Submitted by Dan Dooré on Monday, May 21, 2018 - 23:17.
|Magazine||Sam's Paging System Explained|
|Letters||Lemmings Reviewed (Again)|
|Dinosorcerer||Lars Persson||Identi-Kit Dinosaurs Anyone?|
|Captain Comic||Lars Persson||Platform-Type Game|
|Sam A-Z||Matt Round||Misc Bits Of Helpful Sam Info|
|Driver Tweaks||Matt Round||Enhance Your DRiVER Environment|
|Net||Tim Paveley||Text Pinched Off The Internet|
|E-Tunes||Jon Binnie||Music Done On E-Tracker|
|Blob||David Lewis||Similar To Manic Miner|
|Missile Base||Andrew Collier||Stop Aliens Abducting Your People|
|Tape Labeller||Andrew Collier||For A Nice Neat Tape Collection|
|Crossword||Colin Anderton||Test Your Knowledge Of Things Coupe!|
|Polygons||Ben Hockley||Polygon-Drawing Procedures|
BM Editorial Hello once again, and I hope you all had a good Easter. For myself it was, predictably, a time of much over-eating (chocolate - quel surprise) and of staying in bed until noon. Luxury. I did think of getting myself super-fit and Gladiator- esque this Easter, and in fact I did make it to the gym; once. On the first day of the holiday, there we were, 10 am, bench pressing and sit-upping like never before. An auspicious start, but of course it couldn't last. Ah well. I will go again, sometime. Maybe next term. Maybe in the summer. Maybe in 4th year. I hear 40 is a good age to start weight training... The uni gym's pretty good too, and only 25p an hour. What a bargain. Colin's off on his travels, so you may have a description of them to look forward to in FRED 45. I know I can't wait to get the sordid details off him. I get the full, uncensored version though, while you lot are only allowed the printable stuff! I'll have to accompany him on these travels sometime. Summer. Yes. I *will* be there! BM Editorial If you sent off an order in the last week of March or first week of April, don't worry about the delay. Colin's being "in communicado" (not a bad Marillion song that) means that the business side of things will be not quite as promptly dealt with as usual. The end of term saw a spell of frantic activity as exams loomed, and I can now proudly announce that I passed them. Some of them anyway: the two Maths papers and one of the Computing papers. I don't know about Psychology yet, and don't much care to be brutally honest. The results of the other Computing one also remain to be posted, and I have to say I'm not looking forward to seeing them. That was the nasty electronics part of the course which is not nice. I know you all lose a lot of sleep worrying about these things, so now at least you're out of your misery. We're still looking for our replacement editor, but more about that later on. BM News Erm, this could be difficult. As far as I know, nothing remotely newsworthy has happened since last month. Of course, there could be a small envelope behind Colin's door containing an order of 50,000 SAMs but let's face it - it's hardly likely. One thing which will sadden some readers more than others is the death of Kurt Cobain, lead singer with the biggest band in the world, Nirvana. Kurt has apparently committed suicide at the beginning of April. This in itself will come as nothing new to Nirvana fans though, who I'm sure have heard all about it by now. This is a huge loss not only to his family and friends, but to music lovers the world over. It may not mean an awful lot, I'm sure I speak for a lot of us when I say he will be missed. Kurt was the spokesman, however reluctantly and unintentionally, for an entire culture, and is without doubt irreplacable. BM Colin's Bit Colin is of course on his travels and so is unable to say much in FRED. He's probably got severe slurring of the speech in the everyday sense as well, but let's not dwell on the fact. In his absence, here's a word or two from Paul Crompton on the subject of the SAM's paging system. Take it away, Paul! Sam paging system ----------------- 3 ports are used used on a sam without a meg upgrade. These are the Lower Memory Page Register (LMPR), Higher Memory Page Register (HMPR) and Video Memory Page Register. All 3 ports can be written to or read from to get the current status. The way I shall describe bits are Bit 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Value 1 2 4 8 16 32 64 128 and not, as some people use bit 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Value 128 64 32 16 8 4 2 1 LMPR ---- This is accessed from port 250 and is set as follows. bits Description 0-4 Page in lower memory (0-31), the first page is in section 0 and the following page is in section 1, if page 31 is in section 0 then page 0 appears in section 1 (as in basic) 5 If reset then page 0 is occupied by ROM 0 and if reset page 0 is occupied by ram 6 If reset then page 3 is occupied by ram and if set page 3 is occupied by ROM 1 7 If reset then page 0 can be written to if ram is there if set then page 0 can't be written to so it acts like a rom even if ram is paged in. (This is mainly used in speccy emulators) HMPR ---- This is accessed from port 251 and is set as follows. bits Description 0-4 Page in upper memory (similer to LMPR) 6-5 These decide which colour set is used in mode 3. If it is 00 then palette positions 0-3 are used, if 01 then 4-7 are used, if 10 then 8-11 are used and if 11 then 12-15 are uses 7 If this bit is reset then internal memory is used if it is reset then external memory is used (this is explained after VMPR). VMPR ---- This is accessed from port 252 and is set as follows. bits Description 0-4 Page that screen is in (modes 3 and 4 bit 0 is ignored but in modes 1 and 2 any page can be used. mode 2 uses 6K at the beginning of the page for the picture as in mode 1 but the 6K for attributes are stored 8K into the page leaving a 2K gap in the middle and 2K at the end) 6-5 these decide the screen mode - 00 is mode 1, 01 is mode 2, 10 is mode 3 and 11 is mode 4 7 This is used to send and receive data down the midi port (I think) If bit 7 is set for HMPR then external memory is used this is controlled by ports 128 and 129. Port 128 controls section 2 and port 129 controls section 3. These ports are set as follows bits Description 0-5 This describes which 16K page is used (0-63) 6-7 This describes which meg unit is used. If you use external memory you should check which units are installed before using. If you call a routine from basic and you wish to return make sure you store the LMPR, VMPR the stack pointer, put sam in interrupt mode 1 and enable interrupts. Other useful information ------------------------ When sam is reset all then memory ports are set to 0 so if you put a mode 1 picture in page 0 then it will appear when the sam is reset. It is useful also to trap the break button at the back of sam. All this does is execute an NMI to disable the button. Place a RETN instruction at memory location 102. This returns interrupts to the state they were in and returns to the interrupted program. If you put another routine there instead then you will also have to look out for multiple interrupts as the NMI button sends more than one. To change palette colours set the register BC to 248+256*colour position, set the A register to the new palette colour then just OUT (C),A. In modes 2,3 and 4 you can disable the screen by setting bit 7 of port 254. This allows code to run at full speed because there is no memory contention also if mode one is used this provides more memory contention then the other modes and can not be disabled. This was to make it easier to emulate the speccy and also stops speccy programs that set bit 7 from disabling the screen. In most Speccy emulators if you have problems loading from tape you can usually enter OUT 250,35:POKE 1512,tape speed:OUT 250,163 from basic. The tape speed was originally 22 in the speccy but will need increasing for the sam (a value between 26 and 30 is probably the best). If you use a program that saves to tape and the save routine has not been changed you wil have to set the tape load speed to about 6 to load it back. Anyway time to finish this file. If anybody has any problems then send them to me and I'll see what I can do. I am not that good at Z80 as I only recently started learning but I could probably find out anything I don't know and it will also help me to leaan more. I will also be willing to answer any other questions such as BASIC queries etc, if I can. I would also be Grateful if anyone with any tips could send them to me. My address is: [redacted] BM Bummer! People - I am not happy. I am very UN-happy. Why? I shall explain... Just as I was writing the credits page, another issue finally finished, I remember "Goodfellas" was on. So I frantically got a video tape out, gave a small prayer that there was nothing important on it, and pressed the ol' RECORD button. Then, I put it on the telly's video channel to check it was recording the right channel (it occasionally doesn't, which can be VERY annoying. Okay it's my fault, but that's not the point). Naturally, I got kind of engrossed watching it, and switched the SAM off to stop the interference on the screen. I think you can guess which important disc-related action I forgot to do...? Yes. That's right. And now I've got to write half the magazine again. Great. So please forgive me if I sound a little bit eager to get it over with. AAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!! *** This page is sponsored by the campaign for *** *** compulsory backups in word processors in *** *** word processors and other applications. *** BM Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow If you were unlucky enough or, dare I say it, daft enough, to miss last month's FRED, then you will not know that my time has come - I'm giving up my FREDitor-ship. The reason for this is that university work is going to take up even more of my time next year. As it's been hard enough this year I decided I should give Colin ample warning of my departure. And last month was it. So we're now looking for a brand new editor. We've had a few applicants so far, but we're far from decided. If you think you've got what it takes - that is, you're good (not necessarily stunning, but you should be fairly capable) at English, programming (up to about the standards of our main menu programs) and basically you enjoy your SAM - then get in touch, explaining why you are the ideal candidate for the job. Send applications to the usual FRED address. Mark them "Attempt to replace the godlike and wonderful Brian" if you like. It'll make me happy if not much else. Although it may get on Colin's nerves too, which is an added bonus I suppose! BM Let's Do It One More Time! Okay, you know the score by now: April 30th, Gloucester, the SAM and Spectrum show. Unless you are a goldfish with a memory span of 7 seconds, you cannot *possibly* be unaware of this show. It will in all probability be a SAM show with a few Speccy related things, so PLEASE go! These shows could become regular events where SAMmers can speak to fellow SAMers, see demos of the latest software, get excellent discounts and of course put faces to the names they've heard all about but never met. Stefan Drissen for example - he'll be there, and if he can journey over from the Netherlands, there's no excuse for those of us in the UK not to be able to get there! There will actually be about a dozen Euro-SAMmers there, so you can even get in a bit of practice for your German GCSE. (They'll kill me for that. After 5 minutes of being spoken to in pigeon-German they'll be out for blood! Probably. I would be!) This is the last time you'll be asked to go, at least. Next month you'll have the show report to contend with! Phone Colin if you're at all unsure about where to go. He'll send you a map. BM Competition! Win - a £500 music system! Yes, to commemorate my passing my Maths exams, we're offering YOU the chance to walk away with a superb hifi system valued at £499.99. All you have to do is answer the following simple question, and send your answer to FRED before the 30th April. The winner will be announced at the show. Q: 0 to the power 0 - discuss the meaning of this expression RULES: 1:- Answers must be in essay form, and must be no less than 50,000 words. Due to the nature of this competition, answers must be handwritten, in the cyrillic alphabet, with a different coloured pencil for each character (the same colour may be used more than once, but not consecutively). 2:- The publisher reserves the right to offer alternative prizes of a value not necessarily equal to that of the prize indicated. BM Disc Contents FRED 44 is a right old muddle of material. There are the obligatory Gamesmaster games, plus the customary utility, and a number of things which can only be described as "miscellaneous." Take DINOSORCERER, sent in by NONAME for example. (Incidentally, Mr NONAME - unless we discover your real name, it's going to be extremely difficult to pay you for your contributions!). This is a program which allows you to quickly and easily design your very own mix n match dinosaurs, and then save them as SCREEN$ files or print them out. There are literally thousands of different combinations of dinosaur possible, so you're not likely to run out of possibilities for a good couple of days. CAPTAIN COMIC is another PC conversion by NONAME (who's still not getting paid until he reveals his true ID). This is an arcade adventure along the lines of Ghosts N Goblins. Sort of. It's a colossal game, and should keep you occupied for ages. There's an instruction file to explain things further, although it's an easy enough game to get into. Thanks for these excellent conversions, NONAME. BM Disc Contents SAM A-Z is Matt Round's first contribution to FRED 44, and ccontains a selection of details, both trivial and essential, about the SAM. Read and learn. The viewing program is a new one of Matt's own design, and we're thinking about using to replace the current viewer which people are apparently getting a bit sick of. Let us know how you stand on this issue. Should be start using Matt's viewer? Using Matt's system is hardly the most taxing of activities. Select a topic from the menu, using cursors and RETURN, and then use those same keys to click on the various arrows and icons at the bottom. Clicking on the up arrow takes you back to the contents page from which you can quit back to the main menu. I still prefer the current viewer, but that's just my preference. We've had a lot of people saying they don't like the colours and can't change them. To them I say simply "?!" because if you press the CNTRL key, lo and behold - a colours menu appears! Where's the problem?! BM Disc Contents DRIVER TWEAKS is the other Matt Round contribution, and it allows you to customise your Driver. Not having a copy of Driver, I haven't been able to see what it looks like, but hey, this IS Matt Round we're talking about - it's hardly going to be crap, is it! There's an instruction file to reveal all, and the files are stored together on the disc so you shouldn't have any problems with it. If you do, then tough. We don't care. [Slap! - Colin's predicted reaction] Erm no, if you have problems, write in saying what's going wrong and we'll help you out. That okay Colin? [No slap] Phew. NET contains some humorous text files which I think were sent to me by Tim Paveley (whose name has two Es in it. Slappy wristy time, again. I forgot about the 2nd one last time I mentioned him). These are my favourite part of this issue of FRED, mainly because half my holiday has been spent converting these things over to Outwrite format. Sheesh! What a job. The Outwrite method is great for the old PRINT MEM$ caper, but it has the drawback of being utterly utterly non-standard. RSI here I come! BM Disc Contents E-TUNES this issue have been composed by Jon Binnie; the SAM's answer to the Aphex Twin? (note: if you don't know who the Miggins Aphex Twin is, don't worry. He's just a bloke who writes very other-wordly "music"). PLUS! I even wrote a half-decent scrolly for ya! BLOB is a frighteningly Manic Miner-ish game by David Lewis. This takes a heck of a lot of getting used to, but believe me, it's worth the effort. I'll buy a pint for anybody who manages to complete the first level in under 10 games (provided video camera proof, AND solicitor's and doctor's signatures are sent). Again, I believe Mr Lewis has a text file explaining the game for you to peruse at your leisure. MISSILE BASE is a game by Andrew Collier which just goes to show that if you send us the same thing every week for six months we'll publish it eventually! Of course, had we received another issue of SCUM, this wouldn't have been included, but... No sorry, Andrew, just trying to wind you up a bit! BM Disc Contents Missile Base is another item which rodent owners will be especially delighted with, but us keyboarders are far from ignored. The game is a shoot em up, and you must shoot the alien scum in order to stop them from nicking the populace from your home planet (which I'd assume is Earth, but you never know...). Move the cross hair about the screen and let fly with one of your three weapons (oo-er missus!) which are kept on the left, right and centre of the screens. I strongly recommend redefining your own keys because I don't have a clue what the default ones are! Be warned that if you keep playing for more than 5 minutes, the SAM's memory chips melt. This only applies if you are holding a blowtorch to the chips whilst playing though, so don't do that. TAPE LABELLER is another program by Andrew Collier, which should keep him off our backs for a couple of months. BM Disc Contents I get the distinct impression that Andrew has a mouse because, yes, this is another mouse-utilising proggy. Again keyboarders are catered for, but we lose out in the ease-of-use stakes somewhat. Actually I DID have a mouse, but Colin repossessed it because I called him a turnip and painted his SAM green. Downer. Anyway, to learn more about this fascinating program, zoom the cursor up to the top left of the screen and either whack your left rat button or press CNTRL (hold them down, in fact) to get the pull down menu. From there, choose the ABOUT item (release the key/rat button) to become enlightened. Oh, the program prints cassette labels, by the way... BITS N BOBS suffers from our quality-not-quantity policy this month, and has but two items on it. The first is a crossword puzzle about our old friend SAM, and is an impressive example of how to spell Colin Macdonald's name wrong. The answer to 1 across is only correct if you miss out the first "a" in Colin's surname, hint hint. Also, pretend that Rod Hull's surname begins with "s" and you can't go wrong... BM Disc Contents The second item in an ever so truncated BNB is a shape drawer which lets you draw filled circles, boxes and triangles with the greatest of ease. There's also a semi-trippy demonstration for added entertainment. Smart! SCREENS contains, believe it or not, some screens. We thought we'd have a bit of a change in this section and show you some screens. It's a radical move, but I think it might catch on. Yes, there are some screens to view, and they're all by Brian Harriman. Except for the last one, the Mickey Mouse one, which was done by G Williams. Mickey Mouse is strictly speaking copyright to Disney, but we don't care. We like to live on the edge, and despite the fact that Big D have hundreds of spies in the SAM market we're going ahead and using the screen. ADVERTS contains the usual selection of explicitly sexual and violent images which we've been using for the past six months. Since nobody looks through them anyway, who's going to complain? BM Last Page Before I go, I'd like to give a massive apology to those who were expecting to see a FRED team entered in the USA World Cup this summer. Despite a valiant effort, Colin and myself were unable to spare the time to (A) become an independent nation, (B) form a footy team, or (C) arrange any qualifying matches. This does not mean that our plans for glory have been abandoned, it just means we're going to have resort to becoming a world class rugby team instead. Next, we regret to inform you that the upcoming book, "Colin Macdonald: Autobiography of a Teenage Tycoon" has been cancelled due to the wrong sort of leaves on the word processor. Any demands for compensation should be addressed to Mr Doug Willis off Neighbours. Finally, we hope to have Russell Butler explaining how he managed to write a virus which only works when Annalise, er Annalees er, the blond girl is on the keyboard. Goodbye. - BRIAN BM Credits Editor (for now): Brian "I will save it this time" McConnell Thanks to: NONAME (no pay either, matey) Andrew Collier Matt Round Brian Harriman Tim Paveley G Williams Jon Binnie Colin Anderton David Lewis Ben Hockley Paul Crompton Scottish Education Dept (GRANT CHEQUE!!!!!!) FRED PUBLISHING [redacted] >>> Quite literally NOTHING! >>> >>> Don't bother even trying >>> BM Disobedient Pups Hoi. What do you think you're doing? I told you there was nothing worth reading, but oh no. You know better, don't you? Well, you're going to have to be punished. The FRED detector van will be in your area soon, and as reading this page sets up a nuclear process in the TV, you will be discovered. The penalty? You will have both your legs amputated and the stumps tattooed with very politically incorrect statements. Ha! That'll teach you. Impudent young whippersnapper.
Letters & Review
Letter from Derek Morgan SAM PUBLIC DOMAIN SOFTWARE LIBRARY [redacted] Dear Brian, Thanks for your comments about the PD. If you're going to make a mistake then make a big one, I always say. It will get you noticed, and it did! I would like to thank everyone that phoned or wrote to tell me that I had advertised the 'Mouse Driver' at £2.50 when I was selling it for £1.50. Also thanks to Dave who bought his copy at the Haydock All Formats Show. I got the message, thanks for both phone calls. Letter from Derek Morgan Another problem that people asked about was the DOS on Mouse Driver 2. You do not need MasterDos to use the Mouse Driver 2, use the Dos that is on the disk with the program. It's PD, use it. To all those people out there who thought that we would try and rip you off, shame on you. How could we hope to do this with Watchdoggy Brian watching over you. Sam PD is here to provide you the Sam user with good reliable software, at a fair price. I won't use the word cheap, it's not nice. At the time of writing this letter we have 67 disks (not titles) for sale and prices start from only £1.25 We have received five new disks of software and we are in the process of sorting and debugging them now. A big thank you to Paul Crompton, Chris Dodd and Nigel French for sending software. Fame already! Letter from Derek Morgan There is also another part of SAM PD. This is known as F9 SOFTWARE which has been running for many years. F9 Software sells full price software for people who want to retain there copyright. This software ranges from games, utilitys, demos, adventures and educational to Disk magazines. For a full list of SAM PD and F9 Software, please send a large stamped addressed enverlope to the address above. Yours, Derek Letter from Chris Bailey Dear Whoever, Hello. Firstly, well done on Lemmings. It's very good. Right, now I wonder if I could ask a favour? I write the Coupe Column for the bi-monthly Spectrum magazine FISH and we need to get more readers (I'm sure you can remember how hard this is). So this is a blatant attempt at gaining a mention in FRED, if you please. I've enclosed a copy of the latest issue but please note that it is only a bad photocopy of my copy, so the quality may not seem too good. I hope it gives you an idea though. Fish doesn't come from me, but from Mat Beal, 3 Station Road, Birch Vale, Stockport, Cheshire, SK12 5BP and costs only 25p + SAE, or £3 for six issues (which does work out cheaper). Thanks for the publicity, Chris Bailey BM Reply to Chris Bailey Oh all right, you may have your little plug. Readers - buy FISH. It's great. It is mainly Spectrum-related, but there is Chris's Coupe Column. The magazine is a good laugh even if not greatly relevant to the SAM. I certainly enjoyed it, although I have been told I've got a pretty odd sense of humour sometimes. The overall feel is very Your Sinclair, so if like me you loved that late, great Speccy magazine you'd do well to get FISH. Don't expect massive long MC tutorials, or indeed anything remotely serious! That's all I'll say, but for only £3, can you really go wrong? Issue 7 is due for a May release; they've just had their first anniversary (awwwww). The address once more is: [redacted] Dear FRED, I bought a Kaleidoscope quite some time ago, thinking that it was the future for graphics on the SAM. [Ahh, hindsight! - Brian] It gives each of the 128 colours 256 shades, making 32768 colours in all. I can count the number of times I've used it on one finger, so I would be grateful if you could put me in touch with someone who might be interested in it. There is also a disk that comes with it. Long live indie music! [redacted] Consider it done, NJ. - BRIAN Letter from Mark Trask Dear Colin/Brian, Thank you for sending my Lemmings so quickly. I love it, and think it must be well the best SAM game yet, miles better than Prince of Persia even. Give Chris a pat on the back from me. The only thing is, the palette flashes when levels are being loaded. Is this a bug? I have a question now. Has FRED got any other games lined up? I know just releasing Lemmings you're very busy at the moment, but I just wondered. You see, I've got a couple of game ideas that I thought up. Because I cannot program in BASIC never mind machine code I thought you might like them? You'll be pleased to hear that none of them are puzzle games! Finally, what has happened to Cookie? Will he be at the show? I will, so I'll try to speak to you and some other FREDheads there! BM Reply to Mark Trask Yes, I'm afraid the flashing palette interrupt is a bug. For the two or three of you who don't have Lemmings, all this is is the top couple of lines of the screen flicker whilst levels are loading. I know it's a little bit annoying, but there's nothing wrong with your copy or anything. I'm just relieved that it's not a more serious bug! I'm not sure what plans, if any, Colin has up his sleeve for future releases. There is of course the huge Legend of Eshan coming up in the next couple of months, but other than that if Colin does have anything brewing, he's being very secretive about them. We're always on the lookout for new game ideas, so send them in. We don't want suggestions of, "Do a footy game," or, "I want a good beat-em-up," or even worse, "Is there any chance of FRED getting a licence for Mario?". If you have any ideas, they should give full details of the game, ie plot (if any), level themes, characters' names, characters' abilities, enemy attack formations, etc. Ideally the programmer should not have to think about the game at all, but should be able to take BM Reply to Mark Trask your specification and just program it. No worrying, "What does this end of level baddie do?" or, "Should I do a space level or an underwater level," or .... You get the idea. Onto your last point about Cookie. He's at uni somewhere, Manchester I think, and is doing Physics (although again I'm not absolutely certain about that). I do hope he gets to the show, but if not there's always Colin and myself and the hundreds of other, er, "FREDheads" to chat and offer free beer to, should you feel so inclined. That's a point. I wonder if there's a bar there. What's Bob Brenchley's phone number again...? Letter from Dundee University Dear Brian, You are a brilliant student, possibly the best we've ever had, and we are so glad you came to Dundee. You are clearly destined for greatness in your future career, and we humbly await your next command, oh Lord. Yours faithfully, All the staff at Dundee University PS Please accept 8 thousand pounds worth of Threshers vouchers. Reply to Dundee Uni "Wahey!" eh readers? That's a striking bit of good news. - BRIAN BM Letters Shortage Bad news now readers - I've run out of letters. Even Robert Pain's stopped talking to me! Come on, people, get those writing heads on. Get that word processor loaded in. At least find a pen and scribble something for your co-readers to read and learn from. More reviews would go down quite well too, if anybody's interested...? Next up is a review of Lemmings by Dan "Banzai" Doore. Thanks Dan. _/_/_/_/_/ _/_/_/_/_/ _/_/_/_/_/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/_/_/_/ _/_/_/_/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/_/_/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/_/_/_/_/ Smart, huh? DD Lemmings Review --------------- Right, lets talk small and furry. Unless you have had your head in a tar pit for the last three months or so, then you will know that ** Lemmings ** has hit the Coupe, courtesy of Psycnosis, Mr Chris White and Fred. If you have never heard of Lemmings then you are: A) A loner B) Unlucky Therefore, for those that fit in the latter category, I will attempt to explain (apologies to the 98% of you who are at this very moment yelling 'GET ON WITH IT') what Lemmings is about. Lemmings is a one player game best used with a mouse, but keyboard/joystick control is perfectly adequate. A lemming is a little creature who walks about and, with no thought for personal safety, will gladly fall into chasms, off ledges, drown etc (stupid is the point I am trying to get across here). DD Lemmings Review --------------- Your task in Lemmings is to guide the lemmings across a landscape to a safe exit within a certain time. Sounds simple, doesn't it? But listen closely, oh Lemmings trainee: that voice that was screaming "Get on with it" earlier is now muffling a snigger! Because all lemmings are stupid and only walk about, you must give a lemming a special property such as the ability to build a bridge, climb walls, dig tunnels, explode (!), block the path of others or fall long distances. Using these skills you must save a certain percentage of lemmings. If you get stuck, you can "Nuke" the lemmings, exploding each furry critter all over the screen (brilliant for stress, this). If you save enough lemmings you will go to the next level and have a bash at solving that one. You can pick the level at which you want to start according to set markers (eg level 1, level 20, level 60 or something like that) depending on your confidence and ability. DD Lemmings Review --------------- Not a good description I know, but since this game is such a quantum leap from ALL other formula games it is a hard job (even the Lemmings manual has to resort to cartoons for this). Lets get brutal. Lemmings is NOT for those with short tempers, nervous disorders etc. and requires brain power when you get to the higher levels and to complete the game, but it is SO evilly addictive that it will have you up at 3am with more caffine than your bladder can stand, trying to complete a level. Each time you complete a level, you are given a password so that you can return to it at any time and continue. Right, now that everyone is up to speed we will start to have a look at SAM Lemmings. Since I have played Lemmings on the Amiga, Atari ST and (completed it on the) Acorn Archimedes, I am in a reasonable position to compare. The opening animation sequence is not present on Sam lemmings, but this is probably due to the fact that had it been present, Lemmings would have had to come on two discs (like the Amiga version) and for something you DD Lemmings Review --------------- watch once and skip through the next 4000 times, it's not worth it. The graphics have been ported by Neil Holmes (with additional ones by Doug Holmes) and they are fantastic. I promise you that you will NEVER see such good graphics in a game as this one on the Coupe. Superb animated backdrops and sprites. Sound is provided by master tunesmith Craig Turberfield, and is also first class, with many of the tunes from other versions faithfully reproduced using E-Tracker. What all those people who have already played Lemmings before are now asking is "How fast does it run then?" There are two ways of looking at it: you can jump in and compare it to the Amiga version and say "Hmm, not as fast," or sit and think for a while and say "Thats not bad at all for an 8-BIT processor." While both are true, for an 8-BIT conversion of what was DD Lemmings Review --------------- designed to be a 16-BIT game, Chris White has done remarkably well. In the interests of fairness I gave a SAM Lemmings preview to an Amiga and an ST owner, and both said it was a bit slower than theirs, but they liked the music (The ST owner was VERY impressed) and thought that the graphics were essentially the same. The Amiga owner was shocked even to see it running on an 8-BIT machine! Right, moans time. The font used in Lemmings is a bit hard to read on a TV (I tested this 'cos I use a monitor normally), and after speaking to Colin (or was it Brian - I can't remember) he said that many different fonts had been tried but that was the best. Fair I suppose. The other minor annoyance is that the levels take a bit of time to load (and palette interrupts go a bit mental) and decrunch, but since there is music when decrunching I don't really mind - it allows my brain to recover a bit. DD Lemmings Review --------------- Sam lemmings is a fantastic conversion and is a must in anyone's disc box. PLEASE don't just look at the price (remember this is a BIG license and the boys at Psycnosis want their pound of flesh as well) as that doesn't even begin to reflect the work put into this product. If you buy this, then it is possible that many other big licences will come to the Coupe. Don't buy it and you WILL be missing out on a fantastic game. Overall: 97%, Banzai "Seal of Approval" blah blah blah. BM Well, that's it for our April issues of the Letters section. Remeber - we need YOU to write in! Word of the week: snoooooork-eeeeee.