KISS Freaks - Special Delivery Vol 1
Since September 1997 Steve Stierwalt from KISS Freaks has been producing a bi-monthly
fanzine primarily aimed towards people without net access. Now that almost 2 years have
passed, Steve has decided to release back issues as part of a special KISS Freaks cd-rom.
The cd itself looks great with it's full colour custom packaging and comes packed with almost 200MB worth of material - multimedia, articles, the fanzines themselves and a few other bits & bobs. Everything is held together via html pages and has the same look & feel as the main KISS Freaks site, which makes navigating the contents nice & easy.
The cd is split into 3 main sections Special Delivery, Features and Downloads:-
If you haven't seen one of the Special Delivery fanzines then you're missing out, they look great and are packed with loads of articles & pictures (including my own Finsbury park review in Issue 6!). In order to reproduce the quality of the fanzines on screen, Steve has decided to use Adobe Acrobat files which mean that you'll be able to view or print them out exactly how they are supposed to look. This is where one of the only flaws of the cd lie, unfortunately if you don't yet have the reader you'll need to download it from Adobe which is a pretty hefty 5 meg download, it would have been nice if it had been included as part of the cd, but maybe Steve will change this for future releases.
Once you've got all the necessary software loaded the cd works great, the online magazines open up without you even having to leave your web browser. The first 9 of the magazines are included on this disc, with the rest to appear on a future volume. This means that you'll only be able to read news up to June/July 1998, but the magazines are packed with a whole load of articles to keep you going for a while.
The features section of the cd includes lots of articles taken from the KISS Freaks site, such as cd reviews, expo reports etc. There's also some cool cassette covers to print out for various live shows and several photo collections to look at.
The downloads section mirrors the one at KISS Freaks which is great if (like me) you can't be bothered waiting for large video clips to download. All the clips on the disc are in RealVideo format, but they're pretty small with low quality sound. It would have been good if the extra space on the cd was used to have higher quality clips than those on the site (which need to be small to keep download times down), but this is only a minor niggle. Also to be found in this section are KISS screensavers and a whole load of KISS Themes for Windows.
So overall is it worth the $18 (about 11 quid including delivery to UK)? Well yes, I think it is, especially if you don't own any of the Special Delivery magazines. You'll save a fair bit buying them all on CD rather than in the paper format and you can always print them out yourself if you want to. If however you already have some of the mags (issues 1-9) and you're a regular KISS Freaks visitor then chances are you've seen everything on the disk so it probably wouldn't be worth your while getting this volume. It's great to somebody producing a fan based KISS cd-rom though, hopefully this will be the start of several.
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