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Back in Time: May 1990


Another video games packed issue of Computer & Video Games with over 15 ‘C+VG HITS!’.  Klax on the Atari ST from Tengen/Domark led the way with 97%.  Domark’s conversion of the fantastically titled Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters was rated 94% on the Atari ST and Amiga.  Julian Rignall described the game as “slick, humorous, graphically brilliant and ultra playable,” before stating that if you miss it “you deserve to be fed to the Reptilions!”  Following the previous issue’s PC review of Origin’s Space Rogue, it was the Amiga’s turn to have a conversion of the game, getting 94%. Turrican arrived on the C64, courtesy of Rainbow Arts, and received an overall 93%.  Manchester United by Krisalis got 92% on the Atari ST.  The Atari ST version of Castle Master by Incentive/Domark gained a final rating of 90%. Ski or Die by Electronic Arts got 90% on the PC. 
C&VG issue 102
Xenomorph from Pandora was given 90% on both the Atari ST and Amiga versions. Hammerfist from Vivid Images/Activision was reviewed on the Amiga and C64, getting 88% and 87% respectively.  X-Out from Rainbow Arts got 88% for the C64 version. And rounding off the hits was Dynasty Wars on the Atari ST by US Gold which got 85%. The growing Mean Machines section was also jam packed with console gaming hits. The Mega Drive version of The New Zealand Story by Taito received 94%, while the PC Engine version got 90%. Super Real Basketball by Sega on the Mega Drive was given 89% and Curse on the Mega Drive by Micronet got 85%. Arcade Action was a two page spread on the F19 Strike Eagle cabinet.



Sinclair User issue 99
Sinclair User issue 99 took time out to take a good look at the SAM Coupe.  On the MegaTape were full games with the likes of Captain Python and Foxx Fights Back, as well as a graphics suite for the SAM Coupe.  Leading the way in the reviews were Fiendish Freddy’s Big Top O’ Fun from Mindscape and Oriental Games from Activision with both games getting 91% and a ‘Sinclair User Classic’ award.  Gareth Sumpter rounded off his review of Fiendish Freddy by saying that “the circus is about entertainment and Fiendish Freddy’s Big Top o’ Fun spells it out to a letter,” while Chris Jenkin’s praised Oriental Games as a “fab four-event oriental beat-em-up. Lots of variety, lots of fun.” Other games that just missed out on an SU Classic Award were Pipe Mania from Empire with 88%, Ninja Spirit from Activision with 87% and Castle Master from Incentive with 81%. 
The Coin-op section covered arcade games Marvel Land from Namco, which got 7 out of 10, Badlands from Atari Games got a 7, Air Blaster from Namco got 6 and Sega’s Super Masters Golf got an 8.


Fiendish Freddy's Big Top o' Fun dominated the reviews section with a massive 94% rating, taking a ‘Crash Smash’ award for its efforts. Mark Caswell commented that “Fiendish Freddy is graphically and sonically one of the best seen for a while,” before closing off with saying that the “hilarious antics of Freddy lend lasting appeal.”  Other games that got a slightly less warm reception from the Crash reviewers were Castle Master with 85%, Oriental Games with 82% and Lords of Chaos from Target Games with 80%.   Crash issue 76


YC issue 68   YC, or “Your Commodore - the fun magazine” as it affectionately called itself, kicked issue 68 off with a cover review of Domark’s Cyberball. The game was given 93% and a ‘YC Fun *1’ accolade, as ACC (Ashley Cotter-Cairns, the YC deputy editor) summarised the review by saying that “the game works very well indeed,” and that “fans of the sport will fall in love with it straight away.”  Other ‘YC Fun*1’ games this issue included Knights of Legend from Origin with a massive 96% and System 3’s Vendetta, which got 94%.

On the covertape were complete games Deviants, Velocipede, and Popper.  The ‘Wobbly Award Results’ (or the Readers’ votes) were in.  Stunt Car Racer from Microprose was voted ‘Game of the Year’, with US Gold’s Turbo OutRun coming in second place. 
‘Simulation of the Year’ repeated the ‘Game of the Year’ placing with Stunt Car Racer winning out again over Turbo OutRun. ‘Arcade Game of the Year’ (converted to the C64) went to Ocean’s Chase H.Q. with Operation Thunderbolt, also from Ocean, in second place.


Issue 61 of Zzap!64 Amiga was particularly excellent for game content, mainly thanks to the ‘Gold Medal’ awarded game Turrican.  The critically claimed platform shooter from Rainbow Arts garnered praise from the Scorelord, Robin Hogg and Phil King and came away with a final rating of 97%. “Turrican is simply stunning,” commented Phil, “with some of the most gorgeous graphics ever to grace the 64.” Not to be outdone, the Amiga also scored highly with Psygnosis’ game Infestation which got a ‘Sizzler’ award with 94%.  Castle Master also scored a ‘Sizzler’ with 93% and 90% for their C64 and Amiga versions respectively.  Anco’s Player Manager for the Amiga received 92% and a ‘Sizzler’ award. Cinemaware’s TV Sports: Football on the C64 also received 92% and Sizzler award, although the Amiga version came off slightly worse with an 86% rating.
Dragon Breath from Palace Software also got a ‘Sizzler’

Zzap!64 Amiga issue 61
award with 91% for the Amiga version. Hammerfist garnered a ‘Sizzler’ with 90% for both the C64 and Amiga versions.  Activision’s Ninja Spirit rounded off the ‘Sizzler’ awards with 90% for the C64 game.

An interesting interview with Sensible Software also appeared in this issue as Robin Hogg travelled to East Anglia to talk to the development team.  The creators of classic C64 games such as Wizball, Parallax and MicroProse Soccer (very much the forerunner to Sensible Soccer) discussed their past, present and future.  The legendary ‘Zzap! Challenge’ was back as a plucky reader by the name of Brendan Phoenix dared Phil King to a face to face with Kick Off (the inspirational overhead soccer game from Anco).  After a fiercely fought series of games, Brendan came away victorious. And two complete games were included on Zzap!64 Amiga’s megatape, Ocean’s Mutants and Thalamus’ Sanxion.

Sensible Software - past and present games


Amstrad Computer User May 1990   Amstrad Computer User’s featured game this issue was Cyberball, with ratings into the 80s and a rabbit being pulled out of a hat for the overall verdict (it’s good). Chris Knight stated that “the CPC graphics look directly down onto the teams which may lose some of the 3D effect, but look wonderful and greatly improves playability.” Myth – History in the Making from System 3 gained scores into the 70s and 80s with a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow as a final verdict. Ocean’s Rainbow Islands only got scores of 40 and 50 in the individual categories, but came away with a thumbs up verdict.

In amongst the “serious” features of programming and typing lists was the Combat Zone with John Cook reported back from Blackpool on the Amusement Trades Show and a bonanza of new arcade games.
Line of Fire (from Sega) and Beast Busters (from SNK) “were both going down a treat with the punters,” remarked John. Other games at the show were Klax, Badlands, Rough Racer, Marvel Land, and Aliens.

Chris Knight travelled to Aldermaston to profile Players, the computer budget games company. Making its first entry into the Amstrad CPC charts was Robocop, the chart conquering movie tie in from Ocean. Knocked into second place was Ocean’s own arcade conversion of Operation Wolf, while Activision’s After Burner entered in at number three.


Viva Le CPC.  CPC rules alors! And other French headlines involving the word CPC filled the pages of Amstrad Action issue 56 as they celebrated the Amstrad CPC scene across the channel. Remarkably, the CPC had an estimated 48% share of the computing market in France, with the Amiga, ST, PC, ZX Spectrum and C64 all trailing behind.  Special features throughout the issue looked at French developers, the games, the magazines and the French computing industry as a whole.  Elsewhere, Adam Waring showed the reader how to become a top games programmer in the games writing feature.

The Action Test section was full of gaming action with a ‘Master Game’ and three ‘Rave’ awards.  Castle Master grabbed the ‘AA Master Game’ award with 91%.
Trenton Webb summed up the game as being “hours of

Amstrad Action issue 56
intense gaming”, and an “irritating compulsion until” the game is complete. Dr Doom’s Revenge from Empire came away with an ‘AA Rave’ after receiving a rating of 80%.  X-Out from Rainbow Arts got 86% and Ubi Soft’s Puffy’s Saga rounded off the ‘AA Rave’s with 85%.


Your Sinclair issue 53   With issue 53 of Your Sinclair, the staff settled in to their new home well enough after their move from Dennis Publishing to Future Publishing and announced their Games of 1989.  Each member of staff voted for their top five games of the previous year.  David Wilson voted for Chase H.Q. as his number one choice, stating that it was “an excellent car racing game, and a very slick conversion, with excellent sound and 128k digitised speech!”  Editor Matt Bielby went for Stunt Car Racer as it was “the most original, best executed idea of them all – a real gem.” Sean Kelly chose Batman The Movie stating that it “just about pips The Untouchables as the greatest movie conversion ever made.” Duncan MacDonald and Jackie Ryan also went for Stunt Car Racer as their top choice.  Rich Pelley went for Silkworm from Virgin for its “Effective graphics, simple gameplay and loadsa addictiveness.”
Robin Alway listed Carrier Command from Firebird as his top game because of its “perfect mix of simulation, strategy and shoot-‘em-up with a playing area so vast it was almost rude.” Jonathan Davies picked Ocean’s arcade conversion Cabal as it is “one of the few conversions I’ve actually seen that’s actually better than the arcade original.” Overall then, Stunt Car Racer came away with the Game of 1989 award, followed by Chase H.Q., Carrier Command, The Untouchables and Xenon.

On the cover tape this month was the full game of Samurai from CRL and a demo of Scramble Spirits from Grandslam.  The “Complete YS Guide to...” series began this issue with the first edition covering beat-‘em-ups. Featured games were Melbourne House’s The Way of the Exploding Fist which got 83, System 3’s International Karate with 74, US Gold’s Bruce Lee with 44, Skintflintsoft’s Advanced Ninja Simulator received just 5, Imagine’s Target Renegade received 90, US Gold’s Kung Fu Master received 30 and Palace Software’s Barbarian received 91.

In the reviews section, Castle Master picked up a ‘Your Sinclair Megagame’ award with a final rating of 93. Matt stated that the game “stretches the capabilities of your Speccy to breaking point, is guaranteed to provide weeks of gameplay and has an incredibly professional, thought-out (and spooky) feel to it.”  Not trailing too far behind were Klax from Domark with 81 and E-Motion from US Gold with 80.  Topping the Spectrum charts was Rainbow Islands, followed by Chase H.Q. and Empire’s Gazza's Super Soccer.


The Games Machine issue 30 started off with a massive list of games for review with no fewer than 15 games coming away with a ‘Star Player’ award.  With Turrican dominating the front cover the game itself came away with an equally impressive 94% for the C64 and 92% for the Amiga. Warren Lapworth summed up the game as a “shoot-‘em-up action in a platform game mold (one which requires some very deft manoeuvres), mixed with excellent graphics and wide weaponry selection.”   The Atari ST version of Midwinter was reviewed and also got 94%.  The PC game Genghis Khan from Koei received a ‘Golden Scroll’ award for adventure game over 90% with a rating of 93%. Castle Master was reviewed on the Amiga, Atari ST, C64 and ZX Spectrum with both 16-bit versions getting 92% while the 8-bit versions got 90%. Klax was reviewed on the Atari ST coming away with a 92% rating.   The Games Machine issue 30
Track & Field 2 by Konami was given 91% on the NES.  The Magic Candle from Microprose was given 90% on both the PC and C64. Player Manager, the spin-off management player game from Kick Off makers Anco, was given 90% on both the Amiga and Atari ST.  Other games with the ‘Star Player’ accolade included Typhoon Thompson (Broderbund/Domark) on the Amiga with 90%, Cloud Kingdoms (Logotron) on the C64 and Amiga with 89% and 86% respectively, Crackdown (US Gold) on the ZX Spectrum and C64 with 88% and 87% respectively, E-Motion (US Gold) on the ZX Spectrum with 88%, Infestation (Psygnosis) on the Amiga with 88%, Life Force (Konami) on the NES with 88% and Mega Man on the NES with 83%.

As well as a whole host of games, TGM also had plenty of features and issue 30 was no exception. Robin Candy looked at the FM Towns, a new computer from Japan set to revolutionise the world with its use of a CD-ROM drive.  The PC Engine was also investigated as Shintaro Kanaoya reported back from the Far East on the latest happenings from the Land of the Rising Sun.  Joe King hit the road to visit Psygnosis and get the latest on their upcoming games, including The Killing Game Show. Corky’s Coin-ops featured news, previews, reviews and tips on arcade games. Host, Mark “Corky” Caswell, looked at Shadow Dancer (Sega), Search and Rescue (SNK), Pang (Mitchell Corp), Beast Busters (SNK), Aliens (Konami), Vapour Trail (Data East), Crude Buster (Data East) and Final Fight (Capcom).

There's a new guy in town


ACE issue 32
ACE Trailblazer Awards were given to three games in issue 32, one game on each of the main 16-bit machines (the Amiga, Atari ST and PC).  Midwinter on the Atari ST from Mircoprose picked up a rating of 948, Harpoon on the PC from Mirrorsoft/PSS received 948 and Knights of the Crystallion on the Amiga from US Gold got 935. Not so far behind was Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters for the Atari ST with 895, E-Motion on the Amiga and Atari ST with 890 and 880 respectively, Klax on the Atari ST with 880, Never Mind on the Atari ST with 879, Manic Miner on the Amiga with 870 and Risk on the Amiga and Atari ST with 869. The forthcoming CD-i multimedia console is previewed by the ACE reporters as they penetrated the offices of AIM in Los Angeles. Atari UK's Bob Gleadow is interviewed and discussions focused on the Panther, Lynx and other developments.
Another update on the Neo-Geo - a monster of a console and a price range to match. And lastly, on the cover was a booklet "The Complete ACE guide to CD-ROM games".


The One For 16-bit Games issue 20 featured LucasArts’ PC game Loom on the cover, while inside, the game itself received an overall rating of 80%.  Faring slightly better was Treasure Trap on the Amiga by Electronic Zoo, which got 88%.  Hammerfist on the Amiga got 86%, while Infestation, also on the Amiga, got 85%, Escape From the Planet of the Robot Monsters got 84% on the Atari ST, and Code-name: Iceman by Sierra got 80% on the PC. Brian Nesbitt sneaks out to the local pleasure palace (the arcades to you and me) to take in the delights of Tatsumi's Round Up Five and Atari Games' Badlands.   The One For 16-Bit Games issue 20


ST Format issue 32   ST Format issue 10’s cover feature, “Killer! What makes a game this good?” looked at the 30 greatest Atari ST games.  Other features included graphics packages, a beginner’s guide to the ST, and a look at the latest Public Domain software.  On the coverdisk was Wipe Out (“a hilarious intergalactic hoverboard challenge awaits you in Gonzo Games incredibly addictive fully playable demo”), as well as various software such as Finance, C-Tutorial, assembler, debugger software and more.  The news section focused on the CD-ROM drive which was set for the ST, a “drive way ahead of its time in terms of quality and price.”

Games receiving ‘ST Format Gold’ awards were Dragon’s Breath from Palace Software with 92%, Armada from Atari with 91%, Castle Master with 90% and Wayne Gretzky Hockey from Mirrosoft with 90%. 
Following closely behind were US Gold’s Crackdown with 81% and Domark’s Escape From The Planet of the Robot Monsters with 80%.


Amiga Format issue 10 cover feature was the review of Rainbow Islands on the Amiga with Andy Smith giving the game an impressive 95% and an ‘Amiga Format Gold’ award. Player Manager also came away with the same accolade with a rating of 93% for the game. Just missing out on the ‘Format Gold’ was Infestation with 89% and Warhead from Activision with 88%. Other games that were well received included 688 Attack Sub from Electronic Arts with 86%, Herewith the Clues from CRL with 80% and Typhoon Thompson with 80%.

On the coverdisk was Wipe Out, a playable demo from Gonzo Games and various software and utilities. Other features in the issue included tutorials on games programming, hand scanners, using graphics, a digitiser masterclass and VIDI-Chrome.
  Amiga Format issue 10


S - The Sega magazine issue 6   Issue 6 of S – The Sega magazine was actually just the second issue to hit the newsstands (see April’s Back in Time to get the lowdown on that). World Games by Epyx/Sega was the only latest release to get reviewed and came away with 48%. Pick of the ‘Past Master’ reviews was Rastan, “a superb conversion from the arcades, and a bostin' game in its own right,” which got 91%. The Reader’s Top ten this month was topped by
R-Type, again, followed by After Burner and Wonder Boy III. The ‘Give it Some Stick’ feature looked at Master System controllers, while the Arcades Special looked at Shadow Dancer.


CU Amiga’s coverdisk contained full games of Gravattack, a Thrust style game, and S.T. Bash, was a Space Invaders style game where you, ahem, blasted ST ports out of the sky.  The May 1990 issue had two ‘CU Super Star’ and seven ‘CU Screen Star’ rated games.  Midwinter was rated the highest this month with a final rating of 96%. Not too far behind was Antheads:  It Came from the Desert 2 from Cinemaware with 95%, Mark Patterson describing the game as a “brilliant follow up which excels in graphics, sound, and in its intricate plotting. If you own a copy of It Came From the Desert I heartily recommend purchasing this follow up.” Games given a ‘CU Screen Star’ were Their Finest Hour by US Gold received a rating of 91%, Nuclear War by US Gold got 88%, Budokan by Electronic Arts got 87%, Escape From the Planet of the Robot Monsters got 86%, Theme Park Mystery by Image Works got 86%, Castle Master got 85% and Zombi by Ubi Soft got 85%.   CU Amiga May 1990

Ant Heads: It Came From the Desert


Zero issue 7   Zero issue 7’s coverdisk contained a full game, Deflektor, for both the Amiga and Atari ST, and a demo, Venus The Flytrap, also for the Amiga and Atari ST. Receiving ‘Zero Hero’ awards for gaining 90% or over this month were five games in total.  Rainbow Islands got 93% on the Atari ST and 87% on the Amiga, Rich Pelly commenting that he “wouldn’t say that Rainbow Islands is very good on the ST. Nope, ‘Bleedin’ ber-illiant’ is a slightly better way of putting it. Playability wise, it’s got it all...” Damocles from Novagen got 93% on the Atari ST. The PC game Tank from Mirrorsoft got 91%. The Atari ST version of Klax and the PC version of LHX Attack Chopper from Electronic Arts both got 90%. Just missing out on the ‘Zero Hero’ status were BSS Jane Seymour on the Amiga with 89% and Fred on the Atari ST with 89%.

Tim Ponting took to the skies as he flew over to Paris to infiltrate Delphine headquarters and get details of Operation Stealth, the next Cinematique game after Future Wars.  The Console Action section included news and reviews of the latest console gaming.  Konami’s Life Force on the NES came away with 91% and a ‘Console Classic’ award, while Sega’s Tatsujin on the Mega Drive just missed out with 87%.

• Sinclair User, CU Amiga, Computer & Video Games, The One For 16-bit Games and ACE were published byEMAP.
   Scans were kindly provided by Mort atThe Def Guide to Zzap!64.
• Crash, Zzap!64 Amiga and The Games Machine were published by Newsfield Publication .
   Scans were kindly provided by Mort at The Def Guide to Zzap!64.
• Your Sinclair was published byFuture Publishing. Scans were kindly provided by Mort atThe Def Guide to Zzap!64.
• YC was published by Argus Specialist Publications . Scans were kindly provided by Mort atThe Def Guide to Zzap!64.
• Amstrad Action was published byFuture Publishing. Scans were kindly provided by Chris Sweeney at CPC Oxygen.
• Amstrad Computer User was published by Avralite Publications Ltd . Scans were kindly provided by mipeha.
• Amiga Action was published by Interactive Publishing Ltd . Scans were kindly provided by Galaxy atAmiga Magazine Rack.
• ST Format was published byFuture Publishing. Scans were kindly provided by Richard Davey atLittle Green Desktop.
• S - The Sega mag was published by Future Publishing. Scans were kindly provided by homgran.
• Zero was published byDennis Publishing. Scans were kindly provided by Mort atThe Def Guide to Zzap!64.

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