Commodore User1st April 1985
Published in Commodore User #19
One On One Vs. International Basketball
Two basketball simulations on offer here, with two different approaches. Andrew Spencer's Commodore offering follows the effective style of International Soccer, with a few improvements, whilst Ariolasoft's approach is to pit two players in a 'one-on-one' situation.
The former game has a faster, more competitive feel to it. Ariolasoft's idea to take two famous American basketball players, Julius Erving and Larry Bird, study their styles and pit them against each other, is not altogether convincing. Whilst you obviously have to different styles, one man being faster on the turn, the other better at shooting, the graphic representation of them is not so hot. It also proves to be rather frustrating if you're in control of a player who doesn't do something as well as the other one. You are limited by his capabilities as well as your own.
You do not really have to try when you shoot, because the shot is focussed for. It might hit the rim so you have to follow up, but you won't miss abysmally. The nicest skill touch is the feature which allows you to spin your man 180 degrees with a quick stab of the joystick button. This adds a touch of realism which is otherwise missing in this program.
International Basketball in comparison lets you get to grips with end-to-end play. You can - and have to - pass. You can change the player you control by stabbing the joystick button and thus move quickly downfield. Like the soccer, you get that 3D shadow effect and the nice bouncing ball sound. When you shoot, you do have to attempt some degree of accuracy as well.
The Commodore version also has a foul facility. Five fouls result in a penalty and after that you're in trouble because every subsequent foul results in two free shots. So keep it clean!
Both games have different levels of difficulty and the facility for two player competition or just you and the computer. Different rules can also be applied. Added extras in One On One are an instant replay, which is a nice touch, and a shattering backboard which is a pain, because you have to wait until a little man has come along and cleared up the pieces before you can continue the game.
The Commodore version still has thos annoying piercing whistles before each phase of play. Turn the computer down though and you lose the bouncy ball sound. A bit more crowd noise would have lent it atmosphere but it has enough to get by without such frills.
With more frills One On One still wouldn't be good enough to compete. Plenty of thought obviously went into the gameplay, but that doesn't mean the end result is good enough. It's too much like practice and the graphics aren't strong enough to add any realism. Doctor J and the Bird, as they're known, look a bit stick-insecty, and the court is a few neon lines with all the action contained at one end, making it look more like a bar sign. If you make a steal you cannot go on to score unless you were not in possession in the first place.
So if you want basketball it's got to be Commodore, though if you've already got the International Soccer I'm not sure you'll want more of the same kind of style. Having said that, though, International Basketball does have just about all the elements you need for a realistic simulation.
Personally if you want a good sport simulation I'd go for the football version, to which International Basketball is very similar, but then I hated basketball at school. How about a proper cricket game along the same lines, Commodore?