Live Circuit

And now the end is near. Sort of. This is probably the last Live Circuit section I’ll be putting together. Never mind, it’s far too much like hard work (I’d rather be pottering in the garden at this time of year). Yes, if you don’t already know — CRASH gets fat (once again) next issue so all the bits from Live Circuit get spread throughout the magazine. We’re not losing anything (not even Enor, who’s still causing mouse-like havoc around the place). The thing is, everything just gets bigger. My Forum gets its own section (but keep sending in your Bug Box cartoons, I’ll still be using them in the Forum), and Hi-Fire gets its own special treatment too — what we’re actually doing with it, well, we’ll leave that as a surprise till next month (just makes sure you send a photo of yourself, if you possibly can). As always there’ll be a £40 software voucher on offer for the Letter of the Month, so keep your missives flowing to: Newsfield, LLOYD’S FORUM, CRASH. I’ll see you next month, same as always only a bit more of it.


Dear Lloyd
The cover tape on Issue 87 (April): GREAT! Sat down, loaded in the games, then I came to Anarchy. Even better, feeling good, I reached level six and thought I was great. Along came my family, sit down, level seven, level eight, nine and ten then things slowed down. The three children battled for position at the computer. They even got up early to try and get there first. The Speccy was plugged in at 8am and Anarchy was bashed away at all day long, nothing was done, nothing was talked about only how near I was to clearing each level.

Well, finally last night (or early this morning), at 01.54, level 16 was mastered and what happened? Horror! Level 17 has a bug in it. All that was on the screen was a row of squares and time of 4,000. Then nothing, ‘out of time’ kept coming up. Oh, the moans and groans, seven lives and stuck. All of them now moping around the house suffering Anarchy withdrawal symptons.

You can picture the scene: blank TV, cold Speccy, empty table. What I am complaining about? I can actually sit at the table in peace now for that cup of coffee. It is a long, long time since all three children (four including Mejall) have played the same game and enjoyed it for such long periods at a time, and all four of us with high blood pressure. Thanks to CRASH for a great game.

Oh, by the way, the ages of the children range from 20 years to 25 years (you can guess by that, I am not 21).
Joy Cooper

Anarchy, funny little game. Looks a bit naff, but just can’t let go. A bit like Beverly Hills 90210 on the telly, isn’t it (roll on the new series in the autumn, eh viewers?)? I don’t know what could have gone wrong wiith level 16. I wasn’t aware of any bugs in the program (maybe your Speccy just had enough after being switched on since 8.00 in the morning!). However, because you obviously have such a dedicated gamesplaying household, here, have a £40 software voucher (your family’ll never get a meal served up to them again when you get stuck into the next batch of games!).


While looking over my March issue of CRASH, I became curious, while reading page 41, to know two things:

  1. How many copies of a full price game would a chart-topping game sell for each of the particular formats (especially Spectrum)?
  2. How much money does the programmer receive for his work if it were a chart-topper?.

Joseph C Tervit

While looking over my March issue I became curious too: Why haven’t I been paid for this yet?, I thought. Hummm. Anyway, your questions:

  1. It varies throughout the year how many games have to be sold to reach the coveted Number One spot in the charts, but undoubtably the biggest seller is the Christmas Number One. Last year it was Imageworks’ Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles which, to date, has sold over 100,000 copies on the Spectrum (with a total of 600,000 copies across all computers). Turtles was an exceptional seller, most Speccy games sell around the 20,000 mark.
  2. Freelance programmers are usually paid an advance sum of cash at the beginning of the project (ie, when they begin programming a game) which depends on how long the game is likely to take and then have royalty payments (8–12% of the retail price) on top of that when the game’s on sale. In-house programmers have a basic salary (which varies due to age and experience) and sometimes receive royalties too. Though, don’t be fooled, it’s not the easiest way to get rich quick. In fact, hardly anyone has got rich quick from programming.



Dear Lloyd
How’s things? What’s life like up your way? Just writing to give you a few comments on this month’s, May, cover tape. Well, the games are honestly pretty good but, I must admit, you have excelled yourselves with Countdown To The Death.

It’s been some time since I was hooked on a game, but this one has got to me hook, line and sinker. It’s very cleverly done, isn’t it? All those mini-games packed into one game. Hangman — simple, Fruit Machine — okay, Arkanoid-effort — simple, Memory thing — a bit of a headbanger, Repeat It — one to think about. Okay, I’ve got through all of them but then I hit what you call mystery games. I don’t know what to do with it (or is it ‘them’?). Egyptian hieroglyphics — all they do is gobble up my time and what are the oojies along the bottom? Time, lose a life, go to Arkanoid-effort?

After all that here is a bit of constructive criticism:

  1. You could do with a few more pokes on the tape.
  2. The Hi-Fire thingy is a bit of a farce, why don’t you kick it into touch.
  3. A football manager sim game wouldn’t go amiss on the cover tape.
  4. The centrefold poster is a waste of space.

Mike Fitzpatrick

Things are fine, life is good (except that Enor the mouse has started gnawing at the plant shoots I’m trying to bring on in the office window box). Countdown To The Death was a bit on the spiffy side, you’re right. And don’t ask me what all the odd games are, I get just as confused. However, you’re right about the so-called oojies on the bottom (just stay clear of the lose-a-life icon). And your questions answered (everyone’s numbering questions now!)...

  1. More pokes on tape? We try to cram as much in as possible, but there’s only a limited space and some pokes take up more memory than most.
  2. It’s not a farce. A farce is a crap play on a West End stage which, when everyone’s clothes have fallen off, the vicar walks in (and the audience collapse in hysterics). This doesn’t happen in Hi-Fire (it’s usually the bishop). Anyway, look for a few changes to Hi-Fire next month.
  3. There are enough footy management games around at the moment without putting one on the tape (we try to be slightly original). Why not give Cricket Coach a try, that may be up your games-playing alley.
  4. Judging from the Crashtionnaire, most people loved the centrefold posters featuring Oli’s artwork, so they’re staying. Here, have a wet haddock for being so miserable (slap!).



Dear Lloyd,
Here are some questions.

  1. What are the Olibugs?
  2. Why is CRASH called CRASH? Is it because if you read it, you make your computer crash?
  3. Why did Amstrad buy Sinclair?
  4. How is CRASH so skill?
  5. How can you program on the likes of a Nintendo if there isn’t a keyboard?
  6. Can you send requests to Turbo Mason to hack certain games?
  7. On the inlay for Rock Star it says (in the credits bit), ‘Hack: Mel Croucher’. Does this mean there is a cheat for it? (And what’s Mel Croucher doing hacking at games anyway?)
  8. I have a tip for +2A users. On Treasure Island Dizzy, if you try to load it in 128K mode you hear a loud, steady beep, and it crashes. However, if you go to +3 BASIC, (or 128 BASIC for +2 users), then type SPECTRUM (enter), it goes into 48K mode. But, in this 48K mode, you have 128K. So, when it has loaded, there is in the game music and speech (although not very good), and all the rest 128K luxuries that you would not have in normal 48K modes.

Lee Grant

  1. Olibugs, who make occasional appearances, are small monsters who live in the CRASH office. In walls, lampshades and computers (which they muck about with until they blow up). They’re mostly harmless; except for the black fluffy one which has an affinity for chainsaws (bibble, bibble, wibble).
  2. It’s called CRASH because it’s a dam sight more imaginative (and groovy, for that matter) than taking the word Sinclair and sticking Your or User to the beginning or end of it. Okay?
  3. Because Amstrad know a good computer when they sees one (probably).
  4. Because I’m in it.
  5. Nintendo programmers have a special development system, which is not available to the public (so don’t write in asking where you can buy one).
  6. No (well, you could try).
  7. Nothing to do with hacking at all — hack’s another word for writer (although meant in a bitchy kinda way) and Mel wrote the manual.
  8. Hurrah!



Dear Lloydy-baby,
I have a Spectrum 128K +2, a computer which I have just bought. Please could you tell me if there is such a thing as a colour/graphics enhancement board/chip which you can stick in the back of your Speccy. It’s really depressing having a computer with only seven or eight colours, no orange or pink or millions of other colours like that.

Also, can you get such a thing as a half meg expansion and a modulator which you can stick a disk drive onto and load Amiga games? If you can’t get any of these things then someone get designing — they’ll make a fortune.
Philip Lancaster

Slap! Slap! Slap! Three slaps of the wet haddock for you, Philip. Listen, you clot, the only machine that’ll load Amiga games is — quelle suprise — an Amiga. There’s no way of getting one to work on a Speccy. Go and have a good lie down, why don’t you?


Dear Lloyd,
Just a few lines to say thanks to the staff in the CRASH tape clinic. I sent them three tapes on Thursday 2nd May (second class, ’cos I’m skint) and got them back bouncing with health by 8am, Tuesday 5th May. Fantastic!
A Swartman

Hurrah! I’m sure this’ll cheer Pat up — she’s the eternally cheery lady, deep in the CRASH cellars, who sorts the Powertapes out. And does she grumble? Well. yes she does, but no-one ever takes any notice.


Dear Lloyd
When your CRASH (Issue 88) Powertape came through my door I loaded up the spiffing game Tour De Force. Within a hour of playing it I’d got to Russia, drunk a load of vodka and won the game. It told me to start the tape; I did, and it gave me a rather nice screen with a secret code on it. The screen told me that if I was one of the first ten people to tell Gremlin the codeword then I’d get a Gremlin goody bag, So, did I? Also, would Nick like me to send him a few tips to help other people on their way?
Graham Martin

PS The code word was OSTRICH

Yes, you and about 500 other people all hoping to win a goodie bag for being the first ten to complete Tour De Force. Problem is, the game was originally available a few years ago in the shops and I have the sneaking suspicion that all ten goodie bags have been claimed. Never mind, here’s your little bit of fame and I’ve also included the first batch of people who wrote in claiming to have completed the game in Hi-Fire.


Dear Lloyd
I would like you to answer me these few questions, if it’s not any trouble.

  1. Do you read every letter you are sent?
  2. Do you reply to every letter you are sent?
  3. If I sent a letter requiring information about some computer games, would you help me with the problems?
  4. How much is and what is a Multiface?
  5. Is it true that Amstrad are stopping producing Sinclair Spectrum +2s?
  6. If I sent a few ideas for games would you do me a favour and pass them onto Code Masters, as I have got about ten different ideas.

Darren Graham

No trouble at all!

  1. Yes, every one.
  2. No, I can only reply to the one’s printed here. Sorry, but I’m far too busy with the magazines (I also write on ZZAP! 64 magazine) to enter into personal correspondence. This upsets Aunt Ada, but that’s life.
  3. If you need help with computer games, it’s always best to write to the software house that published the game. Addresses can usually be found on the packaging.
  4. It’s a snapshot device (see the Romantic Robot ad) and costs between £30 and £40. depending on which model you buy.
  5. No.
  6. You can contact Codies directly.



Help! Is there anything on the market for a cover (of sorts) to protect the Spectrum +2A? We got one for Xmas for our little boy, Marc (who’s eight years old), and every chance his baby sister (18 months) gets, she’s going for the machine (perhaps she’s more advanced than we think and wants to play your great Powertape games). Anyway, could you help us, we’d be very grateful (plus it would cut down on arguments, shouting, whining and crying in the house).
Mrs J Mallaby

Actually, we can supply you with dust covers for your Speccy (they’ve even got CRASH written on them!). They cost £4.99 — just give us a call, ask for the Mail Order department, and they’ll tell you what’s in stock. Helpful, eh?


Dear Lloyd
I have been reading CRASH since Issue 73 and have been a silent reader. In my local WH Smiths stores £2.99 games have been changed to £3.05 and £3.99 games are now £4.09. In my local Boots store the prices are still £2.99 and £3.99. Why is Smiths more expensive?
David Pegg

That’s VAT for you, David. The government slapped the VAT up to a whopping 17.5% this year which means most prices still go up (though some budget software houses are trying to absorb the extra cost to keep the retail prices to £2.99). Though, expect to see £3.99 games becoming more common.


So, you’ve already completed all ten quests of Gremlin’s CRASH Smash HeroQuest? Bah! Now what? How about a HeroQuest Quest pack? It’s a mighty fine buy (and a snip at £5.99). The first Quest pack, featuring ten new quests, is called Return of the Witch Warlord, due for release any time now The second pack-of-ten, Keller’s Keep, will follow shortly. Further heroic details can be gleamed by giving Gremlin a buzz.


Ugh! What an unpleasant thought. But, let’s not dwell upon dangly bits, instead refresh your memory of Domark’s spiffy baseball game RBI 2, reviewed last issue with an appreciative 86%. A much better thought to have inside your head, is it not?

And talking of imagination, everyone’s imagination ran away with them last issue in the review. For a start, the disk version retails for £17.99, not £14.99 as the review stated (we thought we must have taken a wrong turning and arrived in Bargain City).

And the usually brilliant powers of organisation enjoyed by CRASH’s chum at Domark, Clare Edgeley, resulted in us believing that an RBI 2 baseball cap was enclosed in the box. It isn’t. That’s only for 16-bit owners (who have to pay £25 for their RBI 2).

But (but! BUT!) if you want to have a RBI 2 baseball cap, you can! Just stick a cheque or postal order for £2.99 (payable to Domark Ltd) in the post to: Domark, CRASH Baseball Cap Offer, Domark and a cap will be in the post (as long as you remember to include your name and address).

To make up for those errors, here’s news of a Domark game for 1992. It’s called Euro Football Champ and is taken from the Taito coin-op. A one- or two-player affair, Euro Football Champ lets you take control of an international soccer team and play matches against other international sides with the action viewed from the grandstand. Should be lots of fun, especially as it’s possible to purposely knee, kick or elbow other players and get away with it (if the ref’s not looking). Hope that piece of ‘exciting’ news makes up for any shattered illusions from the RBI 2 review. (It didn’t, it’s a swizz! — Reader’s voice.) Oh, please yourselves.