World Class Rugby - Rerelease
Copyright/Publisher: Audiogenic/Denton Designs, Programmed By:
Roy Bannon, Graphics By: Ally Noble, Music By: Fred Gray,
Release Year: 1992, Genre: Rugby, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

Ah, sport. There's a school of thought that suggests that, if younger computer users are given a simulation of a sport, they'll play that at the expense of the real thing.

And with rugby, can you blame them? Muddy puddles much's a quick ticket to hospital food, and nothing but. JAMES 'FLY HALF? COME HERE AND SAY THAT, PAL' PRICE sees how the C64 can possible duplicate it all...

Rugby? Do I really have to write a review about a rugby game? Must I be compelled to make feeble comments about odd-shaped balls to wring a laugh from a innuendo-bored public?

Ahem. They say football's a funny old game, but Rugby's a curious pastime too. A sport with English origins - predictably, and much like football, our national team usually lose at it - it's something that hasn't gared too well in the conversion-to-computer stakes.

Arcade representations always seem to be jerky and badly-constructed, while those taking the management angle (Zeppelin's World Rugby jumps to mind) are shallow and unengaging. Then there's World Class Rugby.

Originally released in 1990 to coincide with - no surprisingly - the Rugby World Cup, it received glowing reviews and provoked many a 'phew, a decent Rugby game' comment. It's not difficult to see why. For a start, it mixes arcade action with an underlaying tactical vein complementing this.

If a team member isn't as skilful as another or you don't like their name, a brief moment or two on the appropriate menu screen can put an end to potential woe. Once happy with team selection, the game proper can begin - once the match type has been selected, that is.

Either a tournament, league or single friendly can be played, with the tournament based on the very one that occurred during 1991, quelle suprise. The match itself is World Class Rugby's main strength: it's not half bad, balancing realism and authenticity with arcade playability.

Once the players have run out onto the pitch, the match begins with one side kicking the ball to the other. Once they've done that, the other team catch it and try to run to the other end of the pitch, passing it when required.

However - and more often than not - the other team tackle the player with the ball, leading to something we qualified types refer to as 'a bit of a scrap'. This, like the occasional scrum (a similar type of scrap, but organised by the referee) can be won by rhythmic joystick waggling.

The winning team has the ball thrown back to a guy standing behind and waiting (coward) who then passes, kick or runs with the ball to create a conuter-attack. Should the ball go out of play or a penalty be conceded, a tactics screen pops up, allowing the player to choose a computer-controlled set piece.

These can be stopped at any point during their execution, but it's and idea to let the CPU get on with for a while - more often than not, these moves confuse the hell out of the opposition. Ignoring a great deal of other occurrences, scoring results in a bit of a cheer from the crowd, and the award of a conversion.

This is where a guy setps up and attempts to kick the ball through the goalposts. Should he manage this act of skill and physical exertion, an additional two points are added to the original four awarded for the try. Oh, and the ball can only be passed backwards...

But I don't want a shower...
Heh heh. After possibly the worst description of Rugby ever, I suppose I'd better tell you just how well WCR implements it all. Obviously, a basic knowledge of the sport is helpful, but WCR is so well-written, it's accessible to both fans of the sport and the uninitiated alike.

It's tricky at first - I was soundly beaten in my first three matches, and obviously, I blamed it on my joystick - but its clever difficulty curve and wealth of options make for much lastability.

Cosmetically, it's excellent - its sprites are well-defined, pitches suitably coloured and although the pre-match presentation and options are a little on the spartan side, they serve their purpose. But hey, I've not got to the best bit yet.

Generally, sports games are far better if played against a computer opponent, especially when the computer opposition no longer present an adequate challlenge. WCR's two-layer mode is one of the best I've come across. There's also the fact that you can invite as many people as there are teams to participate in a massive tournament.

Well, I suppose I'd better wrap this review up by saying something along the lines of 'World Class Rugby - what a smart game, and cheap too!'. Yeah, I think that sums it up very nicely...

JAMES! 93%

Other than football, team sports have inexplicably never really lent themselves to computer translation - until now. World Class Rugby is packed with well-presented options. All the teams from 1991's World Cup are included with full world cup, international league or friendly matches.

Control is intuitive with complex passing movements very easy to achieve, though tackling can be a little tricky until you learn to allow for the inertia on running players. The way they pick up speed rather than taking off at full whack is very realistic - as is the fact the further they run, the more they tire.

There's no zig-zagging up the pitch time and again for easy individual tries; real team-works' required. Add to this a good array of set pieces and you get a remarkably faithful representation of the sport.

World Class Rugby's seven skill levels will keep you busy - even level nought provides a fair challenge but check out the two-player mode for truly fraught head-to-headers. An essential game for even the most un-rugbyish of peeps (like myself).



Hardly astounding, but functional.
Excellent sprites and animation.
Corny theme music, okay effects.
Great fun...
...and lasting fun at that.