CRASH ZX SPECTRUM
Ocean was becoming known for official licences (guilt for all those early Spectrum Games coin-op rip-offs?), but this one surely takes the biscuit for oddity. How did Oli react to the editorial request for the game to feature?
‘Alarm,' he answers with a laugh. ‘I mean, games based on war, space, racing themes and even creepy mansions lend themselves to action covers… but a pop group?'
What did you know about the game? ‘That there was a murder mystery red thread linking minigames of different types and there were “attributes” to collect, sex (represented by two spermshaped objects), war, love and faith…and that's about all I knew. I reproduced the four symbols representing these attributes as they appeared on Frankie Goes to Hollywood albums… = BANG!'
There was some editorial cynicism about how good such a mishmash game could be, but developers Denton Designs usually turned in something pretty good.
“Yes, and I wanted to cover to be as different, as original as the idea. I began with the notion of the murder victim to anchor the base, and then I amalgamated the Frankie songs, which would be used. I combined “The Power Of Love”, released the previous Christmas and still resonating (I was painting this in early April) with “Welcome To The Pleasure Dome”, the search for which is the core of the game. That provided me with the pink colour bias. The dome occupies the centre of the picture, like a giant sun. The group had to feature, and their camp presentation allied to the love-power notion gave me the notion to paint them as cheeky cherubic cupids.”
Of course, Cupid's Arrows was one of the minigames… and there are the ducks…
‘What terraced Liverpool home would have been complete without its three ducks flying up the wall? They appear in the start location, I was told.'
In the top right there are the figures of Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. ‘They balance out the gruesome foreground, albeit in caricature with the devils' tridents,' Oli says. ‘And of course, they symbolise that other famous Frankie song, “When Two Tribes Go To War”, which seems appropriate if you consider the second line of the refrain is: A point is all that you can score. Isn't that what most games are about?'
Crash Issue 17, June 198 — Frankie