Issue 28

Jul/Aug 87

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Precision Software recently launched what they claim is 'a revolutionary database' for the ST. Superbase Personal is a fully relational database that places no limits on the number of fields or size of record. All the expected facilities of a relational database are included but what makes the package 'revolutionary' is the simplicity of its visual interface which uses 'controls' similar to a video or cassette recorder with which everyone is familiar. Another unique facility is the ability to catalogue pictures or documents produced on the ST and to call up the actual picture alongside the record! Price is £99.95 inclusive.

Robtek have an impressive range of products recently released or on their way including software, hardware and accessories. Much of the software is on their new Diamond Games label at budget prices. You can pick up ST POOL/SHUFFLEBOARD, a two game compilation for £19.95, GOLD DIGGER, which is similar to Boulderdash, for £19.95, a four game compilation called GAMBLER at £19.95, a mono/colour chess program, CHECKMATE, at just £14.95 and, finally on the software side, a GAMES COMPENDIUM with 10 board/arcade games at just £14.95! Hardware wise there is the McEMULATOR INTERFACE allowing direct reading of Macintosh disks, an MS DOZ HARDWARE EMULATOR giving 4 times the speed of the PC (99.9% compatible?) and, on its way, a SCANNER/VIDEO DIGITIZER. Accessories include a MOUSE PAD at £7.95, a CARTRIDGE EXPANDER with 3 slots and, something everybody must have been waiting for, the MAGIC MONITOR INTERFACE allowing you to connect both mono and colour monitors without re-booting.

Two new titles from Psygnosis look to be very impressive from pre-release graphics and come with the usual Roger Dean designed accompaniments. Barbarian is an animated fantasy graphic adventure in which the player becomes a 'dragon-slaying, monster-mangling Barbarian'. They say you need humour, adventure and dexterity to achieve your goal. The other one is Terrorpods, a strategy arcade game in which you must defeat invading Tripod forces. A 'three dimensional playing field with perspective scrolling' sounds to be quite impressive. Both are £24.95 and that includes all those superb Roger Dean designs.

Infogrames are a French based company with U.K. offices that have just started producing titles for the ST including Prohibition which may well turn into one of those classics –simple in concept but so addictive! The company has been producing titles for other machines – notably Amstrad – for 4 years and its first ST releases are mainly Amstrad conversions, however UK spokesman David Crossweller told us that they will now be concentrating on programs written specifically for the ST to use its full power. Between 12 and 15 titles are to be released in the coming year mainly on the games side.

Mirrorsoft have signed a new distribution agreement with the American company Mindscape who have achieved a top reputation for their Cinemaware range on the Amiga. Titles in the Cinemaware range to be available for the ST include DEFENDER OF THE CROWN, KING OF CHICAGO and SINBAD. Already available is SDI. There is also a Deja Vu series which will include the titles DEJA VU, SHADOWGATE and UNINVITED. Further details and release schedules will be reported as soon as known.

Kuma's latest is K-ROGET, a GEM based thesaurus based on the internationally acclaimed Longmans Pocket Rogets Thesaurus with over 150,000 words and phrases. Release is in June at a price of £49.95.

Metacomco has now released version 3.04 of the famous Lattice C compiler which they say is 'a superlative C compiler of which we are rightly proud'. The revision includes faster maths routines and a new link/loader called Debug+ which is claimed to produce programs 'blazingly fast'. A Resource Construction Editor which allows easy construction of icons, menus, dialog boxes and the like. There is lots more (a three page press release!) included for just £99.95.

Software Express have recently signed a distribution agreement with Austrian based company Vogler Software who produce some top quality business and professional programs for the ST. Top of the range is Merkant, a modular expandable business program for stock control, invoicing and basic accounting. The program features a huge variety of functions including the unique ability to leave the program to run a word processor like 1st Word and then return to where you left off! Other products include JackSpell, a background spelling checker that looks like giving Thunder a run for its money. Features include 64,000 root words and up to 32 endings for every word giving a staggering 2 million word capacity! ShortCut is a simple but useful program to allow you to define your own keyboard 'macros' for use in other programs. Jackfont is a font editor for system fonts and VDI metafile fonts which can be used with Easydraw, DEGAS Elite and other similar programs. Most of the software has been under development in Austria since the ST was first released and promises to be of high quality. Prices and release schedules should now be available from Software Express.

Towards the end of May Software Express rush released The Election Program in time for the General Election on June 11th but it is a program that can still be used to do 'what if' exercises and for future by-elections. Basically a huge database of Election results, the program can predict the result of swings for future elections, analyse by-election results, show the details of any constituency in the UK and much, much more. Most of the information is represented using maps of the various regions of the UK and you can watch the results coming in depending on the selections chosen. A full update of the 1987 General Election will be available shortly or there is a facility to add results yourself. A super program, whether you are interested in politics or not. Perhaps the most original program yet for the ST. Price is £29.95.

Can anyone keep up with Microdeal? Now licensing products from the U.K. as well as the States, latest releases include ST REPLAY, a sound digitiser which has had some high recommendations from those who have used it. This comes as a cartridge and software for £79.95. Also licensed from 2 Bit Systems is ST DIGIDRUM which has many sampled sounds to enable you to set up your own drum machine for £24.95. Also available, at £14.95, is DIGIDRUM SAMPLE DISK 1 with 41 samples that can be loaded into the original program. If you are into MIDI then SUPER CONDUCTOR might be the sequencing package you are looking for at a reasonable price. Lots of features for mixing, transposing, editing and more in sixteen tracks. For £49.95 that might be just what owners of a Casio or similar are looking for.