Sinclair User


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

Published in Sinclair User #95


You wouldn't think it would be possible to create an interesting game from the idea of a sailing simulation - and you'd be right! Whether you're a salty old sea-dog or a scurvy landlubber, you'll find Sailing about as much fun as a violent bout of chundering over the side in a force nine gale. Originally a full-price Activision title, this one should never have been re-released on budget - it deserved burial at sea.

The problem is that the programmers, O.D.E., who specialise in grindingly realistic simulations, have captured all the sheer tedium of floating across the Atlantic, without managing to inject any of the excitement of the race.

Things start off in quite a promising manner, with your chance to design your ideal racing craft. After entering your name, choosing a team from the eighteen international sides represented, and picking an opponent for that round, you name your ship and set about changing the hull type, mast height, hull length, and the size of the "wings" on the keel. Of course, until you've started racing, you have no idea which specifications are suitable for which weather conditions; you have to keep an eye on the meteorological reports which scroll across the bottom of the screen, and learn to cut your jib to suit the hoist of your foc'sle, or whatever it is that Captain Birdseye says.


Once you start the race, you' only real task is to control the rudder to steer clockwise around three buoys, and to hoist or lower the spinnaker, which gives you a sort of turbo-boost when the wind is behind you. The wind direction and speed, your bearing and speed, and the location of your ship and your competitor, are shown on various screen displays. The sea rolls and tumbles, little yellow ships scoot across the water, and a numbing sense of boredom soon sets in.

If you complete one round ahead of your competitor, and don't get disqualified through straying outside the radar display, you get a league table display and proceed to the next leg.

The sound effects and music are at their best when they're switched off, and overall you can't deny the packaging is right when it claims this is "the most accurate ocean going simulation yet" - unfortunately.

Label: Mastertronic Author: Activision Price: £2.99 Memory: 48K/128K Joystick: various Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

Overall Summary

Extremely wet sailing sim.

Chris Jenkins

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