1986 Micro Power
Platform: ZX Spectrum 48k
For years I’d thought the Commodore 64 version was never released, when accidently included in an unreleased games feature in Commodore Force magazine. Imagine my surprise in later years when I found an original copy!
ZX Spectrum users sadly have not been as lucky as myself. After waiting patiently and seeing conversions for other platforms come and go, their conversion would never surface at all.
The game was previewed in many magazines of the time, all saying that the Spectrum version was coming. The bold adverts featuring a human brain were plastered around too, all teasing with Spectrum format included in the corner.
Computer Gamer magazine (issue 7) talked of the game coming soon, and suggested the Spectrum version (perhaps harshly) was a little disappointing. Compared to the other versions and “limitations of graphics and hardware”, the display wouldn’t take up the whole screen, but just a small window on the left side.
On the right, would be a large picture of the Doctor, and underneath, a schematic map of the game. It isn’t fully known if the screen would have scrolled like the other versions, though Your Spectrum magazine would joke that the biggest horror awaiting you would be its attempt to emulate the View To A Kill scrolling window. So would it scroll or not? This isn’t quite clear.
From the news items, it was clear that the ZX Spectrum edition was behind the other formats, with one magazine suggesting it was a month behind release.
Programmer musical chairs
In April 1986, Micro Power’s Bob Simpson explained that the delay with the ZX Spectrum version was down to the original programmer being pulled to work on the other versions of the game. He then went on to say that they had put their top programmer on the game, and it should be ready in April. Suffice to say, it wasn’t.
Interestingly, the small news snippet with Bob also revealed that the ZX Spectrum version would be cheaper than the other versions (£11.95 instead of £14.95). It was suggested that this was a gesture to those who had kept faith waiting, but it could also have meant that there were concerns over quality of the conversion perhaps? We could be completely wrong of course.
In the end, the game would only see release on Commodore 64, BBC Micro, and Amstrad CPC platforms. The Spectrum version would remain at large and has been a mystery for users for many years – none more so than ZX Spectrum Guide who flagged up the game as one they had been desperate for back in the day.
ZX Spectrum Guide also shone light onto a very rare (and the only known) screenshot of the ZX Spectrum version. This was featured in Amtix magazine of all places in their very first issue. Certainly the game looks nice enough – but how did it play, and will we ever get the chance to find out?
If you know anything more about this conversion – please get in touch with us. We hope to hear from ex-Micro Power staff in the future to learn more.
With thanks to ZX Spectrum Guide for flagging up and Stephen Stuttard for the hi-res scans.