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Kevin Madocs
Utility: Fonts & UDGs
ZX Spectrum 16K

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Roy Stead
Chris Bourne

Characters by Gilsoft is a character-set designer for use with the Quill adventure writing system. Gilsoft describes it as an 'easy to use character and UDG designer' and it is. Gilsoft has gone to great lengths - extremes, even - to ensure that Characters is simple to get into. No complications here. No. Sir. Nope.

The display consists of a magnified (sixty-four times actual size) display of the character you are working on beside a life-size representation. The base of the screen is occupied by a large(ish) blank area surmounted by an actual-size depiction of the entire character set (Space to the copyright symbol). Only one character set can reside in memory at a time so on side two of the cassette are some pre-designed character fonts which range from gothic, through italic, to a futuristic set (or 'Mos Eisiey', as it is known 'in the trade'. Impressive, huh?) In the main they are all well-designed.

Where Characters falls down badly is it offers only the bare minimum of facilities. No Rotate options. No way to invert your designs. Mirror? You must be joking! If it had been released at £1.99, then Characters would have been - just about - acceptable due purely to the 22 pre-defined fonts (some of 'em are pretty good).

But £3.99? Those of us with Rainbird's Art Studio or Softechnic's Artist II already have a far superior designer. The Character program on the Horizons tape was better than this.

Even the twenty-two superb fonts supplied fail to justify the price tag.

There are many designers on the market which are both cheaper and more powerful than this.

Label: Gilsoft
Author: Kevin Madocs
Price: £3.99
Joystick: none
Memory: 16K/48K/128K
Reviewer: Roy Stead


Characters designers are two-a-penny and this one is overpriced for what it does. Nice fonts though.