Over The Net
Copyright/Publisher: Genias, Coding By: Marco Corazza & Luca Zarri, Graphics By:
Marco Corazza & Andrea Paselli, Music By: Paolo Predonzani & Stefan Roda,
Release Year: 1990, Genre: Volleyball, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

Going down to the beach is one of PHIL 'DON'T KICK SAND IN MY FACE' KING's favourite pastimes. Sitting around in the sun all day, scoffing tons of ice cream is his idea of heaven, though he did get a bit miffed when Greenpeace tried to push him back into the sea. Matbe a spot of beach volleyball will get him into shape...

If you want to impress those beautiful beach babes, there's only one way. First, squeeze into a pair of trunks two sizes too small (and shove a pair of thick socks down there while you're at it!). Then get a good tan (if you can't get to s sunbed, try rubbing yourself with brown boot polish). Finally, you can show off your perfect physique playing beach volleyball.

It's basically the same as normal indoor volleyball, but with only two players a side. Over The Net's extensive options enable you to play one or two players against the computer. In one-player mode, your team-mate is controlled by the computer - you can play against another human-and-computer team. The number of sets can be altered, along with whether points can or can't be won on your opponent's serve.

On the volley
The game is a bit like playing tennis without a racket (can you keep it quiet, please!). Using your hands and arms, you have to get the ball 'over the net' to hopefully land in your opponents' court.

To make thins easier, your team can hit the ball three times before knocking it over, though neither team member can hit it twice in succession. What usually happens is one bloke 'digs' the ball up, the other guy 'volley's it high in the air, then the first guy jumps up and smashes it down over the ent.

All this isn't as complicated as it seems. There's no fiddly control system here; you just press fire when the ball is near, and the computer chooses the most suitable move. That's just as well, because judging where the ball's going takes a bit of practice - I didn't win a single point in my first few games. Mind you, having Corky as a team-mate didn't help!

Hitting smashes is slightly more complicated. The direction and power of the smash is affected by when you hit the ball, what direction the ball's already travelling, what direction your moving in, and how long you hold down the fire button! The manual claims hundreds of different hits are thus possible. Similarly, you can even do a smash serve.

Defending against smashes is even trickier - you have to press up and fire to jump up at exactly the right moment to block the smash, and sometimes the other player will fool you by just tipping a weak shot over your head!

Some of the opposing teams are dead good. You can play any of them in a single match, or contest the Sea Cup (not quite as interesting as the D-cup). In the latter, three teams play each other in a mini-league (showing detailed player statistics) and the top two go onto the next round (and next beach!) with a better third team.

Smashing fun
As I said, play is frustrating at first, but you soon get the hang of blocking and doing smashes - and knowing what skills your team-mate's best at. Playing with a friend as a team-mate is even more fun - why don't more sports sims have a 'team-mates' option?

The game looks as good as it plays too. The sun-bronzed players look cool in their coloured trunks, and their moves are smoothly animated too. And I really dig those cute babes looking on! The only dody graphic is the loading screen with a bloke holding his arms in the 'dig' position and a caption saying 'Enjoy with us!'

Ahem... A good loading tune makes up for this, although in-game sound is limited to sparse hitting FX - oh well, you can always take your radio down to the beach! You're sure to spend a good few hours at a time playing this fun sports sim - so don't forget the suntan oil!
Phil! 84%

After last month's shoot-'em-up fiasco (Catalypse), Over The Net sees Soundware right back in the ball park. Graphics are fast and fluid, collision detection accurate (if a little unforgiving), and the spanky two-player option will keep you amused for hours!

Difficult at first, once you've got the hang of keeping your eye on the shadow as well as the ball you'll soon be piling up points aplenty. Over the Net features a host of options, but unfortunately if you have the tape version you can't access them from within the game - you're stuck with your first choice until you switch off and reload.

Still, Over the Net is a great game that'll have you coming back for ages - at last Phil can wear swimming trunks without his hut hanging round his knees.

The disk version of Over The Net features different backdrops for the four beaches. To avoid a heavy multiload, the tape version omits these and only allows you to access the options screen once.
Dig: Something you do with your spade to put sand in ypur bucket. Also, hitting the ball with your arms stretched out in front of you.

Volley: Putting your arms up and opening your hands to hit the ball upwards with your fingers. Use to knock the ball high so your team-mate can smash it.

Spike: Another word for the smash, where you jump up by the net and whack the ball down with your hand.

Wall: What you use to deflect your opponent's spike. No, it's not a load of bricks stuck together, just you jumping up with your arms in the air!


Good options, accessible only once on tape version.
Well animated player moves, different back drops on tape.
Rocking loading tune, sparse in-game Fx.
A bit tricky at first, but good control system.
Cooperative, competitive two-player mode is fun.