Winter Super Sports 92
Copyright/Publisher: Flair Software, Written By: Bruce Le Feaux, Graeme Ford & Ian Davison,
Graphics By: Mark Sample, Paul Drummond, Kevin Preston & Phil Nixon,
Adam Gilmore, Release Year: 1992, Genre: Multi Events, Number Of Players: 1 to 6
IAN OSBORNE doesn't like the cold. His mum won't let him out without his hat and coat (even
in July), so we let him play Winter Super Sports by the fire. Sadly, though, his eyeballs
didn't melt as expected!
Winter Olympiads... they're barmy beggars, aren't they? Prancing around in the freezing
cold, risking life and limb and not even getting paid for it! Can you imagine the ZZAP team
Imagine Fatty Phil attempting to jump hay bales, or Corky 'Clumsy' Casswell trying
to ski! Luckily, you can't break your legs on the computer version (unless you disturb
Steve while he's playing), so I for one am glad Flair have given us the chance to go on
the piste painlessly (if a little wobbly!).
Winter Super Sports features eight events covering six loads. Up to six people can play
in competition mode, the computer making up an odd number, or you can play a single player
challenge, playing each event in turn. If competition is selected you choose which event to
play, and can repeat it as often as you wish when completed.
The first event on offer is the downhill ski race; a strightforward speed trial zig-zagging
down a tight slope avoiding marker posts, trees and various pieces of flotsam and jetsam
scattered around the edges of the course (knees together, now).
When you crash you can move back on the track before restarting, so if you come a serious
cropper you won't find yourself automatically falling again as you struggly to get back on
the right track. And crash you will - although reasonably easy to master on novice level, the
expert option is faster, tighter, and mush less forgiving.
Now here's a weird one - Skidoo has you racing 'round a maze-like track Super-Sprint style,
except you only see a small portion of the course at any one time (Nothing like Super Sprint
whatsoever, then! - Ed).
Unlike Downhill, competitors play two at a time on a split screen -
make sure you're watching the correct side!
Not as instantly addictive as some of the others, but fun when you get into it.
Similar to downhill, but this time a two-player head to head. Acceleration is difficult
and collision's impossible, but you can slow down if in trouble. If you crash you can join
in again, but time penalties are added at the end.
The acceleration control takes a bit of getting used to - find your line, pull the joystick
down to crouch and speed up, release it to steer again - but it's very playable, and
certainly enhances that 'on the piste' atmosphere (hic!).
No prizes for guessing what's on offer here! Ski your way down the winding course weaving
in and out of the marker posts - there's no penalty for crashing, but time is added on
if you miss a gate.
Slalom is definitely not a pushover - you'll be amazed how many times you choose the
wrong route, or realize your mistake too late and smash into the pole. Blimmin' addictive
though - you have to have just one more go to get down that little bit faster.
Another weird one; a sort of one-man bobsleigh event where some suicidal prat slides down
the toboggan course on a tea tray! The track is 'U' shaped in cross-section, and twists and
turns like an epileptic boa constrictor - hold that line down the centre for maximum speed,
climb too high on the walls and you'll crash! No reprieve this time - come a cropper in the
Luge and it's early (blood)bath time!
Similar to the Luge but the larger, faster vehicle provides a completely different challenge
(No it doesn't, it's just slightly more difficult! - Ed). The course is straighter, but
don't let this fool you - momentum carries the heavier two-man bob higher up the walls,
so you'll need all your withs about you if you're to finish without all your bits about you!
Another head to head, this time waggle the joystick left to right to build up speed. Make
no mistake, this is not your ordinary, everyday waggler - Speed Skating is a genuine test
of skill, not a measure of how fast you can move your wrist (missus). Waggle too furiously
and you'll just get a sore arm! Thankfully you can't crash, so precise waggling's your only
Bail jumping? Isn't that what Ronnie Biggs did? Oh alright, so my spelling's crap... BALE
Jumping is a similar even to speed skating, but this time some barmy farmer has scattered
a few dozen hay bales along the course! Not only must you waggle away to hold top speed,
you also need to jump over the obstacles.
Unfortunately hitting a bail doesn't result in
your sliding across the ice on your backside, you just loose speed - this is even true on
expert level! Niggling aside, both skating events are well drawn and give a real feeling of
Ignoring Corky's gripes, I reckon Winter Super Sport is a very good game. It's great
to see a multi-event opus that features so many different game styles, not just one routine
with different graphics. There's something for everyone here, and it's well thought-out learning
curve and marked difference between 'novice' and 'expert' levels mean you'll be coming back
to it for some time to come.
This game is miles more fun with a friend or two, (or three, or
four...), but even on your own it's a gas. Besides, you've got to keep practicing - you
wouldn't want that grubby little herbert from next door beating you on your favourite even
now would you?
If this game has been released in an effort to jump aboard the Winter Olympic bandwagon,
it has missed the boat by a mile (and probably landed in the water). I've been in the journo
field a lone time (dodging the bull is the hardest part), and am sad to say I've seen better
than this - even on budget lables. Gameplay is one of the main moans I have against it:
I'm pretty amiable chap but I nearly resorted to the old 'C64 takes a free flying lesson' trick.
As it was I tried the less violent 'strong cuppa coffee and matchsticks' ploy. But even
then I was frustrated by the multiload (every event is loaded separately), and the vomit
inducing graphics. The character sprites are horribly deformed, while the backdrops look
like a liquid laugh after a night on the pop. I'm sorry Flair, but WSS just left me cold.