Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 65 / OCTOBER 1985 / PAGE 32


Selby Bateman,
Features Editor
Kathy Yakal,
Feature Writer

A game with no instructions. A program that seems to think for itself. Aircraft simulations edging closer to the real thing. And an "alternate reality" that's expandable. All this-plus the Goonies-are among the new computer game releases you'll be seeing this fall and during the holiday season.

Jim Levy stepped back from the computer screen, a look of embarrassment crossing his face. As the president of Activision, Levy was supposed to be showing a roomful of reporters his company's newest computer game. But something had apparently gone wrong, and now he apologized and explained that he was trying to get online with a computer at company headquarters to demonstrate the program.
    "Logon please..." appeared on the screen. After a few unsuccessful tries, suddenly Levy's computer was online-not with Activision, but with some unknown computer system. But whose?
    "That, ladies and gentlemen, is the game," said Levy, flashing a sly smile at the crowd.
    It's called Hacker, and it's a game with no instructions, no rules, no clues-just your simulated on line connection with a mysterious computer system. Whose system have you stumbled into? What's going on? What does it take to win? What pitfalls make you lose? As the computer hacker, you must discover all these answers on your own as you play this intriguing adventure game, which will be available initially for the Commodore 64 and 128 (Apple and Atari soon after; price to be announced).
    In addition to the engaging approach Activision has taken with Hacker, a number of companies are showing that there are plenty of fresh ideas for computer games. And these games reveal that experienced programmers are getting far more from today's computers than ever before. Several of the newest entries are sequels which equal or surpass the original hits. Here are some highlights:

silent service
A view through the periscope in Silent

AcroJet, Gunship, and Silent Service (MicroProse Software)Fans of MicroProse Software's earlier hits, Solo Flight and F-15 Strike Eagle, can look forward to more excitement from this trio of new simulations. AcroJet is an advanced flight simulator which starts where the earlier Solo Flight left off, allowing you to pilot a BD5-J jet. Gunship is a simulation of the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, complete with electronic multiple weapons systems and realistic helicopter maneuverability. Silent Service is a World War II submarine combat simulation which lets you slowly increase the level of complexity as your skills develop. The emphasis in all three packages is on realistic simulations coupled with intriguing game scenarios. (AcroJet-Apple II, Atari, Commodore, IBM; Gunship-Apple II, Commodore, IBM; Silent Service-Apple II, Commodore; $34.95 each.)

Alternate Reality (Datasoft, Inc.)-This is the first game in a projected series of eight fantasy role-playing programs being released by Datasoft. Called The City, the original episode of Alternate Reality finds your character abducted by aliens to another time and place. As you move around the strange city, you learn basic survival skills. But this is an adventure game with a difference. Traits like patience, compassion, and honesty are valued every bit as much as the usual strength and proficiency with weapons. Day turns to night as you learn how to earn money, obtain food, avoid dangers, and explore the city. Later programs will tie in with this first game, letting you gain access to parts of the city which are not open to you in the original program. Following The City, Datasoft plans to produce The Dungeon, The Arena, The Palace, The Wilderness, Revelation, and Destiny. (Atari and Commodore versions, $39.95; Apple II family, $49.95.)

Beach-Head II (Access Software)Two earlier fast-action games from Access, Beach-Head and Raid Over Moscow, have been among the most popular computer programs on the market. Beach-Head II may well join them. The theme is unabashedly arcade-style battle, with soldiers charging a machine gun bunker, rescuing prisoners, flying a helicopter through antiaircraft fire, and throwing knives in a one-on-one finale. Superb color graphics and eerily authentic speech synthesis add realism to the game's constant action. There are two options of game play: two players or one player versus the computer. (Commodore 64/128, Atari, Apple II, IBM PC/PCjr, $39.95.)

APBA Major League Players Baseball (Random House)-It's your strategic skills, not athletic abilities, which count in APBA Major League Players Baseball. Adapted from the popular board game invented 30 years ago, it's a simulation that lets you make the decisions of a major league manager, putting a baseball team together and then pitting it against other teams. The 1985 Master Edition contains actual records and ratings for 676 players from the 1984 professional baseball season. Updated records will be available every year. You deal with everything a real manager wouldshould a batter bunt, should your pitcher throw an intentional walk, does the infield move in for the next batter? You even face injuries, ejections, and rainouts. Create your own leagues, divisions, teams, and farm clubs. Statistics for up to 100 teams can be stored on a disk. (IBM PC/PCjr/XT/AT with color/ graphics or monochrome adapter, $89.95.)

King's Quest II
King Graham meets King Neptune in
King's Quest II: Romancing the

King's Quest II: Romancing the Throne (Sierra)-The three-dimensional, double highresolution graphics in the original King's Quest are back in this second all-graphics adventure featuring Sir Graham (now King Graham). King Graham's quest is a colorful, smoothly scrolling adventure which can be played by youngsters as well as adults. Sierra has again paid attention to all the details, making this a worthy successor to the original. (IBM PC and PC compatibles, $49.95.)

The Fourth Protocol (Bantam Electronic Publishing)-Frederick Forsyth's bestselling novel has been turned into a graphics and text adventure which is being released simultaneously with the paperback version of the book. You play the part of a British intelligence agent racing to uncover a plot to smuggle and detonate a nuclear device in England. The game employs easyto-use Macintosh-style icons and windows to help you get around. And there are plenty of plot twists, even for those who may have read the book. (Commodore 64, $34.95; Apple version soon.)

The Goonies (Datasoft, Inc.)-A colorful series of eight mazes, filled with a collection of Rube Goldbergstyle devices to trip you up, comprises this action-strategy game based on Steven Spielberg's movie. Coordinating your multiple characters and learning the intricacies of the mazes make this a demanding and absorbing game. You won't find the treasure easily, but you can have fun trying. (Apple II family, $39.95; Atari and Commodore, $29.95.)

Jet (SubLogic)-The company that brought out the very popular Flight Simulator II has gone one better with its newest release, Jet, for IBM computers. This newest game is a very realistic simulation of two supersonic jet fighters, a land-based F-16 Fighting Falcon and a carrierbased F-18 Hornet. There is a free-flight mode, or you can try your hand at a variety of land or sea attacks or dogfight options to test your skill. (IBM PC or PC-compatible with minimum 128K memory, $49.95.)

Spy vs. Spy
Simultaneous play with split screens in
Spy vs. Spy: The Island Caper.

Spy vs. Spy: The Island Caper (First Star Software)-First Star scored a big success with the original Spy vs. Spy game, and now the sequel is available. The same splitscreen Simulvision/Simulplay techniques used in the original are employed here, allowing two players to see what's happening with each onscreen character and to act independently. Both games are based on Mad Magazine's long-running comic strip. In the latest edition, the spies are after a nuclear warhead on a tropical volcanic island. (Commodore 64/128,$29.95, Apple II, $34.95.)

Racter (Mindscape)-One of the most novel approaches to computer gaming this year may be Racter, a program with a mind of its own. Racter (short for raconteur) exists to converse with you. Type in a question, and the program not only responds from its 2,800-word vocabulary and knowledge of English grammar, but may also launch into a lengthy tale from the past, present, or future. The sentences are sophisticated-perhaps a bit schizophrenic-and all in fun. Racter is already the "author" of its own book (the first ever written by a computer), The Policeman's Beard Is Half Constructed (Warner Books), a collection of short poems, dialogues, limericks, and stories. (IBM PC, Apple IIe and IIc, Macintosh, $44.95. The book is available separately.)

Winter Games
The bobsled run in Winter Games.

Winter Games (Epyx, Inc.)-Last year, Epyx brought out a popular computer re-creation of the Summer Olympics called Summer Games. The package reportedly sold more than 200,000 copies thanks to its smooth, colorful graphics and solid game play. Now the company has produced two sequels, Summer Games II, and most recently, Winter Games, in anticipation of the 1988 Winter Olympics. Ski jumping, speed and freestyle events, a ski biathlon, and even a bobsled run are part of this latest Olympic exercise. (Apple II, Commodore 64, Macintosh, from $29-$35.)

Wishbringer (Infocom, Inc.)-This introductory level all-text fantasy is another of Infocom's computerized text adventures. Wishbringer is suitable for the beginning adventurer, yet offers the experienced player plenty of challenges. The game can be played on two levels-with the help of magic (for beginners) and through logic and puzzle-solving without magic (for experienced players). (Apple II family, IBM PC/AT, Macintosh, others, $39.95; Atari, Commodore, $34.95.)