ST Format Issue 15 – It’s ‘King Brilliant

ST Format Issue 15 – Download

ST Format Issue 15

The World in September 1990
In UK news York City’s David Longhurst collapsed on the pitch during a 4th Division (now known as League 2) match and died. Meanwhile the CBI predicted a recession as Chancellor John Major and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher denied one was on its way. It was very much on its way.

The US news Pete Sampras won the US Open at the age of 19. While never the most interesting chap he would go on to be a huge force within his generation of tennis players, winning multiple Wimbledon titles among other honours. The 1996 Olympics were awarded to Atlanta (Georgia), George Bush threatened to use force to remove Iraq’s forces from Kuwait and later met FW De Klerk at the White House in recognition of the changes happening in South Africa re Apartheid.

Elsewhere in the world, in Myanmar (aka Burma) orders were put out to arrest Aung San Suu Kyi among other political dissidents. She would be prisoner for 15 years, winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, and would then go on to become every bit as ruthless as those she campaigned against. The first Pizza Hut opened in China, the poor bastards didn’t deserve such horrors (seriously, who wants a pizza that’s 90% grease?).

On TV we saw the first UK broadcast of The Simpsons, debuting on Sky One (which most people didn’t have as satellite TV wasn’t very popular due to being so expensive – we mostly stuck to the standard 4 terrestrial channels in the UK). Thundercats returned to the BBC but all scenes where Panthro used nunchukus were cut out. The 1000th episode of Neighbours was aired in the UK, and it’s worth noting that Neighbours was hugely popular in the UK at the time. BBC 2 had the debut of Star Trek The Next Generation. BBC 2 also saw the debut of Rab C Nesbitt, in which an incomprehensible Glaswegian in a string vest confused the English. Oh and Have I Got News For You also made its debut on BBC2, a satirical news quiz still running today, though it’s lost much of its spark. Heil Honey I’m Home, a comedy featuring Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun managed one episode before being cancelled. More episodes were filmed but never broadcast.

The film charts had rather contrasting films at the top, with Memphis Belle (a fictionalised account of a B-17 Bomber Crew’s final mission in WW2) arriving at #1 to displace Die Hard 2. At #4 we have Crazy People, a fun film with Dudley Moore and Daryl Hannah in which Dudley is declared mad, goes to a nuthouse and the inmates develop advertising campaigns. Other highlights include Total Recall hanging on at #8 with Gremlins 2 at #9.

The album chart sees George Michael at #1 with one of his weaker albums Listen Without Prejudice. The Three Tenors were at #2 still riding the World Cup fever, and we had the likes of Elton John, Michael Bolton (retch) and Phil Collins in the top 10. Mariah Carey’s debut album also made an appearance, though I don’t know any of the tracks on it.

The singles chart saw The Joker by the Steve Miller Band hit number 1 16 years after its initial release due to appearing in a Levi jeans advert. In more interesting news, KLF got to #5 with What Time Is Love and Dee-Lite were at #2 with Groove Is In The Heart. Betty Boo was at 6 with Where Are You Baby which wasn’t quite as good as Doin The Do.

The Magazine
Issue 15 came out in September 1990, and has a striking cover featuring the mask of Tutankhamun due to DPaint getting a review and a cover disk demo (alongside the game of the Days Of Thunder movie). Issue 15 can be considered part of the ST’s golden age in which games and software were plentiful. This issue is notable for the spine text “It’s ‘king brilliant” which amused me but attracted some complaints.

In addition to DPaint and Days Of Thunder demos, the cover disk also has a demo of mediocre puzzler Manix, a tool to figure out the new London area code (London was switching from 01 to 0207 and 0208 depending on where in London you were) plus a program to play some god-awful chip music in the background.

In terms of ST news, the ST’s greatest DTP package Calamus had a massive price drop for its black and white version, while Neodesk had a new version of its alternative ST desktop (Neodesk 3 for those keeping count). High street retailer John Menzies dumped the Amiga to focus on selling the ST in further evidence that the ST was kicking ass and chewing gum. One of the Carebears demo group released TCB Tracker, giving the ST a tracker program to rival those on the Amiga.

The Deluxe Paint review is predictably glowing, and to be fair I had a good crack with the cover disk demo back in the day, though spending £50 on an art package was never an option for me. The interface was well-designed and overall the package reeked of quality, so it’s a fair review. For transparency it’s worth noting that EA will have paid to have their demo on the cover disk, as acknowledged in ST Format 14’s “Who gets your money?” feature. Other software reviews include Fun School 3, probably the most commercially-successful STOS-developed software.

There’s an article on basic ST skills called Back To Basics to get newbies acquainted with the ST (odd timing really, you’d expect that in the January/February issues for the people who just got their STs)

We get the debut of the Kandy Koloured Picture Show in which ST Format readers submit their artwork…

Public Domain and Demos
There’s a public domain release for Bilog, a cycling training log tool which helps manage your exercise regime. Alternatively you can change your desktop from green to blue and use 1k of memory to do so.. no I can’t figure out why either. There’s Galaxia from Budgie UK whic is a clone of.. I’m sure you can guess. In the demo scene we have THe Cuddly Demos from the Carebears, plus we have a couple of STE-themed demos which are mostly focused on audio.

There are some previews of games I’ve not encountered with Fireball leading the way, a 3D violent future sports game, while Mirrorsoft had a crop dusting flight sim set in the future. More recognisable fare came in the form of Loom (one of the few Lucasarts games I’ve never played – I plan to correct that) and the cutesy platformer Flip It N Magnose. Empire’s tank sim Team Yankee gets a mention, as does Domark’s top-down racer Badlands, while Titus mediocre Outrun with guns game Fire And Forget 2 also gets a paragraph. Crime Wave is one I don’t know much about, nor Rogue Trooper (which doesn’t get a screenshot, just a shot of comic book art). More recognisable is the brilliant Speedball 2 from the Bitmap Brothers, while Readysoft threw off the shackles of laserdisk conversions with Wrath Of The Demon which absolutely didn’t rip off Shadow Of The Beast at all.

ST Game Charts

Honestly a pretty awesome chart, with Kick Off 2 on top followed by the magnificent F-19 Stealth Fighter, while Midwinter sits at 7. Disappointing to see Damocles at a mere 15, a true classic of a game, while Sim City was only at 17 (though that’s a game that more than made its money back over the years so it’s not so bad). The budget chart.. dear god how the fuck was the utterly abysmal Codemasters Italia 90 at #1? Honestly it’s the worst football game ever fucking made.

Games reviewed this month:
Vaxine (3D abstract shooty thing – US Gold – £19.99 – 84%)
Soccer Challenge (Football – Microprose – £24.99 – 85%) – I think this is the one NOT made by Sensible Software
Rick Dangerous 2 (Platformer – Microprose – £24.99 – 86%) – Criminally underrated
Venus The Flytrap (Platform Shooter – Gremlin – £19.99 – 77%)
Their Finest Hour – The Battle Of Britain (WW2 Flight Sim – Lucasfilm Games – £29.95 – 91%)
UMS 2 (War Strategy [hardcore] – Microprose – 87%) – The developer looks like Borat
Manix (Mediocre puzzler – Millenium – £24.99 – 71%)
Simulcra (3D shooter – Microstyle – £24.99 – 81%)
Championship Tie Break (Tennis – Ocean – £19.99 – 83%)
Cadaver (Isometric adventure – Bitmap Brothers/Mirrorsoft – £24.99 – 81%)
Operation Stealth (Adventure – Delphine – £24.99 – 93% Format Gold)
Dragonflight (RPG – Thalion – £34.99 [OUCH!] – 71%)
Satan (Platform Shooter – Dinamic – £19.99 – 39%)
Universe 3 (Sci-fi RPG – Impressions – £24.99 – 48%)
Magic Lines (Pipe Mania with electricity – Thalion – £19.99 – 47%)
Leisure Suit Larry 3 (Adventure with tits – Sierra – £39.99 – 61%)
Dead End (Text Adventure – Interactive Technology – £9.95 – 65%)
Tusker (Hack and Slash – SYstem 3 – 51%)
Weird Tales (Text adventure – Interactive Technology – £14.95 – 72%)
Falcon Mission Disk 2 (Flight sim missions – Mirrorsoft – £19.99 – 70%)

There’s actually quite a decent number of games here that really interest me. The obvious candidates are Rick Dangerous 2, Their Finest Hour, Cadaver, Operation Stealth and Leisure Suit Larry 3, but Simulcra looks interesting, while Tie Break could finally be my first decent ST tennis game, and Universe 3 is weirdly ugly but pretty. Even Venus The Flytrap holds some interest due to being so pretty.

For those playing along at home, I’ll be sourcing pirated releases from the TOSEC collection on Here’s a list of releases, likely you’ll also find decent releases at AtariMania.
– Rick Dangerous 2 – Automation 365, Flame Of Finland 49, SuperGU 378, Medway Boys 93, Pompey Pirates 57, Vectronix 289/525
– Their Finest Hour – Automation 369, SuperGAU 389/390, Pompey Pirates 52, Vectronix 694/695
– Cadaver – Automation 415A/B, SuperGAU 591, Medway Boys 88A/B, Vectronix 809/810
– Operation Stealth – SuperGAU 691-693, Vectronix 836-838
– Leisure Suit Larry 3 – Automation 337A/B, SUperGau 654-7, Vectronix 829-31
– Simulcra – Automation 386, Pompey Pirates 63, SuperGAU 423, 535, 816, Vectronix 780
– Tie Break – Flame Of Finland 17
– Universe 3 – no known release so have to use Atarimania’s version at
– Venus The Flytrap – Automation 332, Flame Of Finland 32, Pompey Pirates 46

Reviews This Month

Review: Cadaver (Bitmap Brothers)

ST Format Review My Review The Bitmap Brothers were absolute megastars of the 16-bit era, a team of developers known for taking established genres and polishing them to perfection to create masterpieces. Their first, Xenon, was a simple but technically fairly accomplished shooter, and they followed that with Speedball, their first effort at future sports.…More

Review: Rick Dangerous 2

ST Format Review My Review So the first Rick Dangerous was a bit of a surprise. ST Format didn’t even bother to review it until its later budget re-release, while ST Action waited til over a year after the budget. The One gave it 88% at the time, CVG gave it 87%, and Amiga Format…More

Review: Leisure Suit Larry 3

ST Format Review My Review Leisure Suit Larry 3 – Passionate Patty In Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals is the third game in the Leisure Suit Larry series and the last one to be primarily keyboard-driven. For those unaware, Al Lowe’s creation is a slightly desperate man approaching middle-age, a balding virgin in the first…More

Review: Simulcra (Craftgold)

ST Format Review My Review For this review I’m running a MiSTer FPGA box with a 1MB STE, running TOS 1.62. I’ve chosen Automation 386, and I’ve been rewarded with this lovely frog. There’s a nice loading screen with some reasonably decent chip music – the image chosen almost harks back to an earlier ST…More

Review: Venus The Flytrap

ST Format Review My Review For this review I’m running a MiSTer FPGA box with a 1MB STFM, running TOS 1.02 as the STE seemed not to go down too well. This is my first review using this setup, so apologies for any issues. For this one I used Automation disk 332, a low-key affair…More

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