NEW TOMMY SOFTWARE PRODUCTS: STAR TRASH & MULTI ST
by Richard Karsmakers
Recently I had the honour once again of receiving some newly
released software from the German software house Tommy Software:
A utility program called "Multi ST" and a game called "Star
"Multi ST" is a program that allows up to 10 programs to be
present in memory at once, although it does NOT offer multi-
tasking (performing several tasks at the same time) as the name
might imply. It works on new and old ST ROMs, but the product has
to be installed according to the system it works on before you
can do anything.
After installing and starting up the program, the user has to
specify the amount of memory that "Multi ST" is allowed to use
for simulating the computer, after which he can also specify the
key that from then on will be recognized by the system as a
signal key for forthcoming switches. Shift, control and alternate
are selectable, so that switching between programs in memory will
from then on be possible by pressing that key followed by the
function key corresponding with a specific program in memory.
In the previous issue of ST NEWS I have reviewed "The Juggler"
from Michtron, a program that allowed 7 GEM applications to be in
memory at the same time. What are the differences?
First, there's the obvious quantity of programs. Whereas "The
Juggler" only allowed seven programs to be resident, "Multi ST"
allows up to 10. The second one is less obvious, but really gives
"Multi ST" an advantage: Tommy Software's product can use
programs that do not use GEM (for example GfA Basic). With "The
Juggler", only GEM applications could be used.
A small problem with both programs is that clumsily programmed
software will probably not work (neither will software that loads
code or data on absolute addresses). Unfortunately, an example of
this is ST NEWS.
After switching to another process or task for the first time,
your computer resets. You could say that your computer starts
completely afresh, but you now have the task you just left hidden
under two key presses to be recalled. And, as I already said, up
to 10 of these tasks can be kept in memory at once. By selecting
a task that's already selected, a process is de-installed and RAM
is made available again.
For people that always wanted several programs in memory at the
same time, "Multi ST" is a good solution. It seems to support
very many programs, providing that they are programmed in a
proper way. No significant bugs could be found. The program can
be bought through Tommy Software at DM 148,--.
When I heard of this new Tommy Software game, I sighed deeply.
Would this again be one of those trashy games that we got earlier
from these guys? After all, "Dizzy Wizard" and "Trash Heap" were
about the lousiest games conceivable on the ST, featuring not
only bad graphics and lousy sound but also a worthless
playability (even worse than "Thrust", I might add). Really, many
people including myself had the opinion that everybody buying
these games HAD to be a real nutcake.
When I eventually received "Star Trash", I sighed deeply again.
But this time I sighed with relief, as the game turned out to be
what "Dizzy Wizard" should have been in the first place. The
graphics are good, the music is reasonably good (there is a
variety, anyway) and the playbility is just good.
In the game, the player moves a bouncing ball up a mountain with
lots of obstacles (including mysterious persons roaming to the
left and right, of which, a mere touch is lethal). A comparison
with "Marble Madness" genetically manipulated with "Airball"
genes came up in my mind.
Not only is the game itself nice to play and seemingly well
programmed, but the introduction also shows that the programmers
spent the right amount of time working on it. A nice scrolling
with an extra effect ornaments the intro screen.
There only one bug: Each time a player loses all his lives, he
has to type in an alphanumeral from the protection check card.
And as Tommy Software's protection check card is one of the most
difficult to read (even for original owners), this decreases the
fun of play.
Why is it necessary to ask a code every time one starts anew?
Can a game become an illegal copy while playing?
Anyway, I fail to grasp the meaning behind this. The game is
good enough, though, to weigh up to this inconvenience.
"Star Trash", as usual, works on color-as well as monochrome
monitors. It costs DM 79.95 and comes supplied on one disk.
Many thanks go to Mr. Thomas Maier for sending the test copies.
I hope that you will continue to publish games with a quality
that reaches or exceeds that of "Star Trash"!
D-6000 Frankfurt/M. 70