By Lloyd Mangram
cover is unique, for to date it is the only one that
is actually a photograph, albeit one of Oliver's artwork.
Relating to an article about 3-D games, the picture's
theme was taken from the newly released film Raiders
Of The Lost Ark. 'Indie' is seen threatening a statue
bearing a Spectrum, ravaged to form the characters 3D.
The foreground and background were also painted artwork,
but when the three layers were set up one behind the
other rather like a cardboard stage set, the soft focus
created a three-dimensional effect.
CRASH was rapidly expanding, both in scope and in the people
who worked for it, at least on a casual basis. As Kean, Frey
and Western fiddled around in the 'studio' (in reality Roger's
bedroom) setting up the various bits and pieces for the cover
shot and getting the lighting and focus just right, downstairs
another mail-order-buying youngster tried his hand at writing
a test review (of Rabbit's dreadful Deathstar, if my
memory serves). He was 13-year-old Robin Candy, who, to his
eternal embarrassment, appeared in a photograph sitting cross-legged
on a Spectrum wearing a CRASH T-shirt as part of the Hotline
Roger reckoned the test was satisfactory, and Robin joined
the reviewing team along with Matthew Uffindell, Chris Passey
and one or two other Ludlow locals.
Three other newcomers made their first appearance, Signpost
in the Adventure Trail, Ultimate's enduring Lunar Jetman comic
strip drawn by John Richardson, and at the end of the Playing
Tips, my Hall Of Slime, which lasted up until recently when
I thought it had finally had its day. Nearly every other magazine
ran high-score tables for readers, usually called Hall Of
Fame or Roll Of Honour. When asked to do the same in CRASH
I thought it would be boring to repeat the formula, and since
none of the scores printed elsewhere seemed to be checked
out for truthfulness (and how can you all too often?), and
the whole high-scoring ethos seemed reminiscent of 'creeping'
at school, I opted for the Hall Of Slime - a special home
for high-scoring creepie-crawlies. It worked a treat!
The centre spread saw our first ever colour map, part one
of the Atic Atac plan, done with the help of competition
entries. But the amazing feature of this issue was the mammoth
article Roger prepared on 3-D games to date. 14 pages long,
it examined the nature of 3-D perspective and then showed
how each form had been implemented on the Spectrum through
some 60 games. Once again, in many respects it was a 'first';
no other entertainment computer magazine had ever attempted
such an exhaustive, or long, feature before. And it went against
the traditionalist grain - publications aimed at a teenage
market were supposed to present short, snappy articles in
recognition of the short attention span of young people. It
was an outmoded concept CRASH threw away, we all believed
our readers capable of reading long, detailed and intelligent
pieces (even when we were often forced to listen to some surprisingly
fluent obscenities on the Hotline answering machine!).
the onset of the summer months, software was holding up well.
Five games were Smashed, the oddly-named Worse Things Happen
At Sea from Silversoft, which was maddeningly addictive
and funny, Bug Byte's Antics, the very playable high-scoring
game Moon Alert from Ocean, an adventure Smash in Level
9's Snowball - first of the famous trilogy - and the
dubiously-acclaimed Sabre Wulf from Ultimate. There's
no doubt it should have been a Smash - it's just that it arrived
so late in the month we hardly had time to play it enough,
and copped out by not rating it at all!
Up until this moment, CRASH had been produced from a house,
really from just two small rooms, but the company's finances
had improved sufficiently to afford proper offices. As Issue
Six came towards completion, Newsfield leased three floors
of a building in Ludlow. We were all looking forward to being
able to stretch out a bit, to be able to write and do the
artwork in less cramped quarters.