The last software label of the Spectrum's twilight commercial years?

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PeteProdge
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The last software label of the Spectrum's twilight commercial years?

Post by PeteProdge »

I'm talking about what I suspect to be the last software label to be CREATED to produce ZX Spectrum games for sale in actual shops.

I think - and I could very well be wrong - it's a little outfit that's a few miles away from me, Beyond Belief, set up in 1991 and still with plans for the future in 1993.

Frankly, running an 8-bit dedicated software house in 1993 is a bit like opening up a new pub in 2020. Fair play to Jim Scott, who ran the operation from a modest semi-detached house in the village of Higham Ferrers. Issue 85 of Your Sinclair heavily featured the label in a two-page feature, as well as the cover illustration pretty much dedicated to them. There are also reviews of the Double-Dragon-ish Hands Of Stone and the Rastan-like Kung-Fu Warriors, which are cruelly MIA, I'm sad to say.

In the interview, Jim Scott says that the major high street outlets won't stock new ZX Spectrum games unless they are issued on other formats, so there was a lot of talk about getting the games converted to the Commodore 64. A casual Google for Beyond Belief's output shows a few results from Amstrad CPC sites, so it's had a presence on all three major 8-bits.

Investigating more, Jim also talked about the battle to get on the high street from a C64 perspective, in Commodore Force, which has plenty of references to the Speccy and Amstrad markets and the small victories they have over the 16-bits.

With football management, fighting games and a Dizzy-like franchise, there was certainly an aim from Beyond Belief to make it commercially, but not all of these games impressed the reviewers.

Anyway, that's my theory that Beyond Belief was the last software label of the Speccy's commercial era, but of course, this is where you hit reply and tell me I'm wrong, because...
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Ralf
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Re: The last software label of the Spectrum's twilight commercial years?

Post by Ralf »

It's a real shame that their last games (Kung-Fu Warriors and Hands of Stone) are MIA.
My feeling is that they were completed, just didn't hit the shelves.

If I recall correctly, there were attempts to contact someone from Beyond Belief and ask
if they still own some unreleased stuff but nothing came of it.
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PeteProdge
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Re: The last software label of the Spectrum's twilight commercial years?

Post by PeteProdge »

Ralf wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:57 pm
It's a real shame that their last games (Kung-Fu Warriors and Hands of Stone) are MIA.
My feeling is that they were completed, just didn't hit the shelves.
Yeah, the screenshots in Your Sinclair, along with the reviews, suggest they are very real.

Jon Nash hated Kung Fu Warriors (page 16), giving it 38% and pointing out the game was very easily completed as the playability certainly wasn't challenging.

Hands Of Stone (page 15) fared a lot better with Jon - 70% - citing it as a nice Target Renegade clone, albeit it's just too hard.
Ralf wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:57 pm
If I recall correctly, there were attempts to contact someone from Beyond Belief and ask
if they still own some unreleased stuff but nothing came of it.
Yeah, the C64-centric 'Games That Weren't' website got in contact with Jim Scott in October 2012 (for Biff 2 and Kickstart). Sadly, both those pages just say "Contact has been made with Jim Scott, but sadly we have not heard anything back just yet."

Hands Of Stone looks proper decent, I'll take that (as a huge fan of Double Dragon, Renegade and Sega's Streets Of Rage). Not so bothered about Kung Fu Warriors though.
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Alone Coder
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Re: The last software label of the Spectrum's twilight commercial years?

Post by Alone Coder »

Copper Feet made commercial games in 1994-1997 (UFO, UFO 2, Black Raven). He kept a list of trusted distributors in Russia.
Star Inheritance (1995, STEP, published by FormaK/Inforkom), Mortal Kombat (1996, AWS, published by Mafia P.C.) were also commercial.
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Re: The last software label of the Spectrum's twilight commercial years?

Post by +3code »

Alone Coder wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 5:21 pm
Star Inheritance (1995, STEP, published by FormaK/Inforkom), Mortal Kombat (1996, AWS, published by Mafia P.C.) were also commercial.
I thought all "Mortal Kombat"s were unfinished demos.
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Re: The last software label of the Spectrum's twilight commercial years?

Post by Ralf »

I thought all "Mortal Kombat"s were unfinished demos.
This one is complete, although may miss your expectations:

https://spectrumcomputing.co.uk/entry/1 ... tal_Kombat
Image

Alone Coder is right that some games were sold commercially in small scale in Russia and ex-USSR in the 90s.
Also in UK Zenobi sold via mail text games far longer than 1991 or 1993.

But the author says:
for sale in actual shops
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Re: The last software label of the Spectrum's twilight commercial years?

Post by PeteProdge »

Ralf wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 7:58 pm
I thought all "Mortal Kombat"s were unfinished demos.
This one is complete, although may miss your expectations:

https://spectrumcomputing.co.uk/entry/1 ... tal_Kombat
Image

Alone Coder is right that some games were sold commercially in small scale in Russia and ex-USSR in the 90s.
Also in UK Zenobi sold via mail text games far longer than 1991 or 1993.

But the author says:
for sale in actual shops
I'll concede that Russia has this title. It's not too surprising, really, eastern Europe (including Russia) had a more thriving ZX Spectrum scene than the UK after 1993.

And yes, while mail order is somewhat commercial, it's not quite the same as high street shops stocking your wares and acknowledging the system is viable! Even today, you can order ZX Spectrum games via mail order from Cronosoft, Bumfun and others.

Strange to think, here in the UK, that the Amiga only lasted about another 2, maybe 3 years, as a commercial games source after the Spectrum died.

Can anyone with more knowledge than I (pretty much all of you!), determine what was the last shop-available game for the ZX Spectrum? Black Raven maybe? Black Raven 2?
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Alone Coder
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Re: The last software label of the Spectrum's twilight commercial years?

Post by Alone Coder »

Black Raven 2 was not finished.
The last game in Scorpion's catalog https://vtrd.in/sbor/CATSCORP.ZIP is "Зеркало" / Mirror (Art Work, 1998).
However I remember that Mega Tetris 2000 (Push & DGMS, 1999) was also commercial. I don't know if it was sold in LOGROS's shop or not.
The common way to sell programs in Russia was radio markets.
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