Live Circuit

Right, we’re well into the new decade now, with Valentine’s Day looming if you’re interested, I’m much too busy comparing my spanking new SAM to the trusty (and definitely not rusty) Speccy, and downloading games from the CodeMasters CD! We’ve had heaps of mail this month (keep ’em coming) and most of them giving D Speck a ticking off for his criticism of CRASH in December; I’ve picked just a few to give you a taste. Right, on with the show, and remember there’s a Speccy world waiting to hear from you! Really good ones could be Letter of the Month (none this issue, I’m afraid...)


Dear Lloyd
I thought you’d appreciate a letter from your biggest fan in Norway, probably the only one (Spectrums aren’t sold here). Things aren’t so great here. It rains 364 days a year and we only have one TV channel. But worst of all, my CRASH comes one month late (not your fault), how dreadful.

I suppose the Spectrum games and CRASH make up for it. I am thinking of buying some games, the following titles are on my list: Super Wonderboy, Myth, New Zealand Story, Renegade III. I wonder if this is a good choice. (I like beat em ups and arcade games) (£40 could be useful).

I subscribe to CRASH, being late renewing my subscription I missed two magazines No 65 and 66. I wonder if there were any tips for Batman The Jokers: A fate worse than death. I’m stuck, and some tips could come in handy. CRASH is a great mag I look forward to every time I find it in our mail box. People who complain about CRASH, have no reason, but if they are still unhappy, don’t buy it. I will read CRASH as long as I can play computer games.
Jan-Erik Steel

Good choice of games Jan-Erik, but I don’t think New Zealand Story is a beat ’em up! There weren’t any tips for A Fete Worse Than Death in issue 65 or 66. Nick reckons he’s printed some, but for the life of him can’t remember where.


Dear Lloyd
I’ve read a few letters recently in varying magazines on which computer they should buy, Sam Coupé or Atari ST.

Price: they seem to be very close, ST around £299 and Coupé after buying disk drive, extra memory and printer port £310.

Performance: the Coupé claims to be on a par with the ST for graphics and better in sound.

I think for me and a lot of users price of software will play a big part in deciding which to buy. If programs can be the same quality as the ST but half the price, the Coupé will be a big seller.

The clear advantage of the Coupé is being able to run most Spectrum software and still buy your magazine which will feature the Coupé. Which would you choose or will only time decide?
S Rigby

It all depends on what you want to do with your new computer. If your interest is mainly graphics and sound an ST is the one to go for at the moment. While the SAM sports great graphics and sound facilities, the ST having been around for quite a while is leaps and bounds ahead in software support for these two specialist areas. However, if you want games SAM is a worthy investment for its Speccy compatibility and the prospect of new enhanced games on the way — and if you’re patient good sound and graphics packages are bound to appear too.


Dear Lloyd
D Speck wrote in criticizing CRASH. He was in my opinion wrong, as CRASH is far better now than it ever has been. Oli Frey’s covers are brilliant so do you think we can have another CRASH history, or a FEAR History? (It was asked before. but you said not enough history had gone by).
Andy Green

Thanks for your comments, but no matter how much flattery you heap upon us there are no plans for more ‘Historys’.

Dear Lloyd
Imagine my surprise when I went into my local newsagents to pick up the December issue and I was confronted with six great games, I went home and played them all — Brill I thought. Imagine my disgust when I turned to the letters page and read the letter from D Speck. What the hell is he going on about ‘relaunching the mag with a cover mounted cassette was a mistake’! I, and I’m sure other readers will agree that your cassettes are great and all the games are brill Just because D Speck wants to moan it does not mean we all share his opinion.
Someone in Cheltenham

Dear Lloyd
I never used to be able to afford many new games but with the new look CRASH, I now have a healthy supply of games.

So please, please, please do not change back.
Richard Frewin

Dear Lloyd
What a lot of flannel! I refer to D Speck’s letter, of course I can see his point, that some people do prefer the more technical aspects.

May I say to D Speck that the magazine’s change was due to the CRASH questionnaire. Obviously more people preferred a games orientated format to the technical type issue. And judging by the amount of letters congratulating CRASH on the new look this was even more confirmed.

So, if D Speck is not satisfied with CRASH may I suggest he should invest in a more technical magazine.

D Speck’s letter was one sided. Taking into consideration all of CRASH’s features it should make an interesting read each month, for anyone with a Spectrum.
Thomas Vanner

I couldn’t have put it better myself. Should make an interesting read? It does!! Especially my bits. (Oi! — Ed)


Dear Lloyd
I have recently purchased a Sinclair Spectrum ZX 128 +2 as a Christmas present. It included a light gun, a joystick and six free games. When I tried the games out, the light gun wouldn’t shoot anything. In the Christmas issue of CRASH Nick Roberts reviewed a Cheetah Light Gun and also said the Sinclair light gun was of good quality. I would advise strongly that any other reader who would like to purchase the same package as me, ask the assistant in the shop to give a demonstration of the gun.
John Pallister

It’s always wise to ask for a demonstration of any hardware you’re thinking of buying and compare it to other products of the same nature. But in your case, we reckon you’ve got a faulty gun if it won’t shoot anything at all. Take it back to the shop where you originally bought it and request a replacement. Either that, or you’re pointing it the wrong way!

Finally, a huge thank you to three people who slogged their guts out compiling mega lists of all games reviewed in CRASH. They are: Ian Doggett, Stephen Price, and Ian Stephenson. A pressie is winging its way to all of ya.



It’s the man with his foot in the door (SLAM!! Ouch!), his ear to the ground (STAMP!! Arrrgh!) and other anatomical extremities placed upon the terra firma — it’s Mark ‘Corky’ Caswell and his amazing magical crystal ball! We send him out, he comes back with the info — and then we distill it all lovingly for your consumption...


Along with Space Harrier II (see this month’s previews) the spanking new Sega coin-op Scramble Spirit is set for the Grandslam treatment. It will be a two player, six level, vertically scrolling shoot-’em-up set in the 21st Century. But do the heroes swan around in some futuristic marvel of modern technology? Nope, they battle their mysterious enemy in World War I bi-planes. Attacks come from both the air and the ground as other bi-planes, tanks and gun emplacements take pot shots at your very frail craft. Play this weird game concoction soon, and lets hope it’s faster than an ancient bi-plane!


Microprose love aircraft, so it doesn’t come as any surprise to find another ‘tally-ho, chaps’ game on the horizon: P-47 from their Firebird label. Converted from the Jaleco coin-op, it puts you in control of a P-47 Thunderbolt, battling through eight levels chock-ful of enemy planes and assorted ground forces. To help you on your way various power-up weapons are promised, including smart bombs and multi directional fire etc. P-47 should wing its gun-blazing way to your Speccy in Feb.


Applied Systems Developments Ltd announce the launch of the first truly portable printer for the businessman whose vocabulary has been reduced to the word PANIC!. Features include a speed of 80cps, full 80 column width and graphics capabilities. And don’t worry about having to carry the little blighter around in a suitcase ’cause it’s apparently about the size of a 1lb box of choccies (the suitcase is for the batteries). It comes in two types, the mains only version costs £99, whilst the cordless printer is a measly £159.


Games testing has been the order of the day at MGT recently to confirm which Speccy titles run on the SAM Coupé. MGT report that some users have had problems loading titles, this may be due to a weak loading signal from the cassette recorder. Thankfully, MGT is releasing a new SAM Utilities cassette which should give even better compatibility.

Anyway, here are the first batch of games MGT have tried and found to work: Rescue On Fractalus, HATE, Paperboy, Periscope Up, Forgotten Worlds, Barbarian, Draconus, ATV Sim, Jet Set Willy, Thundercats, Project Stealth Fighter, Silent Service, Buggy Boy, Starion, Treasure Island Dizzy, Super Stuntman, Super Robin Hood, Reveal, Dynatron Mission, Street Fighter, Cybernoid, Flintstones, Atic Atac, Hacker II, Nightshade, Robocop, Commando, Bounder, Manic Miner, Ground Attack, River Rescue, Giant’s Revenge, Rocky Horror Show, Hydrated, Dark Fusion, Cybernoid II, Impossible Mission II, Lancelot, Jetpac, Mig 29, Strider, KGB Superspy, Ghostbusters II, Gregory Loses His Clock, PowerDrift, Jack The Nipper II, Kung Fu II, Trantor The Last Stormtrooper, Gunship, ThunderBlade, Zynaps, Batman The Caped Crusader, Air Traffic Controller, Wonderboy, Bigfoot, Dan Dare, KickStart II, Yogi Bear, 1943, Fairlight II, Marsport, Sabre Wulf, LightForce, Driller, Joe Blade, Fire Trap, Sweevo’s World, Finders Keepers, Jack The Beanstalk, Zip Zap, Stonkers, Shadows of Mordor, Impossaball, Curse Of Sherwood, The Empire Strikes Back, Magnetron 2, The Sentinel and Molar Maul.


It’s just like the wacky world of pop! MGT is taking the SAM Coupé on tour up and down the country to give everyone an opportunity to see the beast in action. The MGT team will be at at locations on the tour dates, and the shows open at 5pm and run for three hours. In the afternoons the MGT team are presenting seminars for retailers. And the dates are: Glasgow (Albany Hotel) Feb 26; Newcastle, Washington (Post House Hotel) Feb 27; Manchester, Haydock (Post House Hotel) Feb 28; Leeds, Brighouse (Post House Hotel) March 1; Bristol, Alveston (Post House Hotel) March 5; Southampton (Dolphin Hotel) March 6; Coventry (Post House Hotel), March 7; and in London at the Russell Hotel on March 8. Be there or remain a 48ker for ever! Har, har!!!


Too impatient to wait for the next Bond movie in 1991, and wanting to repeat their success with Licence To Kill, Domark have announced the summer release of The Spy Who Loved Me, based on the movie starring Roger ‘Eyebrows’ Moore. Sounds a mite romantically sexy for a joystick waggler...


Not so much Comix this month as Graphic Novels, which is basically yuppie speak for comics anyway, so what the hell!! Mark Caswell dons his cape and delves into the darker side of the Batman...

Gotham By Gaslight
Titan Books £2.50

The place is London and the year is 1889. Bruce Wayne is on his way back to Gotham after five years in Europe: home to become Gotham’s self appointed protector — The Batman. And it needs protection, because Jack The Ripper has fled the scene of his sickening crimes in Whitechapel to terrorise America.

The police are powerless to stop the maniac, and mistakenly blame Bruce for the crimes. He vainly tries to clear his name, but a blood soaked knife found at his mansion begets a lightning court trial and a sentence to hang... It’s strange to see a Batman story set a hundred years ago, it’s even weirder for the plot to follow the storyline (albeit rather loosely) of later day tales.

A quirky idea, nicely drawn and coloured, and I suppose an alternative history of Batman — and The Ripper.

Arkham Asylum
Titan Books £14.95

Arkham Asylum is aimed at an older readership, both in content and price, but it is a damn good read. In 1920 following the death of his mother, the brilliant psychiatrist Amadeus Arkham turned his ancestral home into a hospital for the criminally insane. Batman is responsible for incarcerating most of them, and now fifty years after its opening, the asylum’s inmates, lead by the psychotic Joker, take the staff hostage and demand that Batman enter to pay his debt.

He does and is given one hour to hide before the inmates go after him. Interspersed with the main story is Amadeus Arkham’s tale of woe, leading to his wife and child’s death and his fall into insanity. Throughout, Batman questions his own sanity: are Arkham’s inmates insane, or those of us who live in the outside world? Arkham Asylum is bleak and brooding, beautifully grotesque in its drawing, and Batman torturedly sinister. A must for all serious Batfans.


’Ere we go, ’ere we go (for the umpteenth time), Aberystwyth (where??) based software house Goliath Games have just announced the signing of the ace table top footy game Subbuteo. The computer version is expected to appear early in the year and follow closely the style of the ‘flick a player across the table, missus’ game. Expect a preview very soon. and Richard and Mark are busy hunting for their old Subbuteo sets...


Continuing their successful team up with Sega, Activision are on the verge of releasing the ace coin-op racing game Hot Rod. Two player action abounds over thirty screens filled with changing weather conditions, tortuous tracks and zealous cops chasing you. And the better you do on a track, the more essential parts you can buy for your car to turn it into a mean machine. It all sounds familiar this winter, but if you’re not car sick yet. here’s your chance.


What is? Where?! Erm, nowhere yet. But there soon could be! The entries for the CodeMasters Design a Game Compo have flooded in. We’ve been swamped with ideas: there’s been heaps of Dizzy in Outer Space, we’ve had Deep Sea Dizzy, Prehistoric Dizzy... endless variations! Plus lots of original games that are really great! CodeMasters are picking the winners very soon, though it could take ages to get through the sackloads of entries. Keep your eyes peeled for the results soon!


Except it’s not. But, hell!, here’s an event to recreate all the excitement produced at those Microfairs in ‘ye olden days’. It’s called the All Formats Computer Fair and is a happenin’ bargain hunters delight at the New Horticultural Hall in London. The star of the show is the SAM Coupé: it’s making its first public appearance there and it’s probably the best way to get hold of one early!

The show opens its doors at 10.30 on Saturday 10 February, costs £3.00 to get in and the best way of getting there is via Victoria Station.


One of the country’s top adventure creators have joined forces with the cheerful London based company owned by that Colgate smile balloonist Richard Branson. In plain English: Magnetic Scrolls have signed a marketing deal with Virgin/Mastertronic. All their fabbo titles will be released on the Magnetic Scrolls label, and cofounder Anita Sinclair commented ‘we had many substantial offers for our new product, what made me choose Virgin was their commitment to the market place’. Stating the obvious isn’t it, or they wouldn’t be there.

Anita Sinclair and Virgin’s Nick Alexander