Live Circuit

You can tell everyone’s gearing up for Christmas because there are Easter Eggs in the local supermarket and you can get ‘Soaraway Spanish Summer Savers for 1991’ in the holiday shop. The festive spirit, eh? Well, from me to you, a very Merry Christmas. I know I’ll be back with you before the holidays, but I’ll be wittering about 1991 then. So what has the CRASH team got lined up for Christmas? Well, the Christmas party is on the horizon and we’ll be drinking your health because it’s you lot, the readers, which made 1990 one of CRASH’s most successful years: 12,000 more monthly readers than 1989!! Worth celebrating!! We’ll be back next month, everyone but me with a stinking hangover, with more Speccy thrills. In the meantime get your letters to me at: NEWSFIELD, LLOYD MANGRAM’S FORUM, CRASH. The best letter wins the writer £40 of software!


Dear Lloyd
I can’t hold back much longer as I am starting to get very worried at the tremendous increase in the cost of full priced games. It used to be normal to pay £5.99 for a game, then it went up to £6.99, then £7.99, and then £8.99. Now it stands at £9.99 (£10.99 games are appearing more and more — LM), with disk games, £14.99. This is a rise of £4.00 over 3 or 4 years. Surely, it doesn’t cost a software house nearly £10 to produce a game from start to finish, and why the gap of £5 between disk and tape?

I also notice a large decline in the amount of Speccy games in the high street. Though the amount of budget re-releases coming out is increasing all the time and it’s a great way of saving money and all are great value. Some of the budgets are better than the full priced games.

Finally the cover games are great. I mean, four complete games plus a mag, all for £1.85! It’s well wicked! CRASH is in a league of its own as other mags can’t even get one good game on their covers!
Malcolm Dunlop

Of course Speccy games have become more expensive over the years. You wouldn’t expect people involved in producing software to be happy working today for the same wages they were getting five years ago? Even budget games have risen in cost over the years from a 99p/£1.99 price point to £2.99 today, and a lot of publishers are considering a new £3.99 price point. Do remember it’s not the software houses who are making £10 from every game — distributors and retailers take a hefty cut of the price too! You’re right about budget software. The quality of original games has improved tremendously over the years and with superb re-releases around, buying budget software is a great way to build up your software collection. As is buying CRASH every month! Why not subscribe? At only £18 for 12 issues and a free Ocean game... (SNIP! Plug over — Ed).


Dear Mr Mangram
I am not at all happy with the stuff being put out for Spectrum computers. It’s samey and frequently boring. We can’t help the graphics, and of course there is only so much you can cram into the humble Spectrum program, but it seems to me there’s a lack of inspiration running throughout most new games.

I also feel — speaking as an adult — that there’s too much accent on the occult and on violence. I would like to see more really good puzzle-type games — those that are around do not seem to have enough variation, every level being pretty much the same as what went before.

I would like to see real-life situations such as you deal with in Elite, and I would like to see games which cater for us older folk. It’s my fear that the likes of the Speccy will be less and less catered for as programmers flex their talents on the challenge of bigger machines.
Pat Reeve

The Spectrum market is very much a youth one now, which is why there are many more games licensed from coin-ops and hit movies; though at least with film licenses you are getting an original game design. The software publishers reckon the older gamer, who was playing Elite five years ago is earning a wage now and therefore can afford the £400 16-bit machines where simulations and strategy games abound. Though puzzle games are in vogue at the moment and Ocean’s trio of Plotting, Puzznic and Pang are well worth checking out.


Dear Lloyd
My friend and I asked 10 people in our class at school what their favourite games publisher was. Seven said Ocean. New Zealand Story is my favourite game, and two other people in my class think so too. The problem is, on the Amiga there are secret passages and I can’t find any on the Speccy version and the time demon gets me for staying too long in one place.
Beth Waters

Ocean always has been a popular publisher — but is that everyone’s view? We’ll be asking all of you that next month as we print the voting form for the 1990 CRASH Readers Awards! As for secret passages in New Zealand Story, DJ Nicko reckons there are some, and you should check out the tips from issues 70, 71 and 72.


Dear Lloyd
George Lazou

PS Bet that’s dumber than Anthony Hobbs’ letter!!!

Only just.


Dear Lloyd
I’ve just purchased a secondhand 48K Speccy and then realised that the 48K was not on sale now. Is this true? If it is does this mean that no more software is to be manufactured for the 48K?
Duncan Lyall

Amstrad, the Speccy’s manufacturer, only supplies the +2 now. Production of the disk-based +3 has stopped. But there are a lot of 48K machines out there and nearly all software publishers put out games that run on the 48K. Though, because of the ever increasing need for complexity in games, I expect that during 1991 we’ll see a lot of 128K only software.


Dear Lloyd
I totally agree with what John Quinn had to say in issue 78 about piracy. A few months ago an ex-friend of mine received a Speccy +2 for his birthday and a few days later he approached me with some 90 minute tapes and told me it was my moral duty to give him a copy of all my Speccy games, which cost me in excess of £500. I refused and he hasn’t spoken to me since.

The price of software here in Eire is very expensive. In the software store nearby The In Crowd costs £27.99 and Vendetta and Midnight Resistance cost £18.99 a piece. These prices are outrageous, no wonder software sales are so low and piracy levels so high!
Daniel Nagle

You were quite right to refuse. Your ex-friend would not only be robbing the programmers and publishers but also robbing your collection of its value. Software prices are expensive in Eire but why not use CRASH’s very own efficient mail order service? We can supply any recently published game at a discount price! Give mail order queen Carol Kinsey a ring for details! And Carol will be in contact soon as you have just won £40 worth of software from her vaults for your Letter of the Month!


Dear Lloyd
I read issue 78 and agree with John Quinn. But I think the software houses are fighting a losing battle. How would they know who is copying? One way to stop them would be to stop making, and importing, double cassette decks, as having these is like asking for piracy.
Tony Goodchild

The chances of preventing the manufacture of double cassette decks are remote. But the solution the software publishers have come up with is to release games on a cartridge format. This isn’t happening on the Spectrum, but both Commodore and Amstrad have released new consoles which take only cartridges, which cannot be copied, and Commodore’s cartridges work on the old Commodore 64 too. Speccy games will, as always, be released on tape which, sadly, leaves them open to tape-to-tape piracy.


Dear Lloyd
Picture the scene: me, an avid shoot-’em-up fan getting really fed up because a) I can’t get past the fourth level on R-Type (even though I can get there without losing a life) and b) all my other shoot-’em-up games are too easy! (modest me). Then I bought my favourite magazine CRASH (creep, creep) and read what it said about Satcom. With me being a shoot-’em-up fan I thought ‘Aghhh!!!’. But I loaded it up anyway, just to try it. At first I thought it was boredom city, but after two hours of code busting action I was converted. No longer was I a shoot-’em-up fan but a code cracking game fan! The moral of this letter is to try out different game styles: you never know what you might like! CRASH forever!
Stewart Walker

Precisely! The spice of life has several varieties. Or is that the varieties of life are quite spicy? Erm... The spicy varieties of life are like a curry? Yes! The answer to life, the universe and everything is a big vindaloo.


Dear Lloyd
I just had to write a rap about your cool mag CRASH.

Since I read CRASH for the very first time.
I kept on getting some real weird signs.
Signs that were saying that this mag was cool.
Signs that were saying that this mag would rule.
These cool CRASH tapes don’t linger about
When there’s nothing to play they help me out
Not one, not two, but four games to play, yeah with all these games it’s just play, play, play.
Jason Wedgburrow

MC Hammer, watch out!


If you need help! or can offer someone help! this is just the place for you. Send in your problems or answers to the usual address. First bit of help! comes from A Samm who has this bit of help! for music buffs. ‘I have some of the Z Midi codes for the 128K Spectrums which you might be interested in. The following ‘Z’ codes were used with a +3 and a Yamaha PSS-480 but I think any keyboard to standard Midi specifications should work. If you don’t know, the Z command is one of the special play commands which will control any Midi instrument, and are used in the form of: PLAY "Znn" — where ‘nn’ is one of the numbers below. Please note some commands can only be used in certain modes of the keyboard. Z250: start rhythm, Z252: stop rhythm, Z192 voice one, followed by a second Z number, ie: 213 for that voice. Z193 — Z206 — voices 2–15 (as for voice 1). Z207 — Rhythm selection (as for voice 1). Also Y16 will play the drum beats on the PSS-480. If anyone else has any more can they tell CRASH and the rest of us!’

A printer plea for help! from Robert Crowther. What’s up, Robert? ‘Please can you tell me the name and price of any printers that are available for use with my 128K +2? Could you also tell me where I can purchase these printers because I like printing programs and designs.’

Unlike the +3 which has a proper printer port, the +2 features only an expansion port. What you need is a RS232 Interface and then an RS232 lead to connect to a printer. There are a wide variety of printers and most have an RS232 input port. The best advice is to visit a specialist computer shop and ask for a demonstration of the printers in stock and they should be able to supply the necessary leads.


Jetman, CRASH’s resident loony cartoon star, makes his return to the Speccy in early 1991 in a great new adventure called Solar Jetman: Hunt for the Golden Warship!

Jetman has a new piece of machinery to muck about in — the Jetpod. Safely encased in this zippy little space craft Jetman has to bomb around 12 alien landscapes in a quest to find and rebuild his Golden Warship. He’s armed with a brand new bang-stick, otherwise known as a laser gun, and additional bolt-on weapons can be bought from intergalactic shops. Gravity plays an important part in the game as it affects the power of the Jetpod differently on each planet, and be prepared to meet a host of weird and wonderful aliens!

The exciting new project is being handled by Storm, publishers of last month’s CRASH Smash St. Dragon so it’s bound to be red hot! The game has been designed by Jetman’s creators Rare, publishers of Lunar Jetman and Jetpac on the Ultimate label. Commenting on his forthcoming adventure, Jetman said ‘Yo! I yam Jetman! Hero of this here universe! And I yam gain’ go in new game and go bwah! An’ maybe go on the CRASH cover? Hoh? Ouh?’

Don’t miss Jetman’s two-page adventure this month and find out how the idiot fares against the Teenage Mutant Headbanger Budgies!!


Datel Electronics have taken its best selling Genius Mouse and OCP Art Studio package and made it even better by giving the interface a new custom designed LSI Mouse chip and now supply the OCP Advanced Art Studio package. Datel reckon they already had the most powerful mouse and illustrator system around but now, by using the new interface and Advanced Art Studio, the results from the new system are even smoother and more efficient. And the price? A snip at £49.99 — and that includes a mouse mat and a mouse holder (surely ‘cage’ — Ed)!


A combination of Dizzy, the Quattro packs and a host of original games have shot CodeMasters to the top of the software charts! At the end of September the Codies claimed a whopping 38% hold of the Top 40 chart with 19 titles placed, and are out-selling every software house with the exception of Ocean. Spokesman Mike Clarke said ‘One in every four budget games sold is a CodeMasters title and I’d like to say a very big thank you to every one who’s been buying our games!’ Hurrah!


You do? Perv. Haw! Haw! No (seriously, folks), Trolls Bottom is just one of the play by mail games running at the moment thanks to Games By Mail (erm, what’s a play by mail game? — the entire Speccy universe). PBM games are played using the post service. Once you’ve joined a game you send in your movement and action commands on a turn card. GBM then process your commands and post the results of your actions back to you. Then you fill in a new card with a new set of commands and post that off — you don’t need a computer, just a pen. You’re not playing on your own: there can be a load of people playing the game at the same time as you, and they can interact with you. And that’s it! A bit like a computer adventure game but you have more freedom!

Trolls Bottom involves playing against up to 70 other player trolls as you battle your way to rule the troll island. Other games include Crisis (a strategy war game as you attempt to gain control in a world war situation), Star Cluster (a game of interstellar conquest), Trivia (a quiz league game), the soon-to-be-launched Football Champions (a soccer management game) and Jet Ball (futuristic sports game). You can get more details about play by mail games by writing to Games By Mail.

1st Class is the PBM games fanzine run by one of the country’s leading PBM games companies, KJC Games. It features tips, fiction, previews, manuals, news, rule additions, tactics, RPG scenarios, hall of fame, letters and tons more and it’s very well put together and printed. KJC also run six different PBM games: Capitol (a space war game), Earthwood (a fantasy wargame involving intrigue, treachery and conflict), Dawn of the Ancients (an epic battle at the dawn of history), State of War (American Civil War in 2000 AD), Warlord (a strategic war game) and KJC’s classic It’s A Crime! game (gang warfare in New York city). Information on all KJC’s stuff is obtainable from KJC Games.

RW Games is running a PBM version of D&H Games’s Football Director. The game allows you to control the action of a football club supremo and tussle with the demands of fielding a winning team and all the backroom wrangles. You can contact the company at RW Games.


(for people with a lot of dash)

Citizen’s latest 24-pin dot-matrix printer, the 124D, is in the shops just in time for Christmas, retailing at £279 (excluding VAT), which is good value for a quality printer. And some lucky blighter, as you can see in the pic, is getting one courtesy of S Claus Esq. Capable of printing 120 characters per second (draft mode), the 124D offers a choice of typestyles, supports an 8K memory and comes with a parallel interface. Plus 3 owners can plug it straight in, others will need a Centronics interface.


Last month we promised you a playable demo of Ocean’s Chase HQ 2: Special Criminal Investigation on the Powertape. The more observant of you will notice there isn’t one (booo!). The reason is that because the game’s so complicated it’s taking longer to program than originally thought and might not appear in the shops until January! Keep you fingers, and all other available extremities, crossed for that Chase HQ 2 demo in full soon.