Amstrad Computer User


Publisher: Gamestar
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Computer User #35


Well, you sure picked the wrong person to do a review of a two-man basketball game. I'm so short I have difficulty in reaching the fire button on the joystick. Still, any fool can manage this, load it up, joystick option, one player ("novice" level), bingo.

Teensy sprites are the order of the day, the players being about 10 pixels high in mode one. The players could best be described as "ethnic", as the only colours used are blue, yellow, black and brown. No palette switching and, while I'm wingeing, only one third of the screen is used to play on.

Anyway, one side or another gets the ball and bounces it up and down on his/her (the graphics aren't that detailed) foot. Completely ignoring the pain, and completely beyond your control (attempts to move at this point cause a noise best described as breaking wind) everybody charges off down the field.

There is no way of telling which is your bloke, and which is the one the computer is playing. The only way of finding out is to whip the joystick round and see who does the breakdance. And he still doesn't drop the ball!

Ok, I've got the ball. Charge! What does "Team foul" mean? Come off it ref. He hit my fist with his groin.

Other side then have a bash at what I just did, but with the result "Professional foul". Very professional. So bleeding professional even I didn't see how I did it.

Trying to pass the ball is fun, "Press the fire button briefly" it says. My bloke then tries a shot. From the halfway line. It missed (you'd never have guessed). One in three presses seem to be just brief enough to pass instead of shoot.

I suppose you want to know how you shoot then eh? Well, you press the fire button. Very skilful that. Even if your sprite is facing the other way, he spins round through 180 degrees and whangs it at the net. You have no control over this whatsoever, all you have to do is get as close as possible to the net, which gives you a better chance of scoring, trying all the time to avoid messages like "3 second penalty", "Charging", "No eyespiking or spitting" and so on.

One of the biggest let-downs is the lack of shadows. I know they're difficult to program in, but when you're playing a 3D game, it's very nice to know if the ball is on the ground in the top left, or 10 feet up in the air top right. You've gotta know where your balls are.


Basketball is a fast, exciting game, so how Activison has managed to portray it as awkward and confusing I don't know. There is all the jargon and the computer is just too damn good. Sports simulations are last years fad.

By looking around the arcades I predict that things are going to get more violent. This months crop of games from Activision has done a lot of harm to a previously good reputation (built on Enduro racer). It can, and must, do better.


I've never been one for basketball simulations, I even found the Amiga version of one-on-one a disappointment. I suspect it is because basketball is too complicated a game to simulate with just one joystick, you need a track ball and a number of "move" buttons at the very least.

The programming is uninspired, and the sprites a fair bit too small. Certainly not worth the full price Activison is asking.


Perhaps the true spirit of this game can be told by the fact that I couldn't find anyone sufficiently enthused to partner with me. I've played Atari basketball before, and that knocks this little lot into a cocked hat. Thank you very much.

The Atari job never had as much detail in it, but was infi nitely more playable. Maybe if you like or understand real basketball, you'll get on better than I did. This one gets nine out of ten - on the "Yeuch" scale.