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by Richard Karsmakers

Cronos thought he had been in some quite hot places, but never
ever had it been as hot as it was now.
Sweat was pouring down from every pore in his dehydrating body,
and he knew instinctively that his bodily juices were not going
to last long under these circumstances - for, even to his harsh
personal standards, these were severely extreme (and, indeed,
extremely severe).
It seemed as if each and every pore was not just sweating, but
experiencing a rather stringent kind of rupture, causing sheer
cataracts of salty fluid to erupt from his being.
He had experienced this heat and the drought before; he had been
on the razor edge of death, and he had only been saved in the
very nick of time by this mysterious nurse that had looked so
extremely much like Gloria Estefan.
Water had been carefully and lovingly poured into his dried out
mouth; lace had embraced his vision - as had a rather
significantly well shaped pair of whoppers.
No matter how unsalubrious his situation had been, her
appearance had transformed it into a dream that he had wished
never to wake out of.
He could use some water now as well.
A lot of it, as a matter of fact. Never mind the lace and
whoppers. Water. Age too oh.
Lots of it.
Yet there wasn't much of it around.

It had been very dark.
His knob had still been hurting rather nauseatingly, and his
finger was still pointing towards the on/off switch on his Mega
Absorb Groin Protector, shaking.
Wandering through the darkness that had seemed never to end, the
physical pain had slowly ebbed away.
But another kind of pain had remained: That of having been
beaten by a girl.
A girl, of all beings in the universe.
As far as he was concerned, girls were there for the mere
purposes of human multiplication, dish washing and
environment decoration.
The damage to his ego had been substantial.
Muttering to himself, he had suddenly stumbled upon two doors,
that seemed to have suddenly appeared out of He had been totally bewildered at this,
and for several hundreds of nanoseconds he had stood still in
utter confusion.
Both doors had been comfortably ajar.
Last time he had left the Void of Utter Nonbeing, it hadn't
brought him as much joy and excitement as he had had the courage
of expecting.
The fact that one door had an inviting plaque labelled "Eternal
Heaven" whereas the other had one labelled "Pandemoneum" had not
really helped him to make up his mind either.
However, assuming that the latter would be some kind of Iraqi
Restaurant where one could get some really good Kuwait Beef, he
had pushed it wide open and had entered.

There was a lot of fire, and he thought that might be the reason
why he was sweating so vehemently.
Though, of course, he didn't think this for long as he was
trained to fight and not to think.
There was also a lot of chanting about File Selectors, Return
Strings and the Divine Avenging of High Priests, but Cronos
considered that to be a figment of his imagination.
In the sea of light and fire stretching out all around him, he
suddenly saw a desk in the distance, looming up as it were. As he
came closer, he saw that is was made of delicate tropical
jacaranda wood, and that is was craftfully carved with all kinds
of evangelical scenes - mainly from the book of Revelations.
The desk was just as vigorously aflame as the coal ground it was
located on.
Behind it sat a demon.
It looked at Cronos with a look of boredom in his eyes.
"Incredilus odi (*)," it said.
"Ille crucem sceleris pretium tulit, hic diadema (**)," it
continued whilst holding its hands up towards the sky.
The mercenary annex hired gun would have liked to punish the
demon for what he knew could be nothing other than an insult of
the most abominable kind, but could barely find the energy to let
out what seemed like but a mere sigh of frustration.
"Si monumentum requiris, circumspice? (***)"
The demon asked this with raised eyebrows.
Cronos sighed again, and let his shoulders hang in quite a
beaten way.
The demon smiled to itself in a rather satisfied fashion. It
made a small carve on a figure of a man carved in the burning
wood of the desk.
"May I have your name, please, Sir?" it now inquired.
He was about to try and answer when the demon wrote something
down on a piece of burning paper.
"And what, may I ask, is your business here, Sir?"
Cronos, tired as he may be, intended to beat the demon to his
answer this time.
But it was too late.
The demon already scribbled down something on the same piece of
burning paper.
Though Cronos was very tired, this insult urged his system to
undertake some action nonetheless.
With a kinda tired swoop of his hand, he cut off the demon's
head using one of his fingernails.
The head rolled down over the coals, crying "O tempora! O mores!
O si sic omnia! (****)" before it disappeared into a kind of
The body sighed to the ground noiselessly. Though the flames had
not imperilled it before, the demon's corpse was now quickly
being devoured by them.
But this action had taken the very last bit of energy out of
Cronos' being.
He therefore did not have any hopes of being able to
manipulate his fate when a thunderous voice yelled through the
abyss of fire behind him, totally catching him off guard.
"SISTE, VIATOR!! (*****)"
The something that had yelled this was terrifyingly huge. It had
two horns on the top of its head, a long tail that swung to and
fro in a rather frightening way, and stood on hooves.
Cronos froze.
"BEHOLD ME, MORTAL! (******)" the voice cried again. The sound
of it tore the heat and the bellowing flames to shreds. The
echoes of it died away only slowly in the rage of fumes and fire.
Cronos turned around slowly, as if in a dream he couldn't
"Wattafu...." he whispered.
Cronos knelt. He felt like he was controlled by something
outside of himself.
He crawled towards the terrifying shape without looking up.
As he finally lay at the of the shape, it
He could do nothing else but obey. All resistance within him was
numbed. There was nothing he could do about it.
He said his name.
Upon hearing it, the shape took a step back.
"J. Warchild? J. Warchild?!" it asked. All power
suddenly seemed to have left its voice. When Cronos gathered
the courage to look up, the shape looked a lot smaller, too. It
didn't have a tail, horns and hooves any more, either.
He looked up at the sweaty, fat face of a man. A smoking cigar
stuck between his trembling lips. He wore a badge on which the
name of a big software company was printed. Obviously, he was the
financial director of one of those companies that makes loadsa
money with licensed software.
"Oh..oh..." the man said. He muttered it much in the same
fashion a lion would when surrounded by a dozen wildebeests
pointing Kalashnikovs at it.
Then, although all fire couldn't possibly have gone out at that
instant, everything went black.

When Cronos woke up again, he felt strangely comfortable, cool,
and satisfied.
But everything was still dark around him.
Everything, that is, except for two doors above which plaques
hung with "Eternal Heaven" and "Pandemoneum" engraved on them in
large, not particularly unfriendly letters.
He entered the door with the plaque "Eternal Heaven" above it,
suffering from an inexplicable subconscious fright that entering
the other door may start a perpetuum novel.

The smell that immediately entered his nose was that of beef.
Several people with stubbly cheeks and chequered dishcloths tied
around their heads were carrying plates with or without food to
and fro various guests that sat around cosy tables with burning
oil lamps on them.
The lights were dim, but not too dim to disguise the distrust
that appeared in a couple of waiters' eyes as they beheld Cronos
standing in his habitual menacing way in the door opening.
They whispered to each other, pointing at him.
Cronos didn't like being whispered about, and he liked it even
less when people started pointing at him. And he positively
loathed it when both of them were being done simultaneously by
men with stubbly cheeks and chequered dishcloths tied around
their heads.
One of these suspicious characters now came towards him and gave
Cronos a contemplative look.
"You from Kuwait?" the character asked suspiciously.
"Wotzit too ya?" Cronos replied in a way that he considered to
display that he was in total control of the situation, but that
some way or another totally failed to impress the man.
Not at all, actually.
Not even a pico-unit of 'nothing'.
The man simply repeated his question.
Triggered by his reply's the lack of impact, Cronos started to
feel like somewhat of an incapable nerd. He even started to
mutter unsurely. Eventually, evading the question, he informed
the waiter of the fact that he wouldn't mind getting some food.
Upon having heard this, but not without properly failing to lose
any of the suspicion on his face, the waiter turned around and
walked away slowly.
A while later the chap with the stubbly cheeks and the chequered
dishcloth tied around his head returned. In his hands he held
what Cronos thought looked like a menu written in bloody Arab.
For once, he was right.
A bit unsure of himself, he started to study the menu whilst
under a constant look of scrutiny of the man with the stubbly
cheeks and the chequered dishcloth tied around his head.
"Abdul Haddam Sussein," Cronos proudly stated after a couple of
moments, "that's what I'd like to have. Quite rare, if you don't
The scrutinous look quickly transformed itself in one of anger.
Slowly, the man pointed to a badge fixed to his shirt, on which
could be read "A.H. Sussein".
A fist quickly zoomed in.
Someone lost consciousness.

(*) I hate and disbelieve
(**) That man got a cross, this man a crown, as the price of
his crime
(***) If you seek (his) monument, look round you
(****) O the times! O the manners! Oh that he had done all
things thus!
(*****) Stop, traveller!
(******) Behold me, mortal!


Some of you may remember the interview we did with games guru
Steve Bak, back in the summer of 1989 when we visited him (see
ST NEWS Volume 4 Issue 4). Some of you may also remember the
preview we did of his game that was at the time known as "Hell"
(working title). It would be a game in the style of "Ghosts &
Goblins", but programmed in a technically much better way and
with breathtaking graphics by Chris Sorrell (who has in the mean
time also coded a platform game called "Yolanda").
The game has been ready for a couple of months now, and Steve's
Vectordean sold the rights to Microprose.

The finished game looks really excellent. There's "Quartet"
music by David Whittaker, great graphics, and gameplay that's
remarkably original. Steve tried to keep out things that would
remind people too much of "Ghosts'n'Goblins", and he has
succeeded in doing that very well: Everything he could get
around, he got around.
Gameplay is not only original, but also very nice. You just keep
on playing for the sake of wanting to see more graphics. Each
level has a completely new set of graphics and that helps to
increase the atmosphere significantly.
There really isn't much to say about this game. It's just very
nice indeed.

Game rating:

Name: Fire & Brimstone
Company: Microprose
Author: Steve Bak
Graphics: 9
Music: 7
Playability: 8
Hookability: 7
Overall rating: 8
Hardware: Colour only. Joystick required.

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.