The Def Guide to Zzap!64

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 Post subject: FOFT
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:08 pm 
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Techno Teaboy

Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2005 10:49 pm
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Woo Ive just found this excellant forum and its brought back so many memories. Keep up th good work guys.

Anyway, does anyone remember what I consider ZZap 64 worst ever review - Federation of Free Traders. If memory serves, Newsfield had already got into trouble over the game by printing "FOFT NOT!" on the front cover of their sister Amstrad magazine (AMTIX?). What they meant was they hadnt reviewed it but Gremlin took offence as it suggested the game was NOT to be bought. Im convinced they then gave the Amiga version a really high score review as compensation. I draw this conclusion because:

A) THE GAME WAS RUBBISH. AND I MEAN AWFUL.
B) Even though it was a Gold Medal, it only got a 1 page review - the reviewers were telling us something.
C) EVERY other magazine gave it poor/average reviews.

To my mind, the staff of the magazine at the time should consider reimbursing the money I spent on that dire game...


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 12:12 am 
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Director
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You are close with what happened. It was The Games Machine (TGM) that had the coverline about FOFT being bad. Newsfield had to apologise to Gremlin (I think an apology was also printed in ZZAP!) and (I'm guessing) that the ZZAP! review was a bit of an arselick to get back in Gremlin's good books!

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 12:04 pm 
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King of Zzap Towers
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However, the original review was on the ST, and the Amiga game did have fundamental differences, which addressed most of TGM's original concerns. Also, most mags of the day gave FOFT high ratings.

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 Post subject: FOFT Review
PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 10:11 am 
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Techno Teaboy
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Not C&VG. I wrote the ST review and gave it quite a hard time.

I knew it would be a contentious piece, given the level of hype and expectation of FOFT being the new Elite, so I spent days trying to make the review as bullet-proof as possible.

When the mag came out, Ian Stewart from Gremlin rang up Eugene Lacey and had a massive shout at him. Eugene stood by the review though. He was an excellent fellow.

I met the programmer a couple of months later when he brought in the Amiga version. He seemed fairly sanguine about the whole thing. Although, given that he wanted a good review from me this time, he probably wasn't going to start slagging me off to my face.

Wasn't the TGM coverline 'FOFT? NO!'? Didn't young Mr Robin Hogg, as TGM's Mr Simulator, write that review? Robin, where are you?

PG.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 11:20 am 
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King of Zzap Towers
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I remember the TGM ad with the FOFT logo and a big NO stamped over it, and I remember the apology printed in ZZAP! a few issues later.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 11:21 am 
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It also had "why FOFT must flop!" and a huge pile of cash! Ah, you'd not get mag covers like that these days! In fact, we rather get the opposite—see all the rave reviews for Driv£r, before people figured out what was going on, and then mags with late reviews suddenly started marking it downwards.

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 Post subject: FOFT - NOT!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 1:11 am 
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Techno Teaboy

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I'm here Paul, just wandered in on the conversation.

Yes, I reviewed FOFT for TGM (ST version I think). It had a great potential but what let it down for me was a stupid decision to make the warps really short in distance (from what I recall, warps were like hyperspace jumps). It took literally an eternity to get anywhere and that killed it dead for me, and hence the review was poor. Simple mistake, drastic consequences for playability. It was picked up on by the higher echelons in Newsfield who played it up and next thing you know FOFT NOT! was on the cover.

Craig is right more or less. The programmer(s) then wanted to know what to do to fix it, they were OK about it all, and it was fixed for the next incarnation, I assume it was the Amiga version. I'm not sure if I was involved in the ZZAP review, but basically they had sorted it out for the next version (again, I assume it was the Amiga version?) and made it into a good to very good game to my mind. It might not be now but that's progress for you.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 7:46 pm 
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Techno Teaboy

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Yes I believe you did review it (along with that annoying Randy bloke). The review says “Better than Elite in all respects – 96%”. A brave statement I’m sure you’ll agree.

Strangely, for a game that is “better in all respects” than one of the greatest games ever written, got a gold medal with a score of 96% you only devoted 1 page to it a 1 picture. The whole affair stinks and I’d love to know what drugs you were on or pressure you were under when 96% was agreed. This always was a very average game.

Sorry to sound bitter about this, but I am.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 7:58 pm 
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King of Zzap Towers
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Kind of harsh on all counts. Bear in mind that reviewers tend to get relatively little time with the games they review, and have to form an opinion in a short time. Also, the one-page thing was most likely down to deadlines. Several other Zzap! Gold Medals only got a single page, including Chuck Rock (and maybe also Batman the Movie/Amiga).

As for the quality of the game then and now, I can't possibly comment, having never played it. However, the Amiga version at least went down pretty well back in the day.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 9:14 pm 
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Mr Fawlty wrote:
Yes I believe you did review it (along with that annoying Randy bloke). The review says “Better than Elite in all respects – 96%”. A brave statement I’m sure you’ll agree.

Strangely, for a game that is “better in all respects” than one of the greatest games ever written, got a gold medal with a score of 96% you only devoted 1 page to it a 1 picture. The whole affair stinks and I’d love to know what drugs you were on or pressure you were under when 96% was agreed. This always was a very average game.

Sorry to sound bitter about this, but I am.


You have a way with words :roll:

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 10:15 pm 
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King of Ludlow
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LeeT wrote:
Mr Fawlty wrote:
Yes I believe you did review it (along with that annoying Randy bloke). The review says “Better than Elite in all respects – 96%”. A brave statement I’m sure you’ll agree.

Strangely, for a game that is “better in all respects” than one of the greatest games ever written, got a gold medal with a score of 96% you only devoted 1 page to it a 1 picture. The whole affair stinks and I’d love to know what drugs you were on or pressure you were under when 96% was agreed. This always was a very average game.

Sorry to sound bitter about this, but I am.


You have a way with words :roll:


Well, he's right about 'Randy'. :D

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 11:26 pm 
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Ey, well that's just charming!


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 11:42 pm 
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King of Ludlow
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Randy wrote:
Ey, well that's just charming!


Oi, welcome, Randy! (impersonator-or not)
:D

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 12:02 am 
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No, the real I-am here!

Thanks for the lovely welcome (I think!)

For what it's worth, there must have been some sort of 'production spike' as far as my pic going with the FOFT review is concerned; I never liked the game and certainly didn't ever play the ST version!

Mind you, there was so much behind-the-scenes nonsense going on at that time it's a wonder we managed to get an issue out at all!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 12:56 am 
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Moved all the Randy stuff to its own topic in Staff.

Click below to jump to it

Welcome Randy


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