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© Echelon

Don't get mad - get even!
Bluto in "Animal House"

ST SOFTWARE NEWS
by Richard Karsmakers

This time, I'd also like to use this article to get something
off my chest. You will find that in the 'review' of the Dutch
disk magazine "News Channel", to come right away.

News Channel

This will be a thundery review. Short and bondy. For it is no
review I desire to write, but a letter of scorn. And it's
directly aimed at the editorial staff of that magazine.
OK. Let's kick right off.
Some time ago, when sending them a piece of software, I wrote a
note saying that "from now on, it's WAR between 'News Channel'
and ST NEWS; a battle out in the open!" (Dutch: Met open vizier).
I wrote that we will try to beat them with better demos and
better articles, and that they were welcome to try and beat us.
After all, the reader would only benefit from this, wouldn't he?
Like hell he would!
In their latest issue, Volume 2 Issue 1, I found many lines that
concerned 'a certain disk magazine' (ST NEWS, that is) and that
brought to my mind the possibility that my 'letter of war' might
have been somewhat misinterpreted: For the editorial staff of
"News Channel" is obviously set to try and kill us - and not out
in the open!
So we will not write a SINGLE word about "News Channel" in the
future any more. In this battle, I think it's better to keep your
mouth shut and leave the others stewing in their own juice
(Dutch: In hun eigen sop gaar laten koken).
But I promised a review. It will be a short yet faithful one:
Excellent graphics demos (in color as well as mono), many
articles, great music (RIPPED from ST NEWS Volume 3 Issue 4) and
a lot licking of heels (proberen jullie Math te paaien of zo?).
Oh yeah. You might wonder why I put some Dutch translations in
the middle of this article. Well, judging from the language
(English?) the "News Channel" staff uses I consider it well worth
to add some translations so they understand what I'm saying and
don't misinterpret it.
Enough! Or I might get sick. No rating applicable.
Oh yes. Gaston Smit of "News Channel" asked me to let you, the
reader, decide which magazine is the best. So here's the address
of the official Dutch "News Channel" distributor:

C. van Prooijen
Karekietstraat 129
NL-2903 EK Capelle a/d Ijssel
The Netherlands

Skweek

About a couple of times a year, a totally unexpected game is
launched. "Skweek" is one of those games. And I am glad to say
that it isn't only totally unexpected and launched by a well
known company (Loriciels), but that it is also a very playable
and addictive game.
In "Skweek", you play the role of Skweek. If I'd have to
describe Skweek, I'd have to end up saying something like "a
yellow, wobbly thing on legs". 'Cause that's what it is.
In "Skweek", you control that animal over a vertically scrolling
platform with all kinds pink tiles. You have to walk over these
tiles in order to paint them blue. This all sounds very
straightforward and simple, but (as you could guess) it isn't.
Some of the tiles happen to explode not too long after you've
changed their color, and some of them are very slippery (icy).
There are also many, many bonus elements hidden in the game.
There are various items you can run into during your painting
job, including 'laser fire', 'exit to the next level', and more.
You can also collect coloured bears, extra lives, etc.
"Skweek" is a very well programmed game. The vertical scrolling
is virtually perfect, and there are some odd raster colors moving
along the background constantly. The game incorporates a very
good 'About' (demo-like) mode, and has good sound effects as well
as high playability.
Rating: 8-.

Batman

The most recent Ocean release is called "Batman". Actually, when
you buy this game you get two similar games: "Batman Story I" and
"Batman Story II", each on a separate bootable disk.
The first impression of "Batman" is: Excellent graphics! The
people behind this game have sought to reproduce the comic
character in a cartoon drawing style as faithful as possible -
and they have succeeded glamourously!
"Batman" can be called an 'arcade adventure'. You guide our
pseudo-winged hero through various locations in town, where he
will have to fetch items that will help him further, and
sometimes even fight rats or shooting Al Caponoids. Each location
that he enters is drawn on top of the previous one, which creates
an idea as if you were reading the actual comic. Graphics are
very well drawn, and player controls are logical and easy. You
can fetch objects, drop them or use them. If you find a closed
door, for example, you'll have to use a crowbar you can find
elsewhere, and when a location is bathed in the sheer brilliance
of pure black darkness you'll have to 'use' a lamp.
"Batman" is really quite an easy game. I played game number two
for a while and found all puzzles very logical. I died at the
rats in the sewer, unfortunately.
Graphics are very good but sound is only so so (bad drums) and
repetitive. Overall, "Batman" is a good game (well, in fact you
get two), especially at £19.95!
In "ST Amiga Format", however, I read the solution to "Batman
Story I", which I will hereby write down to (credit goes to "ST
Amiga Format" and the guy who solved it, Timothy Hodges).
The scenario is called "Bird in the Hand", and here's what
you've gotta do to complete it.
Go left and collect the Batarang and then go down through the
door and left. Collect the grenade, go right and collect the
spanner. Use the spanner and drop it. Head right and get the key
and badge.
Move left and then up. Pick up the disk and use it. Use the
Batarang and leave the Batcave. Stand at the edge of the screen
and throw the Batarang at the Penguins and men when they appear.
They will eventually drop a packet of crisps which you can eat
when your health is low. Stop throwing and they'll run away.
When leaving the secret exit from the Batcave go left, collect
the sweet and continue left. Pick up the trainers, go right and
then climb onto the roof. Head right and collect the torch and
return to street level. Go right until you get to the warehouse
and then show the badge to the policeman when he appears. He'll
let you continue.
Pick up the Batrope and climb onto the warehouse roof after
going left. Move right until you reach a door and use the key to
open it. Drop the key and enter. Go left and through the end
door. Pick up the magnet and walk right and through the door. Go
right then down and through the first or second door. Head right
until you reach the room captioned 'Shadows everywhere'. Walk
through the door, go right and collect the food. Move left until
you reach the dead end.
Use the grenade to blast through the wall. Carry on left and go
through the second door. Head left and then down through the
door. The room will be captioned 'Getting you down'. Use the
Batrope to go down and then get the lift key after going left.
Return right and go through the door. Use the trainers now.
Move right, down right and collect a knife, then go left and
through the door using the torch. Go right, up and left and get
the dart. Retrace your steps to the screen where you dropped in
by rope. Use the lift key in the lift. Drop the lift key and
torch. Go to the room where you used the grenade and use a dart
from the dart board. A passcard will appear and you must pick it
up. Leave the building and go to the mansion.
Use the passcard to enter and go left and up. Get the key and go
down, right, right, up, left, up, left and up the stairs. Go
right to the end of the corridor and down through the door. Pick
up the video tape. Head left, down, right, down, right and up
through the door. Go right and then through the large white door
using the key and pick up the disk with 'Virus' written on it.
Go back through the white door, right and up through the large
white door. Head right and retrieve the trumpet. Go to the
Penguin's computer and insert the virus disk. The computer is
ruined and the Penguin's plan foiled.
That's it, folks: The end of "Batman Story I".
A total "Batman" rating would be 8.

Bomb Fusion

"Bomb Fusion" is one of Mastertronic's budget games priced at
£9.99. The game therefore offers playability, a reasonably
original plot and graphics/music below average (well, you can't
expect TOO much from a very low-budget title). In "Bomb Fusion",
you must defuse bombs that are endangering life in the
Sellerscale Nuclear Processing Plant. You can do this by touching
them.
Graphics are up to Amstrad standard, I am afraid. The
screenshots on the back look better - stones have different
colors and some nice background pics are also present. None of
this exists on the ST version, though. Some primary colors are
used, and graphics are sharp but uninspired. Really, the
screenshots didn't display anything that wasn't possible on the
ST, so why make this version? The music is rather bad, too, and
about the only reasonable thing about the game is the intro
(which isn't even that stunning). I am afraid nothing warrants a
purchase of this game, though some of the arcade addicts that do
not care about techniques used, graphics and sound may be able to
cope with it for an hour or so.
Rating: 5.5.

Dugger

Linel (Germany) recently did a game called "Dugger". It's an ST
version of the ever popular games on the 8-bit machines like "Dig
Dug" (of which later more advanced versions like "Mr. Do"
appeared).
In the game you play Herbie Stone, and you have to get rid of
two nasty monsters that live underground: Frugal (a dragon) and
Crunchie (a prehistoric human being of some kind?). Something
that I found very original about this game is that you have to
blow up the monsters: And I do mean BLOW them UP - with an air
pump! To blow them up, you must get quite near to them - which
can be hazardous to your health if you realise that the dragon
has hot breath that can put you ablaze! Crunchie seems much
easier to blow up.
The graphics are good and the music is excellent (guess
whodunnit - yeah, pal: Jochen!). "Dugger" is a nice, addictive
little game. Unfortunately, it does not save hiscores.

L.E.D. Storm

What do you get when you cross two games like "Major Motion" (an
old ST one) and "Burnin' Rubber" (an even much older C-64 one)?
Then you get "L.E.D. Storm", published by U.S. Gold.
In the game, you control a futuristic vehicle on its way through
a barren country that consists of nine levels with different
graphics but the same boring music.
"L.E.D. Storm" is a vertically scrolling racing game, which
sometimes also scrolls horizontally and is then really blocky.
The graphics are quite well done, but the thing is sometimes just
a bit too fast. There are some bonus elements that keep you
playing the game a bit longer, and it saves hiscores.
One thing is sure: "L.E.D. Storm" is not bad but will never end
up in the ranks of the best software titles ever. It lacks
something: Addictiveness. All levels have different graphics but
gameplay doesn't change.
Rating: 7+.

Zak McCracken

Since I can only handle a fairly limited amount of Role-playing-
games at one time, I decided to cast off "Police Quest II" to
good old Stefan and to write a mere piece like this about "Zak
McCracken".
When starting up "Zak McCracken", the similarity with the Sierra
role-playing-games is evident, but there's one major difference:
With Zak, you have far less keywords to use, and they can be
readily selected from the lower part of the screen. The graphics
can match the Sierra games, but the puzzles are a bit weird at
times and the humour of e.g. the "Larry" games is not equalled.
In "Zak", you are a downtrodden newspaper reporter that
suddenly ends up in a dream that's real (made me think of Thomas
Covenant for a while...). He has to visit the strangest places
(including Atlantis and Nepal!), and even has to undertake
voyages into space. Yes, "Zak" is also supplied on more than one
disk (3, to be more exact) and is fairly extensive.
I haven't played it much, maybe because I happened to stumble
across the German version (an English version is also finished).
Though no match for the aforementioned Sierra games, "Zak
McCracken" surely is a nice introduction into the world of role-
playing games. It's quite nice, but it wouldn't tie me to my
computer as long as "War in Middle Earth" or "Larry II"!
Rating: 8.

The Games: Winter Edition

Epyx' (through U.S. Gold in Europe) latest release is "The
Games: Winter Edition", by some dubbed "Winter Games II". This
program was done in Europe, so I've heard, and the game sells at
£19.95.
The graphics are up to the standard we're used to of Epyx -
maybe even a bit better. This time, the player is brought to play
Ski Jumping, Slalom, Speed Skating (though very different and not
as attractive as the original "Winter Games" discipline), Down
Hill, The Luge and Figure Skating (ooooaaaaww. Yawn. Sorry. This
one's PLAIN DULL!!).
It all starts with the usual opening ceremonies, and all the
national anthems are now also present in a quality above average.
After that, the selected disciplines start (you'd better never
select Figure Skating!). All disciplines are well presented and
well animated, but it is sometimes VERY difficult to master the
movements needed to come up with a good performance, let alone
create a perfect one.
Up to eight people can compete with this game, and I must say
that it was thoroughly thought out as a whole. Details are good,
graphics are good, sound is good.
Rating: 8-.

Yo yo yo! That's it for today folks! I hope to be with ya all
fairly soon again, when we'll be looking at ST NEWS Volume 4
Issue 3 (the one before the One Issue!).
Bye!

Disclaimer
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.