Sinclair User


Alternative World Games

Author: Chris Jenkins
Publisher: Gremlin
Machine: Spectrum 48K

 
Published in Sinclair User #77

Alternative World Games

Alternative World Games, huh. What's it an alternative to? Enjoying yourself? You'd certainly get that impression after slogging through this limp collection of half-hearted sports simulations.

Prepare yourself for long hours of tedium as the multi-load game limps it way into your Spectrum. After the rather good rendition of Fanfare for the Common Man (Keith Emerson eat your heart out) on the title screen, it's all downhill, and I'm not talking about skiing.

The game selection menu allows you to activate any number of video monitors showing the nine events. After entering the names and nationalities of the players, you select either practice or competition mode for the selected games and settle back for the long wait as the events load. A little animated gramophone with the national anthem for each country ("I'm A Lumberjack" for Canada???!!!) looked as sick as I felt by this stage.

Alternative World Games

And so to the games. Each one features a background showing a national monument; the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Colosseum, the canals of Venice and so on. I wish they hadn't bothered; the graphics are blocky and uninspired, and the backgrounds scroll in great character-square jerks.

Against the backgrounds appear the worst-designed sprites I've seen this decade; scrappy little deformed pixies drawn with all the skill of a near-sighted baboon. Movement, controlled by joystick or definable keys, is the pits, and after the introductory theme tune for each event, sound effects are minimal.

The games themselves are played, as you'd expect, with a mixture of joystick-waggling and fire-button-stabbing.

SACK RACE takes place in the streets of Naples. You have to build up a left/right rhythm with the joystick, while using up/down to jump over manholes and recover from falls.

PILE OF PLATES sees you balancing a pile of any chosen size up to fifty plates. Stagger past the Colosseum, adjusting your speed and arm position to keep the wobbling pile balanced.

BOOT THROWING has you swinging a boot (empty or full of water) around your head, and releasing it as your power meter reaches maximum. Collapse with laughter as the boot falls on your head and squashes you!

RIVER JUMP gives you a big pole and tells you where to stick it (in the water).

POLE CLIMBING is a race for a bottle of champagne at the top of a slippery pole. It's UP-FIRE-DOWN-RELEASE until you get the bubbly.

UP THE WALL consists of catching top hats dropped by drunken parrots, and running up walls to deposit them on the top.

PILLOW FIGHT gives you two defensive moves and two aggressive, and your aim is to back your opponent off the pole into the water.

POGO sees you hopping around the course busting balloons. You have ten minutes to complete the course.

If you have the stamina, and necessary high threshold of boredom, to sit through the loading procedure and struggle with the awkward controls for each of the eight events, you must have a very boring life. Find something more entertaining to do instead, like watching the carpets grow.

Overall Summary

Completely unfunny and almost unplayable sports compilation spoof.

Chris Jenkins

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