Your Sinclair1st May 1991
Published in Your Sinclair #65
Jahangir Khan's World Championship Squash
So just who is this Jahangir Khan chappie then? Reckons he's a squash player does he? Well, I'll show him a thing or 2! (He's World Champion actually. Ed.) Oh. Er, perhaps I'll just have a quick G and T at the members bar instead then. (Ahem.)
Anyway, just to recap, back in 1984 there was a game called Jonah Barrington's Squash. It was by a company called NewGen, it was pretty spookalicious, and it boasted some rather nice 3D views of the 'on-court action'. Well, now Krisalis have obviously decided that a follow-up's well overdue. and JK's World Championship Squash is what they've come up with.
The whole program is icon-run, ideal for a joystick. There are 32 players (2 of whom can be 'human', so that may as well be you and a pal). and they're all organised into leagues with 8 in each. Everybody plays each other, and each of the 4 winners then go into a big championship-type knock-out thing (which can also be treated as a completely separate section of the game and played on it's own if you want). Right, let's slip on our Nike's and take a trot out onto the court.
On The 'Ead, Jahangir!
Well, not really. The first thing you notice is how your chap seems to be run incredibly slowly across the court. But don't worry - this is just like the real thing! Because the ball whizzes around like an angry wasp inside a tank you need to be pretty sussed about where it's going to go if you ever want to get there. Never mind all your power shots, soft taps and left and right spinning slices (which are all Speccy-performable here) - the trick is to get back to the centre of the court each time so you can reach whichever corner the ball gets wacked into.
That or you could try a new ball of course. Again like in the real game, you've got a choice of five types. Hardies go faster (but stay in the air longer, so they're supposed to be the easiest) while softies just flop down onto the floor after one little bounce.
Either way I soon discovered I was completely crap so I decided to watch the other matches in the League Competition and Championship to see how the pros played. Some consolation, This was even more depressing because a) the computer players were very good and b) they took an inordinate length of time to play their games, and had brilliant rallies that you could never hope to achieve. (I then found another excellent way of avoiding playing a game which involved messing around with all the options like the players' statistics, skill levels, league tables, people's names and so on, but then suddenly realised I had a court booked in ten minutes and had to go back to playing it properly.)
The Scores On The Doors!
Well, there's no doubt that this is a very accomplished game. The graphics are clear and zippy and the gameplay's as smooth as a Cadbury's Wispa (i.e. very, very smooth indeed). But where it stopped short for me was my basic interest in squash. It's not that I've got anything against squash, just that I'm not terribly interested in it - and you really need to be to keep plugging away at Jahangir Khan for hour after hour. The computer opponents are just too hard and it all tends to get slightly repetitive. Two-player mode is more fun (rallies don't last too long - usually about three hits - but at least you don't have to put up with being humiliated by your Speccy all the time) but its' still pretty tricky to get the hang of it all.
Not that I'm knocking it to death! When all is said and done, it's an extremely good representation of the game and if you're into this kind of thing you'll probably end up playing like Mr Jahangir himself (and having a really good gas in the bargain). It'll just take years of time and energy, that's all!
A very nicely done squash game, but difficult. If you're not into the game you might get bored quick.