Live Circuit

Okay, where’s the snow? Who’s had it? Where’s it gone? How do you expect me to bemoan being caught up in the Shropshire blizzards if all we get are a few clouds? What’s the world coming to? DJ Nicko got his Turbo Nutter Sledge XRI poised at the top of the steepest Ludlow hill and waited. He’s still there now, gazing into space waiting for the first snowflake to fall. No doubt the snow won’t arrive until I’ve planted my first few flower bulbs in the spring and it’ll kill off all the shoots. Hope you’re all enjoying your festive hols — if you have time to drop me a line after ploughing through the ton of action on the Powertape, then be quick about it! The address is: NEWSFIELD, Lloyd Mangram’s Forum, CRASH. Who’s going to scoop this month’s £40 of software for letter of the month? Read on...

PHEW! 1990!

Dear Lloyd
Every year somebody says ‘Oh, this is the last year for the Spectrum’ and this year I’m saying it. Well, look back at 1990 and what have we had? A pretty dismal trickle of games from February to November. Nothing has really sparkled and, apart from Midnight Resistance and Pipe Mania, I haven’t been impressed with the games I’ve bought. I think what upset the applecart this year was the World Cup. Nearly every software houses’ major release from Spring into Summer was a football game. US Gold’s Italy 1990 was decent, but the rest were wasted efforts (though I bet they brought in plenty of cash for the software houses).

However, here we are in November and the software market appears to be going manic for Christmas. In your Christmas Biggies guide I was surprised how many games will be out for the festive season. This is what I think will happen in the future: Software houses will restrict themselves to releasing major licensed games at Christmas with a smaller burst of releases for the Easter holidays. And the number of games being released will get smaller and smaller as 16-bit software and console software popularity grows — selling at around £25 it’s obviously a better investment for the software houses than a £10 Spectrum cassette which can be easily pirated.

Guess what’s on my Christmas list this year? A Sega! I’m not chucking out my Spectrum as I still enjoy some games and I’ll still be buying CRASH because I think it’s great and I like the section of games on your Powertapes. But it’s time for me to join the Japanese revolution and get a taste of the consoles.
Andrew Potts

Despite your valid points, I still say the Speccy has a lot of life in it yet, even if the amount of full-price software being published is diminishing. Budget software is currently riding high and selling more units than full-price, and it looks set to continue this way with both rereleases and original product flooding in. So, stick with your plan, and don’t chuck out your Speccy because 1991 may hold a few very pleasant surprises! And just to make sure you don’t desert us, I’m sending you a £40 software voucher to spend on Speccy games...


Dear Lloyd,
I have a Speccy +3 disk and cassette. The problem is that I don’t know how to record my tapes on to my disks. My instructions are useless and my Mum and Dad haven’t a clue. Can you help?
Ryan Ingram

If you’re talking about game cassettes you have bought it is illegal to copy them onto disk without the programmer’s or copyright holder’s permission. All games have protection systems in the program to prevent copying. However, if you want to transfer a program that can’t be transferred by the normal BASIC method as detailed in your manual, and you have permission to do so, a very useful plug-in utility is the Multiface 3 from Romantic Robot — you can find details in the advertisements this issue.


Dear Lloyd
In November’s issue there were a lot of SAM Coupé games like Five On Treasure Island. I would like to know if they can be played on the Spectrum +2? Also, I am interested in buying a modem. I can get one for £50 but I can’t get the software for it. Please can you help?
Craig Martin

Good news, Craig! Enigma Variations have just decided to publish a Speccy version of Five On Treasure Island! The adventure should be ready for February and will be published in a cut-down 48K version and a full-scale 128K version, both versions complete with graphics. For modem information the company you need to contact is Micronet.


Dear Lloyd,
I bought the +2 Speccy last year after the tragic death of my poor 48K model. I thought that would mean better games and graphics. Well of course, that’s not the case at all, as I’ve noticed, with software houses often using up the extra memory for sound FX and music. How about sacrificing some of this music for better games?
Nicholas Davies

Up until now every piece of software has had to be compatible with the 48K and the 128K. The advantage so far has been that multi-loads are not such a problem on the 128K because it can hold so much more code. However during 1991 expect to see an increase in 128K-only games; Ocean is releasing RoboCop 2 and Navy S.E.A.L.S. as 128K-only games and I expect other software houses will follow suit.


Dear Lloyd
Reading CRASH for the first time I saw a +2/+3 SCART lead advertised. Can you tell me if this lead will connect a +2A Spectrum to a normal TV, or does it need other plugs?

I imagine many other computer users would be interested in your answer.
George Blain

A SCART lead is only useful to your Speccy if your TV has a SCART connector at the back. The advantage is that you’ll get a far better display on the screen than you would using just an aerial connector. The SCART lead is available from Sinclair Supplies and you can get additional information from them.


Dear Lloyd,
I would love my letter to appear on your exciting and fun-filled pages. Back in the old days (about three or four years ago) a fabby computer cassette called Softaid was released for the Spectrum. Recently my sister (who is now serving eight years in my bedroom cupboard) broke it. WAAH! I am desperately desperate to buy either that or the two cool games off it: Jack and the Beanstalk and Kokotoni Wilf. I am willing to pay anybody three pounds for Softaid or three pounds each for the other two. Any offers? The gentleman at the back, is that a bid? Please write to me.
Jo Standing

Couple of classic games! Don’t make ’em like they used to... When I were a lad... Yibble.


On the SAM Coupé hotline I heard that a computer magazine was saying that the Coupé is a Spectrum. I saw an article in Issue 82 saying ‘the Plus 2 is still a sizzling success and coupled with the SAM Coupé will take Spectrum computing into the future.’ Does this mean that the Coupé is a Spectrum? Or are you saying the Plus 2 is a good computer? Please answer.
Craig Anderson

Right, for the last time... The Coupé is not an advanced Speccy. It’s made by SAM Computers Ltd and not Amstrad which produce the Sinclair range. However, a selection of Speccy games are compatible and will run on the Coupé using the utility tape supplied with the Coupé. And the +2 is a good computer!


Dear Lloyd,
I am a computer amateur living in Hong Kong. You may be wondering why I can write in English. This is because I am Canadian and also I belong to an ESP (English Schools Foundations) school. I have bought one of your CRASH magazines (issue 61) and have read it through with interest.

I am taking a course on computer studies and I am not permitted to use my IBM for games. This is the reason why I am very interested in the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. I have read that it has a good range of games and programs. I may have bought the +3 if I lived in England but in Hong Kong the +3 is not on sale. I would be grateful if you could send me some circuit diagrams of the +3 and some information of the monitor/TV it adapts to, the joysticks used, memory storage etc. as I would like to try and make my own +3 at home. I would also like a list of the parts needed as I may not be able to obtain all of the parts in the computer shopping center I go to.
Aaron Yeung

There’s nothing like a simple request, is there? And this is nothing like a simple request! To make your own Speccy you’ll need: a lot of black plastic (pulling the outer casing from a TV set and nailing it together in a Speccy shape will do). You’ll also need a disk drive: an old fish fingers box (12 pack) will do. And you can make disks from the lids of little round margarine tubs. Inside the +3 is a lot of chips, a 60p portion from your local Fish ’n’ Chip takeaway should do the job. Failing all that I should give up as there are no kits or specifications with which you could make your own Speccy. Check out the advertisements in this issue for how to buy a Speccy from Britain.


Dear Lloyd
I am a buyer of your fantastic CRASH magazine. Lately a tape was added to it, including several interesting software computer programs of which recently I received the last one of them (No 75) which was specifically loaded by a game called Rockfall, and I wish that you supply with games, a kind of Sub Saving Command Program allowing me to reduce the time of On-switch of my Sinclair apparatus: this in order to save time and reduce the consumption of power, and the overheating resulting from maintaining the machine working for long periods to say more than three continuously hours (3 days) without interruption, which is a must in case we want to reach the Zenith of this sophisticated logical and interesting hierarchy of game structure, originating from a master mind well able to build a new generation of games in the near future.
Nicolas G M. Alexandria

I don’t know about all this ‘reaching the Zenith of a sophisticated logical and interesting hierarchy of game structure, originating from a master mind’ stuff. Do you mean pause mode when you say sub saving command program? I think it is H for pause in Rockfall, isn’t it? Anyway, good luck with your new generation of games. Don’t go near any powerful pyramids for a while, okay Nicholas?


Check out the centre sections of CRASH and you’ll see what look like disjointed bits of an Oli painting plus US Gold and SEGA logos, parts of a calendar etc. Don’t fret! They’re all part of a giant poster for you to stick together and put on your wall!

Just undo the clips in the centre and ease out the four spreads, neatly trim off the white edges and stick them together carefully, using sellotape on the back — and hey presto! The poster is ready to go on the wall!


Perky budget software house CodeMasters is having a rum old time of it! At the end of October the Gallup charts placed the CodeMasters games Guardian Angel, Quattro Adventure and Quattro Combat as the three top-selling games in the UK, giving them chart positions one, two and three respectively! Now, that’s pretty cheery news, but then in the thrilling (’hem, ’hem) ‘Value of units sold’ chart CodeMasters took the number one slot which means they’re selling more games than any other software house! ‘Blimey!’, cooed CodeMasters spokesman Mike Clarke, ‘It’s completely brilliant, isn’t it?!!’ He then went on about product range... extremely playable and highly polished games... top-quality.., blah de blah... But we didn’t listen to that.


Kevin Gallagher joins the team here at CRASH this month as an Advertisement Sales Executive, which means he goes on the CRASH blower and chatters to the software houses behind the adverts. The idea is to persuade advertisers to part with their money so CRASH can afford to print lots of lovely screenshots in full colour!! Hurrah! So there you are: Kev’s the man responsible for the photos (except he’s not). And, hey! Girls, isn’t he swoonsome?! Read Kev’s personal file and see if he’s your ideal guy!


Cheetah, long time supplier of Speccy joysticks, plug-ins and general CRASH chum, is releasing its own games machine called the Gamate (Game mate) just in time for Christmas. The machine is a handheld console, featuring a green mono LCD screen (52mm x 50mm), which takes games software on credit card cartridges. It’s going on sale at just £59.95, making it the cheapest games machine, and the package comes complete with an arcade adventure game cartridge called Witty Appee, headphones so you can hear the stereo sound clearly, and a set of four AA batteries which should provide 15 hours of non-stop gameplay! Seven different games are set for release at the same time as the Gamate, priced at £14.95 each, which is good value for a cartridge, and another 12 games are planned for release soon after. Most games will be imported from the Far East, but already UK software houses are gearing up to produce Gamate versions of their smash hits. Could this be the handheld Speccy of the future? Discover all in the next issue of CRASH as we go for a Gamate play test!