7 inal












IF THE LANCE marks the first computer

action game that re-creates the opt battle between Control and evil on the world of Kr

inple Nak - aieal ou descend into the Abyss, the Companions must

Meat the hordes of monstrous Draconians in hand- alan combat, deal with powerful magic and ‘ive the onslaught of attacks from giant spiders, skeletal undead and countless other terrors. But your final obstacle makes these monstrosities innocuous by comparison. The platinum disks you seek are guarded by Khisanth, an ancient black dragon. And there is but one way to vanquish this mighty beast... ...find the key to destroy Khisanth or you are doomed to failure.


fo 99 ips £14.99 disk


£24.99 AMIGA £24.99 ATARI ST

© 1988 TSR, Inc. All a reserved. Advanced Dungeons ape em pened , U.S, Gold I d., Units Wa


Located on the northern shore of the Moonsea in the Forgotten Realms, the fabled city of Phlan had been overrun by monsters led by a mysterious leader. Your

ee discover the identity of this evil force.

ool of Radiance adheres faithfully to the legendary Advanced Dungeons & Dragons™ fantasy role playing systems. No detail is missed including 6 player characters; computer controlled non-player characters; the Adventurers’ Journal packed with history, maps and clues and the Translation Wheel that converts Elvish and Dwarvish writing to English. The gameplay is exhilarating and the graphics state of the art portrait displays, 3D perspective, tactical combat display and personalised weapons selections compile to form the ultimate breakthrough in fantasy role-playing computer games.

CBM 64/128 ~ £9.99 tape £14.99 disk

y TSR, Inc. Lake Geneva, WI, U.S.A. an der license from SSI, Inc. Mountain View, CA, U.S.A. rd, Birmingham B6 7AX. Tel: 021 356 3388. Oo _.


VIRUS: “When ST Action con- tacted me to say that they had Virus, | avoided the office for a fortnight until | discovered that it was the latest release from Fire-

bird!” 58

BDTA: “Although there are many Space Invader clones, the copyright for the original could be difficult to obtain. But that doesn't stop some enterprising compa- nies from getting close to the origi- nal concept, but with the addition of a daft scenario.” 6 ]


“With a fighting force of mutated humanoids at his command, the evil wizard, Suzar, has plunged the Kingdom of Anar into a state of fear. Only a warrior armed with the legendary sword and its accompa- nying shield have any chance against the hellish hordes. The secret resting place of these magji- cal weapons is now forgotten, but someone must seek them out and unravel the Legend of the Sword.”



ACTION NEWS: “News items from Titus, Mirrorsoft/FTL, Mandarin, LLama-


® Leisure Peo. oe

* . a ai cme > f a 4 i

thy! * / « : a _Z T thet tad

soft, Logotron, Prism Leisure, Electronic Arts, MicroProse, and U.S. Gold, to name but a few. Also a top ten list of the games reviewed in this issue.”

CASE FOR CONVERSION: “Dennis Hemmings and Mark Smith this month take a look at Thunderblade, 1943, Operation Wolf and the amazing Afterburner.”



AWAY: “Sierra Quests, Platoon, Stir Crazy, Pandora and Gauntlet Il are amongst Steve Merrett’s tips this month. Whilst Thundercats, Vixen, Platoon, Sidewinder and Pandora get poked about.

MIRORSOFT ‘“Mirrorsoft in-

vited representatives from many computer journals to attend the launch of a new software label at the Savoy Hotel in London, Jason Spillér investigated.”


--- STAQ STA ---



“Mediagenic is quite a new name in the industry. However, if you say ‘Activision’, then most people know who you are talking about. Mediagenic is now the corporate name that encom- passes Activision, Electric Dreams and many other media companies. Martin Moth visited Mediagenic’s offices in Hampstead to meet, among oth- ers, Rod Cousens, head of Medi- agenic Europe. He reports on his

findings.” 25

DIY JOYSTICK ADAPTOR: “An SI Action EXCLUSIVE brought to you straight from Kevin Bulmer and Richard Costello from U.S. Gold, the inventors of the

four-joystick adaptor.” ] 6

WORLD DARTS: “Computer

games are an excellent substitute for driving racing cars, piloting jet fighters and jousting in medieval tournaments - in effect, the sort of experiences, sports and pastimes which would not normally be ac- cessible to the majority of people. But surely it is as easy to play real darts as it is to buy Mastertronic’s

World Darts?” 70


everyone was waiting for Out Run, Titus released a game featuring a red sports car, called Crazy Cars. Now Titus have released a game not a million miles from U.S. Gold’s next big licence, Roadblasters. Co- incidence, or clever marketing?”



“They’re lean, mean and ridicu- lously prolific! There are enough gungho, rapid-firing commandos immortalized in pixels to recon- struct the Normandy landing! Do we need another hero?” 7


games and there are games. Nearly every arcade game is avail- able on a computer, either in its original form or in an instantly rec- ognizable cloned title. “Super Mario Brothers” was one of the rare exceptions to this rule, until now!”

NIGHT RAIDER: “How did those clever chaps at Gremlin Graphics manage to squeeze an aircraft simulation in be- tween coin-op conversions? But with a veritable hangar full of air-sims already available, this has to be something a bit special to make an impact.”


MICKEY MOUSE: “Are you ready? ..2..3..4.- Who $. the leader of the gang that’s made for you and me? M-I-C-K-E-Y, M-O- U-S-E. It was inevitable that dur- ing this spate of cartoon licences, Disney’s lovable 50-year-old would appear sooner or later.”

SIDEARMS: “Undoubtedly,

the most addictive and playable games were created years ago and so, naturally, these themes often feature strongly in new soft- ware. But is revamping and up-

dating these games with new trickery and techniques a justified practice or are we rapidly running

out of new ideas>” 78

PHANTASM: “The definition of

the word Phantasm is: ‘A ghost or spectre’. But, ‘Doppleganger’ might have been a more relevant title because, in my opinion, it is a ghostly counterpart to the Tau Ceti

series of games!” 82


Space, nobody can hear you scream...” - Ridley Scott’s film, Alien, shocked cinema goers eve- rywhere. Drawing heavily on the film’s original theme, Sega’s Alien Syndrome has been converted for the ST by ACE software. The net result is a game oozing with atmos-

phere, guts and gore!” 84

--- STA3 STA ---


caution to the winds, ST Action hired a Porsche and a Saville Row suit for its ace reporter and sent him to investigate stories of ‘cor- ruption’ in London’s Stock Mar-












Gollner Publishing Ltd,

10 Theatre Lane, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1SR.

Tel (0243) 783932.

Fax (0243) 789809. Subscriptions only (0272) 842487

PuBLisHER: Hugh Gollner Epitor: David Stewart

ASSISTANT Epitor: Nick Clarkson

ArT /Desian Epitor: Greg Percival.

CoveR GRAPHics: Jonothan Duval


Nick Clarkson, Dennis Hemmings, Steve Kennedy, Steve Merrett, Andy Mitchell, Martin Moth,

Mark Smith Jason Spiller.

ADVERTISING M/cer: Jean Gollner.

REPROGRAPHICS: Twin Plates Hasle- mere

PRINTED BY: Redwood Web Offset, Yeomans Way, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14 OQL.

DisTRIBUTION By: COMAG, Tavistock Road, West Drayton, Middlesex.

PLEASE Norte: No material from this publication may be reproduced in any way without the publisher’s written con- sent. Correspondence: all enquiries or requests for information must be made by letter; we are unable to deal with such requests by phone.

Just when you thought TOS version incompatibility was a thing of the past, Atari have announced a new version.

In beta testing at the moment, this TOS seems set to offer improved file commands, a soft reset using ALT/CTRL/DEL and many more useful improvements for the systems programmer. However, this time | do not think there will be much trouble with incompatibility problems - Atari had enough hassle the last time, I’m sure they do not want any further trouble.

Don’t get too worried or frustrated though, this new TOS is only at the beta testing stage and, as such, will take probably another year to reach the shop shelf. Oh, and by the way, please don’t pester Atari as they do not have any more information than | have just given you.



Origin Systems are working on a game for MicroProse that should be available

around September called, Times of [In a follow-up to their mega-

Lore. A typical fantasy role-playing

adventure, you are hired as an ‘adventurer’, a variant of today’s mercenary, and set off around the

kingdom of Alboreth. Set in a great land containing towns and villages, an enchanted forest, a desert, Temples and ruined buildings, your task is to perform quests for monks and kings to find your true goal in the game.

blockbusting success, Dungeon Master, Mirrorsoft are working on two games for the addicted dungeon player. The first one is provisionally entitled Deeper Dungeons, and will contain up to five extra levels in the Dungeon Master theme, as well as a character editor. The other will have a science fiction setting but still be based around the DM winning formula. Both games are

--- STA STA ---

under development at the moment with FTL. However, don’t expect anything too soon, as FTL work in a timescale all of their own - they had a running version of Dungeon Master at the 1987 PCW show. However, with the undenied success of DM, they might hurry things up. Then again, they might not... Deeper Dungeons is provisionally set for release in the first week in August - we'll just have to wait and see.

Titus are changing tactics and bringing their next game to you from the watery depths of the sea. It will be called Offshore Warrior and in it you control a speedboat in a Mad Max-on-water

theme. Rather reminiscent of the old Aqua Racer, it nonetheless promises to have plenty of action packed into it. Will it arrive on a waterproof disk, | wonder?


Level 9 are working on a graphical adventure set in Arthurian times for Mandarin. The project has been extensively researched to ensure authenticity. The game _ actually consists of three separate adventures in the one package. It features over 60,000 words of ‘cleverly-written and often highly amusing text’. Expect the game out around the first week in September.


i ei ee



@:2:-6:0-— m=! i Py cial N es a ¢

Check your local stockist for availability. In case of difficulty, available by mail order from: Palace Software, The Old Forge, 7 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX.

Send cheque or postal order for £9.99

(C64, Spectrum, Amstrad cassette), £12.99 (C64 disk), £14.99 (ST, Amstrad, Spectrum disk), £19.99 (Amiga) plus 80p P&P. Access and Visa holders telephone 01-278 0751. Subject to availability. .


Prism Leisure are putting the finishing touches to two games for the ST. Artificial Dreams will be the first out at the end of July, priced £12.99. Yet another vertical- scroller, this one will appeal because of its budget price. The usual tricks apply, but there are a few novelties included for annoyance. Manoeuevre your craft over certain points on the landscape and either the enemy will speed up to something approaching Warp Factor, or you simply get transported back to the start of the level. If that isn’t guaranteed to send you to an early grave, then I don’t know what is.

Hot Shot is due for release on the 19th August at £19.99. A bit difficult to explain this game to you, as it takes its theme from Pinball, Breakout and a few other games besides. However, I’ve played a preview game for a short while and report that the game is quite addictive and the novelty factor (i.e. seeing a game that | haven’t already seen under fifteen different guises) is quite refreshing. A two-player game, you play head to head to score as many points as possible in the time allowed. The player you control has a ‘graviton gun’ that, when the fire button is pressed, causes the gun to emit a gravitational field, so attracting the ball. On letting go, the ball is fired into Breakout-style blocks and Pinball-type flipper arms. The action is certainly fast and furious.

Berk r= lsspsicg

1998. .Prase ‘Leasure : > corporation’; PEE

a STAI STA ---

GK Electronica is Europe’s only established one-day Festival for New Age, Synthesizer and Computer Music, having been held over the last five years in the north of England. This year it is moving to St. Johns, a 600-seat concert venue set in Smith Square, Westminster SW1 and will take place on Saturday September 3rd. There, Jeff Minter, of Llamasoft, will present his first live performance of his new Trip-A-Tron light synthesizer.

Jeff has programmed a_ 50- minute Trip-A-Tron performance to accompany a new album titled ‘Merak’, by Adrian Wagner, the inventor of the (in)famous Wasp synthesizer. Wagner performs mainly on an ST using a powerful sampling package called ADAP. While Wagner supplies the sound, Jeff will control no fewer than FIVE STs, projecting their images onto a huge video screen.

Doors open at 1pm. For those of you who want more info on the event, phone 01-885 5665. Tickets for the afternoon cost £5, those for the evening cost £7, both together cost S10. Available from the Box Office at St. Johns (Tel: 01-222 1061).

Electronic Arts have signed Interplay, best known for creating The Bard’s Tale, as a licence for Europe. Interplay, formerly just a software developer, have become an independent software publisher for their own products and have given EA the exclusive licence for its products in Europe. Interplay’s plans call for a minimum of 4 to 7 original products a year, the first two being Battle Chess, a game combining the strategy of chess with combat action, and a new fantasy role-playing game, Neuromancer, based on the Hugo and Nebula award-winning novel by William Gibson, and developed in conjunction with Timothy Leary.


Peasy tedebn tere: Wika


Go For Gold. WsTotally ddictive

PRISM LEISURE CORPORATION, Unit 1, Baird Road, Enfield, Middlesex EN1 1SJ.

Another from MicroProse to see the light of day on the ST this Autumn will be Airborne Ranger. You are one of the elite who drop behind enemy lines and then attempt to battle it out against overwhelming odds. The usual gung-ho scenarios apply and you are faced with twelve missions in three different regions of the world.

iter Chior sirnilatios


nie Co ian

MicroProse is soon to be releasing Kennedy Approach for the ST. An Air Traffic Control simulator, it incorporates the qualities that we have come to expect from MicroProse: excellent

od "a id at eg ae) { AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SIMULATION = Highty realistic air traffic the workts man Cemareting prolessins. [") Outstanding 3-D graphics ch ts a chadienging siemuteticen which CHS al Computer generated speech

{_] Five different airports

[") Various skill levels

i Hundreds of hours of entertainment

srtrol sirty

playability, good graphics and attention to detail second to none, and the usual comprehensive manual.

Take control of flights as they head for any of the five airports. Avoiding bad weather, allowing for low fuel levels, in-flight emergencies, instrument failure and other variables all conspire to keep you busy in ATC. Upto twenty planes, ranging from Concorde to light aircraft, can call on you at any one time, so be prepared for some anxious moments. Retailing at £24.95, the game will be available around August.

Gremlin are Lineker football games in as many months. First on the schedule is GL’s Super Skills. This game involves your training to become a top-notch football star. With barely enough time for that

releasing TWO (Gary

game to digest, Gary Lineker’s Hot Shots will be force-fed to you. No details on this one at present, except for the obvious one (No, don’t! Ed.) Yep, you can safely assume it has something to do with football. (Too late. Ed.)


Databyte are having the master copy of their Ice Hockey game flown over from the States as | write this. It’s aMindscape production and Databyte have yet to see what the game looks like, let alone see a playable version. What state it arrives in is anyone’s guess. It might make it for this issue, but more probably look for it in the October issue.

They also have two more games in the offing. Indoor Sports and Break-In. No details as to what sports are included in the former, but the latter is a strategy arcade game roughly based on the Iranian Embassy siege, and you must somehow enter the building and deal with its occupants. This one is due for release in September.


|, Ludicrus, the cartoon-like game where you get thrown to the lions, is set for release end of July/ beginning of August. CRL are also releasing ST Sprite Factory ‘sometime in July’.


‘Soon!’ is all they keep saying. | think they’ve got an answerphone with a pre- recorded message.


Sargon Ill might just make it into this issue, but on the other hand it might not, so here’s a bit of blurb about it. As you can probably tell by the name it’s a chess program, ‘one of the most sophisticated ever developed in the US’ if we are to take the press release at its word. However, to its credit, it has won the PC World Magazine Microcomputer Chess Tournament and, in field trials, has beaten its main rival, Chessmaster 2000.

Sargon Ill contains libraries of over 68,000 opening moves and 107 classic games. It will be available by the time you read this for £24.95

Second on the list from Logotron is Star Goose. Programmed by Steve Cain and Kenny Everett (previous Cain and Everett offerings have been Star Trek and Black Lamp) the game puts you in charge of a highly versatile ground-skimming attack vehicle. Your task is to take on and defeat a myriad of defence forces in the 3D terrain and tunnels of the world of Nom. Basically a shoot-’em-up, we will have to wait and see whether the skills of Messrs Cain and Everett can breathe some life into this old formula. Available in August, price £19.95.

Finally, for the moment, comes StarRay, a_ horizontally- scrolling (with parallax) shoot-’em-up with ‘vicious’ gameplay and graphics of ‘astounding impact’. Obviously not content with writing most of the vertical-scrollers, Steve Bak is now making a serious effort to monopolize the sideways-moving market. Steve is doing the ST conversion from the Amiga original. Planned date for release is September at a cost of £24.95.

One that has been mentioned is Eye of Horus. No details at present but I’ll update you soon enough.

--- STAR STA ---


One of the leading distributors in the UK, Microdealer, has announced the launch of The Great Microdealer Cover Up. From mid-July, consumers of software from Microdealer- supported stores will obtain one Cover Up token for every £5 spent. These stickers will then be collected on a card similar to the Shell petrol-token promotion. On completion of the card, the consumer will then have a choice of free gifts in the Microdealer catalogue. Also, all entries will go into the Grand Cover Up competition later in the year.

Another first for Microdealer is the fact that they are to become the first distributor in entertainment software to market T-shirts to the consumer. The reasoning behind this masterly plan was that at every PCW Show, T-shirts and Sweatshirts from the big software companies were treated like gold-dust and there became a raging market for them. So now Lee Ginty, boss of Microdealer, has agreements signed with a number of the UK’s leading software publishers enabling him to use their software promotional designs on T-shirts. He commented: ‘Some of the logos and product artwork are excellent and naturally lend themselves to T-shirt design. We're planning to have a number of designs ready by July’.

Loriciels are working on the UK version of Space Racer, a bike-racing game set in the future. | played the French version

and I’ve told Niki Penny of Loriciels that the controls, like those of Mach Ill, are the wrong way round, i.e. in Space Racer, you must push forward on the joystick to go UP! Now maybe it’s because I’m an ex-flyer (and don’t we know it! ED.), but that

seems the wrong way round to me. Any of you out there agree |

with me? If so, write in and tell me. I’m interested.

Anyway, enough of that. Loriciels plan to bring out |

three or four games between now and Christmas. Space Racer

will be one, but that’s all the details | can get, except, one will ]

be released at the PC Show, one at Christmas, and one or two in between. As an aside, Loriciels SA of France are sponsoring

a rather nifty little Porsche 944 of Rene Metge, organiser of the |

Paris-Dakar rally.

Lankhor, who brought you Mortville Manor and Killdozers, are |

soon to be releasing three more games. Elemental is an arcade adventure where you must try and overcome the four natural elements - sounds like coping with a typical British summer! G’nius is an arcade adventure with cartoon-like graphics. The

task here is to out-manoeuevre robots, falling walls and other |

objects out to destroy you. Finally, Vroom, as you might have guessed, is a racing car simulation. From the shots provided, all seem to have good graphics - let’s hope the games play as good as they look. All priced at £19.95, they will be available around August and September.


tt ac can a

4 aa 153 4.j


Three from Elite will be available in the middle of July, these |

being Bombjack, Wanderer and Overlander. Bombjack being

the old arcade licence and Wanderer being a space game }

incorporating wire-frame 3D images requiring

those .

hideously stylish cardboard goggles with green and red |

lenses. Overlander takes on the Mad Max theme and the game |

revolves around you racing, carrying cargo and improving

your car’s performance. Paperboy is scheduled for release at the end of August - not bad considering the last time Elite mentioned Paperboy to me, it concerned a release date of the end of May... Ghosts and Goblins is being worked on for ‘the end of the year’.


Set in the future, Roadblasters puts you behind the wheel of what can only be described as a Formula One car with guns strapped on for FUN! U.S. Gold are working on the conversion

from Atari’s arcade hit of the same name. Start off with laser cannon, but attempt to collect cruise missiles, a Nitro-injector and an electronic shield. Replenish your ever-dwindling fuel stocks by picking up red and green fuel globes as you drive. Enemy vehicles, mines, obstacles and roadside gun turrets all conspire to stop you reaching the next level. Expect it to be released around the end of September at £19.99.


Yes, they’ve actually done it. Novagen have given mea piece of news other than, ‘it’s getting there slowly’. Bruce has revealed that Novagen have recruited another programmer to its rank, i.e. Paul Woakes. The new guy’s name is Donovan Prince (no, he’s not a pop star) and he’s working on (would you believe it?) a vertically-scrolling shoot-’em-up. Other than this blinding bit of news (only tongue-in-cheek, Bruce - you know me), Novagen are set to be at this year’s PC Show with yet another demo of Damocles! Some things never change...


Psygnosis will be releasing two games in the near future. Menace is coming out on a new, Psyclapse label sometime in September, probably in time for the PC Show, and Chrono-

Quest will be out in August. No details at present so read next month’s news.

The sequel to Joe Blade, entitled Joe Blade II (surprised?) will be out around end of August/ beginning of September. Players are also working on licencing products from Germany.

Elite is scheduled for release on 29 September and is said to feature solid 3D graphics.

The elusive feature all about the ST Astion scoring system has been postponed once again, and the reason for this - we're tweeking it up to make it even more accurate and informative, subtle but worthwhile changes. Next month, hopefully, we will reveal all.


Gremlin 78% Gremlim 78% Go! 77% Firebird 75% 69% 67% 61% 60% 58% 58%


Night Raider Mickey Mouse

Gt. Giana Sisters Virus

Alien Syndrome Bionic Commando Side Arms | Phantasm Brainbox

Fire and Forget

1 T 3 4 5 ts 7 it 9 9

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SuperStar Ice Hockey is the first complete computer hockey simula-

tion. As a player, take the ice as centre or goalie. Fire slap shots, hip- check opponents, make slick passes, _ block shots. As coach, setup androtate _ your player’s lines. As general manager, ~ trade and draft players.

FEATURES 1 and 2-player options. Play against the

computer or another opponent, or play 2 against the computer. |

Commodore 64/128

Variety. Play 2-on-2 hockey, 4-on-4, or 6-on-6 a ariety. Play 2-on-2 hockey, 4-on-4, or 6-on-

(regulation hockey). £14.95 Exciting graphics and animation. Full player IBM-PC £24.95 movement for up to 12 players on the screen. .

Realism. Compete in a hockey league featuring Am Iga £24.95 players of varying abilities and ages. Atari ST £24.95


Under licence from DesignStar Consultants Inc. Sublicensed to Databyte by Mindscape Inc. Mindscape and the Mindscape logo are trademarks of Mindscape Inc. SportTime,. SuperStar Ice Hockey, and the SportTime logo are trademarks of DesignStar Consultants Inc.

Mirrorsoft invited representatives from many computer journals to attend the launch of a new software label at the Savoy Hotel in London. Peter Bilotta, Mirrorsoft’s managing director: ‘The entertainment software market is advancing at a rapid pace and consumer requirements are becoming even greater and more sophisticated. To meet these requirements, we believe it is time to introduce a new label which is equipped to deal with the latest advances and developments in software. It is called ImageWorks and it will stand for quality and originality in game design and visual and sound quality.’ Bilotta, who was previously Financial Director at Activision, emphasized the importance of the new label: ‘We believe that ImageWorks is the most exciting development in the industry this

Tom Watson, Peter Bitotta anp Gary May

year and we intend it to be a brand leader.’

Mirrorsoft already have five subsidiary companies which develop and publish their own individual style of games. These include, Cinemaware, PSS, FTL, Mindscape and Spectrum Holobyte. Will ImageWorks develop a certain type of software? ‘Our intention is to use this label to experiment in a variety of themes rather than one specific area. But it is important that the consumer can'rely on us for consistent quality as well as originality and variety.’ Did the other labels fail to do this? ‘The other labels are known for certain themes, such as PSS with war strategies. But our intention is that ImageWorks will develop original software which cannot easily be categorized.’ Bilotta commented on the inevitable demise of the eight-bit market. ‘ImageWorks will cater for both eight and sixteen-bit machines, but we shall be constantly monitoring any changes in the market.’

There is an experienced and determined team _ behind ImageWorks. Marketing Manager, Tom Watson, drew on his experiences at Telecomsoft and directed an intense market research programme. ‘We interviewed end users of all ages to find out what they wanted and their comments and requirements have had a great influence on the games that we are going to develop.’ Operations Manager, Gary Mays’s experience in the industry is exemplary and it is his task, along with Development Manager, John Cook, to direct and control software development: ‘The fact that we actually have software immediately ready for the launch of the label is quite unique and we intend to publish a minimum of eighteen games in the first year of trading. Initially, there are six games available for the ST, but we have already commissioned our programmers with new projects.’

ImageWorks boast a wealth of programming talent and they were pleased to announce the signing of one of the most sought-after programming teams, The Bitmap Brothers. After the success of Xenon, the Bitmaps were made several offers and were in the process of signing a deal with ‘a Co ee eae: | company’, w hei on ImageWorks made a more etireactive offer. The Bitmap 's ait ee 5: t production is Cah ice “¢ speedball, which is billed as a game of the future.

Sky Chase

Combining soccer and rollerball with two teams vying for possession of a steel ball, this game is high on violence and joystick-wrenching action, but low on rules and etiquette. You are presented with an overhead-view of the pitch and the steel ball emerges from a hole in the centre. The nearest player to the ball is in your control and you must advance up the pitch, barge your way through the defences and aim for goal. Gratuitous violence plays a big part in this game, and collecting tokens on the pitch endows the player with faster movement and more powerful weaponry to blast the opposition off the field. In anticipation of another success, a number of American companies have approached ImageWorks for the copyrights to Speedball, but nothing has been finalized.

Other programmers of note who are now working exclusively for ImageWorks are Tony Crowther and David Bishop. Tony Crowther is one of the most experienced programmers in Britain and has written many best-selling games, such as Locomotive and Suicide Express. He has teamed up with David Bishop and has been working on a series of six new products for ImageWorks, two of which were on show at the launch. Fernandez Must Die, is an all-action military combat game in which you must defeat a coup perpetrated by General Fernandez. In order to get a chance to assassinate this evil despot, you must combat a full military force who attack on the ground and in the air. There are hundreds of prisoners to liberate, armouries to raid and gold to recover. But your ultimate task is to assassinate Fernandez. Another Crowther/Bishop production, Bomboozle, contains some ingenious touches from some of our most eminent programmers, including Minter, Ubik and Jon Ritman. Bomboozle is a relatively simplistic game in which you must direct a strange alien character around a series of increasingly complex screens and locate and detonate bombs and mines. The screen comprises platforms which are drawn in 3D isometric projection, although you~ can choose to play the game from an_ overhead perspective.

Meanwhile, Adrian Stephens has been working on a game, which ImageWorks reckon will do no less than astound the world. Its working title is Mainframe and although it is at a very early stage of development, ImageWorks were confident that even in its current state, it would impress He: The demonstration illustrated the excellent programming technique which makes solid graphic, multi-face objects move smoothly and speedily. Little is known about the finished product, but they reckon it will be an air simulation with the most realistic feeling of flight. Currently, graphic artists, musicians and game designers are hard at work creating this expected show-stopper.

A young software house called Maxis are developing an incredible military aircraft simulation called Sky Chase. The game is influenced by Air Force flight-school training competitions and emphasis is on two-player combat. This is assisted by a screen which is split vertically in two, and as the combat takes place, each player can see the opponent’s plane on his screen. The three-dimensional, vector-graphic planes hurtle across the sky and over an undulating terrain at a terrific pace and, in my opinion, this is going to be the one to look out for. Finally, ImageWorks announced that they were to undertake a coin-op conversion and that a major licensing deal with Atari Games for Blasteroids had been agreed. Peter Bilotta commented on the deal: ‘We have been keen to break into the coin- op conversion arena for some time, but it was important to select a game that would suit us. Blasteroids fits the bill perfectly!’ Finally, after the phenomenal success of Tetris, will ImageWorks market other games from Russia? Maybe, wait and see! ST Action looks

forward to further developments from ImageWorks. STA


--- SIA] STA---


Representatives of the European computer press travelled by land, air and sea to Rennes in Brittany, after receiving an intriguing and irresistible invitation from UBI Soft: ‘Come and stay at our beautiful chateau for the weekend.’ This attractive request worked perfectly as contingents from Denmark, Spain, Germany, France and Britain punctually congregated at the UBI chateau. Set in 700 acres of beautiful Brittany countryside, the chateau was once inhabited by

members of the French aristocracy and one could almost envisage those extravagantly-dressed characters walking in the grounds, punting on the lake or enjoying opulent balls and banquets in the grand rooms. Today, these same rooms are now the working place and living quarters of UBI‘s in-house software developers and in these idyllic surroundings, the programmers have achieved remarkable productivity this year.

But in an industry which relies on communication, surely this beautiful but remote country setting has its disadvantages? Founder and President of UBI Soft, Yves Guillemot: ‘Our main headquarters are in the centre of Paris and so we manage to stay in touch with developments in the market from there. But with a telephone, modem and Facsimile, it is not really necessary to be in the city.’ UBI Soft was established in 1986 as an independent publishing company within the Guillemot group, which is reputed to be the top software distributor in France. The first title to be released was an icon- activated adventure game called Zombi, which was described as: ‘The most innovative and original adventure of the year’! (Amtrix, Christmas 1986). Since then, UBI have released more than twenty successful titles which have made them one of the top-selling

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Final Command

software houses in Europe. Today, UBI have 250 in-house and independent software developers working for them and productivity is booming and the main objective of the weekend was to see the results of this unusual set-up.

After lunch at the Chateau de la Bourdanais, we returned to the UBI’s chateau to view seven games which are in various stages of development. After eighteen months of painstaking artwork, Iron Lord is finally ready for release. UBI have been criticized for being self- indulgent with this graphical extravaganza, but the general impression at the chateau was very favourable, and what | saw on screen was nothing short of spectacular. Set in the age of chivalry, this graphical adventure combines breathtaking screens with playable arcade action, including archery, arm wrestling and the first 3D sword fighting sequences. In complete contrast to Iron Lord, Puffy’s Saga is a highly amusing game which has been designed with

the younger game player in mind. The game has some hilarious speech synthesis, as the endearing Puffy makes cute comments which reflect the particular predicament he is in. There are 140 levels containing some ingenious features and the challenge and difficulty in this Gauntlet-style game has not been sacrificed for the lighthearted approach.

Yves Guillemot enthusiastically demonstrated a game called Final Command in which you must pilot a space shuttle and retrieve some data banks from a destroyed space station. ‘The aim, of course, is to survive. But the data banks must be located and returned safely to the space confederation in order to complete the game.’ There are fifty individual screens in Final Command and emphasis has been placed on adventure and strategy in this rather involved game. However, the game is very playable, thanks to an ingenious icon system. Described as: ‘The game of the future’, Skateball is an unusual combination of soccer with the gratuitous violence of Rollerball, which is played on an ice-hockey rink. You can play against a tenacious and violent computer-controlled team or an opponent on a number of hazardous rinks which are fraught with cracks and pits in the ice. Four goals must be scored in order to move on to the next rink and bonus points are awarded for barging, kicking

Iron Lord

and knocking the opposition off their feet.

Waiters plied us with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres as we moved from room to room to view the software. You’ve read Bram Stoker’s classic novel, seen countless movies, and now you can play the game. Dracula is a terrific arcade game with some ingenious features, starring the nocturnal blood-sucker himself. The infamous vampire’s arch enemy, Dr. Van Helsing, has taken the Talisman away from Dracula so that he cannot take over the earth and turn everyone into the living dead. Taking control of Dracula, you must defeat Van Helsing’s crack team of vampire hunters and locate the Talisman. You can always count on the Count to come up with some surprises as he changes from bat to wolf and, in his human form, he can collect objects, enter buildings and chew on his victim’s neck. The game contains 100 different screens and five levels of blood-curdling fun. After playing the game for ten minutes, | kept expecting to see Christopher Lee strangling a waiter in some dark recess of the chateau. The remainder of the software was a long way from completion and UBI were unwilling to disclose the final contents of the games at this early stage. These include Fer et Flamme and Bat,

which are expected to be available for the ST next spring. STA

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