Accolade have been busy lately compilation-wise and have also
released All Time Classics, featuring Serve And Volley, TKO,
Rack'em and Steel Thunder. Not surprisingly Serve And Volley is
a tennis simulation of mammoth complexity. During any one rally,
you need to choose the position of your player in order to
intercept the incoming ball.
When the ball has bounced in
your half a window appears showing the type of shot chosen (
be it backhand, forehand or whatever). It is then your difficult task
to judge when to press the fire button, thus beginning your
swing. Mis-time it and the ball thuds mockingly somewhere behind
The animation and sound in the game are fairly good but because
various windows are accessed during play, progress is horribly
slow, it's like watching a whole game in the style of an
action replay. Technically, Serve And Volley has everything
but with this type of game playability should be a priority.
Unfortunately there is none.
TKO stands for 'The Knock On' and is a simulation of knocking
on elderly peoples' doors then running away before they see
who did it (Er... Andy perhaps you'd like to play this one
before you go on - Ed) Ah ha! TKO stands for 'Technical Knock Out'
and is in fact a boxing simulation.
The screen is split acress the middle, each portion providing a
'through' the (black and swollen) eye' view of each boxer and
by pushing the joystick in each of the eight directions you can
select which type of punch you wish to use. Press fire and
the punch is carried out.
At the end of three rounds a score table appears with details
of the amount of punches thrown and damage caused etc, so it's quite
possible to find that although you appeared to pummel your opponent
he did in fact make more of an impact on you! The damage caused also
becomes alarmingly abvious during the game as your character's
face changes from boyish good looks to swollen bleeding pulp (who
says boxing is barbaric?).
TKO isf un but only for a short time as tactical boxing plays
very little part - it's simply a case of punching repeatedly
and hoping for the best. If boredom sets in too much get a
friend round and rearrange his face instead with the two player
Rack'em is not, as the name suggests, an incitement to inflict
medieval torture but a pol simulation with a lot more besides. The
game opens with an excellent soundtrack and animated picture
of a mean 'n' moody 'Fast Eddie' Mahler-type character
swaggering into the pool hall. Once into the game you have
a number of options available, allowing you to play pool,
snooker, eight ball or nine ball pool.
Alternatively, you can customise your own game - choose
the number of reds in snooker, for instance. You can even move
every single ball to any position to set up trick shots. It's
all very comprehensive, but once you've mastered the technicalities
of the gameplay a huge amount of ball-prodding fun can be had
(smutty innuendos, courtesy Andy 'fnar' Dyer Ltd.).
Last and definitely least is Steel Thunder, a game that attempts
to capture all the excitement of travelling around a battlefield
at a snail's pace in an unwieldy tank. And in that respect
it does the job very well. The somewhat confusing instruction
booklet means that learning to play is more difficult than it
should be - in fact it's far more challenging than the game itself.
And even when you do get the hang of it, poor graphics and slow,
tedious gameplay makes this about as interesting as a day out with
the Editor. (You're fired. Erm... the moment you've finished
this compilations feature - Ed.)