Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 4 NO. 11 / JUNE 1990

For The Fun Of It


In Which Our Opinionated Reviewers
Boot and Root

Sure, we could say that June is fun month here at START, but without a compatible cornucopia of game reviews would you believe us? Of course not! So here to prove our claim is a romp through 11 of the hottest games available for the ST. We include role-playing games, strategy adventures, arcade action and sports  simulations- all for you, it's a veritable fun-fest of floppies!
No, this is not your analyst's idea of a good time. It's your chance to transform your identity and temporarily escape the mundane world (with your analyst in it).

Reviewed by Heidi Brumbaugh




Chaos Strikes Back

FTL Games
6160 Lusk Blvd., Ste. C206
San Diego, CA 92121


A sequel that surpasses

 You can often tell how successful software will be by how loud people clamor for it while it's under development. In the case of Chaos Strikes Back. FTL's sequel to its best-selling Dungeon Master, the game has been due out "in two weeks" for over a year and a half. Rumors of release dates, plot scenarios and playability have fanned bulletin boards for months. And Dungeon Master diehards have been far from patient.

When the product was finally released last December, word spread like wildfire. Within days scores of Dungeon Master champions had resurrected and returned to the dungeon in search of treasure, adventure and glory. Battles were fought, riddles were solved and maps were uploaded. The consensus? Practice your spells, sharpen your swords and prepare your characters for their greatest challenge ever. Chaos Strikes Back is not for the weak of heart.

The program's packaging claims that Dungeon Master is required to run the program. This is not strictly true; you do not need your original Dungeon Master disk to play the game. However, Chaos Strikes Back is impossible to play if you don't know how to play Dungeon Master. Not only is there nothing in the manual telling you how to control your characters and move around, but to survive in Chaos Strikes Back you have to have gotten far enough in Dungeon Master to learn how to cast important spells and have enough experience fighting monsters to know what tactics to use.

Just when you thought you were safe, Lord
Chaos is back and madder than ever in FTL's
thrilling sequel to Dungeon Master,
Chaos Strikes Back.

The premise of Chaos Strikes Back is that the evil Lord Chaos anticipated his demise and prepared a secret dungeon for his return. He hid four pieces of the dangerous ore Corbum deep in this new dungeon, and to preserve order and restore harmony to the world your champions must find the Corbum and destroy it in the Forge of Fulya. There are four mazes to conquer in Chaos Strikes Back with four ways to conquer each of them. The way you choose to conquer a maze depends on your choice of character type. Those choices are warrior, ninja, wizard and priest.

Despite the new story line, Chaos Strikes Back plays much the same as Dungeon Master. You must negotiate passages, fight monsters, solve riddles and collect weapons, food and armor to survive. The program uses the same interface as its predecessor. In fact, the main difference between the two programs is one of degree. Simply put, the easiest levels in Chaos Strikes Back are at least as difficult as the hardest levels in Dungeon Master.

Chaos Strikes Back comes with a utility disk that lets you load the characters from a saved Dungeon Master game and use them to create a new Chaos game. If you do this, your characters must he fairly far advanced; the manual recommends that they should have been far enough inside the dungeon to have seen Lord Chaos. If it's been a while since you last played, you might want to spend some time playing Dungeon Master to get hack into the swing of the game. Oh, and have your spell list out and ready when you start up Chaos Strikes Back.

If you don't have a saved Dungeon Master game, you can create a new company of champions from the Chaos Strikes Back prison. Many of these champions are of new species and they all have fairly highly advanced skill levels.

Regardless of how you get your characters, they will begin in the new dungeon without any equipment or supplies.

The utility disk that comes with the package is used primarily to initialize new games using old characters. Additionally, there is a feature to let you edit a champion's portrait and name. You can save and load portraits independently, and people are already uploading new portraits to bulletin boards. (I've seen Bloom County characters on CompuServe.)

The Utility Disk also lets you visit the new Hint Oracle. This intelligent creature loads a saved game, analyzes your position in the dungeon and then offers a menu of clues for you to examine. The Hint Oracle rarely tells the solution to a puzzle outright; more often it gives a few clues to help you. figure the puzzle out for yourself. This is a welcome addition to gameplay.

START's editors have intermittently discussed using a rating system for game reviews. (Editor's Note: Resolved. See the catchy At a Glance" summary before reviews.) Such a system could use Siskell & Ebert-style "thumbs up" or "thumbs down"; a small graphic logo some movie reviews use which picture a little man in a chair sleeping, applauding or cheering; or a standard one- to four-star rating. So to give you an idea of what to expect from FTL's long-awaited sequel to Dungeon Master, I offer this objective assessment of Chaos Strikes Back: two thumbs - being bitten off. A little man - fleeing for his life. Four stars all shooting fireballs at you from different directions. Heidi says, check it out.

Reviewed by Greg Perez





18001 Cowan St., Stes. A & B
Irvine, CA 92714



Artura from Arcadia Software loosely follows the original legend of King Arthur of Camelot. In an age when only the strongest survived and the strong usually carried big weapons, you take on the role of Artura, son of the Pendragon. You battle your way through a huge underground maze that leads (hopefully) to the beautiful Nimuc, daughter of Merdyn the Mage.

Basically, Artura is a hack-and-slash game. You control your left and right movements with a joystick and sling your axe with the fire button. Most of your confrontations are either with barbarians who do nothing else but stand in your way to deplete your energy, or with rats and spiders that drain you as well by nibbling on you. Once in a while, you come up against a wizard, who throws lightning or fireballs to hold you off.

There isn't much to this game, but you do have more challenges than chopping up barbarians and giant rats. Hidden somewhere along the way are the pieces to the sacred Runestones. When they're used separately or in combinations, they give you the power to use the wheel of Cerriddlwcn, which helps you on your quest to rescue Nimue.

Included in the package is a poster-size map that's supposed to help you through the mazes, but it ends up being more confusing than it's worth. Artura is a horizontal platform game; the map provides you with an aerial view of the maze. But it's simply filled with weird symbols and a gaggle of unknown arrows pointing in all different directions. And there was no legend.

Artura could be better in many ways. It's not too exciting in the way of play and it resembles at least a dozen other platform-style games on the market. But, the challenge of finding the Runestone did add some depth and gave me incentive to dig deeper.
This is for the chess masters, mystery buffs and the generally intuitive amongst us. It requires a highly developed intelligence, an acute attention to detail and a little paranoia. (Aspirin is optional but recommended.)





Clue Master Detective

18001 Cowan St., Stes. A & B
Irvine, CA 92714


Clue Is fun but more challenging
as a board game.

Reviewed by Dr. John Watson
START Programs Editor

In glancing over the notes I have been honored to gather during the course of my long relationship with Sherlock Holmes, I am struck by those pertaining to the murderous affair at Boddy Manor. Not exactly a case, in that the corpse was fictional, this adventure was a test of the deductive powers of my intimate friend and associate.

Holmes had been contacted the previous week by a gentleman with the unusual name of Virgin Mastertronic, who claimed to have made significant improvements to Charles Babbage's calculating machine, which he called a computer. In order to publicize his efforts, he proposed to test his invention's logical skills against those of the worlds only consulting detective, whose superior deductive powers are universally acknowledged as unequaled.

All this was quite unknown to me when I knocked up Holmes late one morning. Much to my surprise, as I know from my time spent lodging with him that he is by habit a late riser, he answered the door at 221B Baker Street himself, clad not in his purple dressing gown, hut in an overcoat, as it was his intention to go out.

"Watson, if you can spare the afternoon, you will find a most intriguing story to add to your collection," he said, shutting the door behind him. With such a promise I could do nothing but accompany my friend.

"I shall no doubt win this contest," Holmes said, "having spent years honing my faculties of observation and reasoning."

At Boddy Manor, we met several other detectives who had been invited to participate. Mr. Mastertronic was obviously eager to promote his Babbage machine, or computer. He introduced us to the Parker brothers, who actually devised the test Holmes was about to undertake. It was a test involving a crime.

"Mr. Boddy has been murdered," they said, referring to the absent owner of the grand house in which we stood, You are to find his killer, the instrument of death and the room in which he died.

"There are 10 suspects and eight deadly weapons. Boddy Manor has 12 rooms, These are represented by cards. One card from each category has been removed, Your task is to discover which cards they are.

"In the interest of' fairness, at least three participants must be involved in this test, and we will run several, with different combinations of players."

"This should be elementary, my dear Watson," Holmes said to me. "There are only 960 possible solutions"

"How do you know that," I gasped, stunned by Holmes' razor intelligence.

"Multiplication, my friend. Elementary multiplication."

Once Holmes had pointed it out to me, it was easy to see.

The Parker brothers continued, "Each participant will assume the role of one of the 10 suspects. He, she or it will receive a portion of the cards. By determining which cards your opponents have, you can, by process of elimination, deduce the murderer, room and weapon.

"You play by walking through Boddy Manor. Each time you enter a room, you may suggest a possible murder scenario, If another player holds a card which disproves your suggestion, he or she will show it to you.

Mr. Boddy has been murdered. You are to
find his killer, the instrument of death and
the room in which he died.

"Additionally, at certain marked places within Boddy Manor you may peek at an opponent's hand. When you feel you have a solution, you may make an accusation. If you are incorrect, you are eliminated from the game. Any questions?"

There were none, as we were all most eager to begin the contest. Mr. Mastertronic switched on his computer. In the window at the front of his machine, we saw a picture of a possible murder scenario, which Holmes watched in fascination as it was a noisy and colorful display involving the unfortunate Mr. Boddy, a wingback chair and a blazing fire. Then the pictures of the suspects appeared. Holmes dutifully chose one since the first test was to pit the computer against the great detective,

After announcing that the crime was committed by Monsieur Brunettc in the Billiard Room with the Poison. Holmes said, "I find it more enjoyable to sit in the conservatory and listen to the birds while the machine takes its turn. Then I simply examine the record of' its guesses and incorporate the information into what I have gathered through my own keen observations."

"Perhaps a test that includes your fellow detectives will present more ol a challenge," the Parker brothers suggested.

'Perhaps," Holmes said, "hut I have yet to take the measure of the machine. This time I will let the computer win,"

Alas, Mr. Mastertronic's invention was no match for Holmes' remarkable mental qualities. My friend had whispered the solution to me a full two turns before the machine deduced the murderer.

The test with several other humans was note to Holmes' liking. As he has proven in his bouts with the redoubtable Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard, matching wits with other members of the detective profession is an activity whose pleasure is eclipsed only by matching wits with perpetrators of evil.

The human detectives did encounter one problem, however. Since the computer was responsible for the revelation of clues, the detectives waiting their turn were forced to avoid the machines window lest they learn information which they ought not. Impatient with this awkward method, Holmes paced the floor, coattails flapping against his long legs as he toured the room in swift strides.

"So, Mr. Holmes, what do you think of our experiment?" the Parker brothers asked him as we begged our leave.
An absorbing enough amusement for amateurs," he said, "but finely honed intellects like mine prefer a real chase that pits one human mind against another.

"Come, Watson, collie," Holmes cried. "The game is afoot."

But I regret to say that for once. Holmes was wrong. The game is Clue Master Detective.

Reviewed bj' Heidi Brumbaugh





Interstel Corp.,
Dist. by Electronic Arts
1820 Gateway Dr.
San Mateo, CA 94404


An excellent battle of the minds.

 Empire, by Interstel Software, is an elaborate strategy game in which you try to spread your superior military forces over the world and thereby conquer it. As many as three players- in any combination of human and computer opponents can participate in this quest for imperial power. The program runs in medium or high resolution and has a keyword copy protection scheme.

Empire forces you to strategically combine
your resources in the most effective
way possible.

An Empire world is comprised of continents, islands and seas. You begin with a continent of your own and one city. Basically, you want to strengthen your forces, invade foreign continents and interrupt the productivity of their cities. After you ignite production in your own city, you can begin building transports to move troops to neighboring land masses. Destroyers and submarines map out nearby waters and guard ports from other players. When you've captured cities on neighboring continents, you're ready to erect a stronger force including cruisers, battleships and aircraft carriers.

Each element in your force has different strengths and weaknesses. For example, only armies can capture cities, so they are necessary to winning the game. However, they move slowly, only one square at a time, and are limited to land exploration (unless you move them in troop transports). Fighters, on the other hand, are ideal for reconnaissance because they move quickly - five squares at a time - and can cover land or sea, However, they must remain close to one of your cities as they have limited fuel and can crash if they stay out too long. Similarly, battleships are much harder to sink than destroyers, but destroyers take less time to produce and move faster. Empire forces you to strategically cumbine your resources in the most effective way possible for the current game's map and your opponents.

The Empire map is a grid made up of squares: each square is land, sea or shore. The map of the board is revealed as you play; you only learn the layout of adjoining squares by moving pieces across them. Each player can likewise see only his or her section of the board. The layout of opponents' territories and positioning are secret until they are encountered. For this reason, if more than one person plays on the same computer other players must look away from the screen when it's not their turn. The program handles this pretty well; at the end of each turn the screen goes blank except for a message instructing the next player to "report to the command post." Alternately, players can use the "play by mail" option to save the game on disk after each turn and mail it (electronically of otherwise) to the next player. Empire does not support interactive play via modem.

Since the size of the board is tremendous, a game can last several days, with fleets growing to contain hundreds of armies, fighters and ships. Fortunately, the program's excellent interface makes managing your forces practical. The main screen only lets you see a small portion of the world at a time, but there's an option to view the entire map so you can get a better perspective on your forces. You can also call up status reports showing the size and production status of your fleet. A production map shows at a glance the production distribution of your territories. Empire also offers a variety of commands to control your forces. You can set flight paths for fighters, command forces to move to a specific location or in a specific direction, set ships to automatically patrol waters and put armies on sentry watches.

For even more variety, Empire includes a map
editor so you can create your own worlds.

At the beginning of each game, all players are randomly assigned positions on the map so each game is different, even if you've used the same map before. For even more variety, Empire includes a map editor so you can create your own worlds. Finally, you can increase or decrease any player's production or combat efficiency for more challenging gameplay. This is particularly useful because the computer is not very smart about employing strategy; increasing its efficiency usually makes up for it.

I recommend Empire to anyone who prefers strategy games to arcade shoot-em-ups or games of chance. In
this game, everyone begins with the same resources. Winning depends upon tactical skills, clear thinking and organization - not to mention knowing thy enemy.

Reviewed by Wolf Griffey




Red Storm Rising

MicroProse Simulation Software
180 Lakefront Drive
Hunt Valley, MD 21030


The thrill of the hunt has never
been better.

 While Tom Clancy (author of the novel, Red Storm Rising) and Micro-Prose were conspiring the final touches on the combat simulation of the same title, the "bad guys," (namely the Russians) went out and made some downright peaceful gestures. This may be good news for the world at large, but what does it mean for us simulation fans? Where will combat simulations he without the Cold War? Lucky for us, however, MicroProse was not daunted; Red Storm Rising is one of the best combat simulations I've ever seen.

In 1992, the Russians have Nuclear
aircraft carriers.

The package contains a manual, disks and map of the Norwegian Sea Theater. You are in command of a Nuclear Fast Attack sub and, as in the novel, your task is to stop enemy shipping, defend your patrol area and occasionally launch offensives at land targets. This naturally requires training and as usual, the manual is the place to begin.

The manual is a veritable arsenal of information; it is, in fact, your best weapon. It consists of Operations, Captain's and Reference Manuals. The Operations section summarizes Red Storm Rising and its options. The Captain's section details offensive and defensive tactics and provides many useful words of wisdom. The Reference section reviews the six different classes of U.S. boats and introduces you to the Bear.

The Bear is the Red Banner Northern Fleet, your main opposition. It consists of 11 classes of nuclear boats, bombers and cruise missiles. Combined with six classes of the silent diesel boats, you have around 180-plus undersea targets at which to aim. The surface component is comprised of Cruisers, Destroyers, Frigates, Amphibious Warfare ships and three types of aircraft carriers, around 90 targets in the grouping.

Your rank depends on the difficulty of the scenario. Essentially, the harder the task the higher you rate and rank. Several variables let you manipulate the difficulty of each simulation: Year, Boat, Challenge and Scenarios. The year you choose for your confrontation is important. For example, in 1992, the Russians have nuclear aircraft carriers; in 1996, the SeaWolf is operational.

The NMPC (Naval Military Personnel Command) assigns you a strategic position based on the type of Boat you select. Not all of the five submarine classes are available all the time. The SSN Permit, SSN Sturgeon, SSN Los Angeles and SSN Improved Los Angeles are, but the SeaWolf can be used in 1996 only.

There are four Challenge levels. Introductory is recommended for the first few games. Normal is best for the casual players. Serious sees the enemy as up-to-speed, so you better he as well. The screen says it all for the Ulimate level: "Life can be brutal and short."

Your choice of Scenarios includes Training Actions, a one-on-one with either a November sub or Kashin destroyer, Battle Simulations, Duel and Chance Engagement among others. The eighth scenario is the primary campaign, Red Storm Rising. This scenario incorporates all others, and believe me, you'd better be experienced, because in this scenario, you don't know what's out here until it bites you.

The true test of your capabilities in this game is discovered in the year 1996, on an NMPC assigned boat, at the Ulirnate level in the Red Storm Rising senario. Good luck!

On any level, however, Red Storm Rising is great strategic fun. Even if it becomes one of the last, it will still rate as one of the best simulations ever.
Ten Top Selling Games of 1989

Compiled by Marta Deike, Junior Editor

Battle Chess, $49.95
Activision (415) 329-0500

Blood Witch, $49.95
Mirror Soft, London (01) 928-1454

Chaos Strikes Back, $39.95
FTL, (619) 453-5711

Dungeon Master, $39.95
FFL, (619) 453-5711

Falcon, $49.95
Spectrum Holobyte, (415) 522-3584

King's Quest IV, $59.95
Sierra On-Line, (209) 683-4468

Leisure Suit Larry II, $59.95
Sierra On-Line, (209) 683-4468

Populous, $49.95
Electronic Arts, (415) 571-7171

TV Sports: Football, $49.95
Cinemaware, (805) 495-6515

War In Middle Earth, $49.95
Mastertronic, (714) 833-8710

Games are not in order of popularity. The list was compiled through independent ST distribution sources. At press time, the front runners for 1990 were Ultima V (Origin) and Fighter Bomber (Activision). Any of these should be found at your local Atari dealer.


Sometimes also known as "shoot 'em ups" and "hack-and-slash, "these games are popular for untangling mental knots, and work particularly well with your B52's-Mozart -Kingston Trio albums. (Caveat emptor: they are infamousfor being highly addictive.)

Fiendish Freddy

Mindscape, Inc.
3444 Dundee Road
Northbrook, 1160062

A big top a' graphics well worth
stepping into.

Reviewed by Greg Perez

Hurry, hurry! Step right up and! into Fiendish Freddy's Big Top 0' Fun from Mindscape. It's up to you and your friends to work up 10,000 smackeroos and save the beloved Big Top from the clutches of the Big Greedy Bank. To get the cash, you've got to master six events, while a devious little clown named Freddy tries to stop you. Freddy doesn't sport a handful of Ginsu cutlery, hut he has got quite an arsenal of terrifying toys that can send you and your circus crew vaulting to that Big Top in the sky.

When the Berlin Wall crumbled, John LeCarre wasn't the only author left out in the cold. Game companies also found their East vs. West scenarios abruptly obsolete.

Our nomination for the It Was A Good Idea At The Time award goes to Accolade, which just released The Third Courier. You are Moondancer, a CIA agent assigned to recover stolen NATO defense plans hidden somwhere in divided(?) Berlin, the legendary city known for intrigue, espionage and one heck of a wall", according to the box copy. These days it's easier to complete your mission in reality than in software.

The events range from Phenomenal Feats of Diving Daring to the pulse-pounding Tense Travel Techniques on Tightrope. Each event calls for different joystick skills and to every one, Freddy brings his own sick brand of fun. For instance, one of his more humorous appearances occurs during the center-ring act of Jeffy-Joe, Genuine Juggling Genius. As Jeffy-Joe juggles such miscellaneous objects as iron anvils and chain-saws, Freddy arrives with a bomb and helps Jeffy go off with a "bang".

I've seen so many multiplayer competition games that I didn't think I'd ever want to see another. But Fiendish Freddy is a sight for sore eyes. The cartoon graphics are great; they're dazzling and hilarious. I actually found myself snickering at the unfortunate end of high-flying Finola as she plummeted ever so gracefully from the heights of the trapeze, thanks to Freddy "cutting" her act short.

Because of the stunning animations, the game is packed onto five disks. (Hard disk users rejoice!) But the great fun and comical animation of Fiendish Freddy make the constant disk-swapping well worth the trouble.

Reviewed by Dave Gregg


Super Hang-On
Data East
1850 Little Orchard St.
San Jose, CA 95125
A stripped-down motocross
simulatian that's mare than an
average race.

 I've never been much for car and motorcycle simulations - they all seem to do the same thing and once you've tried one, you've tried them all. This was my thinking going into Super Hang-On from Data East. Well, opinions can and do change.

Super Hang-On is a stripped-down motocross simulation that spans four continents. These continental races are essentially the levels of difficulty and each has a certain number of stages you must complete. Africa is the easiest with a mere six stages. Europe is the most difficult with 18. You may choose any level you want. Your perspective is first person and control is through the mouse.

Better oil your joysticks! Robocop requires a fast wrist.

Super Hang-On's appeal is that it offers something for everyone. Not all of us can he hot-shot arcade-garners who consistently make the highest score. Super Hang-on seems to take this into account. So what if you can't handle Europe? There's always Africa.

Graphically, Super Hang-On is a treat - when you speed up. you really feel like you're speeding up. And the scenery even changes as you travel across the various contintents. For instance, as you zip through North America, you see the hulking skyline of New York city change to the greenery of the northeast coast and midwest and soon find yourself in the deserts of the southwest.

Of course, there isn't a lot of time to enjoy the scenery - you've got a race to win. Check out Super Hang-On - and please drive gently.

Reviewed by Dave Gregg


Data East
1850 little Orchard Street
San Jose, CA 95126
A traditional shoot 'em up with
modern graphics.

It doesn't take long to figure out what Data East's Robocop is all about - just plug in a joystick, boot the game and start blasting away. That's all there is to it: no reading people their rights, no following "due course of the law." The game appears to rest on the premise that everyone's a suspect, so it's best to shoot first and ask questions later. At least in the movie, the criminals were given the benefit of the doubt.

Which is not to say that Robocop is a bad game. It certainly looks good although the animated figures could he a little larger. and gameplay is very intuitive - you just shoot the bad guys. There are nine levels and each one presents you with a different way to obliterate the opposition. Make sure you have a good joystick on hand - movement can he a little haphazard, especially when jumping.

Robocop offers nothing new in the way of shoot-em-ups, but it is fun in a maniacal sort of way and if you're into that sort of game (and I am), then check this one out.

Sports simulations offer more than a distraction on rainy days. They are excellent for practicing eye-hand coordination and strategic planning, not to mention cursing. They are also - thank goodness - still a viable alternative for actual exercise.

Reviewed by Scott Wasser
TV Sports: Football
Cinemaware Carp.
P.O. Box 5083
Westlake Village, CA 91359
A winner by yards.

You wait weeks for the latest sports simulation to arrive and when it finally does, you breathlessly boot up. Invariably, however, your spirit plummets. You turn to the documentation, which generally reads something like this:

"To make a player shoot-pass-dribble-run, move the joystick-mouse in the corresponding direction or press the cursor arrow key that most closely corresponds to the direction you want the player on the field-court-diamond to move. The player must be flashing-blinking at the time.

"Do not move the joystick-mouse or press the cursor key until you have selected a play from the on-screen
menu-player command card. Do not release the fire button-mouse button-cursor key until your player-athlete-competitor moves in the appropriate direction or unless his path is blocked by an opponent-foe. Do not breath at any time while playing this game."

Sound familiar? User interfaces such as these are the bane of sports-simulation buffs. Incredibly realistic graphics, fluid animation and amazingly accurate statistical algorithms are worthless if the user interface is harder to figure out than a Fernando Valenzuela screwball.

The players move quickly and change direction
with every twitch of your joystick.

Cinemaware's TV Sports: Football (TVSF) is the glowing exception. The user interface is extraordinarily elegant; not only is it accurate and responsive, it is remarkably intuitive.

You have the option to either call plays and manipulate all key competitors or sit back and let the computer run the game. The interface even lets you take control away from the computer at virtually any time during a game. For example, you can let the computer select a play and begin running it, then take over yourself to guide a ball carrier on a 55-yard scamper or help a receiver make a diving touchdown catch.

About the only thing TVSF's interface does not let you do is throw a block. The computer handles the blocking assignments for you, but every other aspect of individual offensive and defensive play is controllable. You can run, pass, and kick on offense or fight off blocks, leap for an interception and make lunging tackles on defense.

The graphics in TVSF are fair. The players move quickly and change direction with every twitch of your joystick. Balls can be kicked or thrown as precisely as you can control the stick. It can, however, be difficult to see whether a ball is caught or dropped, and occasionally, a runner's progress is impeded by a blocker or stopped by a tackler even though there appears to be daylight between the two players.

The aerial perspective of the field also bothered me at first. Except during place kicking sequences, when the view is from ground level behind the kicker, the screen is filled with about 20 yards of field from sideline to sideline. The screen scrolls vertically to follow the ball carrier or ball. The drawback to this is that wide receivers move out of the picture when running deep routes, which can play havoc with your long passing game. But the perspective grew on me and it wasn't long before I found it satisfactory.

Table Tennis is an excellent simulation of a
serious, often misunderstood, sport.

TVSF gives you the opportunity to start your own league of 28 teams, each one owned by either human or computer. Every team has 18 players ranked in four different skill categories. Although the total number of skill points is the same for every team, owners can juggle lineups and player characteristics to gain favorable matchups. As in the real world of football, a bad matchup can mean a loss no matter how good your play-calling (or joystick jockeying).

Although TV Sports: Football has its drawbacks, it ranks far above most other sports simulations. Thanks to the responsive graphics and excellent user interface, it is a great deal of fun to play.

Reviewed by Scott Wasser


Table Tennis
Star Games
108 W. Buffalo Ave., Ste 200
Tampa, FL 33603
An excellent simulation of an
antiquarian sport.

My first thought about a table tennis simulation was "Why bother? Haven't we evolved beyond Pong?" But Table Tennis from Star Games is as far from Pong as the ST is from the old Atari 400. It's an excellent simulation of a very serious, often misunderstood, sport.
Compiled by Marta Deike, Junior Editor

Hint and Tip Books for ST Games

FTL Games
6160 Lusk Blvd. Ste. C206 San Diego, CA 92121 619/453-5711

Dungeon Master, $11 .95 Chaos Strikes Back, $11 .95

P.O. Box 10307 San Rafael, CA 94912 1-800 STAR WARS

Maniac Mansion, $12.95 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,
$12.95 Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders, $12.95

Mindscape, Inc.
3444 Dundee Rd. Northbrook, IL 60062 708/480-7667 

Shadowgate, $5.00 Deja Vu, $5.00 Uninvited, $5.00

Osborne/McGraw Hill
2600 Tenth St. Berkeley, CA 94710 1-800 227-0900

Falcon Air Combat (by Pete Bonanni), $14.95 King's Quest Companion (by Peter Spear), $14.95

Sierra On-Line
P.O. Box 485 Coarsegold, CA 93614 209/683-8989

King's Quest Series (I- IV), $7.95 each Colonel's Bequest, $7.95 Hero's Quest, $7.95 Conquests of Camelot, $7.95 Space Quest (I - Ill), $7.95 each Police Quest (I, II), $7.95 each Code Name: Iceman, $7.95 The Black Cauldron, $7.95 Leisure Suit Larry (I - Ill), $7.95 Gold Rush!, $7.95 Manhunter (N.Y. & S.F.), $7.95 each

Actually, the United States is one of the few major countries in which table tennis is largely unappreciated. Other countries recognize the endurance, agility and power required to master the sport. Perhaps that's why it originally took a German company to bring it to the ST.

Game perspective is similar to what you see when you're actually playing table tennis (nobody who is serious about the game calls it ping pong); you look straight at your opponent across the table. Your opponent can be a friend or the computer. There are 20 fictitious computer foes to choose from, each possessing a different style and ability level.

Table Tennis is as far from Ping Pong as the
ST is from the old Atari 400.

Table Tennis supports both a mouse and joystick (or two joysticks). You have more control with the mouse than the joystick. With the mouse, you position your own racket; with the joystick, racket is positioned for you. There are six different racket types and grips and four different strokes to play with. The strokes and rackets affect the speed and spin of the ball.

About the only serious shortcoming in Table Tennis is you cannot practice serving. It takes a while to develop an effective serve, just as in real life. But then, that's why this is a real simulation.

Reviewed by Scott Wasser
Rick Davis' World Trophy Soccer
Melbourne Hous
18001 Cowan St., Stes. A & B
Irvine, CA 92714
Somewhat of a kick, but no
great ball of fire.

Based on the name alone, I had great expectations of Rick Davis' World Class Soccer from Melbourne House. But unfortunately, it turns out to be more B class than World Class. As a pared down - almost arcade style - game, it's fine, but as a true sports simulation, it's too limited.

After being treated to an eye-catching introduction, the scene changes to a partial overhead view of the soccer field. The screen scrolls both vertically and horizontally as you kick around the ball.

The 13-page manual is primarily a short biography of Rick Davis (the former American soccer champ) and history of the game. Actual instructions on gameplay are sparse. The manual does not tell you how to aim for a pass, shot, corner kick or throw-in. It does not tell you how to make the goalie dive or leap to block a shot, how to punt or pass. There are no hints or tips on general game strategy. These omissions are not particularly frustrating as much as they are telling - the game simply isn't complex enough to need elaborate instructions.

Rick Davis' World Class Soccer is somewhat redeemed, however, by its simplicity. It's pleasant enough as an afternoon diversion. You can play it without the manual. But you don't need docs for pinball either. If you're looking for some serious sport, better get your ball and head outside.