Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Blind Date. Behind the screen are three loovly, loovly sport sims, I couldn't choose between them but somebody's going to 'ave to. 'Is name's Percy and 'e's from Huddersfield. Come in, our Perce. Ooh, that's a loovely bit of hur you've got thur. Now Percy used tur play fur Arsenal, is that right Perce? "Yes, Cilla. I did." Okay, Perce. 'Ave you got yur first question?
"I have, Cilla. Hello, ladies. I am a bit of a sporty chappy and there's nothing I like better than playing a few sports sims on my Speccy. If you were a compilation of sports sims, what would you be called? Number, erm. Three? "Hi, Percy! Well actually, I am a compilation and I'm also a real sport. What's more, I've been told I'm a bit of a challenge." "Super!" "Yes. I am a bit! So how about Supersports Challenge?" "Right. Number Three please Cilla." (Some time later and Percy has taken Supersports Challenge out for the day and tried to get to know it better. Cilla asks him how it went.)
Now Percy, you started off with this one - how did it go? "Well, Cilla, it was okay but nothing special." Ooh, Perce! That doesn't sound very romantic. What went wrong? "Oh. it wasn't that there was anything terribly wrong with it. but there was none of that special chemistry that makes you want to carry on seeing someone. Oh, and there's no two-player option either." So tell me, what did you do togethur, Perce? "Well, we had a few bouts together and I did do some pretty spiffy stuff. But basically, all it involved was me wrestling against the computer. I got in a few punches and a bit of kicking, but mostly it was just the usual joystick-waggling which can get very tiring.
There are a few nice touches like the way you bounce back off the ropes when you run in to them. Unfortunately, I hurt myself a bit at that point because I bounced into mid-air and fell over. I also managed to climb up on to the ropes and jump on to my opponent. That was fun." Well, it sounds like you had a little bit of fun. Are you going to see one another again? "Oh, I won't throw Wrestling Superstars away, or anything like that I'm sure I'll get it out of the box now and again. I just don't think it'll be a long-lasting relationship." And the score... 60%
Now, this one's a bit older, Perce. Did it show? "It did a bit. Cilla. Now I've nothing against older games and if you like a bit of speedway then there's nothing astoundingly wrong with this. We have actually met before but after you've become reacquainted and had a couple of goes round the track, there really is nothing else to do." Surely you could have found something to do together? "Well, I did try but, believe me, after a couple of spins round the track I didn't fancy many more. I actually came first, y'know? Don't get me wrong. Cilla, I've seen worse! I did get into International Speedway for a while, but again I don't think this is a relationship that's got much longevity in it." But what about looks, did they make yur hurt beat a little bit faster? "No, it really did look its age. It also looked a bit cheap actually" And the score... 57%
This is another one that you've met before, isn't it, Perce? Tell me, did you two old friends 'ave a lorra, lorra laffs? "Not really. Cilla. Y'see, I'm very fond of sports sims and all, but football management games leave me a bit cold. It's all those boxes and numbers, they really don't excite me. I'd much rather just watch the footy on the telly. That said, this is a very competent management sim. It's easy to follow and you're in no doubt about what you're doing at any point cos every action is all nicely labelled in its own little box. In fact, it was so clear that I managed to win my first match of the season."
So you got off to a good start, eh? 'Ow did it go from thur, love? "I must admit, Cilla, that I'm a bit fed up with all these management sims looking so darn similar. The first time you pick one up and find it's got a nice office set-up with a direct phonelink to your physiotherapist and banker, it's great. But now all footie management sims are the same." You want a bit of variety, do you luv? "I'm not putting First Division Manager down at all, Cilla. I mean, it's got all the features you'd expect and a lot of people like those features. It's those people that this game's aimed at. I shouldn't think it'd make any new converts." So will you be playing an away game, eh Perce? Will you be having another go, like? "Oh. maybe if the mood takes me.' What's the score for this one? 70%
You two hadn't met before, 'ad you? "No Cilla, and I must admit that I think I've found the very computerised sports game for me." Ooh, luv, tell us all about it. "Well I was well-disposed towards this one from the start cos I've always been fond of computer snooker and pool, partly cos it was the first sports game I ever played on a computer. I've actually had quite a lot of practisce so I was raring to go with this one. From the very beginning, it looked good. You can play a friend or one of the computerised opponents, and they really do look like a tough bunch." A bit of rough, eh Perce? "Something like that, Cilla. As well as getting a kind of random choice of opponent (you have to press a button and play whatever chap the cursor thang stops at - it's a bit like trying to get the last L on a SKILL level thing on a Triv machine!) you can also choose between snooker and pool."
Tell us, Perce, what one did you go for? "I had a go on both, but I settled for snooker. I ( always seemed to have the same opponent though. Mad Harry, he was called and he looked a bit like Rolf Harris, only more thickset. He was blimmin" good though. Whenever it was his turn, a little caricature would jump up on to the baize, if there was no way he could pot a ball, his mouth turned down. But if it looked like he had a chance, he'd go and stand by the pocket that he intended to lob a ball into. As he stood there, with a great smug grin spread across his face, I really wanted to give him a good poke with my cue." Ooh, Perce, we couldn't 'ave that. Not on a family show! "I know, Cilla, I was only having a little joke. Anyway, what was I saying... Oh, yes, how Cue Boy and I got on.
"As I mentioned before, the computer is very good indeed. It knows all the posh angles and how to put the perfect spin on a ball. I felt a bit stupid, but I'm proud to say that I kept calm and I'd actually won a fair few frames by the end of the day! Mind you, a couple of those were cos my opponent potted the black. It was the best game I'd played all day, a really lovely little sim." So you'll be seeing one another again I hope? "Well, I've already taken Cue Boy home a couple of times and we've got on just as well. I think this could be the start of something beautiful!" Oh, isn't that just loovly. And tell us what we're all dying to know - what's the score? 90%
Now then Perce, time to spill the beans on Slicks. Was it as racy as you thought? "Oh, Cilla! Cheeky as the day is long, you are." (Oh no, I can't stand it any more. What's on the other channel? Jonathan) Click! "Now then! A big hand for the game Debbie's bringing out from the audience. It's called Slicks, ladies and gentlemen, isn't that grand? Say 'yes, Paul'. Now then! So you're an overhead-view scrolling race game, are you? Well, let's put you in the magic Speccy and see what happens. By golly, you are a swift little mover, aren't you? That scrolling certainly shifts, shifts it most certainly does. Now, what are you doing? Oh, you're qualifying for the race. And now you're challenging another driver in order to move up the league table. What a clever little tinker you are! Care to pick a card while you're at it? Hmmm. Now I'm the one who tells the jokes around here - you're not supposed to be funny by becoming rather repetitive once the initial appeal's worn off. And you're certainly not supposed to disappoint the nice ladies and gentlemen by failing to have a simultaneous two-player mode. Say 'no. Paul'. And it's no use looking at me like that - I don't care if you can ram the other cars off the road, it still doesn't excuse the ease with which you can crash. So there it is, ladies and gentlemen, Slicks. You'll like it - not a lot. but you'll like it. (I'm working him with me foot, you know. Ha ha! Say 'yes, Paul'.) 74%
(Hang on, I hate Paul Daniels. Turn over! Andy O)... our Perce and Supersports Challenge didn't exaccly 'ave a dream date. Still, they did 'ave a bit of a laff and that's what it's all about. No chance of wedding bells ringing here, unless you count that Cue Boy. What do you say, Perce? "It was worth it for the highlights. Cilla." So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen.
It's a little bit disappointing for me, cos I do loov an 'appy ending.
Uppers: Cue Boy and Slicks are the pick of the pack, Cue Boy, in particular, is one of the best sporty sims seen around these parts for a fair old while.
Downers: International Speedway looks, and acts, its age. The lack of a two-player option on some of the games is a drawback. Cue Boy is ace; International Speedway isn't. The rest is dandy enough and worth your pennies, especially Cue Boy.