THERE’S something disorienting about January — it’s suddenly easy to feel lost without a seasonal prop. Still, by the time you read this it’ll be well nigh Valentine’s day and the round of gimmickry can resume.

The games producers will be accused of gimmickry again this year, as the rush of tie-ins accelerates. Some software houses — most egregiously Gremlin Graphics and Piranha — are all but devoting themselves to tie-ins, it seems. And you’d hardly think the universe could take another master.

But the top games this month are good old-fashioned state-of-the-art stuff — an eminently playable martial-arts challenge from System 3 in IK+, an exciting flight simulator from Firebird in Flying Shark and a classically text-only adventure from Level 9 in Knight Orc.

There’s an interview with the minds behind Level 9 in the new-look Adventure Trail, too — and we hope you’ll write to let us know how you find that section. (Signpost and Signstumps will return next month, when there’s space — and Lloyd has something defensive to say about space in the Forum...)


New to CRASH this month are one game-reviewer and two Staff Writers. Nathan Jones from Church Stretton developed an unhealthy attachment to Mirrorsoft’s Andy Capp soon after his arrival at the Towers, but we’ll still let him come in every Saturday for re-education sessions.

Gordon Houghton joins us as a Staff Writer from Blackburn in Lancashire, via three years at Oxford studying for joint honours in horizontal scrolling and comparative arcade adventures. And Mark Caswell, who’s been contributing the odd comment for several months, joins that small but intrepid band that roves from mag to mag.