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See full-resolution scans at http://segaretro.org/File:StheSegaMagazine_UK_06.pdf


+Contents

S

The SEGA Mag

TOTALLY DEDICATED TO BRITAIN'S BEST SELLING CONSOLE

HOT METAL!

Battle Out Run Burns Rubber!

PLUS EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW OF INDIANA JONES AND PAPERNOY


BEEP!

Ohhh, Isn't life dull.

What we need is a Sega...

That's a games console.

Plug me in and things will really liven up.

You can get loads of Sega games like "Outrun," "Double Dragon," "Shinobi," "Ghostbusters."

And you can buy extra bits like these... 3D. You look weird.

OK? Do us a favour. PLug me into a Sega.

Now let's resume notmal service shall we? Ill get back to sleep.

"DO ME A FAVOUR... PLUG ME INTO A SEGA®"

SEGA® from Virgin

SEGA MASTER SYSTEM R.R.P. £79.99 SEGA GAMES FROM R.R.P. £9.99

DISTRIBUTED BY VIRGIN MASTERONIC LIMITED, VERNON YARD, PORTOBELLO ROAD, LONDON W11 2DX. TELEPHONE 01-727 8070


INSIDE

The Big Reviews

4 - BATTLE OUT RUN

It’s pedal to the metal time again in this high-speed chase across the States!

(Image caption) I feel the need, the need for...

24 - WORLD GAMES

Try your hand at some simulations of the sillier sports from around the world!

Past Masters

13 - CYBORG HUNTER

He’s come to kick cyborg ass and chew bubble gum - and he's all out of bubble gum...

32 - RASTAN

Taito's brilliant hack 'n' slay coin-op: how does it fare on the Master System?

33 - SPY VS SPY

Straight out of Mad magazine, the black and white spies do battle with feet, fists and traps!

ISSUE 6 MAY 1990

EDITOR
Steve Jarratt
ART EDITOR
Sally Meddings
SEGA CLUB EDITOR
Tony Takoushi
CONTRIBUTORS
John Cook, Tim Smith, Trenton Webb
ILLUSTRATOR
Wayne Allen
PUBLISHER
Chris Anderson

All enquiries and correspondence should be addressed to:

S The Sega Mag
Future Publishing Ltd., Beauford Court, 30 Monmouth Street, Bath, Avon BA1 2AP

PRINTERS
Redwood Burn Ltd., Melksham, Wilts
BRILL COVER ILLUSTRATION
Tony Roberts
MANY THANKS To
Amanda Cook for maps 'n' stuff

This magazine is a fully independent publication. The views expressed in these pages are not necessarily those of Sega Enterprises Ltd., nor of Virgin Mastertronic, their UK distributors.

© Future Publishing Ltd. 1990

No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written permission. So there.

Specials

8 - GIVE IT SOME STICK

There’s more to life than Sega's Control Pad - S gives you the gen on all the Sega-compatible sticks!

20 - THE MAN WITH THE HAT IS BACK

More exclusive previews of the latest European games in production.

(Image caption) A battered leather Fedora and a whip, any guesses?

32 - COIN-OPS

John Cook checks out Sega's latest coin-op cab!

Regulars

6 - STUFF

News, snippets, information and anything to do with Sega (plus one or two bits that aren't).

14 - SCRIBBLINGS

The Ed attempts to muddle his way through another question and answer session...

16 - SEGA CLUB

Tony Takoushi's bit in the middle. If you're in the club, then these pages were made especially for you!

22 - SMALL ADS

The S jumble sale. If you have something to swap, sell or say, this is the place to be.

34 - SUBSCRIPTION OFFER/BACK ISSUES

Oh, what a giveaway! How can you refuse?

GamePlay

27 - A LITTLE BIT OF SLY HELP

Spellcaster's innermost secrets revealed! Lord Of The Sword dissected! Action Fighter smashed! Hamster milkshake for tea!

31 - SLY HIGH SCORES

Got a high sore? Then get noticed!

You gotta be skill to be here, and if you need some help, there are also some high-scoring tips, too!


GAME TEST

BATTLE OUT RUN

High-speed car wars on the interstate!

(Image caption) On the second section, the road to Los Angeles. Your enemy is up ahead in what looks like an old, open-top James Herriot-style motor.

(Image caption) With Chicago on the horizon, your F40 hits a jump (those are the things marked 'jump') at 239 km/h and goes flying through the air!

(Image caption) Blasting through the night toward 'Vegas. You've just clipped the crooks' purple car and the sparks are flying!

HANDLE CONTROLLER

Prospective purchasers of the big whizzy stick will be glad to hear that it is fully compatible with Battle Out Run, and makes a fitting add-on to this zoomer game. It may not be as sensitive as a joystick, but it's fun to play with and fine in use. Careful not to keep pushing forward, though, otherwise you use all your nitro up!

Looks like you've finally gone up in the world: no more thrashing around in your battered old Ferrari Testarossa. You've saved your pennies (about 15 million of 'em!) and bought a shiny new Ferrari F40 - over 400 horsepower of sheer meanness!

But just when you thought you could pop out for a quick blister along the freeway, your girlfriend (the blonde one) gets kidnapped by a criminal syndicate. Horrors!

Led by an evil overlord (who's picked on you just ’cos you're better looking than he is, and have got an F40), the syndicate members have been ordered to transport your gal across America using a range of high-powered vehicles. Initially miffed by the stealing of your A beloved (the girl, not your car) this does actually gives you a good reason to go blasting right across the US!

Climbing into your speed machine, you first decide where to start your mission. You can choose to begin the chase in any of eight cities across America, although things get hotter the further east you go! Reasoning that you may as well take things easy to start with (and that you're in San Francisco anyway) you may as well start from San Francisco. Good thinking...

A picture of your opponent flicks into view, showing his ugly convict mush and the amount of reward money that you'll get when you catch him. After selecting a radio channel to listen to on your Segamatic digital in-car stereo pijj entertainment system (not in too much of a hurry are you?) the garage door slides up, you drive out into a bright SF afternoon, and the chase is on!

Putting pedal firmly to the metal (well, flesh to fire button) sees the F40 hurl along the highway, zooming past the other traffic. These guys (who have all got orange VWs or yellow... er... something elses) look like they've been on a binge at Slim's All-Night Boozerama, since they're swerving all over the road, cutting you up and generally getting in your way. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that you're not supposed to rear-end them: if you do, the sparks fly and you lose speed or stop altogether. So don't.

The Ferrari F40 sports a 32-valve, four cam twin-turbo intercooled V8 engine, boasting 478 horsepower, with a top speed over 195 mph, making it the most potent production car in the world. Fancy one? To you John, a mere $260,000 (or in Brit dosh, £157,575 or thereabouts). Send your cheques (made out to 'CASH' to speed things up) to: The Editor, S magazine, Bath. Ta very much.

(Image caption) On the final stretch to New York, there's oil all over the road. Whenever you hit a patch, the F40 spins uncontrollably and makes a silly burbling noise!

There are also obstacles on the road, such as oil slicks, striped barriers which you can knock out of the way, and jump ramps!

After a while, some grease-monkey chum of yours turns up in a truck, which you can run into the back of. Inside, there's a full workshop where the F40’s body, tyre, engine and chassis can be improved with uprated components, while Dukes of Hazzard-style nitro injection can be fitted. Once you've made your selection (and run out of money) the chase continues.

After several miles of high speed manoeuvring (and a bit of demolition derbying) a life-meter appears at the top of the screen and the music changes to a more panicky beat, signifying that the enemy is within striking range!

(Image caption) Here's a map, so you can tell what sort of state you're in!

As the car comes in to view (you can easily spot it - it isn't yellow), your aim is to run that bum off the road before the timer hits zero. You do this by repeatedly colliding with his car. Each time you smash into his motor, its life meter (?) loses another segment, and once it has disappeared completely both cars slide to a halt and the bad guy has a good moan.

Of course, if you don't capture the guy before the timer runs out then you have to try again, either using the continue option (not much use, since you don't usually have enough money left to buy nitro), or from the start of the mission.

Once you have detained the first criminal, it's off on the trail of the next guy, and so on until you finally meet the head honcho in a race to New York, and the freedom of your girlie. Aaaah...

VERDICT

As if you hadn't figured it out already, Battle Out Run is a not-terribly-subtle cross between Turbo Out Run and Chase HQ. So if you're keen on either coin-op, it stands a chance that you'll get a fair slice of the same arcade action here.

(Image caption) Once inside the truck, you can select all manner of goodies to uprate your Ferrari's performance. It's best to start off with a new engine and tyres.

In comparison to Out Run, this Battle version isn't so hot on the old visuals, since there are no hills or dips, and no really big objects whizzing past on the roadside. However, what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality, with supa-smooth parallax scrolling on the distant cityscape and cloud-filled sky, plus smooth(ish) frame update on the opposing car sprites and roadway obstacles. The road itself moves very realistically, and it doesn’t take long before you're totally wrapped up in the proceedings, swaying from side to side as you weave through the cars or scrape past another tight corner!

It's also very, very fast! It seems fairly rapid on the first course, but once you've upgraded your engine and tyres and injected some nitro -man, does this game move! The jumps, which seem a bit naff at first, suddenly start sending the F40 about a hundred feet through the air (well, what d'you expect when you’re going at 350 km/h?) and as you improve the handling you really start to zip through the other cars with inches to spare - teeth-gritting stuff or what!?

You shouldn’t have too much of a problem with the first four sections, but by the fifth things really start to get nasty, with a vicious twisting track, loads of cars on the road and an enemy who does not want to get caught. At least the game is a toughie - no finishing this first day!

Battle Out Run only suffers from being a bit too 'samey' all the way through. The same old cars get in your way and the same old obstacles crop up. True the scenery changes, but who watches the scenery? However, the experience is just so good you won't care. If you're a speed demon with a thirst for adrenalin, then this is the game you've been waiting for!

PRICE
£29.99
PLAYERS
1
CONTROL
Joypad
SIZE
2M

S RATINGS

GRAPHICS
82%

▲ Movement of the road is dead smooth, and puke-kingly realistic

▲ Background and clouds slide past very smoothly

▲ Frame update on the cars, jumps and signs is fairly smooth

▼ Similarity of cars and courses doesn’t make the chase a terribly scenic one

▼ The F40 wobbles around, especially in a spin

▼ Pity there aren't some different cars and trucks to avoid

SOUND
87%

▲ Four great 'chase theme' soundtracks to choose from

▲ Opposing cars sound realistic with proper neee-oooow sound!

▲ Panic-inducing tyre screech!

▼ Throw the F40 into a spin, and the car warbles!

DEPTH
53%

▲ Correct selection of extra equipment is vital to the chase

▲ Eight long courses to beat, but they're all fairly similar

▼ Even high-speed driving action is still pretty simple stuff

ADDICTION
82%

▲ Zipalong gameplay is just one mega-thrilling experience

▼ Continue option is almost useless later on, since you need nitro but can't afford it second time round

▼ You can try any course - but you'll have to start from SF and work your way through!

S-FACTOR
88%

If you want high-speed thrills and spills, which make your nerves stand on end and your teeth sweat, then look no further!


INFO

STUFF!

NEW YORK, NEW YORK...

And now, it's over to our US correspondent (weekends and freebies only), Lesly Walker of Virgin Mastertronic, for the low-down on the final of the National Sega Challenge:

After five months of intense competition and hard slog, the search for the Sega UK Champion culminated at Gatwick airport on Friday, 9th march.

'Why Gatwick airport?' I hear you ask. This was the chosen venue for the final, as straight after the competition the winner was jetting off for the trip of a lifetime - an all expenses paid weekend in New York!

Anyway, back to the challenge. After spending the night at a hotel near gatwick (well, it was supposed to be, but turned out to be 40 minutes drive away!) we all awoke bleary-eyed to our early morning calls - 5am (when's that!? - Ed). No time for breakfast, it was off to the airport to meet the crew from Motormouth including Gaz Top and the Virgin Atlantic PR lady, Deborah Aspin, then straight out to the latest recruit to the VA fleet, on which the final was taking place.

Our four regional finalists - David Hammond, Derek Thomson, Paul Fawson and Daniel Allan - were itching to get to their control pads, but had to contain their excitement while Motormouth got their equipment set up and carried out sound and lighting tests. Finally we were ready. The three games chosen to test their skills were World Grand Prix, R-Type and California Games.

After two hours of intense playing, the title was still wide open and so it was onto the last game, R-Type. First up to play were Paul and Danny. Paul managed to edge ahead slightly in the last five minutes and set the high score that the other two had to beat. At one point it looked like Derek was going to beat Paul's score, but one fatal mistake meant that he failed to snatch the prestigious title of First Sega UK Champion! That accolade went to 14-year old Paul Fawson of Camberley in Surrey.

Gaz Top had the honour of presenting the awards and prizes, then informed the three runners-up that thanks to the generosity of Sega they were all going to the 'Big Apple' as well!

(Image caption) On top of the Empire State (from left to right): Derek, David, Danny, Mike, and Champion Paul!

THE PRICE IS WRONG!

Oh dear. Oh deary me. Ohh deary-deary me. Ooohhhh d- (yes, alright, get on with it). OK, well, some particular person, who shall remain nameless to avoid death threats and hate mail, put the price of R-Type in issue 4 as £24.95. Now this was totally correct - to the nearest £10. £29.99 would have been closer (well, bang on, actually).

The entire staff of S - both of them - are incredibly sorry about this, and wish to state that they sincerely regret any confusion, grief and death that this blatant and stupid error has caused. They are deeply, truly sorry, and would gladly cut off their arms and legs with a chainsaw if it they thought it would help. Sorry.

JOIN THE CLUB

A lot of people have written in to ask how they can join the Sega Club when they are already subscribers to S. Well, all you have to do is send £5 (preferably by cheque or postal order) to the Sega Club address in the club section (pages 16 -19). Include your name and address, together with your subscription number, and that should do the job!

EDITOR'S WIBBLE

Well hello again, Sega fans! Welcome to S6. Cor, it doesn't seem like six months since we finished the first one. That's probably because it's more like eight, but never mind.

Erm, well, it’s been a fairly quiet month. We managed to hit our deadline (just), no-one complained too loudly about the mistakes in last issue (phew!) and judging by the amount of mail I'm getting, it looks like S is building a fair-sized following!

This month I was lucky enough have a look at the new Sega games being produced for US Gold - and flamin' good they were too (check out the info on page 20!). With four games almost complete, and another four in the pipeline - more news about them next issue - it looks like we could be in for some stonkingly good carts over the coming months. And we haven't even seen the games coming from Mirrorsoft and Grandslam yet!

But for now, enjoy the mag. Or else...

CART COMPO WINNERS!

And now! (Cue drum roll) Sally Meddings, S wonderful art editor will draw the three winners of our competition set in S'4: "And the winners are... er, hold on, this geek hasn't put his name and address on. Oh, here's a nice one, look it's got Matt and Luke on (Will you get a move on!). Alright, alright. Here's a winner: P Deakin of Willenhall. He wins the copy of Wonderboy III.” (More rummaging sounds at the bottom of the box)

"OK, here's another one - David Armstrong of Stalybridge gets the copy of Tennis Ace; and this one - oh, he wants Wonderboy III - too late! (card goes winging across the studio). Ah, the last one: D Burrows of Hestersway picks up the copy of Psycho Fox!" (Mild applause and sighs of relief from the Ed.)

Well, congrats to those three - your prizes are being strapped to carrier pigeons as you read this, and a fairly riffy Sega box (minus the cartridge which will no doubt fall out somewhere along the way) should be falling down your chimneys within the next few months (hopefully). And bad luck to the other thousand or so who entered.

Oh, and just in case you wanted to know the answers, they are as follows: 1) 3; 2) IREM; 3) 1987; and 4) The vanished Omens.

That's it, finished. There are no more prizes to be had so go and read something else. Go on... Well, what are you waiting for? Look, that's it. Sorry, but there were only three prizes. Next time, eh?

TOP 10

Quite few people have written in asking us to make more of the Top 10 section. Well, we tried making it into a small plane, but that didn't work out so well (the doctor says Sal should be off the critical list in time for the next issue). Instead, we've started doing a Top 10 for each month, using only the votes taken since the last issue.

We're still saving up the votes, though, for a special Top 10 Of The Year, to be unveiled in S12, later this year.

This month's winner of the Top 10 T-Shirt is Samantha Williams of Upton-On-Severn, whose fave game of all time is Rampage. Well done Sam - the shirt's on its way by carrier goat (sorry about the stains).

Remember, if you want to change the world (well, the chart at least) send in your votes. It doesn't even matter if you've written in before - you just might have changed your mind!

R-Type is getting well boring by hanging around at the apex of the charts, seemingly unable to be shunted from the top spot. Poor old Wonderboy the third has given up the ghost and is slithering back down the charts (wimp!), only to be replaced by the old stalwart, After Burner.

It’s a big 'hello' to our chum Psycho Fox, who claws his lupine way into the charts for the first time, while the old timers Fantasy Zone III and Rambo III make something of a surprise appearance on the bottom rungs!

  1. R-TYPE
  2. AFTER BURNER
  3. WONDERBOY III
  4. RAMPAGE
  5. WONDERBOY IN MONSTERLAND
  6. SHINOBI
  7. VIGILANTE
  8. PSYCHO FOX
  9. FANTASY ZONE II
  10. RAMBO III

GAMES GOIN' CHEAP

Had enough of paying £25 to feed your favourite games machine? Well, help is at hand for your dwindling bank balance. In a fit of unparalleled generosity, Virgin Mastertronic have set two new price points for Sega cartridges, at the all-time lows of £12.99 and £9.99 - the first time Sega software has ever broken the ten quid mark!

So just what can you expect to spend your money on? Enduro Racer, The Ninja, Rescue Mission, Super Tennis, Teddy Boy and Transbot will all fall into the £9.99 price range, while you can get your paws on Action Fighter, Aztec Adventure, Fantasy Zone, Global Defence, Secret Command and World Grand Prix for the measly sum of £12.99.

Considering most of these titles were up previously around the £23 mark, this looks like a Sega owners dream come true! (Our faves are World Grand Prix and Fantasy Zone).

EM. EYE. SEA - KAY. EE. WHY - EM, OH, YOU, ESS, EE!

Lucky US Genesis owners can expect to be the first to play carts featuring the antics of Mickey Mouse and his celluloid chums, Minnie, Pluto, Donald and Goofy.

A special contract signed between Sega and the Disney Corporation allows the cartoon characters to be used in a series of games for the 16-bit machine; though whether MM will appear on the Master System is as yet unknown.

This signing comes hot on the heels of Sega's announced plans for games based on the upcoming films Dick Tracey and Spiderman. No plans for a Neighbours game, though...

HOW MUCH?

In our last issue (S5) we reviewed three Sega games, RC Grand Prix, Assault City and Slap Shoot, that were so new they didn't even have their prices set, just a a £TBA in their info box (which means price to be announced).

Ok, so here we are announcing them: they each cost the princely sum of £29.99. OK?

SEGA STORMS ACROSS EUROPE

The Master System's advance into European homes seems unstoppable. Latest reports from Virgin Mastertronic's headquarters suggest an installed user base of 690,000 units across Europe, including over 200,00 in both the UK and France.

In fact the Sega is selling so well that the estimated UK user base for January 1991 has been revised up from 400,000 to 450,00, while the total in Europe is expected to soar to around 1.5 million! Now that's a LOT of Sega systems!

And not only that, but Virgin Mastertronic expect to sell around 100,000 Mega Drives by the end of this year. Well, gosh oh lord a-lawksy, missus.

SEGAS RIGGED!

(Image caption) Just think - Somewhere within that writhing mass of metal and technology, some huge, hard oil rig worker is playing Penguin Land...

Sources at Virgin Mastertronic have discovered that lonely workmen on-board North Sea oil rigs have been turning to Segas to keep them sane on the long, cold winter nights. They probably get their kicks out of playing carts like Oiltered Beast, Power Strike!, Goilvellius, Drillion (and Drillion2), Oilien Syndrome and Alex Kidd On The North Rig. But then again...

COMING SOON

The exact contents of next month’s S are a mystery even to us! We have heard vague rumours of a role playing and adventure game round-up, but you can never be sure of these things. And what about the tips? Sly reckons there’s going to be players’ guides to Wonderboy In Monsterland and Psycho Fox. But where he gets his information from is anybody’s guess...

You might be treated to news of the latest games to come from UK software houses, and there’s also been talk of a series showing how a Sega game is designed and written. But that’s sounds a bit doubtful.

If Virgin Mastertronic is to be believed, Golfamania should be the next new Sega game to arrive. Hmmmm..

There’ll no doubt be the usual run of letters, news, reviews, previews, and general Sega happenings - but who can tell? Maybe we’d better wait until next month to be really sure?


GIVE IT SOME STICK

It doesn’t matter how good the game is if you’re trying to play with a knackered old joystick. If your ‘stick is past its play-by date or has just keeled over and died, why not invest in a new one? S checks out the champions and the challengers...

To give you some idea of how the different ‘sticks compare, we played a series of games with each one and made a note of how they got on (well that’s the theory, anyway). The games chosen require a full range of control methods and test the joysticks in different ways. We finally narrowed it down to four games, a couple of which you’ll probably have...

R-Type: Requires smooth and fast eight-way movement plus pixel-perfect accuracy. Also tests the firing rate of the buttons when you decide to hammer away!

Power Strike: Ideally you want your ship to react and move as fast as you can think - however slow that may be - which calls for responsive control and accuracy. How does the ‘stick fare in the heat of this battle?

Shinobi: Plenty of different moves, requiring rapid access to the eight joystick directions plus split-second reliability - if the joystick doesn’t shape up here, you’ll soon know.

Rastan: Has a number of combined fire button/joystick moves needing fast and precise joystick handling. Tricky jumping is a real test of pinpoint ‘diagonals’.

THE CONTENDERS

Sega Control Pad

Sega Control Pad, £6.95

COMFORT
2

The corners dig into your hands after a while, and the small grip gives you terminal cramp. Otherwise, fine.

DURABILITY
5

Yeah, this one will probably outlive you. Not many moving parts, and the ones that do don’t actually move very far.

POSEABILITY
1

Uh-uh. No-hoper - all the street cred of a Betamax VCR, and far too small to impress the girlies (or the boysies if you’re a girlie).

GAMEPLAY
2

Adequate to get you started. A bit vague and wobbly. Good ’n' fast fire buttons, though.

S-FACTOR
2

The good old faithful joypad is a still a decent 'stick, but isn't really the apex of tactile gaming technology (you wot?). When (if) it finally konks out, get yourself a proper one!

This old steadfast unit comes with the Master System, so it stands a good chance that you’ve got one lying around already. The aged design uses the typically compact Japanese joypad instead of the standard joystick (although you can shove in the teensy micro stick widget for a laugh).If you’re used to an arcade style stick, these do take a bit of getting used to, especially if you’re extremely right-handed!

Employing rubber-encased contacts the Pad is of the small, silent type. While it is pretty effective, control can be a bit vague at times, causing you to hit wrong directions (and always during a vital stage of the game!).

You’ll find yourself either holding it in both hands, controlling both fire buttons with the right thumb and the pad with the left; or plopping it down on a tabletop and using the first two fingers on your right hand for the fire buttons while directing the pad with the first two fingers of your left. Either way, it’s not the best way to play a game and can grow quite uncomfortable after an extended bash. Good fire buttons support some heavy-duty fast firing, though.

The main problem with all joypad-sticks is that they aren’t the most ergonomic designs in the world, and a lot of people really hate 'em - cries of “I wouldn’t have died if it wasn’t for this crappy joypad rubbish!” or maybe something a little less wordy...

Power Strike - Difficult to direct the ship accurately, and you often end up flying around in circles. No problem with holding both buttons down together with your one thumb.

R-Type - Again, not precise enough. It’s too easy to hit diagonals, which sends you in completely the wrong direction (and with this game you don’t have enough room to do that!) Short-travel, no-nonsense buttons are ideal for fast firing.

Shinobi - Great for the ‘crawl’ (a little bit too good in fact, since you often move along when you want to stay still!) but hitting verticals for the big jumps is sometimes tricky.

Rastan - The ‘loose’ joystick control is great for those tricky diagonal jumps, although in hectic close combat it’s too easy to face away from the enemy or strike out in the wrong direction.

Sega Control Stick

Sega Control Stick, £14.95

COMFORT
3

Good tabletop player. Hard on the paws after a long bout of hand-held combat, though. Fire buttons are good, but could be a tad closer together, p'raps.

DURABILITY
5

No problems here. The stick itself takes a huge amount of bashing, and continually shrugs it off.

POSEABILITY
2

Smart-looker, but still a bit utilitarian (gosh! Big werds!) More yer Harrier Jump Jet than yer F117A Stealth Fighter.

GAMEPLAY
4

Great - takes most games in its stride (bit naff for Rastan, though,..)

S-FACTOR
3

A decent stick which should give years of reliable service - and a few high scores.

This one’s been knocking around for a few years now, but doesn’t really show its age. It uses the same responsive rubber-encased metal contact device of the Control Pad, but shoves it into a smart and practical joystick case. The stick itself is a bit tall, but the large grip is great to hold.

Again, the fire buttons are the business for fast arcade games, but if you prefer the joypad lay-out you’ll probably have problems switching to the right-hand set-up.

A large flat base and small rubber feet mean that it’s a good table-top player, stable and comfortable, while hand-held play often leads to severe pain just below the left thumb!

Power Strike - Holding both buttons with one thumb is a bit hard, so it’s best played on tabletop. Otherwise no real complaints: movement is precise and responsive.

R-Type - Great: dead sensitive and very accurate. The Bydo empire doesn’t stand a chance when you’re armed with this one! Fast firing is noooo problem, and you can swap fire fingers when they get tired.

Shinobi - Fast, accurate and responsive. What more could you want? (Well I wouldn’t mind a Ferrari F40 - Ed.)

Rastan - Disappointing: tight diagonals mean that you often spend vital seconds scrabbling for that all-important big jump. And later in the game this proves to be a major drawback.

Sega SG Commander

Sega SG Commander, £9.95

COMFORT
4

New design shape is a big improvement over the Control Pad, but the small size still isn’t good news for big hands.

DURABILITY
4

Robust construction, but those sliders could soon pack in.

POSEABILITY
2

Better than the 'Pad, but still not a 'stick to be seen with at the best parties. Murky grey panel, and Morris Marina maroon buttons are really un-hip.

GAMEPLAY
3

Responsive and accurate, but slightly lacking in precise directions. Buttons feel tacky too.

S-FACTOR
3

A smart addition to the Sega range, but more of a design project and fast-fire gimmick than any real improvement over the ancient Control Pad.

A brand-new variation on the Control Pad, which incorporates a Nintendo-style cross pad, plus variable fast fire on both fire buttons. This is a nice feature but a bit... how can we put it... useless. The two slider controls are well dodgy, giving maximum fire at not-quite-the-end of the scale, and then slowing things down again at full slide. The plastic tabs are also a bit rattly and loose -probably the first things to go ‘foom’ in later years...

The SG Commander (why SG?) suffers from the same handling problems as the Control Pad - if you can’t use the Pad, then you’ll have problems with this. Whacking it on the table is pretty much the same, but the new design makes for a more comfortable hand-held grip, where both index fingers sit in grooves along the front edge. There are no sharp corners to puncture yourself with (minus marks here for reduced little brother/sister damage efficiency) and the whole thing just feels ‘tighter’.

The cross-shaped pad makes it easier to hit the four main directions, and you can feel where the corners are for hitting those diagonals. The fire buttons are a bit loose and clanky - not as good as ye olde Control Pad.

Power Strike - Naaah. Not so hot. Controlling the Power Strike with your thumb just isn’t tight enough, and handling both buttons is tricky. These problems aren’t so bad when played on a flat surface, though.

R-Type - Feels better with the slower R-Type craft, but still suffers from the random direction factor at times.

Shinobi - Four main directions are more precise than normal joypad, and it copes really well with this jump ‘n’ shoot action.

Rastan - Occasionally indistinct diagonals mean that the close-quarters action gets confused - and you get beaten up!

Quickshot Game Controller

Quickshot Game Controller, £8.99

COMFORT
5

Unusual design is brilliant to hold, and provides a comfortable base from which to carry on the onslaught.

DURABILITY
5

Great. You could bury this in an Irish peat bog for five years, and it would still play all right.

POSEABILITY
4

This might get people asking "What happened to the rest of your motorbike?", but it's quite a smart looker and very eye-catching.

GAMEPLAY
4

Limited to thumb/pad play, but it's sharp and about as good as a pad can get.

S-FACTOR
4

Unusual but effective. However, if you prefer sticks to pads, this one will still cause you problems...

‘Space Age Design’ it says on the box. Well, it does resemble the butt-end of a Klingon battlecruiser, but apart from that, it’s more in line with the Hang-On handlebars, than anything else.

Like its buddy on the next page, the Deluxe Digital Joystick, the Game Controller is really well made with high-impact plastic and feels tough enough to take on a Rottweiller and come out on top.

The radical design incorporating ‘FlightGrip’ (who writes this stuff?) means that you can hold it securely with both hands and control the joypad with the left thumb, and fire buttons with right thumb and index finger. It also comes with a built-in autofire and switchable controls so that the same stick can be used with other ‘computers’ (should you be that desperate).

It does tend to feel a little odd in use, though, simply because you’re not used to holding a joystick in midair like this - it always feels as if it’s got a bit missing!

Also, one drawback is that you can’t easily use it on a tabletop, so you always have to fire with the same finger (or thumb, depending upon the game). Halfway through a shoot ‘em up, this could mean serious digit strain!

Smart colour scheme and innovative (weird?) looks make this one stand out from the crowd, if nothing else!

Power Strike - Surprisingly good. Directional control is sharp, and so it’s only as bad as your thumb! The ability to hold both fire buttons down with no strain lets you concentrate fully on the battle ahead.

R-Type - Positions of the buttons mean that you always have to fire with your thumb, and you often launch the Droid by mistake - take it or leave it. Control is still better than the other two pads, though.

Shinobi - Again, the jump and fire buttons feel like they should be the other way round. Joystick control is fine.

Rastan - Good separate contacts on all joystick points keep the barbarian jumping and hitting in the right direction!

Quickshot Deluxe Digital Joystick

Quickshot Deluxe Digital Joystick, £9.99

COMFORT
4

Superb finger-grip handle, suckers and large, chunky base make this ideal tabletop material. Adequate hand-held, but you'll have to do most of your firing with your thumb!

DURABILITY
5

Just as well made as the controller, so this one isn’t going to fall apart overnight.

POSEABILITY
5

This one looks like it means business, and is a real hard man's stick.

GAMEPLAY
4

Gives you a head start with most games - a good Botham-style all-rounder.

S-FACTOR
4

Nice stick this one. Well worth a look-see.

This latest Quickshot ‘stick would look equally at home inside a Klingon battle cruiser as in your front room, but it’s comfortable and is the only really ‘standard’ joystick design of the whole group, with stick-mounted buttons for thumb and trigger finger (like in a jet fighter).

The Deluxe Digital sports the same smart looks as the Quickshot Controller, and has the same switchable control and autofire buttons.

With hefty suckers on its bum, this one is great for the coffee table (as long as it’s not wood, ‘cause it won’t stick to the grainy surface) although they get in the way when you’re clutching it on your lap, and the large base isn’t really that great to hold onto.

Unusually, Quickshot have opted for the same contacts as the Sega ‘sticks and so it’s nice ‘n’ quiet. The long shaft and handle is a teensy bit wobbly, but the finger-grip handle is good, which helps to combat this problem.

The one drawback with the QSDD is the location of the two independent fire buttons, which means that you can’t swap tired fingers, or use different digits for different games. Once you get used to the control method it’s OK, but you might have some problems switching to this from a stick with a different layout.

Power Strike - The Deluxe Digital loses some accuracy because of the long joystick travel, which makes it feel ‘sloppy’ - especially when hand-held.

R-Type - Constant thumb firing causes aches after a while, and the slight lack of accuracy crops up again here. With only pixels to spare, this is not good news.

Shinobi - The looseness of the stick and the spongy contacts reduce responsiveness just a tad, but it still delivers a pretty good game. Like the Game Controller, if you’re used to firing with your trigger finger, then you’ll feel like the buttons are the wrong way round.

Rastan - Brilliant! Hitting jumps is a doddle, and complete control in combat makes the game much easier. Also, the loose stick doesn’t matter so much here, where you aren’t constantly switching direction.

Camefico Freedom Slick. £39.95

Camerica Freedom Stick, £39.95

COMFORT
3

It's comfy, but only because you are forced to use it on a base of some sort, or on your lap. The stiff joystick could make your hand tired after a while.

DURABILITY
3

It feels sturdy enough, but too many knocks could soon see cracks appearing in the case.

POSEABILITY
5

Unbelievably posey unit which will have your mates drooling with envy - at first.

GAMEPLAY
2

Suffers from lack of response due to the industrial-strength micro switches. You're continually reminded of the fact that you're using a joystick.

S-FACTOR
2

It seems a little too much work, just to get rid of a connecting cable. It's not so brilliant at what it does, and batteries for a joystick...!?

This a ‘stick for all you high-tech freaks out there. If you’re tired of being tied to your Sega by cables, then this one’s for you! Slap in a quad of AA batteries, and you can play your favourite game while strolling around the house, for this one replaces the three feet of black liqourice with an all-pervading beam of infra-red (just like the telly controller).

The unit comes in two sections: the main IR transmitter with joystick, fire buttons, auto fire, plus 1 and 2 player switch which lets alternate players use the same stick without unplugging and swapping ports (clever, huh?) A separate IR receiver slots into both joystick ports (we found the plugs to be a bit small and wobbly - beware!) and sits facing the transmitter.

The joystick itself is sturdy, if a bit unwieldy, and is best used with the supplied suckers stuck to a surface rather than held in the hand. In fact, trying to hold it your hands is pretty useless, because you can’t hold the box, operate the stick and fire the buttons without having a third arm grafted on, which is a bit drastic when all you wanted was a new joystick...

The stick has a nice solid feel to it, but has a long travel (the distance you have to move the stick from contact to contact) and is really rigid, which makes the easiest game seem like hard work. The micro switches are really noisy and in heavy action it sounds like a train going over points rather than some 20th-Century gaming hardware.

While the case feels fairly solid, the plastic is tough but brittle: one hefty throw against the wall when you’re not doing too well and it’ll be an instant joystick kit.

Fire buttons suffer the same fate as the joystick, with a long travel, noisy contact (sounds like a woodpecker at full throttle) and indistinct contact - it never feels like you’ve pressed it far enough.

Power Strike - Control is all right, although the long travel results in a split-second delay between moves -and in this game that usually means a premature death!

R-Type - Same problem as Power Strike, really. Stiff movement reduces precision, and fire buttons aren’t that brill.

Shinobi - Good directions, but the stick is too rigid for an ultra-fast response.

Rastan - Occasional mis-direction crops up, but generally OK.

Konix Speedking

Konix Speedking, £12.99

COMFORT
4

It's designed to be held in the hand so, it's no surprise to find the Konix is fairly good. Eventually, though, the close grip gets cramp-inducing, and the fire fingers can grow weary.

DURABILITY
5

The Konix has been endurance tested to something like a million switch-clicks, so it should be able to withstand your average Sega player for a good few weeks... :POSEABILITY@3 The odd design has been knocking around for yonks now, so no-one is going to swoon with delight when you whip this one out.

GAMEPLAY
4

Totally whizzo. if the design suits your playing style, this one will get you in Sly’s hall of fame in no time!

S-FACTOR
4

A very potent joystick, although it isn't to everyone's tastes. Technically proficient, but a bit loud!

The people who threatened to bring out a console with moving chair all last year (and still didn’t) have been knocking out this joystick design for a couple of years now, so it’s pretty much tried and tested.

Ergonomically-designed (ie for humanoids), the ‘stick comes with a hand-shaped case, fire buttons that fall under your left index and second finger and an auto-fire button on top. The buttons are very accessible, but once again, it’s the problem of not being able to choose your fire finger (well, not easily anyway). You’re limited to fast-firing with either your index or second finger on your left hand, and after a while these fingers really start to moan. However, both buttons sport micro switches and are really pretty deadly!

The short, odd-shaped stick snuggles in the middle of four micro switches (which are even noisier than the Freedom Stick!) to give sharp control, and that’s about it. No frills, but it does the task!

Power Strike - Terribly clanky in the heat of the action, but very precise and accurate. Holding both fire buttons is fine - as long as cramp doesn’t set in!

R-Type - Great. Smooth and spot-on control for those tight squeezes! Good location of fire buttons.

Shinobi - The poor baddies don’t stand a chance with this one! Movement is fast and deadly accurate.

Rastan - Good response, although the closely-located directions mean that you occasionally hit a wrong one when things get heavy.

Powerplay Crystal, £12.99

Powerplay Crystal £12.99

COMFORT
2

The fire button problem is a major downer no matter how you prefer to hold it. The base and handle aren't too bad for hand-held sessions, although the pistol-grip shaft is a bit on the weeny side.

DURABILITY
3

Previous crystal joysticks have suffered from premature fire button demise, but this seems better. A weak joint between handle and base could fail with punishment, though.

POSEABILITY
3

Sleek 'n' shiny black case is real cool, but it’s not the most impressive 'stick ever to appear, with odd-shaped base and titchy handle.

GAMEPLAY
3

Generally useful, but suffers from poor access to those fire buttons. A fairly responsive ‘stick offers good control over most games.

S-FACTOR
3

A competent effort, but seriously flawed. You’d be advised to try it out first...

This one’s so brand new it doesn’t even have ‘Button 1’ and ‘Button 2’ printed on it yet! But of course, S is continually pushing back the frontiers, and so we got hold of one to test (don’t thank us, guys, it’s all part of the job!)

Anyway, like the Konix this one first surfaced as a computer (bleargh) joystick in black, green, pink, mixtures and even transparent, plastic and has since been converted to use for the Sega. Now this is OK in theory, but the far-more-technically-advanced Sega system (as you well know) needs two independent fire buttons.

The Powerplay isn’t designed specifically for use with two buttons (they’re simply there for left- and right-handed play) and their location makes full control impossible when you are holding it in your hands.

Buttons and stick are controlled via micro switches, and the ‘stick has a four-sucker undercarriage for sticking to unusual places.

The handle is a bit wibbly, and its small size emphasises this. Control is actually all right, but it just never ‘feels’ solid enough.

Power Strike - Slack control feels very indistinct, and holding both fire buttons down together proves to be a real pain.

R-Type - Good fast fire on left button, but reaching the right one for launching the Droid is tricky. Despite the floppy stick, control is generally pretty tight.

Shinobi - Decent control over all movements. Unfortunate position of jump and hit buttons make it unwieldy to play on table-top and practically impossible hand-held.

Rastan - ‘Sloppy’ feel helps in catching diagonals. Same fire button problem as with Shinobi, though.

COMPARISON CHART

To give you some idea of how the different sticks compared in the heat of battle, we rated each of their performances using the nominated test games.

Since you've all got the Control Pad, we used this as an average standard rating.

Clever stuff, eh?

JOYSTICKR-TYPERASTANSHINOBIPOWER STRIKETOTAL
Sega Joypad555520
Sega SG Commander648624
Sega Control Stick838827
Quickshot Controller767726
Quickshot Joystick777627
Camerica Freedom Stick667423
Konix Joystick867728
Powerplay Crystal756624

THE WINNERS

Well, it’s really a toss up between Sega’s Control Stick, the Quickshot Joystick and the Konix for technical ability and all-round competence (these three winners were treated to an evening in watching Top Gun on the video, since the F-16 joystick is their hero).

The only thing to separate these three ‘sticks are your personal preferences for handling the ‘stick, and whether you prefer microswitches or contacts.

Also, the S-test (exhaustive though it may be) isn’t the final say in the matter: if you can manage a hands-on test, you’ll probably find one of the ‘sticks described here is more comfortable than another, or more suited to your style of play. If you want further details, this is where to call:

SWITCH CITY

How d’you know if you’ve got microswitches or not? Well, if it goes ‘click’ you’ve probably got micros, and if it goes ‘ ’ then you’ve got some other mechanism, like leaf or simple contact switches.

The micro switch is a compact unit that uses a lever system to close up separate contacts, whereas most other designs incorporate the contact and switch together; basically, they use two metal contacts that are pushed together by the motion of the joystick.

Micros are good because they give a really tactile ‘feel’ to the stick, while leaves are a bit spongy - you never quite know when you’ve made contact.

Leaf switches are also more prone to breakage since you are constantly bending a small piece of metal, which eventually fatigues and then snaps.

Sega use another method, whereby the movement of the stick pushes small metal discs onto a smaller grid of bare metal solder on the circuit board beneath. The metal discs are held in small rubber sockets and simply close the circuit when they come into contact with the grid beneath.

Sega Control pad; Control Stick; SG Commander; Handle Controller: Toys R’ Us, Woolworths, Virgin Game Stores, and most computer retailers. Or you can always get them mail order from Virgin Mastertronic on 01 727 8070

Powerplay Crystal: Most computer retailers or call Powerplay on 0457 876601

Konix Speedking: Most computer retailers

Camerica Freedom Stick: Call Telegames on 0533 813606

Quickshot Deluxe Digital Joystick; Game Controller: Toys ‘R’ Us and most computer retailers

Sega Handle Controller, £39.95

Sega Handle Controller, £39.95

COMFORT
4

With handle-mounted fire buttons, and a large grip, you’ll have no problems here. Pretty crap if you want to play on your lap though (you’ll have to screw it to your legs).

DURABILITY
3

Erm... well the case is tough enough, but the inny-outy pully bit doesn’t feel like it could take too much heavy bashing.

POSEABILITY
3

Looks like the control column from a TIE fighter, but Darth Vader would giggle uncontrollably if he saw it bolted to your table. The fake digital speedo is ta-keeee, and the large silver sign which says "Handle Controller’ must have been included for the hard of thinking...

GAMEPLAY
4

Not as effective as a good joystick, but it really adds to the sensation!

S-FACTOR
4

If you're into car 'n' plane games then this is just what the flying doctor ordered!

The most recent addition to the Sega stable is the Handle Controller, which stomps in at hefty £39.95. And for such a wad of cash it should offer something special! So does it deliver? Thankfully, that’s an affirmative.

It's a large unit and as its name implies it really is aircraft yoke-sized. Buttons 1 and 2 sit on the top of either handle (these have dedicated autofire which you can switch on/off) and there are start and select buttons on the lower left side. The unit has quiet contacts under the fire buttons instead of microswitches but these pump smoothly enough when you need them to.

Game control is through the large U-shaped handle which faces towards you. You can tilt this handle through around 120 degrees to move left and right, and you can change gear or dive/climb by sliding the handle backwards and forwards.

The Handle Controller is primarily designed for driving and flying games such as the Out Run games, World Grand Prix, Hang On, After Burner etc, but also works on vertical scrollers such as Action Fighter and Thunder Blade.

It’s definitely a new way to play, and the Handle Controller really helps to convey a sensation of movement as you steer past corners or dip up and down through swarms of missiles.

Driving games all benefit from using the controller, and despite the long travel, it’s quite sensitive - at first you have to be careful to avoid over-steering. But when you have mastered the controls, game play comes quite naturally.

The unit is pretty tough and can take a fair amount of wrangling, although the steering column tends to feel weak. With the player pulling back and forth most of the time, there’s chance that this will be first on the repair list.

Over long periods of play your arms could well get tired as you hold the unit at a slight angle and the only other qualm is that the suckers aren’t quite strong enough to stop the unit from catapulting off the table-top and smashing you in the face (well, almost).

What you need is for your Dad to firmly screw the unit to a large slab of concrete or preferably lead, so that it can’t move during play. Apart from that, it’s quite good.


GAME TEST

CYBORG HUNTER

Paladin the bounty hunter doesn't spend his time in pursuit of the taste of paradise, as his job title may imply. He lives for danger, excitement and large wads of unmarked, non-sequential bills the tax man knows nothing about.

The year is 2242 and things have been getting a bit silly recently. Vipron, lord of all things not particularly pleasant, has launched an all-out bid to rule the planet with his army of cyborgs. These uglies have been frightening children, murdering folk and generally making the place untidy (dropping litter, etc). So the powers that be - or at least were until Vipron came along - have hired Paladin to nip down to the big V's fortress and give him a piece of their mind.

(Image caption) Don't do big jumps, the ceilings too low - SMASH! - Uh-oh, too late...

The fortress is divided into seven main areas, each composed of a five-level complex - so let’s hope young Paladin’s got his walking boots on. He’s got to explore each area in turn to find the equipment that he needs in the next, and destroy a set number of Chief Cyborgs before leaving the area.

There are also some nasty Cyborg Bosses which must be defeated before moving onto the later sections (you don’t need to worry about these guys for a while).

The passageways and corridors scroll across the screen as Pally moves around, and there are lifts to take him to floors above and below. As expected, there are also hordes of beasties and traps ready to hit any unwary bounty hunter right where it hurts: in the energy bars! At the start of his mission, belting the mutant ’borgs in the kisser is the only way to kill them. But cyborgs are so tough that even the wimpy ones aren’t, and it soon becomes apparent that extra firepower is in order. Ray or Light guns would be nice, but the ever-so-jolly Psycho cannon would be bestest of all. And if Paladin wants ’em he’s gonna have to find ’em!

Pally-poos has two vital statistics that must be watched as he sets about the slaughter. Firstly, and rather obviously, is his life bar which shows how much damage the lad can take before it’s time for a crash course in daisy-pushing. Secondly, and much more fun, is his Psycho Power indicator. Paladin is a registered nutter who can summon up all his strength for super powered slaps, causing major league grief to anyone stood in his path.

Each Psycho shot takes energy from the PP bar, and as it’s the most important weapon in the game, conservation becomes even more important to Psycho shots than it does to rain forests.

Extra energy and Psycho Power pods can be found all over the shop, while the guns, bombs and jet packs are a little harder to locate. Paladin's sense of direction (and thus his chances of ever seeing the next issue of S) are helped by the two map screens: a cut-away of the area showing where the current carnage is taking place, and a 3D enemy detector. If a 'borg's coming your way there's a quick blip here so you can brace your Pal’ for the battle.

Preparation is everything for the successful bounty hunter because the choice of weapon has to be made on a separate screen, accessed by a controller plugged into port 2. Bombs are the only weapon not selected in this way, being dropped by pushing the stick up (vast amounts of high explosive are wasted in the lifts which are controlled the same way!).

And so it continues as you venture deeper into the complex to meet ever more vicious and horrible cyborgs. And then, of course, there’s Vipron 'imself...

VERDICT

With an unusual method of accessing the weapons screen plus fiddly lift controls, some good advice for Cyborg Hunter is to read the instructions! The mission is straightforward enough, though, and whenever you encounter a major hindrance, some fast talking woman from your base rings up with some helpful hints to keep you on the right course. The maps are easily understood, so there's no chance of getting lost, but while the 3D warning screen looks good, it’s just a tad too simple to be really useful.

The game is pretty slick on the visual side, with nice metallic scenery and a good selection of slimy cyborg-alien-types later on. Paladin, too, looks and moves really well (shades of Robocop here!).

With some mood music, warning alarms going off all over the place and heaps of cyborgs just waiting to pounce on you, the game really sets the pulse racing - at first.

Once the novelty has worn off, the run-about-and-bash-’em-up-a-bit gameplay proves to be standard fare, but the mission is detailed and very long. Collecting the right bits in sequence is a tall order, and staying alive long enough for the effort to have been worthwhile even taller.

(Image caption) Paladin lashes out at a yucky green snot-monster (bogeyman to his chums).

S RATINGS

GRAPHICS
78%

▲ A nice line in background graphics livens things up a bit

▲ Great animation on Pally; pretty good on the aliens

▲ Check out the cool 3D scanner!

▲ Gooey cyborgs are really gross!

SOUND
69%

▲ Atmospheric tunes really boost the tension

▲ And so does the beeping cyborg-proximity alarm!

▲ Explosion noise is pretty effective

▼ Silly 'Loony Tunes' jumping sound

DEPTH
68%

▲ Vipron’s den is, like, her-uuge, man!

▲ Different aliens, traps and collectibles help to vary the action

▲ Strategic selection of armaments keeps your brain on its toes

ADDICTION
52%

▲ Easy to get going, tricky to stop

▲ Moody tunes, alarms and surprise attacks really ups the anxiety level!

▲ Useful continue feature keeps the punches flying!

▼ Constant jumping, blasting and catching the lift gets rep-rep-repetitive

S-FACTOR
64%

If you’re a keen search ’n’ destroy merchant, this one will have you bashing beasties until the cybo-cows come home.


MAIL BAG

Scribblings

Prize Letter

Dear S

In issue 4, somebody asked for the Sega’s AV pinout. I also needed this to make up a lead, and after some testing came up with the pinout below.

As both RGB and composite video are available, both types of monitor can be used.

If an RGB monitor is used, resistors will be needed on the RGB and sync lines to get the correct colour levels, which will be too strong otherwise. The sync line contains both the vertical and horizontal signals. The 5v line is required by some monitors to switch to RGB mode.

For Commodore and other composite video monitors, just two wires are needed, between the composite pin and ground, for a colour picture.

Taking the mag itself, do you think that you can sustain a monthly with the limited number of owners and available products? I would be interested to know of the actual numbers of consoles sold in this country.

Alan Lake, Kent

Thanks for that information Alan (anyone know what he's on about?). Please accept our prize Sega T-Shirt for being such a helpful soul.

Regarding S, I think we ve done pretty well sustaining the mag for six issues already! And now we're on sale in newsagents up and down this fair isle of ours, maybe we can attract a few more of the 200,000 current Sega System owners - plus another 250,000 expected by 1990!

SJ

SCHEMATIC: Sega eight-pin DIN socket (looking in):

BIG POOF!

Dear S

I would like to send in a readers’ ad order form but I do not fancy cutting up a review. Please could you try and position it in a better place in the mag?

I also don’t like the complete players guides being shown so soon after the release of the cartridge. Because if you buy a new cart, some of us can't resist looking at players' guides and as soon as we do - POOF - £24.95 or whatever down the drain.

Andy Findlay, London

You can get round this problem by using a photocopy of the order form, or by writing the information NEATLY on a separate piece of paper, and sending that in instead.

We usually try and wait around three months after reviewing the games before hitting you with our mega players' guides. Often, these are sent in by people who have finished the game themselves so we figure it’s time to let everyone in one the secret! Sorry if we spoil your fun - but you should be stronger willed!

SJ

BRAIN DAMAGE

Dear S

I'm a manic Sega fanatic and have had my Sega eight-bit since it first made it's luke-warm appearance a couple of years ago. Being an avid fan of this great console, people became fascinated and were drawn into my web of intrigue. Asking why I was so taken up with this machine, I took full advantage of this and promoted the machine for all its worth. It impressed a lot of them as they moved into the world of console gaming.

From these people, life friendships were made and some of them created the BPI, which stands for Brain Power Inc. What happens is that every two months we select a game (everyone buys their own), practice it and then meet to compete for the coveted title of SMP (Sega Master Pixels) Champion. The games we choose are mainly RPG's (Role Playing Games) and 3A’s (Advanced Arcade Adventures - well that's what we call them).

The group consists of vagabonds, riffraff and muleheads such as Sully, Panthers, Deka, Peewee, Parksy, Bam, Withers, Kuchie, Meak, TONE, Croz, Spanish and Zone. Of these Peewee is the pixel champ at the moment (but not for long!).

We agree that your mag is well produced for gamers of 8 to 18 years (we being a bit more than 18). So it's a thumbs up for S magazine from the BPI.

Our gripe for this month is that we all agree that the boff's at Sega can produce a quality cart that will truly merit a high rating from all (not just some) reviewers of computer mags. Kenseiden, Choplifter, Zillion, Fantasy Zone 2 and Shinobi are some of the games that have a fairly high standard, but none are out on top as the cartridge of all console gaming history.

Sampled speech, parallax scrolling, pixel-perfect characters and none-flicker sprites can be achieved. We know that a lot of attention has shifted to the Mega drive, but as you know, the eight-bit has a good following and it would be a shame to ignore the needs of Master System owners.

In S you say that Phantasy Star 2 was released for the Genesis. We hope that it will be released for us eight-bit freaks. We believe it can be done. Eight-bits rule OK.

Yours eight-bit militantly,

Croz, Birmingham

Well, the BPI gets the thumbs-up from S. It's good to hear of you all getting together like this - if you send in your full address, maybe we can help recruit a few more Sega lovers in your area! And if there are any other groups like this, write and let us know. Maybe you could organise an inter-team challenge, or sum mat...

By all accounts, Phantasy Star 2 sounds like it's the best RPG arcade-adventure game ever to appear on any console. I'm sure a cut-down version could be produced for the eight-bit, but only time will tell (keep yer fingers crossed!).

As regards the quality of Sega carts, the Japs do alright, but I'm expecting great things from the Brit coders (check out the previews this issue).

More power to your joystick arm, guys!

SJ

WONDERBOY?

Dear S

I am replying to Darren Ramsay. I received Wonderboy III before Christmas and completed it in two days SO THERE!

Philip Wainhouse, Leeds

I'm afraid that's not good enough, Phil. One of the letters I received mentioned some chap who finished it in 18 hours. Makes you sick, dun nit? I had trouble getting the thing out of the box, let alone playing it...

SJ

MORE GAMES PLEASE!

Dear S

I think you should put more reviews in the mag, especially on the top ten Sega games, and please can you have a catalogue so we can buy games off the S mag (and put them a bit cheaper while you’re about it!).

Daniel Collingwood, Plymouth

We'd only be too happy to fill the mag with reviews, but since Sega only release around two or three new games each month, we don't have a lot of choice. Hopefully, when we have the Mega Drive AND M aster System to choose from, things should get better.

We don't exactly have a catalogue of games, but the offer at the back of the mag isn't too bad!

SJ

THE SLITHER OF TINY SLYS?

Dear S

  1. Could you possibly send me a price list for the Mega Drive and all its games, and where I could order one from.
  2. Will a special foot pedal be made for games like Out Run?
  3. When the Mega Drive comes out will you make another mag all for the Mega Drive or will you just have a mixture of both in S?
  4. Who had the original idea for the mag?
  5. Will there be a CES show in Britain?
  6. How long do you think S will last before it gets phased out?
  7. Does Sly have a wife? If so, I'd like to see some little Slys running around!
  8. Will the price of the 3D glasses and the Handle Controller go down?
  9. Will there be an updated version of golf? Because my dad loves golf and we already have Great Golf.

Philip Wainhouse, Leeds

(Image caption) Philip Smith of West Yorkshire sent in this neat piccy of SID (Sega Investigations Department) as a new character for the tips pages. Sly was not amused...

  1. I'm afraid you're going to have to wait until September for the Mega Drive's official launch in the UK. It will then be on sale in most of stores that carry the Master System.
  2. Probably not.
  3. You'll get the best of both worlds in S.
  4. The original idea came from Chris Anderson, the wonderful publisher of S and totally fab Managing Director of Future Publishing (was that OK Chris?).
  5. The CES show is specific to the US market, although we do have out very own PC Show which will be held at Earls Court in September, later this year. It's a good event - check it out.
  6. YOU WHAT? S phased out? Never. No chance. We're here to stay buddy, so you better get used to it!
  7. I'm afraid Sly is a bit cagey about his private life. I've seen him nuzzling up to a garden hose, though. Perhaps his sight is going...
  8. Doubt it.
  9. Golfing fans can look forward to Golfamania coming to a Master System near you soon...

SJ

FAST FOX?

Dear S

Am I the first to complete Psycho Fox? did it with 26 lives remaining and without using any level warps. I completed it on Monday 19th February. So there!

Darren Smith, Derbyshire

Well I actually finished the game when we had it in for review before Christmas. Mind you, we did have the pre-pro cart with special level select mode... erm... does that still count?

SJ

RANT, RAGE, FUME!

Dear S

After reading in your mag about Virgin Mastertronic’s plans to make the UK based games (when they arrive) incompatible with the imported machines, and thus isolate the kids who own these machines, I felt compelled to put printer to paper in the form of an open letter to Mr R Branson.

These imported machines are not illegal, they were not stolen, they were bought from Sega in Japan, so why should these kids be made to feel 'second class Mega Drive owners' just to suit Sega/Virgin Mastertronic. No doubt Sega were glad of the income at the time and were not too bothered where their machines ended up!

His letter is as follows:

Dear Mr Branson

I read in this month's S magazine of your deplorable plans to make the UK Mega Drive games incompatible with imported

Mega Drives!

Do you realise that by taking these steps you will isolate the children (they are the ones who own these things!) who already have a Japanese Mega Drive or even American Genesis system.

These imported systems were not bought to deprive you of your livelihood, they were bought because we became fed up of waiting for sega and/or Virgin Mastertronic to start importing them!

Technology is moving so fast that this type of electronic gadgetry is usually superseded 1-2 years after the launch, so why should people wait for Virgin mastertronic to get off their bums?

You may succeed in splitting the UK user base into two camps - imported and Virgin Mastertronic - but you will be cutting off your nose to spite your face, because the kids with imported units would probably switch onto your UK games given the chance! Thus increasing your company's turnover (£lbn.pa?) and excessive? profits.

Wait a minute though, on second thoughts, buying your games could be a mistake! I see that Virgin Mastertronic have recently released Golden Axe on the eight-bit Sega at £29.95. I bought the 16-bit Mega Drive version from Hong Kong for less than that. See what I mean about excessive profit.

So Richard, if you must, do your worst! games will always be available from Japan via Hong Kong long before you release them and they will be cheaper too!

British games which are converted to the Virgin Mastertronic unit? Most kids will have already played them on another format or may already own them if they are lucky enough to own a computer as well as a Mega Drive.

My Japanese Mega Drive was bought for me by a relative from a company called Westlake in Hong Kong and is great: internal modulator, can be used via SCART, DOES NOT OVERHEAT! Picture is PERFECT.

I had to replace the exterior power pack that was sent because they use 200 volts over there, otherwise spot on! And as for your worry re. safety, this has GOT to be a red herring as far as the Mega Drive is concerned.

I believe that when your tactics are used when selling insurance it is called 'backing up the hearse so that they can smell the flowers', i.e. frightening people into a course of action that suits the salesperson.

My Sega Mega Drive cost £99.95 plus p&p, with an extra £23 duty, which has to be paid to the postman upon delivery, yes dick, £99.95. HOW MUCH WILL YOUR SEGA MEGA DRIVE COST?

Christopher Norris, Manchester

Erm, gosh, you are upset aren’t you? As far as I’m concerned, if you’re prepared to pay the money, then you should be prepared to take the risk. But then I haven't just lashed out £123. However, I sent your letter to Virgin Mastertronic, where Managing Director Nick Alexander cast his weary eye over it.

This is his reply:

Dear Steve

Thank you for your communication regarding the Megadrive. We arc Sega’s distributor in the UK. we do not manufacture either the hardware or software nor control the design and it is Sega rather than us who are responsible for determining the prices that we are able to sell at.

As you may know, it has been normal practice for consumer electronic companies to introduce new products to the Japanese market first followed by the USA and then Europe, it has also been common practice for consumer electronic equipment to he priced lower in Japan and die USA than in Europe. The logic for this is not obvious to us as disposable incomes arc lower hi Europe than in either the USA or Japan. We have discussed this point with Sega on many occasions but they tell us that the EEC requires much higher component and safety specifications than the other countries and dial this pushes up their production costs hence the higher retail prices.

The result of all of this this been that various companies have started to make significant businesses out of importing equipment form the Far East and converting it for the European TV systems.

This creates problems for us because we cannot guarantee the hardware or vouch for its safety nor can we deal with the problems of incompatibility caused by different hardware specifications in the different territories. But as the official distributor we do of course get all the complaints from any purchasers of the grey imported machines.

We placed the advertisement in the press in order to try to explain this situation to the public and indeed believe we would have been negligent not to have done so.

We have recently made representations to Sega on the compatibility issue to see if it can be resolved satisfactorily.

Finally, the timing of the launch of the "official* Megadrive in Europe is again determined by Sega rather than ourselves. We, in fact, wanted to release the Megadrive in September 1989 but Sega will only start manufacturing European versions this summer in time for a September 1990 launch.

We understand your frustration and share some of it. We will be passing your letter to Sega so that they too can understand the real world problems that are created by some of the manufacturing policies that they and other Far Eastern companies try to implement in Europe.

Yours sincerely

Catherine Spratt

PP Nick Alexander

Managing Director

Virgin Mastertronic Limited


THE OFFICIAL SEGA® CLUB

Welcome!

My word the Sega Hotline has been busy! Spellcaster has you going round in circles (literally!) and the players guide in this issue should help you catch up on your sleep. Sega members are keen to be NUMERO UNO when it comes to finishing games first.

As soon as you have finished the latest Sega game to hit the streets ring the Hotline with your membership details and describe the end sequence of the relevant game and your claim to fame will be mentioned in these pages.

More superb games are filtering through with the Taito blockbusters Chase HQ and Operation Wolf arriving in the UK on prototype cartridge. I had been due to take these up to Jamie Bailey on this months User Group visit but a technical hick-up delayed their arrival so Jamie and co made do with a few other goodies Of course this does mean that j will be taking these up to my next User Group.

As you may well have heard Paul Fawson has won the Sega challenge, and was lucky enough to spend some time in the US of A (compliments of Virgin/Mastertronic). On his return Paul will be touring the offices of Virgin/Mastertronic and I look forward to meeting this very talented and mean Sega games player (watch this space for a report)!

Keep those calls coming for User Group meetings. There are an awful lot of you so please be patient until your turn comes round. When I pay you a visit there will be freebies handed out and a chance to play the latest HOT prototype just out of Japan. If you are up to it you can take me on in a head-to-head battle on a Sega game (but beware if you lose as I will be giving you a little playing advice!).

Remember there must be at least four of you in the group and there must have been at least one meeting before [attend.

A map of the UK showing where User Groups are situated will be printed in the next issue of S magazine so watch out for your marker, and if you want to join in the fun start up your own group or join up with one of the groups on the map.

To get the gen on any game that is bugging you then ring the Sega Hotline (0736810875) Tuesday to Saturday and please have your membership details to hand as this will help us handle your enquiry that bit quicker.

Hurrah! Some Sega games will be substantially cheaper as of March 15th. One of the biggest moans from Sega Users around the country has been the price of games. Sega games wili now retail at five price points 9.99/12.99/17.99/24.99 and 29.99. The initial batch include Rescue Mission, Ninja, Super Tennis, Enduro Racer, Teddy Boy and Transbot at 9.99, with World Grand Prix, Action Fighter, Fantasy Zone, Global Defence, Secret Command and Aztec Adventure at 12.99. With more titles to follow.

SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? GO BUY 'EM!!

TONY TAKOUSHI

SEGA® CLUB USER GROUP SECTION

User Groups are scattered far and wide across the UK and for my visit to Jamie Bailey I packed my bags and headed up to the beautiful city of York.

Ten miles outside York is the village of Nun Monkton where Jamie lives. This is a picturesque village with a maypole and duck pond in the village centre.

Jamie has six members in his group, although five were present on my visit (the sixth, Nicklas Anderson could not get to the meeting), the other members are David Stout (16), Nathan Farrow (13), Nicklas Bicerdice (14), Mark Walker (16) and Jamie (12).

Jamie and his friends go to Borough Bridge High School. Jamie has had his Sega for two years and his collection of games numbers 25 (the recent price drop will no doubt help expand it!). The games that draw him back for more include Psycho Fox and the classic Wonderboy 3.

I took up the 3D glasses and a choice of games for the gang to play. Nathan and Mark were keen on the 3D glasses “it is like being in the screen”, “definitely worth the money”, “it’s wicked” were just some of the quieter comments the group made!

Jamie has a light gun and his favourites are Rambo 3, Gangster Town and Shooting Gallery. On the beat ’em up front Jamie’s group are devoted fans of Double Dragon, their tip for the game was that on starting level four jump and do a flying kick up the wall and you can go off the top of the screen. Weird! The group wanted to know if Robocop, Black Tiger or Teenage Mutant, Hero Turtles will be coming out for the Mastersystem. Watch this space for any developments!

They are regular readers of S Magazine and want to see more tips and reviews and a little less space devoted to the arcades (each to their own!).

Down to the games! Jamie played Dead Angle and was a little too good at it, “good sound but I think I will get bored after a while”. David and Nathan were heavily into Galaxy Force and Zaxxon 3D. Mark and Nicklas enjoyed Dynamite Dux and Basketball Nightmare.

For the head to head I took Jamie on at Space Harrier 3D. Of course I advised him not to be NERVOUS, and at all costs not to get SWEATY palms as this may just cause him to lose his grip on the joystick and miss out on those crucial points (aren’t I a good sport!!).

The winner was the person with the most points after two minutes. Jamie went first and he was doing well hammering that fire button into oblivion, dodging, weaving he was really shifting around the screen trying to rack up his score. As the two minutes ended he had scored an excellent 1,427,170.

Now I had it all to beat, I greased my palms and glued my eyes to the TV screen. I hammered the fire button and actually lost two men before I had reached the end of the first level (could it be that i was nervous!). I took a deep breath and kept my cool as I beat the dragon and went onto level two. My two minutes were running out and I eased past Jamie’s score with about twenty seconds to spare.

TIME UP!

MY SCORE WAS 1,926,830!!!!!!!!

Well Jamie, I think with another 3 years practice (day and night) under my constant supervision you could probably beat me (COME ON, COME ON, IS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE MAN ENOUGH TO BEAT ME!).

Of course if you do beat me then you can have some space to tell me what pointers YOU would suggest.

RING IN AND ARRANGE A USER GROUP MEETING, FIRST COME FIRST SERVED . . .

COMPETITION TIME

Win one of the last two of the limited edition Sega Challenge 90 T-shirts. Modelled here by the UK 90 champion Paul Fawson.

All you have to do is send the answer to the following question to Virgin Mastertronic at the usual address, not forgetting your membership number and expiry date.

And the question: How do you get past Cerebus the guard in Spellcaster?

The winner will be announced in a future issue of S magazine.

Competition Time Winner Issue 4.

The winner of the S.G. Commander from issue 4 is: Steve Branch of Norwich.

The answer was ‘Jane’.

SPECIAL OFFERS

THIS MONTH’S OFFERS -

“Astro Warrior” and “Fantasy Zone II”.

"Astro Warrior" usually £24.99

To Club Members only £19.99

"Fantasy Zone II"" usually £24.99

To Club Members only £19.99

SEND TO:

CLASSIC GAMES OFFER
VIRGIN MASTERTRONIC
2-4 VERNON YARD
PORTOBELLO ROAD
LONDON W11 2DX

T SHIRTS / SWEATSHIRTS SPECIAL OFFER

Here is an offer you cannot refuse!

You can now buy a t-shirt or sweatshirt with the exclusive Sega logo on it from Virgin Mastertronic.

These have been designed specially with the character from the Sega TV commercials as the star. The front has the Sega motif and on the back there is a tasty piccy of the Sega TV character with the message, “Do me a favour... plug me into a Sega”!

The T-shirts and sweatshirts normally sell for £5 and £10 respectively. BUT to you, T-shirts are £2.50 and sweatshirts only £5 pounds!

To take advantage of this offer simply send a postal order or cheque, made payable to Virgin Mastertronic, to:

T-SHIRT OFFER
VIRGIN MASTERTRONIC
2-4 VERNON YARD
PORTOBELLO ROAD
LONDON W11 2DX

And don’t forget to state your size (small, medium or large)!

S magazine features a special Sega Club section in every issue where members can get the latest gen on club events and special offers. The Club is a total backup service, and the benefits include:

Sega Hotline: A telephone service where members can ring in and get tips on the latest games, info on hot new Sega products.

User Groups: Sega owners are setting up User Groups all over the country. All you have to do is get five or more Sega users together and hold a meeting. Once the group is established simply call in to arrange a personal visit from THE CONSOLE MASTER, Tony Takoushi. He will bring along the VERY latest prototype games straight out of Japan for you to sample. And if you should fancy your chances you can take on TT in a head-to-head battle on one of the latest games (the winner is immortalised in S magazine, but TT hates to lose so beware...). There will also be an ample supply of freebie games and Sega merchandise to be handed out.

Sega Merchandise: Club members are entitled to special Sega merchandise available only through the club. Items include T-Shirts, posters, badges, stickers and caps.

Sega competitions: There will be exclusive competitions with VERY exclusive prizes. These will be held through the club and at special venues through the year.

Sega Promotions: These will be special events held throughout the country, with plenty of Sega goodies on display and a chance to meet the faces behind Sega in the UK.

Remember, All club facilities and special offers are only available to fully paid up members of the official SEGA club. To join, all you have to do is fill in the form below, including a Cheque or Postal Order for £19.95 made payable to the SEGA CLUB.

DO NOT SEND CASH, ONLY CHEQUES & POSTAL ORDERS

Your £19.95 entitles you to one year’s subscription of the Sega Club with 12 monthly issues of S, plus 2 FREE issues of the mag.

Send to:

VIRGIN MASTERTRONIC
TOWER COTTAGE
ST. BURYAN
PENZANCE
CORNWALL TR19 6BZ


THE MAN WITH THE HAT IS BACK

Hot on the heels of Gauntlet and Impossible Mission come Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade and Paperboy, which are currently having the finishing touches applied at Tiertex, up Manchester way. S bought a cheap-rate day return and went for a nose around...

Tiertex have been coding computer games since 1987 when two programmers, Donald Campbell and John Prince, co-founded the company. They've had a string of successes and now run a team of programmers experienced across eight and 16-bit machines, making them a natural choice for US Gold's first Sega products.

While coordinating several projects at the same time, and co-directing the company, Donald Campbell also found time to write the Master System version of Indiana Jones. So that's who we spoke to...

"The Sega's just like an ST as far as its graphic capability goes," Donald reckons, "except for the reduced palette. We develop on monitors because we also write NTSC (American TV standard) versions, and it all looks a bit harsh. But because you're running it on a TV set it looks quite good by the time you've finished with it.

"Although there are only 256 pixels across, we can still get effectively STE (the new enhanced Atari ST) quality output on it. The only real problem is the lack of grey scales - there are only four shades of grey - which means you can't do super digitised pictures. I think the best example is the Thunder Blade loading screen, which is sort of half digitised and is about as good as you can get."

(Image caption) Swinging across a gap, during Indy's ascent of Castle Brunwald.

So how does the Sega Indiana Jones compare to the ST version? "For a start, the Sega version looks a lot slicker. We don't have the panel at the side any more: it's a full-screen game. There's more animation, and the game scrolls in pixel increments so it's dead smooth. Generally, a lot of the gameplaying parameters like jumping and so forth have been doubled up to make it more friendly and playable.

"In the end, the Sega wins hands down. We've added bits to it and it's now six levels instead of four, because we could afford to do so. When you're writing for five or six computer formats, you just don't have the time. We're at the stage now where the game is effectively finished, but there's a lot of bugtesting and game-testing to be done, plus there are three sets of approvals to go through: Lucasfilm, US Gold and Sega themselves. Lucasfilm also test the games for bugs, and often make suggestions which sometimes you can’t do -when you're pushing the machine to its limits, there’s not much room for improvement!"

Were there any differences in moving from the 16-bit game to the Sega eight-bit? "68000 object code - just the actual program code, not graphics - gobbles up a lot more memory. I think Indy on the Z80 was 16K of object code, whereas on the Sega it's just a fraction under 32K. But the 68000 16-bit code takes up 48K and it doesn't have as much detail as the Sega version. In that case I’d have to seriously consider writing very compact code.

"With the Sega, I could be fairly sloppy over the size of the actual object code. The graphics are tight, but they take up the remaining 230K. It's not worth saving 10% of program space, when you can save 2% of the graphics space, instead.

(Image caption) Indy escapes across the circus train with the cross of Coronado.

"I've written a silicon disk drive program for the graphics, which takes all the code, crunches it down into tiny amounts, and packs it together as tightly as it can into the 'banked' memory area. There's actually around 1.8 Mb (1,800K) of graphics in Indy, before they get crunched down.

"A 4 megabit cart is 512K - the equivalent to half an ST disk - and it can be quite difficult to fill that if you’re careful. If you take the ST Indy, which was 700K worth of graphics and code, this has had to come down to less than 256K and it still has all the graphics in. It's just a case of being very careful with your graphics; everything is cut up and dissected into the smallest quantity. Although the graphics are slightly changed, you'd be very hard-pushed to say they were different or substandard to those on the ST."

The Indiana Jones figure is large and very nicely animated, which the Japanese seem unable to do. Was that a problem? "The Indy figure is 48 pixels high, which is a fairly big sprite, and goes through 12 frames of animation. The problem is that the video RAM is limited - you either have all your sprites in there and just use that little bank of sprites, which means that you have limited animation, or you have to keep downloading into the video RAM (Random Access Memory), which takes a lot of processor time.

(Image caption) All the frames of animation which go to make up an Indiana Jones!

"For instance the processor on Indy spends at least 60 - 70% of its time just putting sprites into the system, which is a serious amount of time. Making the screen scroll and updating the enemies and so forth is a very short time by comparison. The game logic takes the other 30% because there's a lot of it, and the Sega's not particularly fast at crunching data.

"If you take Tony Porter's game Gauntlet, for example, he doesn't have to do much sprite downloading because they’re not very big and he can get lots of sprites into the main bank. But he spends a lot of time putting that panel down the left-hand side. It doesn't look much, but it's actually a very tough technical thing to do. The panel is part of the background graphics, so when the playing area scrolls in one direction, the panel has to move in the opposite direction to stay static on the screen! That's why there's no panel on the Nintendo version, and it loses a lot because of it - you can't see the score or the potions, it's more difficult to play and it doesn't look like Gauntlet at all. I didn't put the panel in Indy, because I didn't think the panel was ultra necessary in the game anyway, and I just couldn't give that sort of processor time to it.

"There are very few games that are easy to write - there's always something in the game which you think is a tough thing to overcome. Some games on the Nintendo don’t even attempt to overcome the problems; the programmers just write it a different way, which is a bad idea. And in our situation, we just couldn’t do that - we have too many people to please!"

DREAM OF BLUE TURTLES

The graphics for both projects are being handled by a company called Blue Turtle, which comprises two artists, Nick Pavis and Leigh Christian. They have been doing graphics for three years and started working with the ZX Spectrum, so they're used to working within the limits of a machine. Nick explained: "It was our understanding of the technical side that got us chosen to do console work. Unlike most artists that have started doing graphics on the 16-bit machines, simply because it's so easy, we know the problems of eight-bit projects and can work around them.

"One problem with the Sega is its restricted palette, which allows 32 colours on screen chosen from a library of 64. However, this is split into two 16-colour palettes, one of which contains colours for sprites and background characters, while the other holds colours for background characters alone.

"Since there aren't many shades of each colour you can't get a very smooth gradient of colours. Antialiasing (the use of average colours to smooth out pixel-jagged edges) is therefore difficult. A good advantage is the use of the telly which blurs the edges for you.

"It's important to choose a good palette for the game. For instance we managed to choose a really good palette for Impossible Mission, with a nice variety of colours. And then it’s often often difficult to choose 32 colours which you'll need, such as with the third level of Indy, which was murky and dark. The Sega doesn’t really support that many dark and murky colours!

"You can also switch between palettes, as we did with Paperboy. Because of the memory limitations, the Paperboy map has been reduced to only 256 separate characters, including the end-of-level obstacle course. It's difficult to make the background varied, so we used our palettes to change the colour of the houses. For example, house one will be coloured with palette one, and then just before house two comes on-screen, we switch to palette two, so that house two has a different colour scheme.

(Image caption) Paperboy in mid-delivery round!

"You can also reduce the graphics needed by doubling up characters (ie using the same data for two similar characters), and flipping them vertically and horizontally. A program written by Donald scans the map and automatically searches out characters that can be inverted and flipped to save memory!"

How do they get going with a project? "To start with, we got hold of a Paperboy arcade machine, because we didn't think much of the Amiga and ST graphics, which were quite basic. But since the machine is so old we actually found that they were pretty true to the coin-op!

"We then get a photographer to take as many pictures as possible, and we play the game through. The programmers also come up and play it to make a video for reference.

"We then draw a simple dummy map with a road and house, and take it up to Tiertex to see how it looks on the Sega, to check if the house is too big, and so on. Then we go back and get the house scale right. Our photos are developed by now, so one of us starts on the backdrops while the other does the sprite animations.

(Image caption) A map designer lets artists draw screens, or alter colour schemes!

"There are in excess of 30 moving objects in Paperboy. The bike and paperboy use over 30 sprite frames, to show the pedal turning, wheels turning and jacket flapping in all eight directions, plus crash animation and death sequence. Since the Paperboy bicycle is diagonal, rather than have one sprite directly above the other, we offset one sprite by two pixels to left, to make the bike slightly longer.

"We use Degas Elite running on the Atari ST to design the sprites, which is also compatible with Tiertex's map editor. Because the aspect ratio of the Sega's screen is different from other machines, sprites get stretched out by a factor of 1.25 when you port them over, and you have to take this into account when you're drawing them. Sometimes you get podgy sprites, but if it’s a cutesy game that doesn't matter too much!

"There’s also a slight problem with Paperboy in that the arcade screen is a different way up: it’s quite tall vertically, which always makes it a little bit tougher to get it looking right. We also have to make sure the sprites are the right size, to keep the gameplay the same.

(Image caption) Paperboy's moving objects. Some are sprites, some characters.

"We're attempting to make sure you get everything in there from the arcade. There were things missed out in the early conversions, such as lorries, bikers, milk vans and even statues that come to life and drop bombs. They are all in the Sega version. We were hoping for a 2 Megabit cartridge, and we even took some digitised sounds from the coin-op. Unfortunately, Paperboy has been allocated a 1 Megabit cartridge so the digitised sound might have to go." Shame, it sounded pretty good, too!

TITUS

With a huge user-base of Segas (200,000+ and 85% of the French console market) it's not surprising that the French would want to get in on the design and coding of Sega games. So far, only Titus have been signed up, and they are limited to releasing two games during 1990, Fire And Forget II and Wild Streets.

Based on their early computer game which didn't appear on the Master System, Fire And Forget has been designed specifically for the Sega. Taking a Roadblasters-type scenario gubbins, you get to drive a car across some desolate wasteland or other, blasting the fuel out of other road users, trucks, you name it. There's twist in the tale, though, in that you can turn into a hovercar and blast the aircraft as well! All in all, it's a no-holds barred chase 'n' shoot 'em up. And judging by the screenshots, it could be hot stuff!

(Image caption) It's all systems go in Titus' Fire And Forget IP,


MAILBAG

Small Ads

Things to swap, sell or tell? Check out our FREE small ads. Fill in the form below (and across) and send it to the usual address!

FOR SALE

For sale, SG Commander in very good condition, boxed with instructions £15 or swap for Phantasy Star. Contact 0494 763662 now.

After Burner £1O tel: 01 303 1253.

Kenseiden for sale £10 or will swap for Vigilante phone Craig on 0698 817778 between 6pm and 9pm.

Will sell Super Tennis (cart) for £10 or swap for another good game (in good condition please). Phone Dominic on 01 892 4509.

For sale Out Run £10, Fantasy Zone II £10, Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars £15. Cardiff 766969.

For sale Double Dragon £16, Wonder Boy III £20. Phone after five, on 0554 810588 and ask for Rob. Plus 50p post and package.

Double Dragon, Golvellius, Vigilante, Zillion II, World Soccer, Cloud Master, Spellcaster, Rampage, Poseidon Wars, California Games all £15 (each) Contact 0229 54852. Simon Lancaster. 12 Kingsley Avenue, Swarthmoor Nr Ulverston Cumbria.

Vigilante, Double Dragon, Bomber Raid, Altered Beast, Cyborg Hunter, World Soccer, Time Soldiers, Choplifter, as new, excellent condition cost £194, sell for £80 or £10 each. Phone 0543 360896.

For sale Sega games inc. Altered Beast, Space Harrier, Enduro Racer, Ghost House prices £10 - £15 will consider swaps call Gareth. 0695 26255 any time. All boxed with instructions.

For sale: World Soccer, Power Strike, Fantasy Zone II £10 each. Also Super Tennis £7 and Spellcaster £15. Phone Anthony on (021) 704 4977. Consider swaps.

For sale Wonder Boy II excellent condition £20.00 O.N.O. Andrew Hicks Tel: 0639 643457.

Sega software for sale form £6 upwards titles include Double Dragon, Rocky, Out Run, Kenseiden, Vigilante, Quartet, Zillion, Pro-Wrestling, Astro Warrior, Aztec Adventure, Ghost House. Ring Dave on Bridgend (0656) 767929.

For sale Master System, two control pads Light Phaser also control stick, four games After Burner, Thunder Blade, Ghost House, World Soccer. 3 months old, £100. Call Stuart after 4pm (0452)411414.

Still over 25 games left, from £10.00 all mint condition and boxed. Alan 65, Lime Grove, Doddinghurst, Essex CM15 0QX. Tel: 0277 822793.

Galaxy Force in mint condition will sell for £15 or swap for a games please phone Coventry (0203) 467846 or write to 23 Larch Tree Ave, Tile Hill Coventry CU4 9FT.

Aurora Firebird, Frenzy and Daredevil Rally for sale, includes instructions and layout sheets. Cars are Ferrari Porsche, VW Golf, Firebird and Peugeot 205. 2 lanes 2 adaptors and 4 controllers. Not original box. Price £50 O.N.O.. 61 High Street Silkstone Nr. Barnsley South Yorkshire. S75 4JR.

I have Zillion II, After Burner, Action Fighter and Wonderboy II for sale price £70 o.n.o. Original price £98.80. Will sell separately for £17.50 o.n.o. Call Barnsley 791370.

For sale Thunder Blade, Vigilante, Double Dragon, Out Run £15 each or swap After Burner, Altered Beast. Phone Stephen 0926 832249. 2 Canon Young Road, Whitnash, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire CU31 2QU.

Alex Kidd: High Tech World for sale £15 good condition with instructions. Contact 0933 56074. Between 7pm and 8.30pm.

For sale or swap for other game, My Hero £8, Quartet £10, Bank Panic £9. All in good condition. If interested contact Kin on (02912) 79166. Phone after 3.45pm.

For sale Ghosthouse, Spy V's Spy £7 each Cyborg Hunter, Quartet £12 each or will exchange for other decent games ring Blackburn (0254) 201377.

For sale Tatsujin for the Mega Drive. Selling it cos I’ve finished it! First decent offer. You won't regret buying it! Tel: Sheffield (0742) 683791 after that.

Sell or swap, Great Baseball and Rocky. Tel 01-769-0674 ask for Stan.

Y's £17, R-Type £12, Super Tennis £5, Global Defense £8. Call James on 01 776 0682.

For sale Sega and games: Hang On, Fantasy Zone 2 Vigilante, Double Dragon. Also Rapid Fire Unit. Still boxed worth £160 sell for £100 phone Jason on 051 339 5057.

We are selling a good Sega game Rescue Mission for only £15. 49 Auckland Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 2HP. Tel: 544529.

For sale 4 games for Sega: American Baseball, Wonder Boy III, Kenseiden, Spy V's Spy all for only £60 if interested call David on 0642 819626.

Altered Beast for sale only £15.00 or swap Rampage or R-Type for it. Ring (0276) 28574 ask for Ricky only on Saturday.

WANTED

Wanted Psycho Fox or Spy Vs Spy or Dynamite Dux. Write to: Passer Ronghi, 115 Charles Street, Swinton, Manchester, M27 3US. Thank you.

Can someone get Pro Wrestling for £15? (If so) contact: Louis Sullivan on: 01 856 3336 or: 35 Ankerdine Crescent, Shootershill, SE18 3LO.

Wanted R-Type, World Soccer or any good games in good condition, will pay £5-£15 for good game. Send list to: 12 Fallowfield, Halton, Brook, Runcorn, Cheshire WA7 2NF.

I would like any games that are cheap if you could contact Philip on: (06)1 643 6383.

Anybody selling cheap Sega games? If so then send your prices and lists to: Andrew Jackson, 1 Belvedere Avenue, Atherton, Manchester M29 9LQ.

Is there anybody out there who wants to sell Psycho Fox or Wonderboy III for a reduced price, around £10-£15, If so contact now!! Tel: 0922 880783.

Will pay up to £15 for Wonderboy III, Out Run or other good games, cartridges only. Phone 0269 823495 and ask for Dafydd, if interested.

Has anybody got a Rapid Fire Unit, or three games, R-Type Y's or Rambo. If so contact: Paul Eales, Tel: Neath 633182,

Wanted: Great Baseball, Casino Games, Secret Command, Wonderboy 3. Will swap Pro Wrestling, Great Basketball, World Soccer and Rocky, or One For One contact: Darren after 4pm on 08012 4520.

Wanted: Vigilante, Galaxy Force, Psycho Fox and Secret Command for either Dynamite Dux, Double Dragon, or 2 for Light Phaser. After 6 pm. Tel: Manchester 902 0407.

Any Sega games wanted. Any price considered. Desperately wanted: Wonderboy III and Double Dragon. Contact Debbie: Pontypridd (0443) 404865.

Wanted: Wonderboy In Monsterland. I will swap My Hero or Wonderboy 1. Write to: Craig Fox, 132 Newbridge Lane, Old Whitt, Chesterfield, Derbyshire. S41 9JA.

Wanted for Philip Lane S.A.P. Sega Master system. Will pay up to £40 no games. Tel: Poynton (0625) 879308, after 5:30 or write to: 4 Barnaby Rd, Poynton, Cheshire SK12 1LR.

Wanted urgent Altered Beast, pay cash up to £10. call Ripley 745246.

Anyone got a copy of Pro Wrestling you don't want. If so contact: Gary on: 0563 42523 after 4pm.

Wanted: any good Sega games, will buy any up to £15 on negotiation. Depending on game. Contact Gary after 5pm. Tel: 061 748 0506.

Will swap Shinobi, Double Dragon, Spy Vs Spy, or Choplifter for any other good games. Write to Darren, 20 Cymril Close, Ely, Cardiff, South Wales, CF5 or sell for £15.

Sega games wanted. My 3 Alex Kidd games for Y's or Lord Of The Sword. My Spellcaster for Phantasy Star or Shinobi. Paul 3 Moorend Avenue, C’Wood, B'ham, B37 5SD.

Is anyone selling Sega games cheap? If so then send your list and prices. New games or old. Please send to: Chris Long, 23 Bramcote Rd, Leicester, Rowley Fields, LE3 2ED.

Issues 1 and 2 of S wanted. If you've got these for sale write to: Ryan Jones, 25 Ascot Drive, Atherton, Manchester, M29 9LH. Then we can talk business.

3D glasses wanted, also cartridge games, Rambo III, Space Harrier 3D, Out Run 3D, Double Dragon and Great Basketball with instructions. Please phone Karl (Wigan): (0942) 211663.

I would like to buy any Sega games you have, but Rastan and California Games particularly. Contact: Joe Dewhurst, 158, Lansdowne Drive, Hackney, London, E84 NF.

Wanted: Psycho Fox, will swap for Alex Kidd in Miracle World or R-Type. Phone: 051 924 6890 after 6 pm, cos I'm barmy as a bee!!

PEN PALS

I am 10 and would like a 10 or 11-year old to write to me at 11 Gladiator Green, Dorchester, Dorset. DT1 2RW or Tel: 69298. My name’s Guy.

I am 13 years old I own a Sega and four games and I would like a pen pal that owns a Sega. Call Stevenage 721475.

Sega owner wants pen pals to swap hints, tips, news, etc. Interests are computers I also like music. Write to Andrew Jackson. 1 Belvidere Avenue, Atherton, Manchester M29 9LQ.

Mega Drive owners wanted to exchange tips, games and info contact V. Patel, 218 South Fields Road, Solihull West Midlands, B91 3PR.

Wanted good hip cool wicked acid-house kind of pen pal pref. From Brum. Swap info. On carts and vice versa. Call now on 021 422 1145 ask for Steven.

Hi! My names Frank. Write to me about heavy metal (Metallica, Iron Maiden, etc) Segas, role playing (Warhammer, Paranoia etc) at 66 Melrose Avenue, Yate, Bristol BS17 5AN.

MISC.

'Sega Gameplay', the Ultimate Newsletter. Only 75p send S.A.E. To: Simon Bertram, 47

Bagshot House, Redhill St, London, WW1,4BY. Tel: 01 388 6653 cheques and postal orders accepted thank you.

Engine Drive. Console fanzine for the PC engine and Sega Mega Drive. Includes news reviews tips and much much more send 80p to Rowan Held, 12 Burstock Road, Putney London SW15.

SWAPS

Sega Master System will swap for Amiga 500. Including 10 new released games, 2 control pads, joystick, Rapid Fire Unit, Light Phaser. Call 01 388 6653. After 4.30pm Any day. Name is Simon Bertrum (13).

Will swap Phantasy Star, Wonder Boy III, Ghost Busters, Time Soldiers, Miracle Warriors, for Y's, World Soccer, ChopLifter, R-Type, Rambo III. Ring Michael on 0604 493046 after 6pm.

I will swap my Kung Fu Kid and Ghost House for nearly any other game. Together or separate. If you are interested please ring Richard on 0532 508534. Please ring.

Will swap Shinobi or Rampage for Golvellius, Galaxy Force II, Rastan, Phantasy Star, Spellcaster or R-Type. Phone 0928 569684.

I want Great Golf. Will swap for Space Harrier or Quartet. Phone 0443 401546 after 6.00pm. And ask for Wayne.

For swap: my Ghostbusters and £5 for your Phantasy Star, and my World Grand Prix for your Out Run or Rampage. Also Sega Control Pad £5. Contact Paul on (029 923) 434.

Will swap Black Belt for Kung Fu Kid, Double Dragon, or any role playing game. Call 0928 568179 after 6pm. Ask for Martin.

Will swap Action Fighter for Wonderboy 1 and Transbot (cartridge version) for Spy V's Spy good condition contact Alistair or Keiran on 0582 712855. 31 Crosspaths, Harpenden, Herts, AL5 3HE.

Will swap Ghostbusters for Rastan, Rampage,

Spellcaster, Golden Axe or Altered Beast. Ring after 5pm. Ask for Thomas or Daniel phone (0443) 682275.

Will swap Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars for any Sega game on negotiation. Phone Stuey on 61735 (Rugby 0788) After 5pm. (Would like Wonder Boy III).

I will swap my Shinobi for Secret Command or either World Grand Prix, Zillion, Quartet, Rocky, The Ninja, Alex Kidd in Miracle World, or any I need phone 061 620 2351. Lee.

I will swap Action Fighter for Shinobi. Telephone 0594 843061.

Will swap Black Belt, Out Run or Aztec Adventure for either Sega Soccer, Golf, Basketball or Volley Ball or Sport Sims phone Jamie on 0296 83580 after 8.30pm.

Will exchange Rampage, Choplifter, Vigilante, Altered Beast, Ghostbusters and more for any Sega game on negotiation. Phone Ross on 0382 74770.

To swap Thunder Blade for Wonder Boy II, III, Out Run, Double Dragon, Shinobi or any other games. After 5pm telephone 021 456 3738.

Will swap Black Belt, Kung Fu Kid, Great Golf, Pro Wrestling for After Burner, Rocky, World Football, World Grand Prix.

On negotiation contact John 0264 791163.

Will swap Fantasy Zone 2, My Hero, Alex Kidd, Miracle World and Hi Tech World, ChopLifter, Quartet, Zillion, Ghost House. Swap for anything, phone Eliot 0925 58834 after school time.

I'll swap my WonderBoy II for: Double Dragon, Rastan or

After Burner. Phone Nick Krase at: 445-3539.

Will swap Great BaseBall, Out Run, Space Harrier for any carts. Will also sell for £15. Also swap 2 for 1 with new carts or R-Type. Phone Rich 0922 56094.

Will swap Altered Beast (in box) for any title such as Double Dragon, Wonder Boy in Monsterland etc. Contact Ben on, 0404 81 3574 for more details.

I will swap my WonderBoy in Monsterland for Casino Games or Ghostbusters. My Ghost House for Super Tennis and my Double Dragon for either Monopoly or California Games if so tel: 0543 77421.

Will swap: Cloud Master, Global Defense, or After Burner for Rampage, Rastan or Wonderboy contact Chris on 061 431 2389 after 4pm.

To swap: Space Harrier, Shinobi and Kenseiden for Time Soldiers, Altered Beast and Rastan or Double Dragon. Tel: 061 436 8547. Ask for Paul.

I will swap my Rampage, Double Dragon, Thunder Blade and Kenseiden for nearly any game. Phone Ian on 0273 401132 or write to 4, Gladstone Buildings High Street, Barcombe BN8 5AX.

Swap Light Phaser Gun, Shooting Game still in box for Phantasy Star or ''Y's:

Vanished Omens. Swap Black Belt, Rambo, Rocky for Wonder Boy 3, Spellcaster or Psycho Fox''. 26, Glan-Y-Wern Rd, Trallwn, Swansea. West Glam.

I will swap my Choplifter game for any other game on negotiation. Except Black Belt, After Burner, Out Run and Wonder Boy in Monsterland. Phone Matthew on 0222 798572.

Captain Silver and Lord Of The Sword will be swapped for WonderBoy III, California Games, Spellcaster or Fantasy Zone II. PS will sell for £22 ring Ric on 0457 870748.

I will swap my Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars (mint condition) for Time Soldiers or WonderBoy in Monsterland. Must be in good condition with booklet. Phone Grant on 0324 485184.

Swap my Wonder Boy two and three, Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Astro warrior + Hang On for your Spellcaster, Rampage, Alex Kidd: Hi-Tech World, YS, Casino games, Tennis, Golf, Captain Silver, Aztec Adventure. Any one for one. Tel: 0625 34601.

Will swap Dynamite Dux, Wonder Boy III, Vigilante, Shinobi, Ghostbusters. Any of the above games for Wonder Boy. (Phone 0225 331377).

I will swap my Light Phaser for any two good boxed games, preferably Wonderboy 2 or Thunder Blade, or just gun for Phantasy Star call after 5 to Dermot on 828856.

I will swap my Light Gun for Phantasy Star or any two games in good condition.

Great Baseball for Vigilante. Phone 828856 After 4pm. For negotiation.

I will swap any of these games, Thunder Blade, Kung Fu Kid. Black Belt. Out Run 3D For any Wonder Boy games phone 0386 832733.

Will swap; Space Harrier, Rastan, Altered Beast for Alien Syndrome,

Ghostbusters, or Double Dragon phone Shaun (after 4pm) on 0482 501463.

I will swap Altered Beast, Golvellius or Swap WonderBoy III, for Shinobi, R-Type or Wonder Boy in Monsterland. Phone Elliot on 01 848 9931.

Will swap; R-Type, Shinobi, Alex Kid (Lost Stars), My Hero, Rambo 3, Gangster Town; for Spellcaster, Galaxy Force 2, Kenseiden, Rescue Mission, Time Soldiers,

Psycho Fox call 0482 503194 after 4pm.

Will swap Double Dragon for Wonderboy III, Wonderboy, R-Type or Out Run: Phone Mark on 0639 820418 after 4pm on weekdays or write to Mark 94 Brooklyn Gardens, Port Talbot, Buglan Moors, S. Wales.

Will swap After Burner, Thunder Blade, Double Dragon, For Great Golf,

Rocky, Shinobi, Tel Tim on 0272 698212.

Will swap Quartet or Space Harrier for Rocky, Wonderboy or any Sega game. Please contact Lee by phoning 0920 870623 after 5pm weekdays.

I will swap Dynamite Dux, Altered Beast, or Kung Fu Kid for any of these three games: Psycho Fox, Wonder Boy in Monsterland or Turbo Out Run. Phone 85 242655.

I will swap Choplifter and Transbot for one of the following, R-Type, Y, s, Spellcaster, Rambo III. If interested phone 061 4777166 or 13 Woodlane Cres, Cale Green, Stockport SK2 6NT. Simon Milnes.

Brand new Transbot cartridge for swaps. Will swap for Bank Panic or any good games which I have not got. Please contact me on 0272 566452, ask for Steve.

Will swap After Burner for Psycho Fox. Call Will on 0594 843061.

I will swap my games for yours: I have Space Harrier, World Soccer and Astro Warrior send games list to: D. Jones 12 West Bank, Cwmtillery, Gwent NP3 1RE.

Will swap WonderBoy III for Wonderboy in Monsterland. Will swap Black Belt or Shinobi for Wonderboy or World Soccer. Phone 061 681 1238, and ask for Davey.

I will swap World Soccer for Double Dragon, Spy V's Spy, Golden Axe, Rampage, Y's. Please contact Luke Burton, 106 Beresford Road, Manchester, Long Sight.

Will swap Double Dragon for F-16, Y's, Spellcaster or Wonderboy phone Luke on 031 0267 238 534. Or Doug on 0267 238 534.

Will swap Spy V's Spy or Power Strike for Wonderboy III or Dynamite Dux Write to Patch at 70 Mill Lane, Appley Bridge, Wigan. Or call 02575 3622.

Will swap Out Run or

American Pro Football or pay £13 for Power Strike or The Baseball. Phone Damien on 01 701 4323. London only.

I will swap either Miracle Warriors, Rescue Mission, Rampage for Power Strike, R-Type write to The Laurels, Station Rd, Kirby Muxloe, Leicester. LE9 9EN.

Will swap R-Type for Double Dragon contact Linton after 5pm. On 0376 49405.

YO! Dudes please could some trendy Wonderboy in Monsterland send me a map for level 12 thanks phone between 4.30pm and 6.30pm 0254 871633 and ask for Scott.

Please could you help me with Miracle Warriors as I am stuck I can not find two of the three keys. Tel: Barry on 0843 587422.

HELP!

Could you tell me how to get on to the car straight away in Action Fighter and kill the submarines at end of level. Tel: Bradley on Essex Canvey Island 684625.

ADVICE

I am sending a cheat for Rampage. What you do is wiggle the control pad and press both fire buttons down simultaneously. This gives you endless lives. Easy!


GAME TEST

WORLD GAMES

Weird and wonderful sports from planet Earth!

If you've had enough of hanging ten in the surf, or are suffering from Frisbee elbow through playing California Games, Sega now give you the chance to try your hand at some of the dafter sports that people thought up when they got bored, hundreds of years before the advent of Australian soap operas and consoles.

As with its predecessor, one to four people can take part. Once each participant has entered their name (or more likely a rude word) and chosen a flag to represent, it's off to Germany for the first event...

BARREL JUMPING

"Barrel Jumping takes place in Germany, where skaters compete to jump over the most barrels. The sport started about 300 years ago in Europe where ice skating was a form of transportation, in their dash before take-off, jumpers hit speeds above 40 mph, risking painful bruises if they fait to clear the last barrel. These daring athletes keep protective gear to a minimum for tighter weight"

Only moderately silly, this one, but still quite daft.

(Image caption) Oh no! The skater's stalled in mid-air! He'll never make it now!

Before each attempt, you get to select the number of barrels you wish to jump, from three to a maximum of 20. Your skater blokey starts from a standstill on the left of the barrels and you start him off by rocking the joystick rhythmically from side to side. As you waggle more and more quickly, so the skater picks up speed; but if you waggle too quickly, he misses a step and slows down again, so timing is the key here.

As your skatesperson approaches the barrels, a tap of the fire button launches him (or her, as it's difficult to tell at this range) into the air, and there's a brief pause in the action while the guy sails through the air. As he approaches the far end of his leap, you then have to pull down on the stick to prepare him for landing on the ice (or smashing into the last few barrels if you've messed it up!). If you don't pull down, he hits the ice heels first at mach three, and smashes straight through it!

You get three attempts to clear as many barrels as possible, and the highest number gets gold. Simple.

LOG ROLLING

"Log Rolling brings a visit to Canada, where two lumberjacks try to dislodge each other from a large, floating-log, spinning it back and forth until one contestant plunges into the ice river. Log rolling began in Canadian lumber camps around 1840 and requires great balance and agility. The novice lumberjacks always get one piece of advice,

'Never take your eyes off your opponent's feet'."

(Image captions)

Up against the Sega lumberjack, and you're looking a bit wobbly already...

And, following a smart forward somersault, you're suddenly shark food!

This rates a hefty 8 out of 10 in the 'Stupid Sports' category, but then what do you expect from a country that has their police dressed up like Smokey the Bear?

This event is a head-to-head against the computer, or a human chum if there are several people playing. The aim is to topple the opposition from the log by spinning it with your feet. By waggling the 'stick slowly from side to side, your lumberjack starts log-jogging, and you can vary the direction that the log spins by pressing the fire button. Two meters at the bottom of the screen monitor the direction and speed of both 'jacks so that you can tell when to switch direction and tip him off.

The one who stays on the longest gets the most points, and what do points make?

BULL RIDING

"Bull riding is the most dangerous event in rodeo. A sport born over 100 years ago in the American West when cowboys challenged each other to contests of riding and roping for entertainment. The rider sits bareback on a wild bull weighing two thousand pounds or more and holds onto a rope to avoid being thrown. When a rider falls, rodeo clowns draw the bull's attention away.”

(Image caption) There you are, perched on top of three tons of bovine psychopath...

Given the size and power of these creatures, this sport is extremely dangerous and just plain silly. Cowboys must get really bored to risk life and limb like this!

(Image caption) Then two seconds later, you're sitting in the dirt. Funny old game, innit?

The rodeo starts with your suitably attired loony perched atop a bull in the holding pen. Pushing up and down on the stick, cycles through the bulls available to be ridden, some of which are more crazy than the others (but still less so than the dumb honcho sat up on top).

A jab of the fire button opens the gate and the bull tears out, bucking like mad and spinning round. Every time it looks like you’re going to get thrown, you pull down on the stick to re-seat yourself. To be in with a chance of a medal, you have to stay on for more than eight seconds, and after that your time is recorded. Amazingly enough, the longest time after three attempts, wins.

TOSSING THE CABER

"The heather-splashed hills of Scotland is the birthplace of the ancient Caber Toss. In this famous event from the Scottish highland games, athletes lift and throw a tree trunk the size of a small telephone pole. Cabers can vary in size, but once tossed successfully can never be cut. The Braemar caber, one of Scotland's greatest challenges, is

19 feet long and weighs more than 120 pounds."

(Image caption) There have got to be easier ways of putting in telegraph poles...

Totally ludicrous, and should not be attempted at home. Well, not indoors, anyway.

Your McCharacter starts on the left of the screen, clutching his log. Wobble the stick from left to right to get him walking, and when the Scot's up to speed, press and hold the fire button to tilt the caber. When it's reached an optimum chucking angle (guess!) loose the button to finally toss that sucker.

If you manage to throw a clean toss (where the caber tips end over end to land facing away from you) the kilted one does a highland fling, and the distance is measured. If your toss fails, though, the pole falls back and lands on the tosser's foot, whereupon he jumps up and down clutching his tootsies in agony.

Three goes and the longest toss is awarded the yellow medal.

VERDICT

Having seen World Games on other, less potent computer systems, the Sega version is a bit of a disappointment. Well, it's actually a major disappointment. A huge, stonkingly big, earth-shattering, leviathan of a let-down. A massiv-(OK, calm down - Ed). Instead of the eight events on other versions -which included Russian weightlifting, French slalom ski-ing, Japanese Sumo wrestling and cliffdiving in Acapulco - the Sega only has four. So you pay twice the money for half the events. Not good maths, that.

The usual Epyx standard is maintained with lovely animation throughout - especially on the log rolling - smart backdrops and some nice parallax scrolling on the barrel jumping and caber tossing.

Sound too is used to a premium with some snazzy effects such as the 'clump, clump' noise of feet on logs, a nice 'moo' sound (from the bull, cloth head) and the roar of the crowd. The backing tracks, too, are all very jolly and listen-to-able.

It a shame, then, that none of the events are that entertaining. Barrel jumping is the most fun, but even then you'll be able to clear at least 18 barrels in the first day, and then spend the rest of your life trying to jump 19.

All the events are competently done, but they're just too simple to keep you occupied for months on end. It won't take long before you've an expert on all four events, and even if you can get a gang together for some competition play, a four-event Olympics isn't going to keep the party bubbling for long.

Twenty five quid for a couple of day's play? No way, kiddo: don't touch this one with a caber.

S RATINGS

GRAPHICS
86%

▲ Smart parallax scrolling on the barrel jumping and caber tossing

▲ Animation is of a typically high standard

▲ Loads of nice touches, such as waving flags, falling through the ice and shark attack!

▲ Nice 'n' detailed backdrops, with animated crowds

SOUND
79%

▲ Great bagpipe theme for the caber tossing

▲ Different soundtracks for each event

▲ Bull 'moo' noise is pretty authentic!

▼ Countries' national anthems are boring standard stuff

DEPTH
34%

▼ No call for tactics except in log rolling, which is still simpleton standard

▼ Only four short events, with straightforward controls

▼ There's no options to let you fiddle around with the gameplay

ADDICTION
49%

▲ Practice option lets you play one event at any time

▼ Doesn't take long to become master of all four sports

▼ Simple gameplay won't stretch the reflexes or the grey matter

▼ Lack of decent head-to-head action is a downer

S-FACTOR
48%

Oh dear. We'd like to say that World Games is a fitting successor to Cal Games and a great sports sim in its own right. But it isn't.


ARCADES SPECIAL

Do you long for those days long ago, when Shinobi ruled the arcades? Well ninja-lovers everywhere need suffer no more, for Sega have produced a coin-op version of one ninja and his dog: Shadow Dancer

Hell, for a start you can ignore the title, for no matter how romantic or mysterious it may sound, it's actually got zip all to do with this oriental beat 'n' shoot ’em up, apart from some reference to the white-robed character that stomps around under your control (and he's probably called Eric).

Anyway, he's a ninja-type, he's got a dog, and he scurries about in what amounts to a very Shinobi-esque bout of jumping, slashing and shaken throwing (Future's very own ninja writer Jason 'matey' Holborn assures us that the 'shuriken', so beloved of oriental beat 'em ups, is actually a straight, pointed metal throwing weapon, while 'shaken' is the proper name for ninja throwing stars. S - the magazine that educates as well as entertains). Er, where were we...?

NINJA MAGIC

The aim of the game isn't made terribly clear by the short attract sequence, but the action is fairly straightforward anyway. Basically, move from one end of the scene to the other, kill anything that's foolish enough to move into range, and collect all the time-bomb devices (well, they look like time bombs) from each level. Simplicity itself (and not terribly original).

Gathering gadgets imparts certain power-ups, such as flaming fireballs instead of shaken, and only once all the flashing gizmos have gone can you exit at the far side of the scene and start on the next.

The gameplay follows the same style as Shinobi, in that the game scrolls horizontally through the stage, but also also lets you jump up to higher levels to deal with enemies or collect kit from platforms above. Later stages incorporate stairways and moving trains, so things are pleasantly varied on the visual side.

(Image caption) You can see the sea from up here!

(Image caption) Shadow Dancer stumbles upon the legendary Ferrari's graveyard!

Three buttons allow your character to jump, attack (throw stars or slash his sword at close quarters) and engage his smart-bomb ninja magic, where (depending upon the type of magic) a ferocious full-screen ninja appears (shouting some incomprehensible Japanese drivel) and then the screen fills with blazing streams of fire, whirlwinds, and other mercilessly efficient death-dealing elemental powers.

The dog is an unusual addition to the proceedings, and is the canine equivalent of the R-Type droid. Pulling down on the 'stick while pressing the attack button, sends the pooch off in front to maul any hoodlums lying in wait. Now while Whitey seems to get in the way at first, you soon learn how to use your four-legged chum. Belly-down snipers, or characters hiding behind boxes cannot be easily hit by your stars. But send in Rover for a quick claw, and the guy will break cover, standing up while trying to fend off the canine attack. This gives you vital seconds in which to waste them while they're struggling with ninja-Lassie (don't worry, you never hit the dog with your stars).

(Image caption) 'Ere, take a look at this knife! It's filthy, just look at it!

However, if you leave the mutt to his own devices, he eventually gets duffed up (accompanied by a heart-rending howl), to be reincarnated as a pup, who's cute 'n' cuddly but totally useless as a saliva-dripping, man-mauling beast from hell.

(Image caption) Will you get DOWN, Shep!

Each level is split into at least three stages, including a predictable guardian monster sequence prior to the next level. If you get hit by an enemy at any point during the stage, you have to re-start from the beginning of that stage.

SHINOBI DANCER

If it wasn't for the appearance of a large, white dog, from the above description you'd be forgiven for thinking we'd actually played Shinobi by mistake, it would have been better to call the game Shinobi 2 or something. It doesn’t really make any advances over it’s inspiration, but is still a jolly romp. The graphics are very smart, with some beautiful parallax scrolling, and detailed, earthy backdrops. Play is fast and exciting, but you won't be hailing it as the new age of coin-ops.

The one drag is that each stage is long(ish), and death sends you straigHt back to the start. If there’s one bit that constantly trips you up, you keep on getting so far before dying again. Poo city.

If you can't stand another bout of oriental ninjutsu action, or weren't that struck on the original Shinobi, then don't bust a gut legging it to your nearest 'musie for this one.

CONVERTABILITY - Well, they coped admirably with Shinobi, so there's no reason why you shouldn't see Shadow Dancer tripping the dark fantastic on your Sega...


GAME PLAY

A Little Bit of Sly Help

LORD OF THE SWORD

Fear not brave warrior! Help is at hand. If you are having probs with Ra-Goan and his mob, you can now despatch sssaid vile demon with hard work and a little bit of sssly help in the shape of this complete players' guide. Mucho thanks to Stephen Pope of Birmingham.

Got the game loaded? Ready? OK, to start with go from Harfoot to Amon and get the book off the Wizard. Then go to Ulmo forest and talk to the tree people for information. Return to Amon and the wizard tells you to go to Namo forest. Go up the steps to Pharazon and then go to the Namo Forest and head for the tree of Maril.

To kill the tree spirit, run towards it and jump over the rolling pods. Then crouch down and slash at it with your sword. When it gets close, walk back a bit and try again.

Once it has died, go to Ithile and keep visiting the old man until he asks you to kill the swamp spirit. To do this, keep avoiding it as it flies around then when it stops, turn to face it. Keep hacking to kill the warrior, and then fire arrows at the spirit's revolving mirror until it dies.

Return to Pharazon to restore your life, go back up to Ithile and then move on to Cram Bog to fight the Necromancer. On returning to Ithile, you are given a magic bow. Don't believe the man's story about a short-cut - you'll just run along and get killed!

You now start the long task of reaching Falas. Go to Lindon, and keep going into the house until the Mayor tells you what happened to his daughter. You are told to follow the coast to Falas, where you have to battle the Giant Pirate. This guy is a problem: first avoid his flying sword then walk through the water to the edge of the screen near his cave. Stand with your back to the right of the screen, then jump up onto his island. You'll probably get hit, but don't worry. If you have done it right, the two sprites merge so that when you fire an arrow, it will hit him and bounce back onto you. Strangely enough, he will always miss you with his sword making him a lot easier.

(Image caption) Aerial view of 'Lord Off The Sword' land taken from a mediaeval helicopter.

Once he is dead, enter the cave that looks like a house and you'll find the Mayor’s daughter. Don't proceed any further - return to the house in Lindon where your life will be completely refilled.

On your way back to Amon, go into Dwarle and keep entering the house until the fellow there tells you about the mountain of fire. Head up the steps that lead to Mount Morgos and you will fight the beast. Once beaten, you automatically throw the book into a pool of lava.

Return to Amon to collect your new sword and then it's back to Lindon, Falas and then on to Elder Castle for a tough fight with five castle guards.

Guard 1: try to pin him against a wall and get in as many hits as you can while he's trapped.

Guard 2: when he gets close, jump and attack. With luck, his hammer will miss you.

Guard 3: Walk towards him, he will jump over you. Now crouch down. When he lands turn and slash his heel. He'll walk away then turn around. Now continue as before.

Guard 4: small but tough. Jump to avoid missiles and slash him when he lands.

Guard 5: as he approaches you, press up/right to jump over him, but before you land, press down/left and the sword button. You will turn round in mid-air and slash the back of his head. This takes practice. When you a herb to help with the evil statue, and tell you of the whereabouts of a new sword.

Go to Amon again, and listen to the Wizard. He tells you to go to Pharazon and look for the new Steps - do just that. When you reach Pharazon, enter the house and when you come out some steps will have appeared. Climb the steps and you'll find yourself in a cavern. Pass through into a place crawling with enemies. As long as you keep on the route to the Balala Ravine, you'll find yourself in a house facing Dark Suma.

(Image caption) 'Excuse me Mister Ant could you tell me the way to-' CRUNCH!

Destroy the skulls that shoot towards you and be careful when she reappears as her stick shoots an energy ring toward you. When she finally dies, you will receive another new sword. If you go up the steps at the junction, you'll find yourself back at Amon.

Work your way back to Harfoot and when the blokey eventually says something different, scurry off to Mount Ozgul to battle the statue (the herb brings the statue to life).

On returning to Amon, the Wizard tells you to go to Varlin Castle. The bloke at the castle tells you to go to Shagart, but don't go there, instead head for Pharazon where another man tells you to go to Lindon. On reaching here the mayor's daughter provides you with information about a short-cut from Dwarle to Shagart (take note - she only says it once).

Go to Dwarle and go up the steps as if you were going to to Mount Morgos. There are some more steps at the beginning of the Mountain Range. Climb these and work your way to Shagart. You'll find a house with open doors. Enter and you’ll be in a similar place as you were in Balala Ravine except that you're going down. Don't get the colourful object in the box floating between two pillars. If you do, it becomes harder to beat the Demon Lord Ra-Goan. Carry on about the maze until you come to a big room with pillars in it. Ra-Goan will then* appear (time to panic).

Once victorious, return to Amon and the Wizard tells you to go to Varlin Castle. You will then become King and your quest is complete!

SPELLCASTER

Ssspellcasters John Sawbridge of Devon and Verraes Marc of Belgium have battled long and hard to defeat the Ssserpent god (no relation), so just you lisssten up!

PASSCODES

Izumo Temple before fight
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Attaro Shrine before fight with Jukak
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Mount Miwa before fight with old Woman
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Summit Temple after Wakahiko is dead
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After fight at Kashima Temple
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Before entering underwater shrine
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Izumo before going to shrine
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After fight with Dragon
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Kumano Shrine
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Kumano shrine ready to leave for Mount Hinokami
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Daikok destroyed and at Kumano Shrine
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At pyramid
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At pyramid point on top
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Start of Underworld
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Underworld with harp at misty crossing
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With Sword of Fury
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Izumo, Kuma with necklace
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SOLUTION

Kusanagi: shoot straight at him to kill

Jukak: shoot straight at him to kill

CHEAT: Before moving inside you can go back to Summit Temple and use sword. It will transport you to the stage where you have just killed Wakahiko

Enemy: can be hit anywhere

After the forest and the bridge you will come to some platforms. It's best to stay at the edge of the larger platforms, as some collapse near the middle.

Wakahiko: can be hit anywhere

Enemy: it's best if you keep jumping round the screen while shooting, calling on Mars if your strength gets low

MAP 1

Map 1: The Sea of Dannoura

MANFISH
BRACERS
STORMYWHIRLPOOLSTORMY 
  STORMY MONK
LUTE
EVIL SPIRIT
HELMET
 EVIL SPIRIT EVIL SPIRIT
 EVIL SPIRITEVIL SPIRIT
VAJIRA
 
  EVIL SPIRIT  
 PIER 

Move left, front, left, front, right, front, left, front, (use glasses). Jump in Ocean

Kill Manfish by hitting him when his mouth is open, and then get bracers.

Move back, right, back, right, right, front, right (use glasses). Jump in ocean. Spell Kannon to get rid of Monk, and get lute.

Move to all Evil Spirits and get rid of them by playing the lute. Jump in ocean to collect Helmet and Vajira. Move to centre stormy sea. Use lute. Use beads. Jump in Ocean

All the holes on the seabed lead to the same place. Jump through whirlpools when they are at their narrowest. When you get to start of shrine, it is best to keep running

Dragon: hit it on the head

Monster: hit it on the back of the head

Jump up onto well and pull down. As soon as the next screen appears press pause. Select Makiri spell. Quickly execute spell and fly right. Run right across to large stone, and jump onto it. Stand over crack and pull down. Run right to shrine

Run back to stone, jump on and pull down. (If your energy is less than 350 at this point it is best to collect some here by killing creatures). Move back to wellshaft. Use Makiri spell to fly to the ledge on the left. Disable Makiri. Move to the edge of the ledge and then jump. You should reappear above ground. Run back to the left

Enemies: those that look like four circles in a diamond pattern, use Hatten or a full-strength blast. Most of this level must be crossed using Makiri. it is best to fly near the top of the screen, then you have more time to activate the spell again. Enemy: Hit him just below the head Daikok: hit him in the eye when it opens

Go back down well and return to the spaceship

Collect pyramid point at far right and return outside

MAP 2

Kill dragon and get hammer. Jump up by statue to get sword. To kill robot shoot, duck and swap direction. Go to demon

Talk to Regina until she stops fighting

Demon: hit it below the waist

Enter hole in first red tree

Go up first set of steps and climb them

Go across platforms to second set of stairs, and climb them

Return to hole in tree

Run back to Misty Crossing

Move to second set of stairs and climb them

Go back to Misty Crossing. Take a password here because sometimes the Thunder God flies off and you will be stranded

Demon: hit him on the different heads. Get sword

Move to second set of stairs and climb them

Return to hole in tree

Run to far right, go through door

Hit flying enemy. Collect Sacred Mirror and go outside. Run back to Izanami (first flight of stairs)

Final battle: keep blasting, and don't forget to call upon Mars to replenish your energy when it gets low. At the end, destroy the two smaller faces with your bigger bolts of energy, and then keep firing at the creature's central mouth while avoiding the lightning bolts. Once you have destroyed the beast, wait for a while and then watch the sunrise...

ACTION FIGHTER

Anyone wrestling with this old drive 'n' shoot 'em up should ssstop it and pay attention now! Many of you have written in with weird passcodes which let you cheat. And here they are !

If you enter SPECIAL, (including the full stop) you'll start the mission with the car plus letters A, B, C and D. Or how about DOKI_PEN to start you off with the all of the above, plus auto-firing missiles and ground-to-air rockets? In both cases, when you begin the flying section you'll also find yourself impervious to enemy bullets (but don't crash - you can still explode!).

Apparently, you can enter GP_WORLD for three extra lives after the timer has reached zero; while HANG_ON gives you A, B, C and D units - but we're darned if we could get 'em to work!

CASINO GAMES

Anyone with this neat gambling game might be interesssted to know that you can actually finish it! Damian Blackburn of Lancashire does the biz...

Use Mr Sega as your name, and then enter the passcode 8314853112 to give you $722,170. Head for the poker table and play Charley. Keep the stakes as high as possible, and then all you have to do is win the first game.

As soon as you break the million dollar mark, some smart looking dude puts his thumb up and gives you a wink. Then there's a shot of you lying by a pool, with your newly-bought mansion in the background, and a couple of girlies by your side!

Now we all know the Japs are a little bit strange, but Damian also found a really odd feature of Casino Games! Go to the poker table again, and when prompted, immediately 'Fold'. Do this ten times on the trot, and a small grey alligator-type creature scurries across the screen, accompanied by some amazing parallax scrolling!

A similar effect also occurs if you reach the $500,000 mark, playing Blackjack. This time the creature runs on with mountains in the background, and the screen starts shaking with an earthquake attack!

If anyone has any idea what this is all about, let us know...

OUTRUN

If you've come looking for a cheat, sorry folks! However, Steven Watson of Selby has noticed something funny at the start of the race...

No real cheat this: instead of accelerating away from the start line, just stay where you are - and watch the guy with the flag!

CAPTAIN SILVER

Practically everyone has written in to divulge this sssingle piece of help with Captain Silver, so don't bother writing in sssaying that you knew it already.

To continue, simply push up and press both buttons at the same time. Note that this only works on levels past the first one - you're going to have to complete that one on your own!

TRANSBOT

This old shoot 'em up is probably the most tedious Sega game ever, so to save you further grief, Hugh Cameron of Scotland provides the cheatin' info so you can finish the game and never have to play it again!

Keep both buttons pressed while turning the power on and keep holding them. The title screen will come on then after four or five seconds the Secret Command option sheet should appear.

To turn the options ON push the joystick in the four directions (up 1; down 2; right 4; left 3). To turn them OFF again, hold down button 1 and push in the same direction.

Option 1 gives infinite lives. Option 2 gives infinite arms (weapons don't run out). Option 3 gives infinite power (Transbot never blows up). And option 4 provides slow cycling on the weapons selection. To exit this sheet, press button 1 on control pad 2. You can now play the game for hours on end without dying - though why you'd want to do that is anybody's guess...

If you're new to the game, and can't reach the underground section, here's how. Make sure you have selected weapon D and then shoot the three alien 'Hiluns' when they appear. The scrolling should stop, allowing the Transbot to enter the underground tunnel and face Elgramzon -who looks like a rogue special effect from The Empire Strikes Back!

MY HERO

Daniel Jevons from sssunny Somerset has been playing this game lots and has tipped the sssucker to death.

If you have any tips, cheats, maps, complete players' guides, special features or anything worthy of inclusion in the best sssection in the mag, why not drop me a line at the usual address: A Little Bit Of Sly Help, S magazine, Future Publishing, Beauford Court, 30 Monmouth Street, Bath, Avon BA1 2AP. There are some prize cartsss up for grabs!

If you have any tips, cheats, maps, complete players' guides, special features or anything worthy of inclusion in the best sssection in the mag, why not drop me a line at the usual address: A Little Bit Of Sly Help, S magazine, Future Publishing, Beauford Court, 30 Monmouth Street, Bath, Avon BA1 2AP. There are some prize cartsss up for grabs!

If you want help on a specific game, label your envelope S.O.S. but please DON'T include stamped, addressed envelopes, ’cause personal replies just ain't possible. Sssorry!

Next month, Wonderboy gets some help with his quest in Monsterland, and there just might be some tips on Psycho Fox!

WINNERS

Three lucky tipsters this month: John Sawbridge of Devon, Verraes Marc of Belgium, and Stephen Pope from Birmingham who all win a Sega Cartridge of some description (it'll be a surprise!). And many thanks to anyone else who sent stuff in!

HIGH SCORE HEROES

Wanna high score huh? Well, who better to ask for advice than Sly's own high scoring heroes!

SAFARI HUNT

This seems to be popular with most Light Phaser owners - especially Wayne Jackson, who's managed a hefty score of 1,185,200. He suggests that you get the fish and the rabbits on the first screen. Then shoot the bears and the armadillos, and then aim for the panther on the third screen. And if you blast the animals more than once, your score gets multiplied!

THE NINJA

Marcel Price of Swansea boasts a massive score for The Ninja. And just how does he do it? Try getting only the first four scrolls, he says, and then continue to round 12. Kill Ninniku and a notice comes up saying that you cannot enter the rest of the castle. You can then go back to round 9 and do it all over again, until you lose all your lives. Clever, eh?

RAMBO III

More Light Phaser fun and frolicks, with Rambo III. With 73,250, Darren Swift of Ormskirk should know what he's on about. His tactics for scoring high is to kill all the soldiers on the first six screens and then bump up your life meter with the recovery drink at the end of each scene (to give you more points when the bonus is awarded). Then, on the last scene, blow up all the tanks and helicopters except the Hind. Get in 9 shots, then die. Continue in the same vein with your remaining credits until the last one, where you waste everything and finish the game!


GAME PLAY

HIGH SCORES

If you've managed to get a high score on your favourite game (WITHOUT the aid of any cheats or special devices!) why don’t you let people know? If you’re skill enough to make the top three high scores, your name will appear in black and white for the whole world to sssee!

Mind you, I've been receiving some dubiously high scores sent in (over 112,000,000 on Kung-Fu Kid!?) so I’d like sssome proof of these monumental feats, especially if your score beats the rest by miles (like a photo of the scoreline, or declaration signed by your parents). And why not send in a piccy of your good ssself to show the rest of the crowd just who they’re up against!

ACTION FIGHTER

268,320
Paul Francis, London
233,610
Ben Davies, Leicester
201,050
Dominic Kelly, Bolton

AFTERBURNER

28,789,500
Gavin Roulston, Birmingham
27,062,800
Robbie Ellmore, Gloucester
19,876,500
Steven Painter, Clwyd

ALEX KIDD AND THE LOST STARS

177,000
Ian Robinson, Newport
151,600
Martyn Bindless, Bicester
129,700
Philip Wainhouse, Leeds

ALEX KIDD IN MIRACLE WORLD

109,700
Darryl Cooper
98,000
Michelle Hines’ Mum, Dorset
97,410
Lee Reynolds, Cheshire

ALIEN SYNDROME

491,000
Waqar Shah, Derby
236,943
Robert Watkins, Cheltenham
143,500
Abdul Mokid, Oldham

ALTERED BEAST

478,700
Robert Watkins, Cheltenham
473,200
Paul Butterworth, W Yorkshire
469,900
Lee Carter, Bristol

ASTRO WARRIOR

1,232,700
Michelle Goffer, Cardiff
1,119,500
Andrew Goffer, Cardiff
1,117,000
Jim Spillip, Gwent

AZTEC ADVENTURE

1,672,321
Matthew White, Warley

BANK PANIC

1,687,450
Louise Nisbet, Northampton
865,400
James Whiting, Northampton
810,850
Paul Arthur, Surrey

BLACK BELT

913,700
Darren Owen, Stourport
698,700
Andrew Craven, Cardiff
613,400
Abdul Mokid, Oldham

BLADE EAGLE 3D

225,400
Robbie Ellmore, Gloucester

BOMBER RAID

2,600,020
Steven Llewellyn, Glamorgan
2,440,500
Maxwell Jebson, W Yorkshire
1,051,400
Steven Skuse, London

CAPTAIN SILVER

152,300
Abdul Mokid, Oldham

CASINO GAMES

$1,121,230
Stewart Robinson, Bath
$1,065,450
Paul Stevens, Suffolk
(PINBALL)
111,270
Carl Marsh, Oldham

CHOPLIFTER

6,002,400
Matthew White, Warley
1,552,200
James Wood, Bath
1,186,300
Ian Spruce, Leighton Buzzard

CLOUDMASTER

896,600
Steve Willingham, Hull

DEAD ANGLE

227,000
Peter Leung, Luton

DOUBLE DRAGON

619,460
Andrew Jackson, Jarrow
425,000
Andrea Barlow, Birmingham
417,270
Adam Gates, Southend-on-Sea

DYNAMITE DUX

628,730
Robert Watkins, Cheltenham
394,820
Ian Hutchinson, Cheshire

ENDURO RACER

Time 5:45:02
Christopher Kitson, Inverness
Time 5:54:57
T Bennett, Bedford
Time 6:36:22
Gary Pamplin, Sittingbourne

FANTASY ZONE

44,747,600
Edward Bowes, Saddleworth
1,237,300
Rhodri James, Dyfed
650,000
Andrea Barlow, Birmingham

FANTASY ZONE II

7,421,000
Andrew Craven, Cardiff
7,404,300
Emma Spillip, Gwent
7,294,000
Michelle Hines' Dad, Dorset

FANTASY ZONE - THE MAZE

255,580
Robert Hill, Cheam

GALAXY FORCE

397,000
Gary Heron, Ayr
357,998
David Herbert, Bolton
304,700
Philip Wainhouse, Leeds

GANGSTER TOWN

528,200
Russell Freeman, Essex
189,750
Darren Robson, Hampshire
179,150
Paul Arthur, Surrey

GHOST HOUSE

987,950
Louise Nisbet, Northampton
986,120
Daniel Mudd, Manchester
954,400
Michelle Hines' Mum, Dorset

GHOSTBUSTERS

$464,600
Stewart Robinson, Bath

GLOBAL DEFENCE

541,160
Anthony Hoult, Walsall

HANG ON

4,825,580
Nicholas Fox, Redditch
4,532,490
Jason Cowley, Stoke-on- Trent
3,638,420
Phil Elvin, Stockport

KENSEIDEN

300,000
Jeremy Burton, Bucks
226,100
Martin Hudd, Stroud
171,600
Alan Poulter, Luton

KUNG FU KID

39,130,000
Richard Spillip, Gwent
37,570,100
Maxwell Jebson, W Yorkshire
3,155,300
Tommy O'Driscoll, Oxfordshire

LORD OF THE SWORD

1,254,000
Eric Bartlett, Dorset
710,000
Stewart Robinson, Bath
642,000
Alan Poulter, Luton

MARKSMAN SHOOTING

226,500
Samantha Williams, Upton-on-Severn

MAZE HUNTER 3D

117,900
Ken Goldup, Liverpool
94,200
Robert Hill, Cheam

MISSILE DEFENCE 3D

120,250
Robert Hill, Cheam
117,900
Ken Goldup

MY HERO

10,778,160
Steven Conreen, Manchester
1,258,100
Richard Pollard, Hull
1,192,430
Robert Watkins, Cheltenham

OUT RUN

70,162,240
Jim Spillip, Gwent
70,150,890
Darren Paul, Cheltenham
65,455,820
Philip Wainhouse, Leeds

OUT RUN 3D

30,480,140
Tim Box, Reading
30,310,460
Darren Lovell, Bristol
20,306,120
David Skyrme, Pontypool

PENGUIN LAND

21,350
Jonathan Goodall, Chepstow

PIT-POT

12,400
Abdul Mokid, Oldham

POSEIDON WARS 3D

55,830
Danny Baker, Durham

POWER STRIKE

4,646,900
S Wheeler, London
4,500,140
Steven Watson, Selby
4,447,980
Anthony Hoult, Walsall

PRO WRESTLING

555,600
D Burrows, Cheltenham
552,500
Dominic Kelly, Bolton
430,400
Robert Hill, Cheam

QUARTET

1,990,240
Darren Paul, Cheltenham
1,166,500
Steven Watson, Selby
232,700
Mark York, Northants

R-TYPE

2,528,400
D & L Watkins, London
1,292,700
Adam Barratt, Bristol
1,087,520
Pete Cramp, Clevedon

RAMBO III

89,700
Lee Walker, Stockport
80,250
Robert Watkins, Cheltenham
78,350
Gary Heron, Ayr

RAMPAGE

879,725
Robert Hart, Chapel en le Frith
869,605
Gehan Pathiraja, Brighton
866,900
Michelle Goffer, Cardiff

RASTAN

1,085,100
Alan Poulter, Luton
899,990
Anthony Malfatti, Cardiff
878,000
Adam Barratt, Bristol

RESCUE MISSION

575,600
Robert Hart, Chapel en le Frith
575,500
Simon Assender, Gwent
573,200
John Newton, Preston

SAFARI HUNT

2,289,000
Daniel Butler, Nailsea
1,723,300
Simon Riddle, Beeston
1,218,000
Robert Watkins, Cheltenham

SECRET COMMAND

1,347,380
Alan Barratt, Birmingham
1,324,200
Gavin bacon, Cheshire
1,293,000
Anthony Hoult, Walsall

SHOOTING GALLERY

127,300
Alan Barratt, Birmingham

SHINOBI

1,286,100
Adam Barratt, Bristol
989,110
Andrew Goffer, Cardiff
957,840
Steven Branch, Norwich

SPACE HARRIER

45,144,160
Matthew White, Warley
36,725,392
David Herbert, Bolton
29,238,130
Steven Conreen, Manchester

SPACE HARRIER 3D

23,410,840
Andrew Goffer, Cardiff
14,781,602
Matthew White, Warley
14,125,890
Jason Naidu, Burton-on-Trent

THE NINJA

1,390,450
Marcel Price, Swansea
485,650
Robin Milner, Birmingham
430,000
Paul Medina, London

THUNDER BLADE

7,510,260
Simon Gale, Carlisle
5,832,900
Simon Bunford, Birmingham
4,569,000
Rhodri James, Dyfed

TIME SOLDIERS

348,600
J Carpenter, Wheathamstead
296,100
John Roulston, Birmingham
248,900
Robert Vaughan, Middlesex

TRANSBOT

1,054,180
Jason Cowley, Stoke-on- Trent
312,140
Abdul Mokid, Oldham
212,580
Nicholas Lundin, London

TRAP SHOOTING

535,400
Alan Barratt, Birmingham

VIGILANTE

235,960
Robert a Nob, Stockport
199,800
Elian Matheson, Scotland
187,480
Jordan Karidian, Newport

WANTED

240,500
Darren Child, Chesterfield
165,800
Julian Fowkes, Northampton
185,000
Peter Leung, Luton

WONDERBOY

2,892, 312 Robert Newson, Bristol

1,638,730
Steve Willingham, Hull
1,198,760
Darren Paul, Cheltenham

WONDERBOY IN MONSTERLAND

8,925,670
Paul Arthur, Surrey
7,623,000
Robert Watkins, Cheltenham
7,751,970
Steven Ashworth, Oldham

ZAXXON 3D

13,500
Robert Hill, Cheam

ZILLION 2

3,175,700
Adam Barratt, Bristol
634,000
Steven Skuse, London
620,700
Graham Ashcroft, Tarleton

PAST MASTERS

GAME TEST

Rastan

PRICE
£24.95
PLAYERS
1
CONTROL
Joypad

This is a story of romance, violence, more violence and even more violence still. Happily not too weighed down with plot here are the bare essentials: you, Rastan. Them, bad guys (with or without tans remains unknown). You hang tougher than the New Kids On The Block would even attempt. What's this you hear? The King’s daughter has been kidnapped and taken to the seamier side of a land called Semia. What's this other thing you hear as well? The King is offering a reward ('Wonga!' goes up the cry). So without further ado, Rastan sharpens the old barbarian sword (which is fairly wimpy compared to the other weapons available), and trots off into battle. And the rest is history... or are you?

The path through Semia follows a twisty, turny route as Rastan walks through forests, leaps across rivers, swings on hanging vines, climbs ropes and generally 'goes' from one side of the landscape to, erm, the other. The scenery slides along in the background as Raz (to his friends) lopes along on his mission to reach the manacled queenette.

(Image caption) Uuueergh! This lion's just been sick all over me best furry boots...

There's little else to do but hack 'n' slash in this game. Probably the best way to handle all the deviants who are thrown at you along the way, is to perfect the old straight up jump and downward thrust. That gets 'em nearly every time. But this is when you are armed with the sword, the mace or (every barbarian's best friend) the axe. Once you get hold of the jolly old fire-sword you're really hacking with a vengeance, since this beast is a cross sword/blaster which lobs out death-dealing fireballs! The only trouble with these babies is that they hang around in the air - and unless you've become master of the jump 'n' dump, they'll stay there!

There are also plenty of objects to pick up along the way , such as shields, armour, medicine to give you life, bad medicine to take it away plus a variety of trinkets for extra points.

(Image caption) Thunder, Thunder, Thunder, Thunderca- oh. Wrong game. Sorry.

But valuable as these things may be, don't be tempted to hang around anywhere for too long: even though the large green chaps with the brown sticks might act like wet cabbage addicts and are good for clock-ing up points, don't stand around all day whacking ’em out. As night falls, the flying creatures come out in force (haven’t you been told about the bats and the bees?) and they are more irritating than sand in your undies. The big ones are easy enough to handle if you manage to -hem, hem - wing them in the heart! But the bees swarm around you, and afore you know it you’ll have a brand new Rastan at the start of the level again!

As you move through the different rounds, you comes across a selection of psychotic boss creatures which are a bit unimpressive, but do you over just the same. And aside from the foes already mentioned you've also got the odd falling boulder, spitting stone, poison water and collapsing bridge to contend with. Nah problem really if you just keep on moving and fighting. As a final tip, which was passed down by a wise old one-eyed stumbling Mexican plug vendor - if it moves, have at it!

VERDICT

What with the treacherous landscapes on the road to Semia, the choice of weapons (none of which last long enough) and the continual hackin' action, this one should keep you going for months to come (if it doesn't you’re cheating).

Once again, there are no pass codes which can be a pain in the bum when you've just about cracked a puzzle in the fifth round and your sister claims the telly because Young East End Neighbours' Doctors is on. There are, however, plenty of continues for a sustained attack (for as long as you can lay claim to the gogglebox!).

Rastan is really kind to the ears with some eery renditions of the coin-op soundtracks, and some definitely un-Sega sounding scores later on. Background sounds are pretty good, too, with a nice slicing sound (sickola) and some tinkly spot effects. Pity about the jumping sound, though, which sounds like someone popping a very small cork.

The graphics are of a reasonably high standard with smooth multi-way scrolling, detailed scenery and a great nightfall sequence- Shame about the titchy sprites and slooooow motion swinging vines bit.

However, all this is secondary to the gameplay which is a stormer. Stonkingly good with tons of moody atmosphere (especially after dark), loads of good puzzles as well as non-stop action. A definite thumbs up - and off if you're not skillful!

S RATINGS

GRAPHICS
88%

▲ Gorgeous views of Semia scroll past like a dream

▲ The flying gorgons look great

▼ Vine-swinging is slow and jerky

▼ End of level guardians are nothing to write home about

▼ Animation is all pretty minimal

SOUND
93%

▲ Varied soundtracks are some of the best on the Master System

▲ Effects more subtle than usual

▼ Full of beans Rastan makes a when he jumps...

DEPTH
74%

▲ Different creatures require different tactics to beat

▲ 21 contrasting scenes to battle through

▲ Huge playing areas to explore, with several routes to the end

ADDICTION
92%

▲ Mixture of physical puzzles and beat 'em up action keeps reflexes and brain ticking over

▲ Tough quest will keep you hacking well into the night

▲ Varied action and graphics sustain your interest to the very end

▲ Continue option makes sure that your sword arm doesn't seize up!

S-FACTOR
91%

A superb conversion from the arcades, and a bostin’ game in its own right. Not for anyone who is deadly dull or fancies a quiet life.


PAST MASTERS

GAME TEST

SPY VS SPY

It ain’t easy going undercover when you’ve a nose the size of Concorde. But that’s the lot of Heckle and Jackle, Mad magazine’s espionage rivals, in the comic-strip world of Spy vs Spy. H and J are in an embassy trying to get their grubbies on a bag, passport, cash, a key and some confidential documents. The kit's stashed away in secret hiding places and you’ve got to ransack the place, grab the goodies and high-tail it to the airport, ASAP.

Comic caper city is the result, as the two beak heads race around a maze of rooms, searching like crazy and trying to delay each other in the process. True to Mad form, the two set traps and come to blows in a scramble that has your eyes watching two screens at once while your fingers are firmly crossed, hoping the next thing you touch isn't booby trapped. It's like one of those Vietnam movies, with all the trip wires and unpleasant surprises.

The split-screen 3D rooms of the embassy won't win any awards for interior design, but what do you expect from two guys whose idea of fashion is monochrome trenchcoats and Trilbys? Every room is filled with furniture into which your spy can stick his proboscis to find goodies and traps. Cloak and dagger it ain’t - just meddle and pray, as you scrabble to find the stash.

(Image caption) Whitey's found a nice handbag - and it matches his coat, too!

Both H and J have a ’Trapulater' which allows them to leave the kind of surprise lying around that makes a spy’s life so much fun (and life insurance so expensive). Guide an arrow over an icon to set time bombs, electrocute doors and place zillions of other traps (well, six) to kill anyone not 'expecting the unexpected'. These then slow your opponent down by killing him, which is as good a way of slowing someone down as you'll find!

Death for a spy ain’t the terminal experience it seems for us folks with normal size snifters. A shocking episode with an electric bucket, for example, simply has your hero fluttering heavenward to join that great spy ring in the sky. The reincarnated snooper then restarts the game but with a loss of time.

A spy with the suss can find objects to diffuse traps, like scissors, pliers, brollies, etc, and if you fail to out-trap the other spy-guy then you can always resort to violence and beat him up in a beak-to-beak bout of button pressing, punching his lights out and nose in!

The trouble with this spying lark is that you’re never safe: it's not so much the finding of the loot that's important, but hanging on to them long enough to get to the airport. If your adversary jumps you on your way to the plane and wins the ensuing scrap, he nicks all your stuff. Unsporting, but effective!

There are a variety of options, all fiendishly designed to make your career as the anteating answer to James Bond as exciting and short as possible. You can hide the airport location until one spy has got the five essential objects, and vary the number of rounds and rooms.

Solo spies can opt to play the Sega, but watch out - it's one mean spy and has found it's niche in life if it ever decides to give up being a games console!

VERDICT

The innovative split screen format demands a small playing area, and thus small spies and smaller gadgets. As such it's often tricky to see what you've found while rummaging through other people’s drawers (oo-er missus, etc), and to tell just what’s going on.

(Image caption) H and J resort to personal violence to resolve their differences!

Spy vs Spy takes some getting used to - the trapulater controls are occasionally fiddly - but it's a classic two-player game, guaranteed to cause rifts between family and friends. Up-against-the-clock gameplay with surprises around each corner makes for panic and paranoia; enough to get the grey cells and sweat glands working overtime!

Playing the Sega is a laugh, but you have to be dead good or you’ll just be plain dead!

S RATINGS

GRAPHICS
66%

▲ It's real neat the way the spy laughs and walks!

▼ Interior decor is on the gaudy side with some 'orrible colour schemes

▼ Small playing area means titchy spies and a strain on the eyes

SOUND
41%

▲ Nice crunching kick sound and rat-a-tat machine gun effect

▼ Boppy jingles all the way, but little variety and not much to get your ears round

▼ Coarse spot effects rely on shrill whistles and beeps

DEPTH
67%

▲ So many traps, so many rooms -this is deviousville central!

▲ Maze layouts for the later rounds get very, very big!

▲ Plenty of game-altering options for some variety

ADDICTION
64%

▲ The chance to electrocute a friend in a two-player game is priceless

▲ Split screen fun makes for simultaneous panic

▼ Rather tiresome for the solo spy: play the Sega and lose - repeatedly

▼ Once sussed, the action heads toward monotonous fairly quickly

S-FACTOR
68%

Unusual gameplay which is reasonably good fun for two head-hunting enemies, but not terribly entertaining for the solo spy.


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S the Sega master mag

BACK ISSUES

If you missed out on the early issues of S, back issues are now available for the measly sum of £1.50 per copy (£1.25 cover price plus 25p p & p).

Issue 1 Reviews of Wonderboy III, Wanted and Casino Games. What's inside your Sega. Tony Takoushi's Top Ten. Tips for the ten best-selling games. Super Monaco Grand Prix at the arcades. Full players' guide to Y's: The Vanished Omens.

Issue 2 Reviews of Spellcaster, Tennis Ace, Cloud Master, American Baseball, American Pro Football, Alex Kidd: High-Tech World and Ghostbusters. A look at Sega's system 24 coin-op, plus previews of E-SWAT and Line Of Fire. The first half of a full solution to Phantasy Star. Xmas goodies.

Issue 3 Reviews of Galaxy Force, Psycho Fox, Dead Angle, Dynamite Dux and Basketball Nightmare. Conclusion of Phantasy Star guide. E-SWAT players' guide. Tips on Alex Kidd In Miracle World, R-Type, Choplifter and Space Harrier.

Issue 4 Reviews of Golden Axe and Scramble Spirits. Las Vegas CES show report. Past Masters reviews of R-Type and Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars. Full players' guide to Wonderboy III and Alex Kidd: High-Tech World.

Issue 5 Reviews of Assault City, RC Grand Prix and Slap Shoot. Past Masters reviews of Alien Syndrome, Space Harrier and Power Strike. S checks out the first games to be coded in Britain. Full players' guide to Golvellius and Miracle Warriors!

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