Copyright/Publisher: Prism, Release Year: 1991, Genre: Various
Of the four 'sports' here, water polo is the only real one, simulated in the
aptly named Water Polo (72%, Issue 31).
It's a strange game in real life, a bit like basketball with the players stopping
to throw the ball over opponents' outstretched arms. The sophisticated control
system allows three throw trajectories and even the addition of left/right spin.
Tackling is a bit tricky as you can only approach the ball-carrier from in front -
tackling from behind is illegal and the ref blows his whistle for a free throw - if
one player commits three fouls he's sent off for a while.
Playing against the expert computer team is hard, but there are six skill levels
and a championship to contest. As usual with sports sims, though, the game really
work best in two-player mode with its fast end-to-end action. It's not quite football,
but good splashing fun.
A tad more sillier, but just as much fun, is Alternative World Games (86%, Issue 33).
Its eight wacky events range from standard joystick wagglers like the Sack Race
to true tests of skill such as the Pile of Plates where you have to carefully balance
a pile of plates!
There are also some two-player events including the hilarious Pillow Fight.
It's all great fun and beautifully presented with a practice mode and a brilliant
options menu with each event shown on a separate little TV screen!
Graphics throughout are impressive with neat cartoon sprites and some truly gorgeous
Stunt Bike Simulator (40%, Issue 42), on the other hand, is too silly to be
remotely playable. The farcial first level has a riderless bike avoiding bollards
on a horizontally scrolling road while the rider flies above on a hang-glider!
Pinpoint accuracy is required to drop him safely onto the bike's saddle within
the tight time limit. This is followed by three Kik Start-style obstacle courses
including bunny hops and flaming hoops to jump through. It sounds fun, but dodgy
control means a frustrating lack of skilful play.
This is also true of Beach Buggy Simulator (21%, Issue 41), an incredibly annoying
Moon Patrol clone. Your beach buggy can perform impressive leaps as it zooms over
horizontally scrolling dunes, but for some reason it can't jump when going downhill.
This makes clearing the numerous rock and fires frustratingly tricky - and when
you hit one your buggy takes an age to restart, wasting much of the tight time limit.
Enemy helicopters make things even harder: you have a gun to shoot them, but it only
fires diagonally upwards at a set angle - useless when careering towards low-flying
choppers. Crude graphics and sound complete a very poor budget game over three years
ago; now it's just an embarrassment.