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  • Epyx Fast Load

    USA 1985

    The Commodore 64 in addition to being an excellent computer for its time was also an incredible games machine. The one significant drawback it had was long load times…sometimes very long. Being a computer and using a disk already meant longer load times than a cartridge based video game system but the disk load times on a Commodore 64 were much slower than they should have been for various cost saving and backwards compatibility measures for the VIC-20 that were really unnecessary. Anyway, being a computer with easy programability and expansion ability, this was a problem that could be overcome.

    One of the first solutions to this problem was the Epyx Fast Load cartridge. It sped loading up to 5x and when you were talking load times that could sometimes be measured in minutes or with games or applications that would have multiple loads, this was huge. The Fast Load cartridge simply plugged into your user port and no other effort was necessary to enjoy much faster load times.

    In addition to speeding up loading, it also added a few shortcuts commands. For instance (from memory) typing ‘$’ would give you a directory listing and typing ‘←*’ would fast load the first (or only) application/game on the disk. What was most important, however, was the faster load speeds.

    The Fast Load cartridge was released in 1984. It did have a few downsides. Mainly, it did not work with some copy protection schemes that came later. Of course, this was just another incentive to pirate games or to use pirated versions stripped of copy protection even if you bought the original. Eventually it became common and ultimately virtually universal for fast load schemes to be built into programs. This made the Fast Load cartridge much less useful but at the time it was released it was virtually a ‘must have’.

    The ad above is from circa 1985.

  • Beverly Hills Cop (Tynesoft, 1990)

    Beverly Hills Cop (Tynesoft, 1990)


    Beverly Hills Cop, based on the movie of the same name with Eddie Murphy, was developed by Tynesoft and released in 1990 for several home computer platforms, including the Commodore 64. This was a pretty late release, at least for the Commodore 64, and I believe that it was only released in the U.K.

    Most versions feature four distinct subgames that are in large part influenced by other popular games. These include a warehouse shootout, a driving level in which you chase and shoot at several trucks full of weapons, a level in which you must run across the yard of a mansion while having a shootout with a variety of bad guys, and finally, there is a first person perspective level. The warehouse level plays very similar to Green Beret/Rush N’ Attack and the driving level plays very similar to Chase HQ. The first person perspective level is somewhat limited in terms of movement and you face only one enemey at a time.

    While there is certainly a variety here, none of the levels are particularly well done. As is the case with the vast majority of games based on movies, this one just isn’t that great (and that’s being generous). The graphics aren’t great, the sound and music isn’t that great, and the game play isn’t either. It also doesn’t really follow the plot of the movie.

    In addition to the Commodore 64, this game was available for DOS, the Atari ST, Amiga and a few other home computers. However, none of them are really much better. If you want to play this game, you will have to track down an original or resort to emulation. Except for hard core collectors, I would recommend the second option in this case if you really want to give this one a try.

    Screen shots above are from the Commodore 64 version of the game.

  • Zzap!64 / Commodore Force (February 1993)

    Source: Zzap!64 Commodore Force – Issue Number 92 – February 1993

    Zzap!64 turned into Commodore Force at the beginning of 1993. It would last for another almost year and a half before ceasing publication. I wish that we had a magazine like this here in the U.S. There were some excellent Commodore 64 specific magazines and some excellent gaming magazines but no gaming magazines dedicated exclusively to the Commodore 64. The February 1993 issue of Commodore Force (the 2nd issue under that name) includes:


    • What’s Happening – Touch-sensitive joypads? Brand-new joysticks? The Dyna Blaster controversy?
    • Reel Action – Get the low-down on your great covertape classics here!
    • Review of the Month – We rave over Rampart, Domark’s mega medieval marvel.
    • Lloyd Mangram’s Mail Bag – Back by popular demand, here’s the world’s favourite fuddy-duddy.
    • The Tipster – Chris is back, and it ain’t a repeat! THE TIPSTER has all the latest games sussed, and a few old favourites too!
    • The Mighty Brian – Professor Brian Strain solves all your technical troubles – it’s the ONLY regular techie feature in any C64 mag!
    • Public Sector – Once again we bring you the very best in free software.
    • Whatever Next? – UGH! and Robin Hood previewed – a great way of finding out what’s in the next month’s mag!
    • Bash Yer Brains – Large as life and twice as smelly, Bash batters his way through this month’s batch of adventures!
    • Forcefield Plaza – Every month someone asks, ‘Where can I get such-and-such a game?’. You can get anything currently available at the PLAZA!
    • Fast Forward – With such a great magazine perched in your right hand waiting to be read, how can we top it next month? I bet you can hardly wait…


    • Handhelds From Hell – We’eve got five corking Quickshot Supervision handheld consoles to be won; will you ever forgive yourself if you don’t enter?
    • Cerebral Fix – Head-scratching heaven! We bring you the very best in C64 puzzle games, from the good Puzznic, the not-so-good Tetris, to the downright awful Que-Dex.
    • Classic Calendar Poster – Generous to a fault, we give you a sizzling slice of Oil Frey artwork – enough to see you through twelve long months!

    Reel Action

    • First Strike – Ace airborne shoot-’em-up that wee-wees over Afterburner and G-Loc.
    • Relax! – Perplexing match-’em-up two-player puzzler that could easily start domestic wars!
    • Monsters – You can’t beat the old classics, can you? From the dawn of time comes Monsters, an ageing arcade hit brilliantly captured by Richard Smith.
    • Snowball Sunday – Is this the world’s first animated Christmas card? Merry Christmas to you too, Ash & Dave!
    • Duel Cassette 2 – Another Ash & Dave outing, this one’s a brilliant music demo – ear-shattering stuff!
    • Magic Rufus Demo – Alternative Software proudly presents their latest cutsie platformer with ace arcade adventure overtones!

    Review Index

    • Big Box 2
    • Cool World
    • Crazy Cars III
    • Gazza’s Super Soccer
    • Graeme Souness International Soccer
    • Grandslam Collection
    • Hook
    • Int. Tennis
    • Jimmy’s Super League
    • Kids Pack 2
    • Locomotion
    • Rampart
    • Santa’s Xmas Capers
    • World Rugby

    …and more!