Amstrad Action1st October 1987
Published in Amstrad Action #25
A combination of four popular indoor sports, all in the one package. They all use the same control keys but have different options available for each game. The four games load separately so the disk version will be appreciated by those who don't like waiting continuously for things to load.
Bowling is a simulation at ten-pin bowling. I found this game much better in all aspects than many of its kin sold separately. You play against the computer or an opponent of your choice - a mate. You control where you throw the ball from, and the line and curve which it takes. Fortunately the instructions don't go into any detail about the detailed rules of the game - just let the computer work out the spares, strikes and turkeys.
Ping pong is very much like the Konami version but with fewer nice touches. There is the option to have automatic bat control so that the computer moves your bat for you, leaving you to press fire when you want to play the shot. This does take some of the enjoyment away, but it makes it easier to get into - that's why it's optional!
Darts is quite a good version which has a few differences from the real thing. To add to the difficulty you have a variable time limit within which you have to throw all your arrows. You aim by moving the dart left and right for the horizontal, and by using a varying amount of strength for the vertical.
Air hockey is pretty tough, but thankfully last. You can vary the speed so that you can get used to the game. All you control is your bat which you control vertically and horizontally to try to hit the puck.
All four games are well done, surprisingly short and therefore quick to load. Another good feature is that, if the game you wish to play is the one that you have just played, the control program will not bother to load it again. Graphics are pretty good but there's nothing special about them. Use of colour is sensible, and the best sound is in the air hockey. Worth getting to my mind. I enjoyed playing all of the games.
If you look at the games individually, they don't measure up to much but taken as a whole it's an enjoyable package. The disappointing part is the graphics which are mostly drab. The plentiful options mean you can toggle each sport to suit you. If you're looking for something to spend rainy days with then you could do a lot worse than this.
First Day Target Score
Beat computer at all four sports.
Green Screen View
As ever, drab graphics are actually okay in green.
P. Sensible use of colour
P. Good animation in all four games
N. None of the four games possess good effects
Grab Factor 73%
P. Four completely different games to play.
P. Controls for most of the games are easy to use
Staying Power 68%
P. Different skill levels for each game
P. Play against the computer or a friend
Basically just four simple games