A&B Computing


Indoor Sports

Author: Dave Reeder
Publisher: Tynesoft
Machine: BBC/Electron

 
Published in A&B Computing 5.06

I've already previewed this latest sports simulation by Tynesoft, who seem to have cornered the market in such games, and the finished package confirms the quality. Licensed from the States, the game has all the hallmarks we've come to expect from the in-house programmers, the Art Crew - good chunky graphics, solid gameplay, humorous touches. It's these last that, for me at least, give a game an edge over the competition - here, for example, one character says a word-ballooned "ouch!" if you mistime an action.

What you get for your money is four indoor sports - darts, ping pong, tenpin bowling and air hockey. Darts is the weakest and shows to the greatest extent the game's overall annoying factor - the blank screen that interrupts any event whilst a new perspective on it is being drawn to the screen. Besides, we've seen other darts simulations and they're universally disappointing. What isn't disappointing is air hockey, a bar game where a puck is hit by two bats on a tabletop. Here the graphics get in a muddle at times - it's possible, for instance, for your bat to both pass through the pick or sit on top of it at times. However, it's such a fun and compulsive event that it doesn't really matter.

Of the four events, tenpin bowling is perhaps the most ambitious with direction, spin, power and moment of delivery of the ball to worry about - very effective. But I'm keenest on ping pong - two playerless bats whacking a ball across the net. What especially appeals is the coding of the ball - great perspective work and nice touches such as the shadow on the table changing with the ball's vertical movement above the table.

None of the events here are desperately exciting, but overall it's a very good package. Not too flashy, not too adventurous, the game demonstrates all of the Art Crew's strengths and will please all those who've come to rely on Tynesoft for the best in BBC sports simulations.

But surely they must run out of games to tackle soon. Can there be more after the expected Summer Olympiad?

Dave Reeder

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