Issue Review: CF 23 (August, 1992)

cf23_Aug1992By August 1992, we were at the beginning of the end of the Commodore 64’s commercial life (the last game you could buy in a shop, Lemmings, dropped in January 1994). You couldn’t tell it by looking at this month’s CF, though: it was in a purple patch of form and it looked like any other games magazine, radiating enthusiasm for the computer and its 50k+ strong army of readers.

August’s cover featured the quirky and much under-appreciated Cool Croc Twins from Arcade Masters. The bright colours and the simple, good natured gameplay of this static screen platformer typifies C64 releases of the time. It would do well on smartphones today. The 83% review was accompanied by a demo on the next month’s Power Pack, as CF again made an event out of a really most excellent release. Check it out:

NOT SO SONIC 

The other lead game this month was Turbo The Tortoise, described as “looking like a Sonic beater” by Trent in the subscriber’s newsletter. Comparisons to Sega’s mascot were counterproductive: a £3.99 cassette game coded in 8 weeks by two people was never going to compete with a  Japanese cartridge ten times the price running on hardware twice as powerful. Standing on its own two feet this game is fun – but given the hype, kids were only ever going to feel let down and it’s Commodore Format‘s fault (“I cried”, one person told us over on our Facebook page). You can read our feature on Turbo (which is pedestrian more than anything) here.

FACE TO FACE

This month saw the launch of semi-regular feature Face To Face, in which Commodore Format readers could ask industry figureheads a question. The initial spread introduced seven upcoming guests, including Commodore UK’s MD Kelly Sumner, Ian Stewart of Gremlin Graphics and Future Publishing boss Greg Ingham. We’ll take a look at each person as they pop up in future issues, but this month’s short introduction itself was revealing: Kelly Sumner said the C64 was only beaten by the Amiga last Christmas, Greg Ingham says CF launched because the C64 didn’t have a good magazine anymore, and Jeff Minter announces plans for a “virtual reality version of Revenge Of The Mutant Camels in about ten years time”. 2002 came and went without such a game, you’ll be unsurprised to hear.

BUSINESS AS USUAL

And that’s that, really. What really sums up this month’s issue is how normal everything seems. There’s a licensed Match Of The Day and Elvira game on the way, and the creators of DJ Puff are looking for a new programmer to join the team. It doesn’t feel like a magazine covering a computer that’s starting to enter its death throes at all. Even the Early Warning scanner – which looked ahead six months – appeared healthy, but with the benefit of hindsight we can also see the red flags: PP Hammer 2, Bart Versus The World, Lotus Turbo Challenge 2 and a Rolling Ronny sequel are all there but none would ever see a release. For now though, things seemed fine. CF

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A fair old few of these would never get released, cancelled as the C64 market evaporated.

ON THE POWER PACK

Commodore_Format_PowerPack_23_1992-08You got to play Flash Gordon in Enigma Variation’s Defenders Of The Earth tie-in this month. The lead game was a shooty adventure with things to collect and plenty to map, though its difficulty divided readers. Thalamus’ excellent Nobby The Aardvark was finally set for release, and CF readers got a playable taste ahead of next month’s review. Demos of Bug Bomber and weak Dizzy clone Biff were there too, and the tape was completed with Grandslam’s 1986 American Civil War strategy game Johnny Reb 2. Even Commodore Format don’t seem convinced by that one, though. For a start, the instructions erroneously refer to it as the prequel. Then they ask you to just load it up and try everything out! (which probably translates to “it’s 5pm on deadline and we’re not holding the press to work this bugger out” – Ed).

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