Amstrad Action1st June 1987
Published in Amstrad Action #21
Ballblazer is a futuristic ball game, much like Xeno but played in 3D. At first glance the game looks very complicated. However, the over-zealous instruction sheet does answer most queries.
The screen is split into two halves, one above the other. The game options include playing against a friend or a computer opponent. The computer option has nine levels of difficulty. You can also choose how long a game you want to play, from 1 to 9 minutes.
You strap yourself into the rotofoil and wait for the ball to be fired into the playing arena. Chase it; get to it before your opponent. Your rotofoil's forcefield will capture it when it is within ten yards of you. It will then snap around, so that you are facing the goal. Move forward until the goal is within your sights, and then fire. Your forcefield will ping the ball in the direction you face. You get points depending how far from the goal you are: the further away, the greater the score.
If your opponent gets the ball, the only way to get it back is to move alongside him. attack him from that side, and press Fire to shoot the ball out of his forcefield's grasp. You must then beat your opponent to the ball. Of course, (s)he can do the same to you while the ball is in your possession.
In my opinion, the instructions for this game went way over the descriptive top. Do you really need to know the dimensions of your rotofoil or the measurements of the pitch? Altogether though, a good game with lots of speed and bags of appeal. The aspect that appeals most to me is that you can get quite skilled at the capture and goal-scoring.
Games like Xeno and Room 10 never quite caught my imagination, although they were competent two-player games. This one is better with really speedy action and exciting gameplay. It still comes down to knocking a ball around and trying to put it in a goal, but in that context it's a good effort. Excellent for those who like two-player games, but don't bank on the computer for a fair fight.
Green Screen View
Clear choice of colours.
First Day Target Score
Score all ten goals on level one.
P. Smooth and fast scrolling.
P. Good use of colours.
P. Nice futuristic sound-effects and music.
Grab Factor 72%
P. Exciting two-player action.
N. Complicated instruction sheet needs deciphering.
Staying Power 74%
P. Nine levels of difficulty.
N. Display can be confusing because action is so fast.
Excellent theme for a game.