3D DeathchasePosted on May 11th, 2009 1 comment
This is page 8 of issue one (February ’84) of Crash, the first really “modern” video game magazine, and it happens to be the very first review they ever printed. Naturally, it’s for 3D Deathchase, a late-’83 game that ZX Spectrum fans hold in such high regard that Your Sinclair called it the “best Speccy game ever” in a 1992 feature. I can sorta dig it. Certainly it’s the best game reviewed in this issue, and it’s a classic example of the pre-Atari-shock “play forever” action genre — gradually increasing challenge, simple rules, just enough visual splendor to keep your attention, a just-one-more-game addiction level (98%, if this review’s to be believed) that’s out of sight. Yes, even today. It’s particularly amazing because it’s only 16K long; if you were too cheap for a 48K Speccy model in ’83, no worries.
Apparently 3D Deathchase is set in the year 2501. North America is lookin’ pretty good, huh?
This review pretty well exemplifies how Crash handled reviews for the first few years — description of the game, then two or three paragraphs with criticism from different reviewers. At this point, Roger Kean, Oliver Frey, and Matthew Uffindell were the entire editorial team. I don’t know how they did it.
You can also see how the review gives you a very quick outline of how to control the game. They never said this outright (and I think denied it when called out on it in a letter several months after), but I’m sure this was meant to be a service for readers who got their Speccy games exclusively from copied C-60 tapes passed around during lunch break.
My brother Phil Churchyard became one of the regular Crash magazine game hackers. I still have fun writing Speccy emulators, recently one that runs on the XBOX.
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