Other Magazines (February 1990)

Other Magazines (released February 1990)
So looking at the previous time I did this I cocked up and got different months for The One and Zero. Oops!

The One – Issue 18 (March 1990)

The cover is a bit of a mess, with bits of E-Motion, Sudden Impact, TV Sports Basketball and Pipe Mania. They really needed to pin it down a bit. We have a preview for Cinemaware’s Reach For The Sky – te problem is that while the screenshots look great, Cinemaware games just absolutely suck. No depth, shitty minigames, great graphics. That’s them in a nutshell. There’s a preview for Impossamole which I’m pretty sure I never saw a review for, and another short one for the magnificent Speedball 2. Inject it into my veins baby. We have a reveal for Chase HQ 2, Microprose making coin-ops out of F19 Stealth Fighter. March releases will see Gun Boat from Accolade, then the game that sucked days, weeks, months of my life, Player Manager (think Kick Off with a management game tacked on), Rock Star Ate My Hamster, Ski Or Die, Space Harrier 2, Rainbow Islands, Football Manager World Cup Edition, Pinball Magic, Dan Dare 3, etc – all these get passing mentions. We get an in-depth look at Infestation, a work in progress, and at Barbarian 2. More exciting is an article on Cadaver – I find it interesting how quite a few of these simply have the sprite sheets from games as well as actual screenshots. Cadaver was hugely impressive.

The reviews see E-Motion (92%) and Warhead (93%) review well though frankly neither interest me. The Colonel’s Bequest (80%) on the other hand does – I don’t think ST Format ever covered it so I’ve made a note to get to it when we reach its place in the timeline. The PC version is reviewed here, with no promise of ST/Amiga versions. Conquest (Virus/Zarch with tanks) gets 80% – hopefully there’s an actual game there. Pipemania gets a well-deserved 89%, Stryx gets 68% for what looks like formulaic fare, Crackdown gets 88%, and TV Sports Basketball, with its lovely presentation in cut-scenes (though crude in-match graphics) gets 93%.

Zero – Issue 5 (March 1990)

Zero covers always looked classier than The One and this is no exception, with this one focusing on The Lost Patrol, a game of astounding graphical prowess. In the news we see that for the ST/Amiga versions of F-19 Stealth Fighter the US coding team was binned and a British team started from scratch. If that is the case that was an impressively fast turn-around given it was reviewed in July’s ST Format (spoiler – 96% and one of the games I spent sooooooo much time on).

We get an extensive preview of Manchester United, a football game that doesn’t look too exciting. More interesting are previews of BSS Jane Seymour and Castle Master. We have a bit of a group test on racing games, where Hard Drivin continues to pull the wool over the eyes of reviewers. At least the review for Indianapolis 500 was about right.

Lost Patrol gets 89%, the graphics are astounding. Pipemania gets 92%, it’s still a classic. Midwinter gets 94% which is well deserved. Space Harrier 2 gets 85% – I think it got savaged in ST Format. Hex strategy Full Metal Planete gets 88%, Conqueror gets 75%, the fascinating Dragon’s Breath gets 78%. Some classics in there no doubt.

Other Magazines (January 1990)

Other Magazines (January 1990)
Taking a little detour I thought it might be nice to pick up bits of interesting content from Zero and The One. I won’t be able to go all the way with The One since the ST variant is a bitch to get hold of, but hopefully there’ll still be some decent content to be had.

The One’s cover focuses on Midwinter, though they’ve chosen to represent it with a peculiar hand-drawn bit of artwork on their cover. We have the news that Peter Johnson, who programmed Wizball, Robocop, arkanoid and others had decised to quit game development, choosing to make soundtracks for videos for pregnant women…. ooooookay.

Some news on coming releases – Count Duckula was getting his own game, No Sax Please: We’re Egyptian. The TV show was fantastic so I’m sure the game was shit. World Champion Boxing Manager was also slated for release, and Coktel Vision (makers of the Gobliiins games) had a game around the Paris Dakar rally scheduled – incongruously it seemed to have a section between levels where you watch a belly dancer. They don’t make em like that anymore. We have previews for Treasure Trap which was still some way from completion if I recall – a game that intrigued me, but that itch was scratched by the Cadaver demo. Codemasters were planning their Fruit Machine Simulator – an ill-advised purchase by my parents which thankfully didn’t turn me into an addict. Meanwhile CRL planned to release Trump Castle – not a game where you explore a castle populated by an evil Donald Trump, instead a gambling game set in one of his casinos – you can find it on Automation 202 if it interests you.

It looks like it was made in GFA Basic. They charged £19.95 for that. By far Trump’s worst crime.

Other previews include Cloud Kingdoms which looked pretty interesting back in the day, while Psygnosis were previewing The Killing Game Show which I swear had a long way to go til release. In terms of reviews, they have Midwinter 1 which gets a glowing 4-page review with a 95% rating, thanks to its innovative gameplay and incredibly impressive graphics, both in filled-vector and bitmap form. There’s also an Amiga release for Super Cars, the brilliant top-down racer (well the sequel was amazing on the Amiga at least – I never played the first). Interestingly no ST magazines touched it – the only review I can find is half a page in Ace where it gets 790/1000. Other reviews include P-47 Thunderbolt (70%), Cabal (81%), Chaos Strikes Back (94% – astonishingly ST Format never reviewed it), Lost Patrol got 73% (I remember seeing all those ads with photorealistic graphics and being blown away by them – never got my hands on the game though, I think I missed the review and didn’t realise when it was already out), Dragon’s Breath got 89% (coming soon in STF).

Zero’s cover focuses on a preview of a game called Awesome, which I can honestly say I’ve never heard of. Previews include Ramrod (never heard of it), BAT, Thunderstrike, Wings Of Fury, Tusker, Resolution 101, Escape from the planet of the robot monsters, Unreal (not that one), Conqueror (Virus/Zarch with tanks), Dragon’s Breath, F19 Stealth Fighter, etc.

Reviews cover Their Finest Hour (sequel to Battlehawks 1942 – i’m keen to play it) on PC which gets 94%, Space Ace (Amiga) which gets a generous 80%, X-Out gets 91% on the Amiga, Supercars gets 89% (also Amiga), Star Trek V gets 76% (PC), Xenomorph (Dungeon Master in space apparently – Amiga) gets 89% and looks genuinely interesting but looks like it was never covered by ST Format so I might review that when we get to May (which appears to be when ST User reviewed it). Operation Thunderbolt (Amiga) gets 85% though gets described as a bit morally dodgy due to its depiction of a fictional not-quite-Libya and blowing up cats and dogs, Chaos Strikes Back gets 92% on the ST (I’d review it but it’s hard and I’m too crap to do it justice), Chase HQ gets 79% which is perhaps a tad generous, while P47 looks a bit tedious but scores 75%.

Not sure how much demand there is for this extra bit – it takes a fair bit of time to do so I might just limit it to checking the magazines to see if there’s a game ST Format misses that I need to cover.