E&B Computer Services
P.O. Box 292506
Columbus, OH 43229
$19.95, 16K disk
Brad & Kirsten Kershaw
Are you disappointed that you bought the Atari 1030 modem, only to find that you did not have the same "bells and whistles" as other modem users?
Well, you are the smart one after all. That's because now for less than one tenth of the price of a Hayes Smartmodem, you can use SMART 1030 from E&B to upgrade your 1030 for compatibility with the Hayes command set plus additional commands. This program by Brent Borghese also allows you to use other modem programs without the hard-to-find Atari 850 Interface Module.
With SMART 1030 you can autodial tone and pulse (on the 835 modem, pulse only) which allows you to dial a number from the computer keyboard. If the line is busy, an auto redial command requires just two keystrokes.
One nice feature is the onscreen help command. If you forget the commands or just get lost within the program, type HELP to bring up a small window of the most used commands.
If you enjoy talking to other bulletin boards, this program makes it a breeze. And with your Atari you can use ATASCII to get the added feature of graphics. An included bulletin board database stores up to 18 BBS phone numbers, which you can access by two keystrokes. If you use alternative long distance phone services you can also store your code for easy access.
Since SMART 1030 allows so may features, not previously avaiable to Atati 1030 users, it is too bad that the documentation only lists a few of the many features available on Smartmodems. Using my own Smartmodem manual, I found that many undocumented options were actually available in SMART 1030.
The documentation also is not geared for telecommunications beginners and uses many highly technical terms without explanation. If you are a modem novice you could really use the guidance of someone familiar with Smartmodem protocols.
But despite any quibbles about the documentation, the SMART 1030 itself is a very useful utility that could be a major asset to your telecommunications library.
RESCUE ON FRACTALUS
1043 Kiel Court
Sunnydale, CA 94089
$40 each, 48K disk
Reviewed by Michael Ciraolo
Rumors of their arrival swept the country, but nothing official came out of the quiet hills north of San Francisco. Until now.
After a year of anticipation, buggy bootlegs and legal battles, the Lucasfilm games Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus are available from Epyx. Antic first descibed these games in an August, 1984 cover story.
Both games offer exactly what you'd expect from Lucasfilm, Ltd. the best. From the exquisite animation while the program loads, to the music and the actual playing, these games help define the awe of the art.
Ballblazer puts you at the controls of a Rotofoil in the year 3097. Strapped into this hovercraft-like vehicle, you will make tums at 50 meters per second. The point is simple: you have to drive a small dense Plasmorb through moving goalbeams at one end of the playing grid, while your opponent tries to do the same.
You see two screens, yours and your opponent's (computer or friend). Your rotofoil automatically grabs and hold the ball with its energy field. As in soccer, however, your can steal the ball. You can fire the ball from any distance you want. The longer the goal, the more points you get.
Lucasfilm has succeeded in creating a feeling of new physics. You're on a different planet, feeling different forces, and playing a garne faster than most pedestrian arcade thrillers.
Nor are you dumped in this alone. The accompanying documentation is as rich as the movie "Star Wars," and contains instructions, tips and hints on offense and defense from the galactic cxperts.
Apropos of "Star Wars" fighter-pilot thrills, Rescue on Fractalus also puts you in the cockpit seat. This time you're piloting a modified Valkyrie Fighter, capable of cruising at Mach 7.2.
You'll be dumped from an orbiting spaceship onto the planet Fractalus to fight enemy saucers and gun emplacements while you rescue stranded pilots. You'll need to navigate the craggy surface of a planet which rotates so fast that the days are nine minutes long.
And you are really in the pilot's seat, for one of the most enjoyable "flight simulator" experiences around. On the heads-up display you'll find cross hairs, altitude, energy, wing-clearance, horizon, and thrust level indicators, as well as scanners and other appropriate indicator lights.
Through the cockpit's window you can see the mountains, the product of unique fractal geometry programming you will never fly over the small scrolling landscape twice. Each view is original and unique.
Land within range of a downed pilot, and you will see his ship on your scopes. You can watch as the pilot runs toward you. You'll hear his footsteps, then the knocking on your airlock. Open up, let him in, and you're off, trying to complete all 16 levels.
When Epyx originally released these two games, the disks would only work on Atari 810 and 1050 drive. That problem has been corrected, and Antic was assured that the company will replace unworking disks.
Epyx officials also said two new Lucasfilm games would be announced at the Summer Consumer Electronics Show in June.
1 Fawcett Place
Greenwich, CT 06836
$44.95, 48K disk
Reviewed by Bard Kershaw
What could be more challenging than playing computer adventure games? Creating them! And with Adventure Master from CBS you can do just that.
Until now you had to be a full-fledged programmer to build a professional-quality adventure. With Adventure Master all the programming is built in. You just fill in the creative parts by following a series of menu prompts.
Adventure Master consists of two disks and a short clearly written manual. The first disk contains the adventurer writting tools and a completed adventure called "Clever Catacombs" to demonstrate the finished product in action.
The second disk has two partially completed games which you can scrutinize and then write a conclusion. This is especially helpful in understanding the individual parts of the program and how they relate to each other, before you start an adventure of your own from scratch..
The manual suggests that you start by mapping your fantasy world on paper. The booklet comes with a short tutorial on how to make a map of all rooms, passageways and objects which will be encountered.
First stop, Main Menu: From here you lay out the passageways. These are the directions the adventure player can take between "rooms" (a room is any specified area indoors or outdoors). Obstacles can be placed using the passageway function by specifying an object to be taken or a special deed to be done before proceeding to the next room.
Next stop, Descriptions: This is the place where you write the text describing what the player sees when entering the room. Two thirds of the screen is available to give a word picture of the area and objects in view.
Rest stop, Objects: The real challenge of any adventure game is finding the objects and knowing what to do with them. Adventure Master allows one portable object to be in a room for the player to pick up, use, or drop later in the game.
Adding to the difficulty, an object may he hidden from view and only obtainable by doing a specfic act, such as "Open box" whereupon the object "candles" is discovered. Later in the game the candle may be lit, and usde to go through dark passageway
Pit stop, Graphics: To put the finishing touches on your adventure, you can now go to the graphics editor. This is a built-in joystick painting program. One restriction is that you are allowed three colors per picture, but with a little patient exprimentation you can do some elaborate drawings. Another restriction is that if you have a lot of rooms, you can only fit about 10 graphic pictures in the entire adventure.
Final stop, Words: Here is where you set up the answers that the computer will give to key words that you spectfy. These responses can be vary from room to room.
To give your game more spice there is a "Magic Word" function. By using a specified word, the player is whisked away to another room, either to be rescued from danger or lost forever. The player must type in words exactly as defined by the writer.
Once the adventure has been completed, other finishing touches may be added. One option is "score" where you assign point values for finding a room or object. Another option is an introducton page, which sets the mood for your adventure.
After you are satisfied with the finished adenture you call put your game on disk in autoload format. To guarantee that no one else looks inside your program for clues, password protection is provided.
Adventure Master opens up the world of adventure game design at an impressively high level. What you can create with this program, is limited only by your imagination.
4517 Harford Road
Baltimore, MD 21214
$25, 48K disk
Reviewed by Scott Lewis
Mood is every thing in Maxwell Manor. From the ghostly opening music to the tombstones and skulls that mark your death you wlll be captured by the atmosphere of this deserted, deadly place Messages flash across the screen, warning "DEATH AWAITS," "DANGER," and "SAVAGE!" But will you heed them? Of course not!
You are Professor Arabesque, assigned by the Psychical Society to find the Skull of Doom, which controls the manor, and to destroy it. Simple enough, you might think. But there are terrors lying in wait! Glurks, Sprigles and Wigglers are ready for you at every turn, eager to steal one of your precious lives and send you hurling into Limbo. In the basement, the Vampire Spider lurks!
You can pick up objects as you explore the mansion and you can carry four objects at a time. But which object will be effective against any given monster? Antic won't tell you. The Hint Book might if you need to stoop so low. After you've died a few times and find yourself pushing up daisies instead of the joystick, you'll begin to discover the secrets of defending yourself in this macabre manor if you're lucky!
The mansion has more than 50 screens and the graphics are very good. Several of the rooms feature bright yellows and greens colors that other games seem to avoid for some reason (perhaps conversion problems). You can easily select from 10 skill levels and over 100 different maze variations.
The only problem with this game is in its "strategy" aspect. There is a constant stimulus to action: if you stand in one place for too long an arrow will soon appear out of nowhere to threaten you. The instruction sheet says a Pause comand is available, but never gets around to explaining what that command is.
Maxwell Manor does not really present a puzzle you can solve by logic. It is a vast, intricate maze game with much mood and some advanced touches, but ultimately it is not that different from, many other arcade games.