Super Sim Pack
Copyright/Publisher: US Gold, Release Year: 1990,
Genre: Various, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

What a strange mixture this is with two sports sims, a driving game and a combat game. The 'sim' theme of the title is just a little tenuous, and there's no sign of the of the expected flight 'sim'!

There are hundreds of tennis games on the market, but few play as well as International 3D Tennnis. A simulation in the truest sense of the word, this Sizzler dispenses with unnecessary padding and instead concentrates on realism and playability.

The game has more options than Wimbledon has ticket touts! You can opt for one or two players, one, three or five sets per game, four different playing surfaces, four difficulty levels and fifteen skill settings!

If you find the 3-D perspective confusing, there are ten views to choose from. A practice mode wouldn't have gone amiss, but who's quibbling? Even though the main sprites look like pipe cleaner men, they're beautifully animated and controls such as ball spin and targeted shots give a real feeling of playing the game.

Where previous offerings have consisted of walloping the ball and running, International 3D Tennis makes you think like a tennis player, where to place your shot, when to run into the net, etc. Although tricky at first, its undoubtedly the best tennis sim on the market.

If only Crazy Cars II (never reviewed) were as good! No prizes for guessing what sort of gameplay we have here - despite the waffle about car thieves and corrupt cops, Crazy Cars II is as ordinary a driving game as you can get.

First written for the 16-bit machines, the 8-bit version has been harshly edited. The map is gone, limiting the scope of the game to dodge 'n' drive. You've no radar, and there isn't even anything to indicate what gear you're in. What we're left with are colourful sprites, interesting backgrounds, and a scrolling road that gives a definite feeling of speed.

The steering is a little sluggish - if you leave the road on a bend and hit a piece of scenery, be prepared to hit several more as you struggle to get back onto the road. Crazy Cars II is a very ordinary driving game. Visually attractive, but otherwise unremarkable.

Forgetful footy
As world cup games go, Italy 1990 (66%, Issue 63) woudln't get through the qualifying rounds. Presentation is excellent, with great incidental screens and a tune that almost had me singing along. You can opt to play the entire tournament or just the final, against a friend or the computer, and there's even a 'save game' option! There are 24 teams to choose from, but they all look and play the same.

The game is viewed from above and features the now standard eight-way scrolling screen. The problem is wherever the ball goes, there's always an opposing team member to collect it. Not that it does them much good - they invariably run at your goal and miss it completely!

Despite the world cup theme, Italy 1990 is definitely Fourth Division material. If the programmers had paid as much attention to gameplay has they did to presentation, it would have been a real winner.

Airborne Ragner (73%, Issue 33) is the oldest of the four games, and it shows. Boasting 12 missions, your most difficult task is ploughing through the horrendous multiload - load, choose your mission, load, play a short sub-game, load again, then ask yourself is the game actually worth it?

Despite meing marketed as a strategic shoot-'m-up, Airborne Ranger is simply a combination of game styles that doesn't really work. The twelve scenarios all play the same, and not being allowed to shoot anyone until you reach the target area is just a gimmick that quickly wears thin.

Awarded 73% in 1988, three years on it looks incredibly dated. Tedious gameplay and a horrific multiload make Airborne Ranger a game best forgotten.

So there we have it - a surprisingly weak US Gold compilation, with a great tennis sim, an average driving game, and two duds. Save your pennies, there are much better compendiums on the market than this, and you'll feel as if you've had your moneys worth.