Live Circuit

The recent blast of blazing weather prompts the, slightly changed, phrase ‘Mad dogs and CRASH employees go out in the midday sun’. Since CRASH moved to a new HQ on the banks of the River Teme, lunchtimes have become a free for all on the water’s edge. The worst perpetrator is Aunt Aggie, long forgotten Mail Order queen (aka Carol Kinsey) whose idea of a ‘birrovalaff’ is to encourage the sport of paddling. Then, when her victims are knee deep, she begins to kick, splash, and throw cups of water over them. I, naturally, have no intention of getting my feet wet and watch the proceedings from the window. Now you know why I work from home most of the time! Enough of our goings on, what have you lot been up to? A bulging mail bag to contend with and a Letter of the Month from Neil Crittenden who wants more from his Speccy than just Space Invaders!


Dear Lloyd
I’ve written to you to say ‘well done’ for reviewing an educational game (Hooray for Henrietta, CRASH 78). I’ve noticed that there are hardly any educational games on the market. My sister did spot Fun School 2 which is an excellent bunch of programs. So, a message to programmers. How about some more of these games please!
Neil Crittenden

A few years back CRASH ran a regular three-page educational feature called CRASH Course. However, it was stopped as many readers felt it ate up too much space. Scetlander, producers of Hooray for Henrietta, were keen that CRASH reviewed Hooray and we were impressed. I’ve received many letters like yours stating readers’ pleasure on seeing such a game reviewed. So, from now on, CRASH will be reviewing the best of entertaining educational games. Look out for Fun School 3 very soon. Maybe that’s one of the titles you can buy with your £40 software voucher — you’ve just won Letter Of The Month!


Dear Lloyd
Is this the dumbest letter you have ever received?
Anthony Hobbs

No, your previous letter was worse!


Dear Lloyd
I have a +2A computer and I bought Konami Coin-op Hits. The problem is I can never get Mikie to load. When it runs the hearts come up on screen but when I press Enter the screen goes blank. Please can you give me some advice.
Rodney Wilson

In any cases where software doesn’t load you should return it immediately to the place where you bought it. If it is indeed faulty the shop should offer you a replacement. However, Mikie is such an old title that you may find it’s incompatible with the +2A.


Dear Lloyd
I think the game Software House on the CRASH 78 cassette was rad and I wish you would have more games like that in future. How come you always have games on the tape that I’ve got but never any pokes for games that I’ve got?!
James Milner-Walker

Software House, the management style game, received a good reaction from many readers and we shall look at putting other games of this style on the Powertape. How’s that for service!


Dear Lloyd, my man!
I am just about to try a karate lesson on my Speccy. I bought it second-hand in September 1989 and for many months, I had endless hours of fun playing games, then all of a sudden, kerpow!, the sound went completely. Oi, stop laughing! (Not a titterLM). I tried umpteen attempts to get it back, but this was in vain. I eventually gave up on it and thought, oh well, I suppose I’ll have to play my games minus the sound.

Then, about a month or so ago, the sound returned, but only for one evening, then it shut down once more. Maybe you might know how I can get it back.
Selina Salisbury

Since you bought your Speccy second-hand, I expect you don’t have a valid warranty. It looks like a job for a specialist repair shop. In cases like these Video Vault or Bentley Computers are recommended, their advertisements can usually be found in these pages.


Dear Lloyd
I’ve got two problems:

1. I am writing a fanzine and I need games to review. Should I write to software houses for games?

2. Is selling a fanzine without a license illegal, my mum says so but I don’t think so.

Stephen Gallagher

Starting a fanzine is a tricky job, but as long as you are prepared to work hard at it there’s no reason why anyone should not be successful. However, you will find software houses reluctant to hand out endless free copies of games until you have produced a few issues off your own back and can indicate your sales figures. It’s an uphill struggle, but not illegal.


Dear Lloyd
I would like to make a point to software companies (Ocean and US Gold). Whenever they make a Speccy game they usually print Amiga or Atari ST screenshots on the back of the box. A lot of Spectrum games which cost £10 or more are in black and white. For example: The Untouchables (Ocean), Outrun (US Gold), Batman the Movie (Ocean), and Turbo Outrun (US Gold). I’m not saying all £10 games are in 100% black and white but a lot of them are. Say someone had a large variety of £10+ games for Spectrum and he wanted to buy Ocean’s Rainbow Islands for £10, he’ll think it’s in black and white because the screenshots are not Spectrum, so he probably won’t buy it. Now, I’ve got Rainbow Islands and even finished it (thanks to Pokemania on the Powertape which was stuck on the cover of CRASH 76). It’s a colourful game when you compare it to the other £10 games on the Spectrum. I hope that software companies in the future will be like CodeMasters — who put actual Spectrum screenshots on the case.
Arfan Ul-Maq

The simple answer is just to check out the CRASH reviews and previews for an accurate illustration of what a game actually looks like. The problem for software houses, when packaging games, is that there are so many formats around these days — games are usually released in standard packaging on the Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Amiga and PC. And the trend of packaging games in soft-boxes is an expensive one, too expensive for a special box to be produced for each format. Additionally, the packaging is produced ages before the game is released as it is a time consuming job — production of boxes usually begins as soon as some graphic screens are ready to stick on the box. And more often it’s not the Speccy shots that are used. In an ideal world screen shots from every format would be included, but sadly, this does not appear to be happening.

Don’t forget! Send your letters to NEWSFIELD, LLOYD MANGRAM’S LIVE CIRCUIT, CRASH. You could win £40 of software — if your letter is either clever enough, or silly enough!


More pleas of help! from readers who are stuck. If we can’t help! maybe YOU know the answer. Write in if you have any solutions.

David Tout is new to the Speccy and loves the cassette, but is a bit stuck on one point... ‘There is more than one game on one side of the tape. Could you tell me how to get the next game on the same side?’ Simple! When the first game has loaded stop the tape immediately. Then, when you want to play the next game, just perform the usual loading procedure and start the tape again, this should help you. Ideally, if you’re using a cassette deck with a built-in counter, note down the number for the point where every program starts.

Paul Maggs needs some help with his printer, does anyone have a solution? ‘Can you tell me if the Clive Drive interface is compatible with the Timex 2040 Thermal printer?’ Paul also asks ‘What is the difference between the +2 and the +2A?’ Well, Paul, the +2A’s circuit board is taken from the +3 design (which means some older games may not be compatible) and the +2 circuit board is that of the original 128K+.

Finally, Robert Davies asks ‘Are there any software packages for my Spectrum that you can use with a mouse. The only software I have for it is the AMX Art I had with it. I read in the manual that software would be released soon, but in total failure I haven’t succeeded in finding any. I have a Spectrum +2 (cassette).’

Do you know of any mouse driven software? Let us know.


CodeMasters appear to be taking a leaf from CRASH’s book and are producing a cassette bulging with four great games! The Quattro series, out now, already has three packs available: Quattro Power, Quattro Sports and Quattro Adventure, something for all tastes in computer games.

The four games included in each package are all from the CodeMasters stable and include some of the best games they’ve ever produced! Quattro Power has Moto X, Twin Turbo V8, Pro Powerboat and ATV Simulator — a mixture of excellent and some more mediocre games, but there’s bound to be something you like. Nick reckons its worth an overall score of 78%. Next up is Quattro Adventure, wherein lie some of the best CodeMasters games ever. Just look at this line up: Dizzy, Vampire, Ghost Hunters and Super Robin Hood; an ideal purchase for any arcade adventure fan which gets an overall score of 80% from Nick. Finally, Quattro Sports is one for all you sporty types out there. In this feast of fun we have four simulators: Grand Prix Simulator, Pro Ski Simulator, Pro Snooker Simulator and BMX Simulator. Providing challenge for any sports simulation fans Quattro Sports is great value tor money. And the score on the door, Nick? 70%!


Also on the cards for an Autumn release is Gremlins 2 — The New Batch from Elite. Billy, his girlfriend Kate and the everso cute Gizmo the Mogwai are back in this all new adventure. An evil scientist has built a huge skyscraper where he conducts genetic experiments on cute little creatures. Billy and Kate work in this building and the fun really starts when Billy finds his little pal Gizmo in the genetic labs. I won’t reveal the whole plot but Gizmo is splashed by water and the Gremlins are on the loose again. And remember if your Speccy breaks down you know who to blame!


It’s movie time! Yes, both offerings this month are based on block-busting releases to come. Mark Caswell reports...

DC Comics, film tie-in, £1.60

Based on the script for the Arnie Schwarzenegger movie Total Recall, this comic is about ordinary guy Doug Quaid who after continual dreams of Mars wants to move there but finds his wife not keen on the idea. Quaid visits Rekall Incorporated, who specialise in selling implanted memories of holidays never actually had.

The dream trip doesn’t work out, and Doug finds he isn’t Doug at all, but a secret agent name of Hauser who worked for Mars Intelligence. A web of defection, termination and double-dealing get Quaid/Hauser to Mars where events come to a volcanic climax.

The plot sounds and is confusing, and even a read of the comic won’t sort everything out. This is a case where a film script does not seem to have translated well into the comic format: the actual movie’s pace will no doubt hide various holes in the plot — reading the comic is like looking through a sieve. Get it if you want to spoil the fun of the real thing...

Marvel, £3.60 (import)

Officer Murphy is back on the streets of Old Detroit and up against the mastermind behind the most addictive drug ever created. The designer drug is Nuke, the criminal genius Cain. And with the police force on strike, he and his cult have a field day. Only RoboCop is determined to face Cain and tracks him down in his lair but is caught and brutally deactivated.

Meanwhile, efforts to create a RoboCop 2 are floundering in expensive failures, and city councillors are demanding a new image for the cyborgs: RoboCops must be nice!

While Detroit teeters on the brim of bankruptcy, and political shenanigans rage on to privatise it, RoboCop suffers humiliation after humiliation due to reprogramming, until he finally comes to his own self, finds Cain and meets RoboCop 2 for a sensational showdown.

Again based on a film script, this is a much more coherent effort, although the drawing could be better. I think I’d rather wait for the movie!

More comics action next issue!


Keep sending your entries in for the new Fave Raves section, as launched last month — here’s the first Fave Rave list from Paul Tempest. Are these games in your top five? Let us know!!

    Brilliant, cute shoot-’em-up with excellent graphics!
    Easy shoot-’em-up, but a good game
    Brill music and graphics, but not very easy!
    Very easy gameplay with superb graphics and sound!
    Best graphics and very playable — the best shoot-’em-up going?!


Cowabunga dudes! The heroes in a half shell are taking the country by storm and Mirrorsoft have beaten off some of the other top software houses to grab the licence for Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. The story should be known to all (unless you’ve been on the moon for the last six months), but in brief four turtles fell into a sewer and landed in some radioactive slime that changed them into (da da dah daaaa!) Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles! Now they’re human size and have learned the ways of the Ninjitsu warrior from a rat called Splinter and given the names of Italian painters. Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo and Donatello now fight evil whereever it raises its ugly head, especially their arch enemy Shredder and his evil Foot Clan. Their other passion apart from biffing bad dudes is eating lots of pepperoni and cheese pizza. Expect to see the game in the late Autumn, and remember evil moves fast, but good moves faster.


It’s the Konix Megablaster and indeed, is one of the cheapest joysticks around! Originally a snip at £6.99 it’s now even snippier at £4.99, and the microswitch version has price-plummeted to a mere £6.99! Hurrah! ‘It’s worth its weight in gold, but only costs its weight in paperclips!’ says the blurb and here’s a piccie of some scales, a couple of Megablasters, paperclips and some gold to prove the point. Commenting on the price drop Ashvin Patel, of suppliers Spectravideo, said ‘The Megablaster truly represents megavalue for money’. Ho ho.


Computer/movie tie in news is rife this month. With a reputed cost of 75 million dollars Total Recall is the most expensive motion picture of all time. Ocean have snatched the rights to this surefire blockbuster where big Arnold Schwarzenegger is an ordinary guy with dreams of Mars who finds that he doesn’t exist (Erm... Blimey! — Ed) He’s a spy with a wiped memory, and has to return to the red planet to find out why his memory was blanked.

Titus aren’t to be left out of the running either, Disney Studios have offered them a lucrative deal with two big film licences. The first in October will be Dick Tracy, based on the Warren Beatty/Madonna movie. Big Boy and his gang are terrorising your city, and as the world’s most famous PI you must thwart his dastardly plans. So don your yellow raincoat and hat and prepare for the battle against organised crime. Second will be Arachnophobia early next year, a city has been infested by a plague of intelligent, aggressive and deadly spiders. As the hero it is up to you to save your family and destroy the spiders. Ugh. Spiders.


YET ANOTHER joystick is on the way from Spectravideo, but don’t tell Mary Whitehouse ’cos it doesn’t have any clothes on. Actually the Quickjoy Top Star has a transparent body, so you can see all the workings. The shaft is a trendy black beast with two red buttons, one under the player’s thumb and the other under the index finger. Fast reacting microswitches keep you in contact with the action, and a stainless steel centre shaft makes sure the Top Star takes all the punishment you little monsters can dish out. The Quickjoy Top Star should be available by the time you read this priced £24.95.


As mentioned last month in the Sinclair Survival feature, CRASH was invited to Paris recently to witness the launch of new Amstrad product. Was a new Sinclair Spectrum launch to be announced? Sadly, not. In September, Amstrad is to launch three new machines, based on the current Amstrad CPCs. There’s the CPC 464 Plus and the CPC 6128 Plus and the big news is that a console, called the GX4000 will also be available. Amstrad has taken its existing technology and vastly improved the sound and graphics handling hardware. Games for the GX4000, which are compatible with the two Plus computers, will be released on cartridge format, costing around £20 each. The only game seen so far is Ocean’s Burnin’ Rubber, based on WEC Le Mans, and it’s a red hot racing game that’s very impressive. If you want to complement your Speccy, don’t forget to take a look at the GX4000, at £99 including VAT it’s a bit of a snip!


The All Formats Computer Fair looks like becoming a monthly event! The next one is on Saturday September 1, and as always there are bargains a plenty to be had! Featuring a SAM Coupé village, the show opens at 10am and it costs £3 to get in. The place to be is the New Hall of the Royal Horticultural Society, Greycoat and Elverton St. Westminster, London.