Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 4, NO. 12 / APRIL 1986

product reviews

Datasoft/H .P Software
19808 Nordhoff Place
Chatsworth, CA 91311
(818) 886-5922
$29.95, 48K disk

Reviewed by Brad Kershaw

Goonies is a run, jump and climb game with a twist. I enjoyed playing even though I haven't seen the movie it is based on.
   Your task is to make it through all eight screens, solving the puzzle each one presents-until you finally find One-eyed Willy's Pirate Ship with its treasure that will save the homes of your family and friends from foreclosure. All the while you must avoid the evil Fratelli gang. This sounds easy, but it's not. The twist that I spoke of earlier is that there are two little Goonies characters that you must successfully guide through the perils of each screen.
   The Goonies are multi-colored animated figures, each with its own distinctive look. Every time you advance to a new screen, the computer randomly selects a new pair of the movie characters-Mikey, Brand, Mouth, Data, Stef, Andy and Chuck.
   You can shift back and forth between Goonies by pushing the joystick button. You may also choose between left-handed or right-handed play. This is done by simply choosing that option at the beginning of the game, a nice feature for all you south-paws out there.
   Goonies is also different in that it is based on cooperation between the pairs of little people which you control. For example, you might move one of your characters to a device that keeps the opposition busy while you move your other character to a safe area. It is actually impossible to get through any screen without teamwork between friends.
   The graphics are fairly good. Each of the eight levels is a different cutaway view of a house, mountain, or cavern. The obstacles in each level are also detailed and animated. Another plus for this game is that the music is from the film's popular soundtrack. I also noticed that unlike Conan, another Datasoft game, having a lot of animated characters and objects on the screen don't slow down the action.

goonies screen

   I played this game for a number of hours and never made it all the way to the pirate treasure. Despite help from the hint book and the official treasure map, Goonies is very challenging-even for an old arcade gamer like me. But that's what I enjoyed about Goonies. It doesn't get boring and should keep you playing into the wee hours of the morning.
   I hope other games adopt this on-screen teamwork style. It makes for some very interesting challenges. You have to use your head and be quick on the draw to get two chararacters out of a hopeless situation.

Quantum Microsystems, Inc.
P.O. Box 179
Liverpool, NY 13088
(315) 451-7747
$149.95, 48K disk

Reviewed by Brad Kershaw

For lower budgets, the 300 baud Q-Modem by Quantum Microsystems is a powerful but convenient modem for Ataris. Q-Modem connects directly to your Atari computer and does NOT require the Atari 850 interface. It can be daisy-chained like any other Atari peripheral.
   No larger than two packs of extra-long cigarettes, Q-Modem will auto-dial and autoanswer. It has a telephone database and a real-time clock built into its software. The software also allows you to listen in on your connection via your video speaker.
   Even though this is not a smart modem, the software does a good job of emulating many of the features found on the more expensive models. Quantum is planning a 1200 baud upgrade kit ($79), plus a new modem for the ST.

MicroProse Software
120 Lakefront Drive
Hunt Valley, MD 21030
(301) 667-1151
$39.95, 48K disk

Reviewed by Rich Moore

Decision in the Desert is a fast-paced simulation of the Allied and Axis campaign in North Africa during World War II. The second of MicroProse's Command Series war-games, it does an outstanding job of portraying engagements between swift, mechanized forces in the open desert. This is a very tactical game. Players must employ (and expect) fast maneuvers over relatively long distances. Victory is not at all certain for either side. The fortunes of war shift rapidly as battles develop and each side's forces reach the limits of their resources.
   The game can be played solo against the computer or "head to head" with another player. You can even let the computer play against itself and just sit back to watch the action! Three game speeds can be selected, the fastest running about 70 minutes of game time for every minute of real time. The simulation is fully interactive and runs continuously, based upon the last orders given.
   Players select from a total of 11 variations of five major North African operations. Most are historical, but some allow you to play "what if..." Play balance can be adjusted by increasing the power of either side's units. You can see all enemy units or select "limited intelligence" to display only enemy units in recent contact. Games can be saved to disk and reloaded at any time during play.
   A broad range of infantry, armor, artillery and air units are under the player's command. They vary in size from brigade to division level. Some crack units have experience, which greatly increases their effectiveness. Some are manned by green troops who can barely hold their own. As units engage, their effectiveness is reduced by losses. Resupply will eventually restore their capabilities, but you must continuously ensure that your supply lines remain clear. Terrain, weather and night all effect each unit's abilities to move and fight.
   The graphics are truly superb and make the game a real pleasure to play. Each scenario has its own appropriately scrolling high-resolution, multicolored map. Cities, roads and many different types of terrain features are clearly represented. The screen takes on a sandy color during the day and turns dark at night. Units may be displayed by standard military symbols or by icons which "picture" the unit type. Resupply at midnight is shown by rapidly moving truck icons. Text messages announce arrival at objectives, capture of important points, combat losses and lack of supplies.
   All in all, Decision in the Desert is a simulation that should be in every wargamer's library. It is well thought out and documented, including the excellent historical narratives for each operation. The mechanics of the simulation are very easy to learn and are fully consistent with the player's role. It can be played so fast that people who normally prefer arcade games should find it both interesting and challenging-even addictive. In fact, I've got to quit now and get back to those Panzer divisions trying to sweep around my southern flank...

Mindscape, Inc.
3444 Dundee Road
Northbrook, IL 60062
(800) 221-9884
$39.95, 48K disk

Reviewed by Michael Lasky

Crossword puzzles maintain their vast popularity year after year. These puzzles-in which intersecting words are placed in blank squares in a grid-are now the single most published type of game in the world.
   No matter how good you are at solving crosswords, the actual creation of a new crossword puzzle is guaranteed hard work. You need to verify that the cross-hatch of words with letters common to the horizontal and vertical columns fit accurately into a balanced geometric pattern and are supported by logical clues.
   Crossword Magic is a software tool that takes the drudgery out of trial and error testing of up and down word patterns. Essentially, it is a word processor dedicated to the connection of words that share the same letters.
   You'll still need to keep a good dictionary and almanac handy because the program doesn't select your words or invent your clues. The 30-page instruction booklet is written clearly with straightforward explanations that take you step-by-step through the eight part menu-driven program.
   Crossword Magic starts you with a 3 x 3 grid (nine boxes). As you enter the answers,for which clues will be added later, the grid adjusts in size to fit your words. A single-key command will lock this adjustment anytime you want. If you don't like where a word has been placed, pressing [CONTROL] [R] will start the computer searching for another position to fit it.
   If you type a word that does not fit into the puzzle (as you fill up the grid, this will happen more often), a buzz sounds and the word goes into an unused word file. If you later add a word to your puzzle that allows the unused word to fit, both are immediately highlighted on your working grid.
   One confusing program design has the [RETURN] key as a space tab and the [SPACEBAR] as the across/down word toggle. Movement of the cursor is done with the usual [CONTROL] and arrow keys.
   At any point you can test-play the puzzle without committing it to final save on a disk. Printed copies, however, are the only ones that will have numbers in the answer boxes, a shortcoming since onscreen numbers would make composition easier.
   Crossword Magic configures with more than two dozen dot-matrix and inkjet printers. To save puzzles-either completed or in progress-a separate blank disk is needed which the program formats.
   Designing your own crosswords can be just as challenging as solving them. And with the steady demand for crossword puzzles in newspapers and other publications, Crossword Magic could be an income-producing tool as well.