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29th August 1997
In celebration of the release of Zork Grand Inquisitor, the first of the new Zork trilogy, in November, Activision has made the original text adventures, Zork I, Zork II and Zork III available for download from the Activision website http://www.activision.com/
Zork I and Zork II are currently available, and Zork III will be available in September. The legendary text adventures engaged legions of gamers in a witty command and response adventure through the white house and into the fantastic world of caverns, crawlspaces, killer trolls, sorcerers and misty moors of the Zork universe.
The new Zork trilogy will include Zork Grand Inquisitor, which should be released this November, followed by the as-yet-unnamed Zork Trilogy II and Zork Trilogy III. This marks the first time that the stories for three Zork games will be interconnected since the release of Zork I, Zork II and Zork III 19 years ago.
In Zork Grand Inquisitor hits retail shelves players must join forces with the magic resistance and the disembodied spirit of a Dungeon Master to battle the Grand Inquisitor's regime. Players will time-travel back to three periods of Zork history, recover three magical treasures - the SKULL OF YORUK, the CUBE OF FOUNDATION and the COCONUT OF QUENDOR and ultimately restore magic to present day Zork.
In Zork Trilogy II, the player assumes control of the Underground and must protect it from hordes of treasure hungry adventurers, while also quelling a Granola Rebellion. Following in Zork Trilogy III, the Brog and the player lead the battle between the Eastlands (the good guys) and the Westlands (the bad guys) in the epic conclusion that spans the entire Zork universe.
Revolution Software have announced that the sequal to Broken Sword, called 'Broken Sword - The Smoking Mirror' will be published by Virgin Interactive on 30th September 1997. The Sony Playstation version will be available in November 1997.
'Broken Sword - The Smoking Mirror' continues the adventures of George Stobbart and his girlfriend Nicole Collard. This time they are "on a journey of power, corruption and Armageddon and into the heart of an ancient darkness. Torment, terror, sacrificial rituals and bloody massacre are unearthed beneath a veil of Mayan mystery."
Once again the music is played by a live orchestra, with the score composed and conducted by Barrington Pheloung.
Gameplay is enhanced with incredible technology which includes, for the first time in an adventure game, transparency effects (steam, glass effects), extensive use of shadows on characters, real time anti-aliasing, and geometric sprite transformation.
Outpost 2: Divided Destiny is a real-time strategy/action/city-building game with a science fiction twist. The last survivors of the human race have split into two colonies competing for sparse resources in unstable environment.
Your task is to build an Eden colony and manage its resources. While doing so you must fend off natural disasters and the increasingly aggressive splinter colony, Plymouth.
22nd August 1997
Westwood Studios has announced the availability of an upgrade for Command & Conquer Red Alert and Counterstrike. The upgrade is available at Westwood's Web site (www.westwood.com). http://www.westwood.com
The upgrade includes new functions that provide greater compatibility across Local Area Networks and modem connections, as well as better error handling. In addition, an advanced modem setting dialog box has been added for greater player control. The upgrade will also provide new gameplay features such as players no longer being able to ally with the computer, greater randomness for the starting points for the multiplayer maps, a multiplayer save game function including emergency save over network and modem play, and the ability to slow down unit build rates in Internet play, thus allowing for a variety of new strategies and tactics.
Incidentally did you know that Counterstrike, the first official expansion disc for Command & Conquer Red Alert, has become the fastest selling add-on pack in computer gaming history. Counterstrike has sold over 650,000 units worldwide since its release in April.
IBM challenged Kasparov to a game of chess and now Microsoft has challenged pro golfer Mark Brooks, the defending PGA Champion to a Golf 3.0 Tournament.
The face-off occurred during the PGA Championship festivities at Winged Foot Golf Course. CBS golf announcer Jim Nantz called the dramatic action as "Mike R. Soft," head pro in the Microsoft Golf 3.0 game, broke a tie with a superbly placed shot during the closest-to-the-pin playoff, landing the ball just a few feet from the flag. Brooks, the 1996 PGA Championship winner, played "Soft" shot-for-shot throughout the three-hole Golf 3.0 tournament, finally forcing a playoff by sinking a 20-foot putt for par on the final hole.
15th August 1997
Microsoft have announced that the latest version of their Flight Simulator, FS 98, will go on sale in the UK on Thursday 25 September at a cost of £49.99 including VAT. Included with FS 98 is a voucher which will entitle existing FS users to £10 cash back.
Strangely FS 98 is expected to be available in the USA about a week later.
Microsoft will also be making the MS SideWinder Precision Pro joystick available on the 25th September at an Anticipated Street Price, ASP of £59.99. The Force Feedback version of the joystick is expected in early November at £129.99 ASP. Westwood has announced that the second official missions disk for Red Alert, Command & Conquer Red Alert, The Aftermath will be available this September.
A new European Concept Track has been released for XCar, the Racing Simulation game which was recently released by Bethesda Softworks. What makes XCar different from other reaching simulations is the amount of customisation which can be done to the cars.
Racers can customise their car from dozens of components, including engine, tires, suspension, steering, and aerodynamics. Players can tailor their engines for higher top speeds, test methanol fuel for explosive acceleration or alter their suspensions for hard or loose handling. Telemetry data can also be used to determine optimal car performance in preparation for qualifying. While assembling the car, the vehicle can be tested on one of four test tracks.
For more information see http://www.xcar.com
The Phantom Council is the judicial system of the future. After the council has handed down a guilty verdict on a planet, or its people, swift and brutal action is taken. The council does not rule on single people; only countries, their citizens and planets are judged. As the number one Phantom pilot, Jax, you provide the bulk of the verdicts, striking down cities and structures and rescuing P.O.W. personnel who are still captive long after the wars of the system have ended.
Fire Fight has a total of 18 single player missions that take you through 5 different worlds. These worlds include Ch'ok,the ice world, Jarventia, the jungle planet, Darius, the barren wastelands , and the tech world, Argus High. Your mission objectives will include Rescue, Reconnaissance, Seek and Destroy, and much more.
Fire Fight supports up to four players over Windows 95 IPX/TCP networks and two players by modem in two uniquely different games: Fire Fight and Base Building.
Upgrades for the registered version and a shareware version of Fire Fight v1.2 have been released and are available for download at http://www.epicgames.com/what snew.htm
LucasArts Entertainment Company has announced that Volume III of the LucasArts Archives will be released this autumn. Volume III will contain the hit Star Wars game, Dark Forces, the legendary graphic adventures The Dig and Full Throttle, and Monkey Island Madness, which combines full versions of The Secret of Monkey Island , Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge and a playable demo of soon-to-be-released The Curse of Monkey Island. Rounding out the collection is LucasArts' first sim game, Afterlife and The LucasArts Super Sampler 2.
Dark Forces is a first-person action game executed in richly detailed 3D environments. The Dig is a graphic adventure about a team of space explorers who become stranded on an alien planet. As they search for a way back to Earth their eye-opening encounters with an alien civilisation forever change their lives.
In Full Throttle, players take on the persona of Ben, a hard-core biker and leader of a motorcycle gang who is framed for a murder. Separated from his gang and on the run from the law, Ben must hunt down the true killer and clear his name.
Monkey Island Madness includes full versions of the award-winning classics, The Secret of Monkey Island (1990) and Monkey Island 2:LeChuck's Revenge (1991), plus a playable demo The Curse of Monkey Island.
Afterlife is an off-beat and challenging game simulation game in which players build and maintain that most cherished ethereal acreage, Heaven and Hell. Afterlife turns conventional simulations upside down as players assume the role of regional manager of an alien society's Great Beyond. As souls begin to migrate, players manage the souls' arrival by zoning and developing areas for the seven deadly sins and their respective virtues.
The LucasArts Super Sampler 2 includes playable demos of Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, Outlaws, Yoda Stories and Indiana Jones and His Desktop Adventures.
8th August 1997
Westwood has announced that the second official missions disk for Red Alert, Command & Conquer Red Alert, The Aftermath will be available this September.
In The Aftermath, gamers will be able to play 18 all-new missions in the battle of the Allies versus the Soviets and wage multiplayer ware on 100 new maps. The game will feature seven new units that can play in solo and multiplayer games including the Chronosphere Tank, Demolition Truck, Tesla Tank, Missile Sub, Shock Troopers and the M.A.D. Tank. Additional features include larger multiplayer maps, eight new music tracks, and additional new units available for solo play missions.
The Aftermath should be available at all major software and video game outlets. The product will also be able to be ordered directly from Westwood via the company's Web Site http://www.westwood.com
Westwood Studios will be showing three games at the 30th annual Gen Con Game Fair in Milwaukee. The games, - Lands of Lore Guardians of Destiny, Command & Conquer Sole Survivor and Blade Runner - are all due for release this autumn.
Lands of Lore Guardians of Destiny is a role-playing game in the tradition of the Eye of the Beholder series and Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos. It has over 120 hours of gameplay, three hours of cinematic movies, and Hollywood stars Julie Newmar and Vincent Schiavelli.
Players will get a whole new look at the Command and Conquer universe in Sole Survivor. Instead of commanding vast armies and conquering the world, Sole Survivor players get to strap on their gear and climb onto the battlefield personally, using the Internet to play against up to 50 other soldiers in a game of kill-or-be-killed, where the last man standing is crowned king of the battlefield.
In Blade Runner, you will get to take on the role of an actual Blade Runner in search of Replicants, androids that attempt to pass themselves as humans. The player will choose whether to uncover the Replicants' conspiracy and hunt down rouge Replicants, or become a sympathiser and help the Replicants find the missing DNA information that will extend their short life span.
SciTech Software, Inc. has announced it has licensed its proprietary SVGA device driver technology to Acclaim Entertainment for distribution with X-Men: Children of the Atom.
The technology licensed by Acclaim Entertainment is based on SciTech Display Doctor, the universal graphics card utility. This technology automatically detects a user's installed SVGA graphics hardware and upgrades it to the latest industry standards.
Tom Ryan, Director of Marketing for SciTech Software, said "By including SciTech's technology, software developers don't have to compromise their game design to make up for varying graphics hardware. Short of purchasing new hardware, many PC users would be unable to run today's graphics intensive software programs like X-Men, Children of the Atom without SciTech's technology."
CHASM: The Rift, a 3D shooter, is to be released this October by GT Interactive Software Corp. The game has three episodes comprising of fifteen levels and eight Deathmatch multiplayer levels. The battle begins as gamers are hurled into a horrific hellhole with time channels that have formed in the earth's atmosphere, turning once normal life forms into grotesque fighting mutations. As part of a special command unit, players must not only ward off and eradicate gruesome beasts, but also demolish the time channels to rid the earth of these deadly mutations.
5th August 1997
Sierra has just announced that a Soundtrack CD of Dragon Fire's music will be offered as a separate product in September, in anticipation of the game's release in October. This CD will feature full length, linear versions of all the game's orchestral compositions (as opposed to the nodal, looping versions you'll primarily hear in the game). In addition all the room music will also be included, and many pieces will benefit from the overdubbing of live instruments. There will be a title song, plus two other tunes featuring a "mystery" vocalist. As if all this weren't enough, the Soundtrack CD will also include (at no extra cost) a highly polished Dragon Fire demo.
The game itself is still on schedule but will require, at least, a P/90 with 16 Mb of Ram, a quad speed CD and 50 Mb of hard disk space. If you want to make use of the multiplayer feature you will need a to up the processor to a P/133.
Mac users will need a Power PC, 80mhz, 16meg, 4XCD-ROM, sys 7.6, 50meg HD.
A demo version should be available on September 15 and will be part of the Quest for Glory Collection CD. It will also be available for sale direct through Sierra On-Line, Inc. or via other products. The Demo CD will include a sample of the soundtrack. This will also be a single hybrid CD containing PC Win95/PowerMac and Redbook Audio for your Audio CD player. A slimmed down 30 meg version will also be available upon QG5's release.
It seems that Take-Two Interactive Software has acquired GameTek's European sales and distribution office (GameTek UK, Ltd.) and Alternative Reality Technologies, Inc., a Canadian development studio. Take-Two has also received the worldwide distribution rights to several Game Boy titles and the Nintendo 64 versions of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, as well as various upcoming titles including the highly anticipated CD-ROM game, Dark Colony.
Take-Two's agreement with GameTek also includes the acquisition of Alternative Reality Technologies, Inc., an Ontario, Canada based development facility. Through this arrangement, Take-Two will possess a new North American creative studio as well as the rights to the real-time strategy game, Dark Colony, due out in September 1997. Dark Colony will be distributed by Strategic Simulations, Inc. in the United States and by Take-Two in Europe.
1st August 1997
Activision and avalon hill ink deal to continue legendary civilization Strategy Game Series
Computer Game Publisher Acquires Worldwide, Exclusive Rights to Future Civilization Interactive Titles.
London - August 1, 1997 - Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) has acquired worldwide rights to exclusively develop and publish future interactive titles based on Avalon Hill Game Company's classic Civilization strategy board game. According to PC Data, Civilization computer games based on the best-selling board game have sold nearly one million copies to date in North America. Under the terms of the agreement, Activision obtained long-term rights to produce an unlimited number of Civilization interactive games.
"Civilization is one of the most original and enduring game designs ever created, as well as one of the most recognised brand names in the industry," said Bob Dewar, Senior Vice President International, Activision, Inc. "Activision's production experience and technical expertise will help ensure that Civilization will remain a benchmark for computer gaming into the future."
"This agreement recognises Avalon Hill for its pioneering efforts in multiplayer and empire building simulations," said Jackson Dott, President of Avalon Hill.
In Civilization, players begin with a single, small population which they must strategically cultivate into a mighty civilization. The game challenges players to overcome such catastrophes as volcanoes, famine and civil war as they build the military, political, scientific and artistic strength of their population into the most advanced empire in the world.
Activision, Inc. is a publicly held developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software for Microsoft Windows and MS-DOS compatible, Macintosh and other computers, as well as Sony PlayStation, Sega and Nintendo game systems. Headquartered in Los Angeles with offices in the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Australia. Activision's World Wide Web site is located at http://www.activision.com
The statements contained in this release that are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements." The company cautions readers of this press release that a number of important factors could cause Activision's actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in any such forward-looking statements. These important factors, and other factors that could affect Activision, are described in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1997, which was filed with the United States Security and Exchange Commission. Readers of this press release are referred to such filings.
Take 2 are scheduled to release two new games later on this year. The first of these is Black Dahlia, an adventure mystery, while the second, Jetfighter: Full Burn, is a flight simulator.
Black Dahlia is set in the 1940s in the US and Europe and intertwines the famed Torso Slayings of Cleveland with the unsolved "Black Dahlia" murder of Los Angeles. According to this here press release this game "plunges the player into a world of horror and intrigue as the quest to prevent powerful magic from falling into the wrong hands ensues." It will star Dennis Hopper and Teri Garr and is expected to come on no less than 6 CDs.
Black Dahlia is expected to release this autumn.
Later in the year the next chapter in the Jetfighter series, Jetfighter: Full Burn should be released. This game is set in an environmental and political conflict in the year 2006 and allows the player to fly for either the US or Russia, as well as to choose which aircraft and weapons to charter as he/she careens over the icy terrain of Scandinavia. In addition Jetfighter: Full Burn will offer multi-player support that will include head to head, player vs. computer and multi-player campaigns accommodating up to eight participants.
Act Labs have disclosed that their upcoming driving wheel, the Act Labs RS, will utilise a cartridge feature allowing the same wheel on the PC, PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn and other upcoming platforms.
The RS will house a slot in its base for removable cartridges. As a result, the wheel can handle cross-platform gaming with just the switch of a cartridge. One cartridge will be supplied with the wheel, others will be available separately.
The Force RS, Act Labs' force feedback racing system, will also take advantage of cartridge technology, allowing for easy upgrades as new force feedback options are made available.
Time Warner's sports Web site has begun registering users for its free online fantasy sports program, SportSim. SportSim will kick-off its first season with fantasy (American) football on August 31, followed by fantasy basketball later in 1997, and fantasy golf and hockey in 1998. Players can also compete for weekly prizes in a variety of challenging mini-games, ranging from sports trivia to forecasting a superstar's performance.
Players can create an initial fantasy sports team, and access all of SportSim's features and content, at no cost; additional teams can be purchased for $19.95 each. All SportSim users will also have one-click access to CNNSI.com's breaking sports news, up-to-the-minute stats and scores.
To register go to Sandbox Entertainment's web site http://www.sand box.net/sportsim/pub-doc/home.html
Dark Angael is a new side scrolling game which "combines the intense pace of classic shooters with the story-telling ability of graphic adventures." It will also provide full Internet multiplayer support for up to eight simultaneous players.
The game itself is set within the mythical Avalon Cathedral which comprises twenty-seven interconnected levels that create a seamless environment. The player is able to explore the surrounding graveyard, various tombs, crypts, catacombs, and towers that make up the non-linear world. Dark Angael features many weapons, super powers, and a unique inventory system. In addition, Dark Angael has over a dozen characters that the player can converse with to gather clues and insights into various puzzles.
In addition to the single player game, Dark Angael features eight specially designed Deathmatch multiplayer arenas. Allowing up to eight simultaneous players, the arenas contain booby traps, weapons, and powerups which keep the action intense. Dark Angael Deathmatch is quite different from other deathmatch games thanks to the side-scrolling engine.
The shareware version of Dark Angael, containing single and multiplayer levels, will be released in early August and will be available at the Vicarious Visions website at www.vvisions.com. Screenshots, storyline, soundtrack samples, and information on other games in development is also available at this site. The full version of Dark Angael will be released shortly after the shareware version.
Megamedia is looking for beta testers for their upcoming Ancient Ships game for Windows 95.
Ancient Ships allows you to command navies that consist of ancient ships to fight not only with enemy ships, but also with creatures that we know from ancient myths. 3D cut-scenes are used to set the mood and atmosphere of the era, immersing you in the trials and tribulations of the times. You can play against either the computer or up to 3 other human players over a LAN or the Internet. An integrated Scenario Editor lets you customise the game to your own liking.
Beta testing will start on August 10th. To apply go to www.megamedia.com.
Dave Wadler (Game-Over! News Editor)