bullets, bombs, flame throwers, grenades and freeze guns.

There are two main critters, big fat wallas who try to bite or slash you with their claws, and smaller Alienesque face-hugger creatures who cling to your face. Once a huge end-of-level guardian has been blasted to hell and back, it's down to the surface of the nearest planet in your little shuttlecraft.

Graphically, Space Gun's great, with brilliantly drawn and animated aliens and a kaleidoscope of colours earning it a CRASH Smash (91%!). Jolly good show matey-peeps!

G-LOC

In this 3D perspective shoot-'em-up, which took seven months to program, you're a United Nations Thunderfox pilot and blast baddies galore.

After a spectacular take off and a quick 360-degree spin, you're straight into battle. There's an astonishing number of sprites onscreen, all carefully drawn, and even with lots going on action remains fast and furious.

You've got automatic guns and a Heads-Up Display that locks your sights onto an enemy and launches a heatseeking missile to blast them away. Watch your fuel and give 'em what-for!

An ambitious project for the lowly Speccy but all in all it came out pretty well, clocking up a respectable mark of 76% in this very issue.

Karl Jeffrey

Meet the MD

Hmmmm, shifty-looking character, this one. Oh, it's the Managing Directory of Images! That's okay then (these MDs get away with murder don't they? But that's another story.) Anyway, let's have a butcher's at what sort of mongrel runs the outfit:

Name: Karl Jeffrey
Age: 24 (but feels older - fnarr)
Sex: variable
Weight: several tonnes
Status: single (except for the sheep - he's half Welsh, y'know)
Address: censored due to bomb threats
Fave game: R-Type (he programmed it - big-headed git)
Fave food: anything beginning with 'R'
Fave music: The Beatles
Hobbies: Squash, battering programmers with lump hammers, talking to hobgoblins, cleaning his ears, cleaning someone else's ears, falling over when drunk, typing 'R' over and over again
Ambitions: to make loadsa dosh, make even more dosh, re-program R-Type, climb the Eiffel Tower blindfolded, stand at the top and scream 'EPIGLOTTIS!' at a small spider hiding in the corner