MEDIAEVAL EXPERIENCES, FLYING A WARRIOR, GIANT FAT MUSHROOMS,
SINKING RAINBOW ISLANDS, ATTACK OF THE MUTANT COWS AND AN
UNEXPECTED DAY OF DOING NOTHING
by Richard Karsmakers
A private hire driver just dropped us off at the "Crown Inn",
Gumstool Hill, Tetbury (twinned with Zwingenberg a.d.
Bergstrasse), Gloucestershire. We're in our rooms.
In Kemble, I went into a pub to call Ed's taxi when I ran into a
guy who turned out to be Nigel Walker, private hire driver of the
Black Swan Chauffeur Service. He told us he could take us to
Tetbury as well, and he did this at the regular cab rate (he only
did this on Sundays - on normal days he's very expensive). He
drove an extremely de-luxe Ford Scorpio automatic with built-in
board computer and everything you might possible want/wish in a
It cost us about £7, I think.
Tetbury is a beautiful mediaeval town, quite small. The "Crown
Inn" is really smashing, and very old. The landlady who received
us told us that the part in which we will be sleeping is from
Our rooms look over an old village street with old, picturesque
little houses. We have two luxury rooms at £18 each (including
breakfast), with bath and shower on the hall, color TV, running
water on the room. Everything looks really pretty, and the stairs
make a warm cracking noise if you walk on them.
Everything is brown and very atmospheric. Nothing is straight;
the walls are all slightly tilted, and everything is made of
sturdy wood or solid stone.
We're down in the actual inn - I am drinking Gin-tonic and
Richard is once again lavishing himself on the soft taste of a
pint of bitter. We're nonchalantly draped on a bench built in an
niche in the thick outer walls of this place. As we look out of
the window, we see the old houses and a road that winds down
through fields in which cattle still grazes without being
troubled by growing hormones or likewise chemicals.
Someone is playing "Scarborough Fair" on a guitar - a bearded
folk singer, would you believe. We immediately feel at home, as
though surrounded by good friends and family. It is really
devastatingly cosy. The homesick feeling that might have roamed
my subconsciousness is now totally disappearing in the light grey
mists of the English lands.
It is easy to close our eyes and imagine soldiers wearing silver
helmets chanting in this inn, their swords sheathed on their
buckles, preparing to go to sleep on beds of straw. Voluptuous
virgins supplying them with huge trays filled with enormous
chunks of bread and enormous pots of beer.
An ultra-inspiring environment!
The thick walls of this inn might indeed still hide secret
passages, and it's easy to believe that there can be dungeons
under it as well; dungeons filled with dripping stalactites,
ancient corpses, dark passages filled with old artefacts, jewels
and proud swords of Kings of old - Excalibur reforged.
The landlady is a nice, hospitable woman. Her man is the typical
kind of landlord the likes of which you would only meet in "Dick
My head feels but like a triangle standing on top of an icen
surface in the barren flatlands of my mind.
There is a large fireplace here, next to which a large iron
shield hangs - dented by ages of war and troubles, ancient with
lore and magic.
Rugged persons can be imagined to be warming themselves on the
fire that greedily consumed the wood at winter...
It is getting to be a bit more busy in the inn, and a lot of
quite young people start pouring in through the door.
Soon, the whole place is filled with people merrily chatting and
An identical twin of Phil Collins is sitting at the table next
to us, laughing loudly and busily using F-words all the time.
He's a bit broader than Phil, actually, and has three earrings in
an ear instead of just one.
As I touch the wood of the stairs when walking up to get some
stuff, I thoroughly realise - and the shivers run down my spine -
that these very same stairs must have been touched by knights one
day, long ago, in the dark history of English times...
We are now walking down one of those sloping roads, trying to
achieve some rest and to get some coolness from the outside air.
I try to kick a cat, but both Stefan and the cat prevent me from
doing so (the latter did this by simply vanishing).
In a second, we'll also have to go back on this road. And that
will mean climbing.
The skies are filled with deep purple clouds with salmon threads
shattering in the wind like pink and red tattered handkerchiefs.
We pass a beggar who asks us for money. We start talking Dutch
and the man leaves.
Back in the Inn after walking a couple of more minutes.
This whole weekend has been filled with sheer sources of hard-
I will pay a visit to the shower while Richard is losing weight
sitting on the loo (which is adjacent to my room - as is the
bath) and moaning about a wet arse.
No! Not another one of those wet-your-ass johns (just like that
damn "Academy" hotel)!
I am now waiting for Stefan to finish showering so that I can
have a go at it. Since I kinda long for a shower after SIX days
without (no worry - Stefan didn't shower for six days either).
Outside, the sounds of people trying to burp as loudly as
possible in front of the pub are reaching my ears. Sweat is
present on my forehead (and on the keyboard of the Z88 as I wipe
it and continue typing).
I want to shower, but I can't - yet. This hotel really is MUCH
better than "The Academy". And much cheaper, too. It is really
great. It's worth spending a couple of nights at if you're
staying in Gloucestershire or even North Devon. Come on, Stefan!
When will you be finished with that damn shower?!
I have had an awfully nice showering session, even though it
took its time before I found out how the system of water of heat
worked. I think I am now going to brew myself a nice hot pot of
tea and go to lie on bed and watch some television.
This is a really nice, antique room, with beds laid with satin
sheets, and a nice lamp along the bed that can even be turned on
Some books are located under the television, in a small
cupboard. Titles include "Seen dimly before Dawn" by Nigel
Balchin, "The Manasco Road" by victor canning and "Elizabeth and
Leicester" by Milton Waldman.
I have buffered an enormous mountain of toilet paper - they
supply the guests with pre-torn paper here, and I can nicely blow
my nose in it. So I can sniff and snout all night and blow the
paper full with snotbeams that I will produce.
I think I'll put the wastepaper basket next to my bed.
The walkman is now with me and the Z88 is at Richard. So we have
now parted for the night (finally I can wake up without hearing
farts and hideous moans).
I am going to bed. The burping competition outside is still
continuing, but I think I won't allow it to bother my trials to
get to sleep soon and dream about lovely things (or, rather, ONE
I am going to sleep. The beautiful lands of Wales are still
pictures in my mind. Jeff is also such an incredibly incredible
person - it's barely to be understood.
Who know, next year...
But tomorrow...Microprose. I think I'll like flying an a small
Monday, July 17th 1989
I wake up. Rays of the morning sun are carefully trying to
penetrate the curtains. After I open these, I behold the sun
rising still above the beautiful countryside.
I turn on the TV and watch some of the BBC news (apart from
soaps like "Neighbours" twice each day, English television also
features news from 7 to 9 each morning).
I slept endlessly nice. I am now awake (or, rather, I should be
awake as otherwise I wouldn't be doing this).
Breakfast is in us. Since the landlady had to be at her kids'
school at nine, she had requested us to pop in the food room by
eight - which we did.
We were the only ones there, by the way. It was a very nice,
delicious, plentiful, quiet, userfriendly and satiating English
breakfast with bacon, eggs, orange juice, some MINDSTAGGERINGLY
delicious fat enormously giant mushrooms Stefan hated but I
endlessly adored, toast and white beans in tomato sauce. The tea,
however, was just about strong enough to be able to give your car
and anti-rust protection with it - you nearly had to chew it.
We've arrived at Microprose, about a hundred yards around the
corner at the "Crown Inn". It's a nice office with a sign on the
door that states you shouldn't ask any questions here if you're a
freaked-out games fanatic wanting tips or something.
We were received by a receptionist with a Lady Di-hairstyle who
happened to be called Sarah (or Sara).
At 09:30, Julia Coombs, Publicity Manager of Microprose and
indeed a delightfully humorous female with blonde hair, greeted
us after which we went upstairs to her office to talk about
forthcoming releases on any of the Microprose labels.
They now have the Microprose, Microstyle, Microstatus, Firebird
and Rainbird labels. Origin and Cosmi are put on the background
at the moment. Microprose intends to actually create brands -
like they have done with Microprose and Microstyle (sometimes
referred to as 'yuppie' labels). They've pitched Microstatus at
about 26 year olds with a bit of money, and the games are created
that way - with the target customer as goal. Microstyle is for
about 17 year olds - more action. "Stuntcar Racer" is a game like
this. Eventually, Firebird and Rainbird will be repositioned as
well. They will be a bit more challenged so that the people will
exactly what type of games they do.
The release schedule for the ST is as follows: "Red Storm
Rising" (Microprose, October), "Rat Pack" (Microprose, November -
a strategic war game with action as well), "Greenpeace"
(Microstyle, middle of August, name could also be "Rainbow
Warrior"), "Tower of Bable" (September), "Stuntcar Racer"
(September), "Xenophobe" (October), "Starlord" (October),
"Survivor" (November), "Midwinter" (November), "Rick Dangerous"
(Firebird, out already - review in next issue of ST NEWS),
"Quartz" (Firebird, late August), "Mr. Heli" (Firebird, late
August), "Action Fighter" (Firebird, August), "Rainbow Islands"
(Firebird, September), "Oriental Games" (Firebird, September),
"P47" (Firebird, October), "Contact" (Firebird, October), "Weird
Dreams" (Rainbird, out already - review in next issue of ST
NEWS), "Verminator" (Rainbird, August), "UMS II" (Rainbird,
November), "Epoch" (Rainbird, November), "Tank Command" (that
name will change, Rainbird, November), and "Broadsword"
(Rainbird, November). It's quite a busy schedule and there are
some big games in it as well.
After having gone through this release schedule, Julia took us
to her car and we went to an airport, at about a bit past ten.
We have arrived at Staverton Airport, not too far from Slough.
It took a bit longer than it was supposed to take, since Julia
almost got lost somewhere in Staverton.
The windows were (blatantly) open all the time, and it's nice
and warm outside. A terrific day for flying - for that is what we
will do in a minute!
We just entered the "Gloucester and Cheltenham Flying Club"
office where we met our pilot, a nice bloke with moustache and a
pleasant voice by the name of Craig Cowie.
We immediately walked to the plane, and Craig is at the moment
checking the flaps, the engine and the rotor. It's a four-seated
American Piper Warrior plane - a white one with red striping and
a proud 'Microprose' logo drawn in red above the red
With this plane, some other journalists had also flown last week
- on which occasion they were nearly flown out of the air by
crashing into a Royal Air Force Hawk plane, so Julia had told us.
That's the reason why she isn't joining us and had stayed behind
at a small look-out hill just outside the flying club.
There are airplanes and helicopters on the grass everywhere
Stefan and I just had Craig toss a coin about who was allowed to
sit in front. I won! Ha!
We're sitting in the plane. One of the doors is still open to
allow some of the cool air to penetrate the cockpit. I sit in the
back (lucky Richard!), and we're all wearing headphones that
allow us to talk with each other while still being able to hear
the control tower.
Our pilot is now testing all the controls. The flaps go up and
down, the tail moves, switched get flicked...
The engine is now running, and the plane is slowly driving to
the place where it can take off. We look outside and see Julia
waving at us on that small hill.
Poor girl. She should have come with us - it's quite nice now,
and I think it will be even nicer in a couple of minutes!
Yeah....we're accelerating now, and we're almost airborne...
Yeah! We're airborne!
What an experience! This is totally different from flying a
commercial plane or even a Jumbo Jet!
("For a couple of seconds, I thought I felt some vertigo..."
We're at 4,500 feet now. Everything is very neat. Rivers seem to
crawl across the patchwork landscape, and the motorway is truly
TINY like a lost thread crawling with small coloured bugs.
The air is devastatingly blue, and it's nice and cool here as
well. There is a funny cloud in the distance, towering above the
grey haze at the horizon - it looks like a still from a nuclear
explosion. The rest of the sky is just empty. No clouds, so we
can look very far away in spite of the haze that is present to
We just took a couple of pictures from Tetbury, for which
purpose the pilot specially manoeuvered around the village a
couple of times.
We're still flying over Tetbury, so it seems. Airspeed is 100-
110 knots, the outside temperature is 16 degrees Celsius, we're
still flying at 4,500 feet and we're heading due North. We're
ascending at about a 100 feet per minute, but that's slowly
We're already descending a bit now - 600 feet per minute.
Staverton airport is again visible to us. There is "ST" written
on one of the runways, by the way.
We are now going up and down a little, and the plane shakes a
little. We are now descending at 1000 feet per minute, and making
a large bend in order to get to the proper runway.
We're flying nice and low now. We can see everything very
detailed: The houses, cars, swimming pools...even a cricket
field. It's amazing.
The runway is straight ahead now, and it's number 27.
We experience touchdown. The ST NEWS editorial staff has landed
- again. The plane decreases speed rapidly now, and before we
know it, we're driving back to the 'parking lot' again.
According to Craig, we've been flying about 45 miles now.
We get out of the plane. It's been magic.
After we went back from Staverton to Tetbury, Julia took us for
lunch at "The Crown". We were joined by two other girls working
at Microprose, and had a couple of sandwiches.
After that, it must have been running to half past two, Julia
took us to the game testing department with a couple of disks and
started demonstrating some of the forthcoming games (an account
of which can be found at the end of this article, as usual). We
weren't particularly lucky with regard to one of the titles we
wanted most desperately to see: "Rainbow Island" didn't quite
work on the disks (the game is two disks in size) Julia had.
Too bad. I had been looking forward to it, since it is the most
rumoured sequel to the greatly addictive game "Bubble Bobble"
(that I still play regularly!).
Somewhere during all this demonstrating, I went to pay a visit
to the Microprose loo. There were all kinds of messages written
on it, including one that I found quite nice: "In case of
constipation, use biro supplied here."
We have just left Microprose. It has been a rewarding day - not
only have we seen quite a lot of the new software they will do,
but we have also flown!
I let myself sink down in a nice bathtub filled with divinely
warm water. It's great and ultra-mega-tera-relaxing.
After a very exciting day at Microprose, I am now lying serenely
on my bed in the Crown Inn, surrounded by posters and software
obtained at Microprose.
We actually flew in a small 4-seated plane which was very
exciting indeed. We saw the nice countryside from above and
everything looked so cute and small. Afterwards, we had lunch and
went back to Microprose to take a look at the latest software
they were about to launch. The best one was probably "Rainbow
Islands", but unfortunately the demonstration copy didn't quite
work. But "Stuntcar Driver" and "Quartz" looked pretty nice, too.
Really nice lady, that Julia.
By the way, Richard is now softening his bulk in the bathtub and
he will be in there for hours so he told me. I'll have a go at it
tonight and then he'll probably get bored and will start
harassing me. Anyway, tomorrow is going to be a problem for the
trains will be on strike and we will be having great difficulty
getting to Microdeal. If it will be too much of a problem, we'll
stay here for another day and hang around a bit. To be utterly
honest, somewhere in the darkest depths of my mind is a little
voice wishing that we can't go to Microdeal and stay here
instead. Not that I don't want to go to Microdeal, but this place
is so nice. OK, I will now read the "Weird Dreams" novel, which
will take me a while for it is 64 pages...
Farting in bath (sorry for the obscenity) is really funny,
especially if you're drinking Coke and reading the "Weird Dreams"
novella at the same time (we've got two of those at the moment).
At 16:17, I pulled the plug and had the bath go empty by means
of simple laws of physics. Now, I leave the bath - totally
relieved and quite stunningly relaxed.
Tomorrow, public traffic will strike. So we decided to prevent
ourselves from going through a lot of hassle and not to go to
Microdeal tomorrow - they are too far out of the direction and
difficult to be reached by coach (and that's the only means of
transportation tomorrow, as it is).
So we will stay here one more day (and night) and have a nice
and utterly leisurely day off here. It's nice here, so why not?
On thursday, we will go and visit the Ancient STatarian - Ken
Butler in Middleton-on-Sea.
Stefan will now go and take a bath.
Feeding time draws nigh, and I get slightly restless at the
prospect of nourishment. My stomach is already starting to make
I want to eat.
We have comfortably seated ourselves behind a small table in the
lounge, or, as it is named here, the conservatory. It's cosily
sunlit and pictures with dogs on 'em are hanging everywhere.
A large ventilator in the middle prevents us from overheating.
"Monday night is Chili night at the Crown!" we had read on a
sign before, so we decided to order some of that (why not eat
Chili again? That's what we thought, exactly). It has just been
served (very promptly).
Apart from the usual Chili, it also contains Mango Chutney and
Poppadom (or something like that - something crispy and
delicious). We also drink some lager and bitter (the latter being
a bit lukewarm, unfortunately).
We're eating dessert: Hot apple pie with icecream. Good!
After watching television for a couple of dull minutes (I
believe we saw a bit of the "Lenny Henry Show"), we decided it
would be nice to go for a longer walk in the countryside.
Stefan is now making sure he's got enough of that pre-torn
toilet paper with him so that he can sufficiently blow his nose
when such might be needed during this sub-quest.
We're walking down strange paths to the east of town,
mysteriously followed by a native. He appears not actually to be
following us, but you never know (he might be an agent for a
competing disk magazine).
We're climbing a savage hill that has a 40-45 degrees angle. But
we will not falter in this ultimate quest of height. We'll make
it, just like we've up to now made to everywhere we wanted to go.
Our ears start to ache as the air becomes thinner, about twenty
metres above where we just were.
We came here for nothing.
Beyond this hill, there is nothing else but a rather dull
pasture - not even populated by the usual cows, horses, sheep, or
So we'll have to go down again.
Halfway down the hill, we decide to rest our tiring bodies on
the ground. Tetbury is draped upon the hill before us. We're
looking west and the sun will be setting in a couple of hours.
There's a deafening sound of grasshoppers everywhere - there must
be hundreds of them around here. We caught a couple of them and
examined them before they grew tired of the confined freedom in
our hands and jumped away into thin air.
We just actually saw a hawk or a buzzard - anyway, a true bird
of prey. You don't see those much in Holland, as we use too many
pesticides and these birds don't tend to like that and instead
just whither away and die.
Stefan suggested that we should go and lay on the ground, acting
like mice. We might see the bird closer by then.
To the south of the hill we just climbed and descended again,
there is an even bigger hill. It is abundantly covered with all
kinds of vegetation including stinging nettles and trees with
nasty stinging things.
Yet we decide to take on the challenge and climb this hill.
It is even steeper and higher, and we soon end up having green
hands and shirts clad with the green of trees.
Woe! My precious Metallica T-shirt!
There are loads of arthropods here. You can't even open your
mouth to speak or breathe, as immediately some insects will
settle down in it, court, marry, build nests, copulate, lay eggs,
and start nursing their offspring.
We have reached some end to this jungle: A seemingly abandoned
house with some boarded up windows. We've got stinging nettle
bumps on every naked part of our body - this mainly means our
arms and hands.
The house turned out not to be quite deserted. Someone (probably
the owner) just came out and suggested to us that we should
undertake exactly the same way back as where we came from. He
emphasised his threats by pushing a double-barelled shotgun under
our nasal cavities.
Oops. This guy was serious.
So we had to undergo the very same hazardous adventure again.
("May he rot forever in the darkest pits of hell where his soul
will be consumed by pools of burning venom, and may the devil and
all his demons forever feast upon his rotting corpse!" Stefan
We found an alternative way back. It wasn't particularly easy,
but at least easier than it would have been to descend that
butchering hill again.
We had to climb over quite a high fence that was grown with man-
high stinging nettles, and we ended up in the same pasture that
we had considered rather dull before - only about a mile or so
south. Our socks and trousers were covered with little, hairy,
sticky balls of plant seed ("Portable Plant genitalia." Stefan
Boy. Today, I've done things that I haven't done since I was a
kid - and back then, my parents used to spank me for doing it!
We were rather shocked as we saw some people performing the
ultimately honorary deed of trying to multiply the human race
about hundred yards to the north.
How tasteless: F@*king in the pasture so that all accidentally
passing Dutch journalists/tourists can witness the act.
We walked a bit more to the south, because we felt we really
couldn't pass the hot couple back there while trying to act as
though we didn't see anything.
We are now standing in front of a rather low wall that doesn't
look too solid. But it's a wall to certain freedom, so it seems.
There only seem to be about fifty metres of private area before
another rather low wall (that doesn't look too solid either),
beyond which we can hear cars!
We are safe, just climbed over that second wall. Both walls
survived our violent attacks, though we barely survived without
being seen by the owner of the terrain and without being torn to
bits by some guard geese that came quite horribly near to us as
we dashed across it.
At least we didn't get shot in the nose - nor bitten in the bum.
We're on a sandy path that was extremely clearly labelled
"Public Footpath", and we have ended up in another pasture,
probably due south of Tetbury.
We just stumbled upon a herd of four-legged white animals
blotted with black, having large pink objects with four finger-
like protrusions hanging behind their hind legs. Their large
heads turn slowly towards us and their dim (and, obviously, quite
stupid) eyes look at us as if they see an enormous pile of dung
being devoured by but one fly.
Speaking of dung: It's literally everywhere and we have to be
extremely careful where we step. There are flies everywhere as
In spite of the fact that these enormous creatures outnumber us
by at least 20 to 1, I dare to go to one of the creatures and
near it to only 1 mere metre. However, she seems not really to be
interested in having me as her acquaintance and hops off with the
grace of a pregnant camel.
As we walk on, we find one of these creatures standing defiantly
before us - legs slightly spread, directly on our path. It looks
like a 1532.42 pound mean piece of beef, and the sudden craving
for soft meat of my barking stomach is only drowned by the sound
of my heart beating in desperate fear as we swallow and decide to
take the challenge.
First, we cut off its way back to the herd.
We walk nearer.
We walk even nearer. We're awfully close...
Since the animal probably didn't have high figures for strategy
at school, it didn't know we had cut off her way back to the herd
and therefore simply walked back to it.
So much for strategy.
The animal has a number printed on her back. "77" it states.
We have left the cows behind and turned beyond a bend back north
- to Tetbury. The sun is now only just looming above the darkly
silhouetted old houses of the village. Enough to make you feel
What have we started? We constant end up being in somebody's
back yard, and so we have now, while still walking on that same
public footpath. We fear that every moment a farmer will come out
and blow us off his pasture with a battle tank or something.
We have discovered a real tomb-stone, accompanied (or guarded?)
by a couple of light brown, mean looking cows. Probably, this is
the tombstone of a ox-desecrator, buried where he died.
Actually, we now see the first cow ever coming towards us! Maybe
it is a bull and it will kill us - in which the farmer ends up
having two more tombstones here.
Or maybe it's a cow presenting herself to be eaten by us. We
decide to perform a gesture of peace, and have her/him smell at
the walkman microphone.
"Say hi!" (Stefan quote)
"Snnniffggrroooossnnniigggg!" (cow/bull quote)
In a desperate (and maybe foolish) attempt to establish whether
we're talking about cows or bulls here. I take out my hanky and
give away a free impression of my Toreador act, waving the cloth
before the animals.
They look with even more stupidity than before.
Obviously, these are no bulls - or my Toreador impression is
rather lousy (but I'd like not to think the latter).
We are, by the public footpath, on the verge of a mental
We're lost. We can only go into somebody's back garden.
Saviour is near! We see the road, only separated from us by a
rusty fence which Stefan is carefully probing now.
He now climbs over it in a way that could have been potentially
dangerous for his possible future plans regarding females and
I also climb over the fence, thereby also almost rendering
certain vital parts of my anatomy useless.
FREE AT LAST!
We're back in the civilised world, and I am having hiccups.
By the way, we turned out to have been roaming in the garden of
the "Piece o'Eight" cottage, Tetbury.
The Crown Inn looms up in the distance of our sight like a
sprite that is being scaled towards us on an Atari handheld.
Back in the inn. Stefan immediately starts to drink, whereas I
think I will prefer a quickie to the shower first.
I've just finished showering. I've washed away the filth, the
smell of cowdung and the green off the bruises caused by trees
and stinging nettles.
I am going to bed. This day has been quite tiresome, and the
results are becoming very obvious in a gnawing feeling throughout
my body that tells me to hit the deck soon.
So I will.
I'll go to bed.
Bye. I'm tired and don't want to do anything more but SLEEPING.
Tuesday, July 18th 1989
I wake up to the sound of Tetbury at 08:15 (probably: The sound
of any small English town at 08:15).
It is a nice and very comforting through to know that today we
will have to do nothing - just relax and have a leisure day.
I wake up to the sound of Tetbury at 08:15 (probably: The sound
of any small English town at 08:15).
It is a nice and very comforting through to know that today we
will have to do nothing - just relax and have a leisure day.
During breakfast (the usual English one - great) the landlady
advised us to go and have a look at the local tourist attraction
which was called the Chipping Steps.
We now stands atop of these Steps. They are endlessly
impressive, a magnificent tourist attraction that flabbergasts us
totally. We behold the immensity of the steps, the power of its
stonework, the craftmanship of its makers, the stamina needed to
take them on.
A massive fifty yards into the distance and at least ten yards
down, we see them. The Steps.
Shivers run down our spine in utmost horror as we realise that
we'll have to conquer these - with danger to our very lives!
The natives look at us as though we are only examining the Steps
for later demolition - but we don't heed them.
We are too busy concentrating ourselves before going on with
this breathtaking sub-quest. For this should not be taken
About a minute later, we have conquered the Steps.
We turn around at their bottom, and look up in awe at all the
massive fifty yards distance and ten yards (at least) in height.
We did it. We're heroes.
Now we know how people like Columbus, Barentz and Atilla must
The feeling is great.
We have only walked a couple of miles due east, and we're
already in the middle of absolutely nowhere.
All we hear is grasshoppers; all we see is green lands, trees,
and grass (not the smoking kind).
We can barely see the topmost part of the Tetbury church tower
above the vegetation, due west.
We're on our own. We have to survive this. We can't return yet.
("Is there a Coca Cola vending machine here?" Stefan quote)
We're basking in the beauty of nature, relishing its colors and
its fragrance. It's great, it's magic. We can hear the birds
chanting brilliantly and a plane is circling high above us.
One way or another, we have ended up on a little country road on
which a sign says that we have to turn left to Tetbury, while the
church tower is still slightly visible to the right.
Maybe we shouldn't have taken this small jungle path about a
quarter of an hour ago? But it's too late now.
I guess we'll have to walk to the left then, for we will not
falter while having our target in sight (even if it means getting
in the opposite direction).
The sun is burning on our backs, the road is long and desolate,
the swallows fly to and fro and the poppies grow in between the
wheat at both sides of the road.
Within the trembling horizon we see Fata Morganas of Coca Cola
Vending Machines, Fish'n'Chips stores, Computer Retailers and
other places where we would be able to enlighten ourselves to the
lustful desires of mankind.
We are sitting down for a moment. It's nice to be able to sit
down for a while instead of all this walking, and I haven't
dragged my copy of the "Weird Dreams" novella along for nothing,
Stefan sat down with a cry of disgusting agony, slaughter and
pain as he sat down on a thistle - which he viciously obliterated
before sitting down again.
I finished reading Chapter 17. So we're walking again.
We're walking along a more busy road now instead of that two-bit
("My mouth feels as though I've licked this road dry!" Stefan
We're back within the town boundaries of Tetbury.
The first thing we smell, which might sound slightly strange as
well as offensive, is horse shit.
Anyway, I suppose it smells far better than the excrements of
the Mutant Maxi Mega Monster of Multifizzic Omega...
We breath deeply as this time we stand once more before the
hazardous heights of the Chipping Steps - and this time we have
to ascend them, which is probably even MORE lethal.
We survived our quest and the ascending of The Steps. We're now
drinking some Coke at "The Crown" - I think we deserved that, for
it seems as if we have been walking for days in the desolate
plains of Gloucestershire.
We have left "The Crown" again and are now comfortably seated on
a wooden bench on Tetbury's Market Place (about fifty yards off
Microprose, as a matter of fact).
We observe the people - the women with their children, the old
men of town, even a copper that walks to and fro and that has
passed us about three times now.
Just before, we have walked up and down two of the 'major'
streets of the town - which wasn't that difficult and tiring
since they aren't very long. Along the way, we devoured a couple
of ice creams - since it is still very warm here, and the weather
reports keep on mentioning that it will remain hot at least until
we leave England.
We're back at "The Crown", and lunch hours have started there.
So we're eating a couple of sandwiches now (I am eating a prawn
sandwich and Stefan is munching on a beef one).
We went to a local shop to get some Coke (eight cans), and have
retired to our rooms. We do not intend to leave them until we can
go and have diner, so I hope these cans suffice.
We're looking at the "Really Wild Show", where we see a 'boxing
shrimp' breaking pieces of glass. It's a really weird but still
interesting show - probably aimed at a young audience.
We are interrupting our lazy laying in bed and reading and
watching stupid children's programs for some feeding again.
Certain chemoreactors inside our bodies are desperately crying
out to us to get some nourishment inside our systems and we have
every reason to do it. We are starving.
Soup is being served. It's delicious tomato plus bacon soup,
served with some awfully exquisite garlic bread (I learned to
appreciate that at the Pizza Hut in London).
The main dish is being served. Is is called home made lentil,
and it defies description - so I won't even attempt to describe
Lucky for me, by the way, the bitter is now served chilled
instead of lukewarm like yesterday.
Diner is finished, and with some impatience we're waiting for
our desserts to be served ("You - I am not impatient!" Stefan
We have just finished diner and we have ordered some drinks up
at the bar to take up to our rooms. Stefan takes a Bacardi-Cola
and I take a 'make it a double' rum up (I've always wanted to say
We go up to his room and lie on the bed, watching TV while
sipping our drinks.
A two-part series just started on TV, called "The Shadow of the
Cobra". A really good series with e.g. Rachel "Thorn Birds" Ward
(wow - she has something I really like).
We have already consumed a second helping of the above and we
are feeling really good. Rum surely works nicely and gently.
During the film, I went to my own room so that I could lay on
the bed in a somewhat more expanded and relaxed way. I finished
watching it there, and now I am going to bed.
Tomorrow, we will visit the Ancient STatarian.
"Oriental Games" is a compilation of Sumo Wrestling, Kendo,
Kung-Fu and a free discipline by Hollywood rules (just hit and
kick whatever you can find). The graphics looked average, but
more we really cannot tell. Julia could only show us a basic
version that couldn't do much. It will be available at £24.99 in
September - published at the Firebird label.
"P47" was a horizontally parallax scrolling shoot-'em-up -
"Flying Shark" seen from the side. The scrolling was quite
smooth, and the graphics looked good. There's a two-player option
(simultaneously), and it's the usual shoot-'em-up stuff with
enemies (tanks on the ground, planes in the air), bonuses, etc.
At the end of each level you get a big baddy.
Nothing to get thrilled about, but surely a good game in its
class. It will be on Firebird at probably £24.99.
Greenpeace / Rainbow Warrior
"Greenpeace" actually exists of seven individual games that can
be played in any order. Disciplines include an Ozone level (in
which you have to get rid of airspray cans and avoid being hit by
ultraviolet radiation that gets through holes in the clouds), a
Seals level (paint the seals with red paint before the clubbers
club them), save the wales, and more. It had some nice details
and touches about it.
Gameplay looked pretty naff to me, however - pity that such a
good and original concept was largely demolished by about the
clumsiest piece of coding ever seen - which hardly makes it
interesting to play for more than a couple of minutes. Animation
is lacking just about everything, graphics are moderate, and
player control is lousy and at times unfair (you get killed too
This is an Irem coin-up conversion for Firebird by Probe
software, due for launch in August at £24.99.
You take control of a cute little helicopter which you must
steer through a network of caves and over treacherous landscapes
taking care to dodge overhanging rock and harmful aliens in your
way. Your aim is to survive, and different bonuses in hidden
crystals along the way should make this objective easier.
Sound effects and music was done by David Whittaker, Alan
Tomkins did the graphics (that name rings a bell!).
The game features horizontal and vertical parallax scrolling,
though not really smooth. The graphics are quite complex and
colourful. There are three levels of varying landscapes, and when
you have progressed a certain amount of caves you don't have to
start at the beginning again when you die.
A nice game.
"Xenophobe" is a potentially split-screen two-player game in
which you have to roam through various rooms and collect things
while avoiding being killed by some of the monsters that also
happen to roam around. There are forcefields which need keys,
elevators, and more. You have to clear the levels of all aliens
(which look quite weird, sometimes).
Just like "Greenpeace", I am afraid this game didn't make much
of an impression on either of us. The graphics are below average,
and gameplay seemed to repeat quickly. The two-player option
might be nice, but that is just about it.
Maybe a full review will change our opinion about this, so just
wait for that one - in an upcoming issue of ST NEWS, of course.
Now - this is a racing game!
Especially since Stefan had been kinda impressed by "Hard
Driving" in a London Arcade Hall two weeks ago, we were thrilled
to see that "Stuntcar Driver" actually is a 3D vector graphics
racing game. It featured ramps, bent curves, and everything else
you might want in a 3D vector graphics racing game (well...except
for a looping, then).
It was quite fast, and the other cars that whizz by are also
well done (they can actually jump over you at times, which is an
This is the way to go, Microprose!
There are eight gruelling tracks through four arduous divisions,
and it's programmer by Geoff Crammond (that name also rings a
bell...). It's available at the Microstyle label in September at
£24.99. You can link two computers (ST or Amiga) together to play
it with two people at the same time. Nice!
Another extremely nice game, of which they gave me a pre-prod
copy to take home. I was to be hooked.
Really, it's a game like this that should have been called
"Indiana Jones" instead of that stupid thing launched way back by
U.S. Gold. "Rick Dangerous" is someone who is looking for
treasures and artefacts in a cavernous temple in South America -
filled with blood thirsty Indians and all kinds of hidden traps.
Also, he has to recover the priceless Jewel of Ankhel in ancient
Egypt, enter a castle level and the British Museum.
It sounds nice, but it is even nicer. Graphics are very neat,
scrolling is smooth, action is superb, and the puzzles are
excellent. The game is hellishly difficult and deviously
frustrating, but at least as addictive as "Bubble Bobble"!
You simply want to go on...and play...and play. Each time you
play, you discover a couple of more rooms with more traps and
enemies. It's just an excellent piece of programming, and its
playability is huge. I like the way the men die..."WWWAAARRRGGGH"
they yell and drop into the abyss of death.
The game has only got ONE disadvantage, however; a disadvantage
that made sure that I never play the game anymore: If you have
completed a long and tiresome level, you don't get a password to
the second (Egyptian) level. So you have to play ALL over the
South American Temple Level again.
And that's too difficult to do each time - and it takes too
long, too. There are over 125 screens in the game, and it's
great. Pity of the severe disadvantage.
The game is already available at the Firebird label, costing
£24.99. A full review can be found in the next issue of ST NEWS.
"Quartz" looks also set to become a hit - it is a very good game
that succeeded in instantly hooking good old Stefan!
It is an eight-direction-scrolling shoot-'em-up with see-through
parallax smooth scrolling, and each level has a total different
playability (for example, level one scrolls in all directions and
level two scrolls mainly horizontal - playing a bit like the C-64
game "Delta"). Microprose likes to call these graphics "some of
the most lurid this side of Apocalypse Now"!
What's more to say?
The music is quite good, very 'happy', written by Wally Beben.
The game is very playable and has a built-in something that urges
you to go on. There are excellently fast zoom'n'shrink graphics
effects, and many bonuses that can increase your ship's weapons.
The game is done by Paul Shirley; it will be available in late
August through the Firebird label at £24.99. Expect a full review
of it in the next issue of ST NEWS!
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.