A look at the November 1994 issue of British C64 magazine, Commodore Format.
- This issue had no subscriber’s newsletter.
The fiftieth edition of Commodore Format was notable for more than the magazine reaching its half-century: it was also the last issue of the magazine with a glossy cover or meaningful number of pages. CF50 was also popular editor Dave Golder’s last (read his interview with us about his time on the mag here). With hindsight – and as we’ll see over the final few instalments of this series – November 1994 might well have been the ideal point to close the mag.
That’s all for next time, though, because issue 50 is Dave’s brilliant send-off. It was actually co-edited by Future Publishing stalwart Tim Norris because Dave was already halfway out the door to console mag Ultimate Future Games. Whilst there is definitely a lack of joined up thinking in this issue because of the fact – “the number of production errors left me in a genuine depression”, Dave told us – the content is still fantastic.
Top of the pile was the All Time Top 50 Games, voted for by readers in the previous few months. You might expect CF’s young audience to have voted for games solely from the 1990s, but whilst Mayhem and Lemmings are both in the top half of the list, so is Wizball, Microprose Soccer, Paradroid and Elite. Amusingly, the absolutely dreadful C64 Streetfighter 2 (given a suspiciously high score in one of CF‘s most baffling moments) makes both the top twenty and bottom ten worst games.
There were three new games releases in for review, the highlight of which was undoubtedly “climb upwards and kill everything” platformer Heavenbound.
It was another German import from Electric Boys, featuring some great tunes and beautiful graphics. Some of them look a bit, er, “familiar” to fans of Creatures, but contrary to the internet rumour mill the graphics aren’t stolen from the game. “Inspired”, for sure. But not directly nicked. Heavenbound is a nice game, though spoilt by some terrible collision detection. Dave rated it at 90%.
Over the page Visualize unveil their new text adventure Zzzz, which is actually a smart reworking of an old Mastertronic title. It has some good graphics but suffers from very little substance and confusing puzzles. It’s not bad, it’s just that there’s very little game for your money. (Electric Boys’ other release, a cheap and cheerful collection of three puzzle games, is quite the opposite – at £1.50, it was worth it just for Synopsis.)
The inside back cover is a bit of a wild card, featuring a surprise interview with legendary C64 musician Jeroen Tel. And it’s interesting: we get to hear how he created the sounds and samples for Lemmings (“it was fun because the whole team was Dutch”) and learn that he created the much-loved, anthemic theme for Golden Axe “in one day…or should I say night?” It’s a shame the pages in CF were about to be cut, because a few more interviews like this would’ve been grand. Hey-ho.
AND THAT’S THAT
Along with the usual wad of PD, Techie Tips and news, that’s November 1994. Issue 50 really does mark the end of CF‘s second wind. We’ve mentioned this before, but Dave Golder really should have been the editor far earlier. In the end we only got a glimpse of what his magazine could have been like in the long run. Dave had impressed the bosses of Future Publishing so quickly that a move to a bigger title was inevitable, and so off he went to deputy edit next gen mag Ultimate Future Games, a short-lived stab at doing Edge for younger audiences.
And CF? Next month, its readers were in for a shock. CF
ON THE POWER PACK
Now then. The plan had actually been to get Elite for CF50, in the same way Amstrad Action had it for issue 100. Licensing problems, though, stopped that in its tracks. The replacement wasn’t bad, mind. In fact Dropzone was an absolute scoop, a truly worthy present for readers on CF‘s 50th birthday. Archer Maclean’s “Defender-but-better” was on the tape in full to coincide with the announcement the game was being developed for more modern machines. It was joined on the tape by a demo of the month’s rave review, Heavenbound. The demo’s intro featured a stolen sprite and background from Mayhem In Monserland in order to have a pop at the game, which CF ended up having to apologise for in December. Chaos and Galaxians made up the rest of the tape: they were both games featured in this issue’s Top 20 PD.
- More issues of CF
- Commodore Format 50 is dated November 1994. It first appeared on Tuesday October 18th.