This sports simulation licensed from the American Design Star Inc allows up to four people to participate in a series of four indoor games. The evens are two player only, with asecond round being played if three or more competitors take part. If an odd amount of players are competing, the computer takes the place of the missing opponent.
Air Hockey is played on a table with walled edges and a goal at either end. Both players are equipped with a 'hitter', which moves within the confines of its own half, to bounce the puck into the opposite goal or to defend their own. Three playing speeds are available, with a score and time countdown given. Winner is the first player to score 12 goals within the specified time limit.
The next event is Darts. An arrow is aimed by sliding it along the bottom of the screen, the arc of the throw set by use of an angle meter and strength regulated on the power meter. A thrown dart's position is shown on the board with a message section above it indicating trebles, doubles and misses. Scores are 'chalked' on either side of the board, with a running total given after every three darts. The game is lost if available time (shown by a countdown) falls to zero.
In Superstar Ping Pong the bat is moved either manually or by the computer. If the auto-move option is chosen, the fire button is used to serve and the joystick, or appropriate keys, to determine the choice of return - this can be using back-spin, an attacking smash or at varying angles. When manually operated the bat can also be moved left and right along the table end. If the ball is not returned onto the table, or hits the net, a point is lost. The game is won by the first player to reach 21 by two clear points.
Now on to bigger balls, this time at the Ten-Pin Bowling alley. Having positioned the bowler, an arrow is moved to determine the ball's direction and, using the joystick, its curve chosen. The ball is released by pressing fire at the correct moment during the bowler's swing. A point is awarded for each fallen pin, with those pins still standing shown at the top of the screen. Should the bowler ever cross the line on the alley, a fault is incurred and no points are scored.
Control keys: Q/A up/down, O/P left/right, Space to fire
Use of colour: plenty of it - a bit garish
Graphics: generally large and well defined with some good scrolling
Screens: four events
'None of Indoor Sport's four sub-games holds any lasting appeal, and all of them are very easy to master. The perspective of the air hockey is superb, and the action is smooth and lightning fast. The darts is the easiest game to suss- maximums being no trouble to get. Superstar ping pong is again very easy to master, mainly due to the dense opponent. Ten-pin bowling, being the best of a bad bunch, takes quite a time to get into - but again good scores are easily repeated. You may find one or two games that you like, but it's asking a bit much at £7.95.'
'I think Advance have scraped the barrel a little here. The events (most of them not too interesting to begin with) are badly implemented and none of the actual 'feel' of the originals is conveyed. The badly defined graphics are marred further by the garish use of colour. The sound is awful, there are no tunes and effects during the game are thin on the ground. I wouldn't recommend this, it simply isn't worth the asking price.'
|Value for Money||46%|
This collection of four indoor activities has been converted from an American C64 original, and its got that touch of class that Yanks pay through the nose for. Air hockey is the only one of the four you won't have seen before on a Speccy, but all four are worth more than a cursory Dewhursts.
Of the four, air hockey is in fact the most spectacular. Cosmopolitan YS readers may have encountered the real thing on their travels overseas (darling warling!) - it's an amazing game in which you smash a puck around an almost frictionless table hoping beyond hope that it will somehow rebound into your opponents goal rather than yours. Even when played by hopeless cretins its astonishingly fast, and by some miracle of programming Advance has managed to duplicate it superbly. Not only is it faster on screen than you'd have thought possible, but the puck's been animated as well - as it flies around it gets larger or smaller depending on which end of the table it's at. Wowee! You've also got a choice of three game speeds (beginner, normal and hyperdrive) and four levels of computer opponent (easy up to pro). A pro opponent on hyper-drive is well nigh impossible to beat.
After air hockey, rather more familiar territory - darts. Won hondred a NIGHT-ie! we all cry, right on cue. Well, it's an interesting variation on what, in Speccy terms, is now an almost prehistoric theme. Mastertronic's 180 did it best, of course, and this isn't quite as much fun (for one thing it's harder), but it's a worthy attempt. You even get to see yourself (or a fat animated representation) chucking the arrer at the board.
Third, ping pong. Ah so, honourable Chinese sphere swipers, for here's your chance to shine at the game the inscrutables have made their own. Again, we've seen this once or twice on the Speccy before, but the indoor Sports version's as good as any. For one thing, you can choose between 'auto move', which puts your bat in exactly the right spot, leaving you only to time the shot perfectly (not a doddle), or 'manual mode' which is evil. Ah, decisions, decisions. The animation's smoother than Bob Monkhouse, and the little flipping motion you use when hitting the ball is a neat touch.
Finally, there's ten pin bowling, and another splendid conversion. Well timed, too, after US Gold's 10th Frame, which I thought rather disappointing. This is much more the ticket. Four skill levels as ever, and nine choices of ball weight (!) make the menu screen a test in itself. The game then involves much more than taking your finger off the fire button at the right moment. Positioning your player, aiming the ball and then swerving it at the last moment in order to make up for getting the first two wrong all make for an interesting challenge, needing the skill and judgement that come only with practice.
In all, then, indoor Sports is a surprisingly thoughtful and skilful compendium of games, of which certainly two could stand on their own. What with World Games, it's been a good couple of months for sports sim fans, and this is definitely one to add to your collection. I'll sithee!
|Value For Money||9/10|
"Aaaaahh, and, err, welcome to, ah, Indoor Sports and in an aah, packed program today we'll be taking a look at the aah, absolutely amazing, aah events from the Advanced stadium in Essex. And I believe we are errr, going over to um, Philip Trainer for some motor racing... oh, aha I beg your pardon, it's something called Air Hockey. Absolutely amazing..." Ccch.. .crackle...
"Thanks Dave. Well, you join us in a fairly uncrowded stadium here today. We're going to take a look at a reasonably new sport here today. Air Hockey is loosely based on the old game of shove ha'penny although it's much more dangerous. Here at Advance they play it on a fairly boring looking snooker-sized table, which vaguely resembles a football pitch with a circle in the middle and a goal at either end. Each player controls a kind of bat and the idea is to smash the puck-style object up the table and into the opponent's goal.
"It's nothing special to look at, but the players' bats and the puck move about so quickly it doesn't really matter. It's certainly hotting up here, David. Back to you in the studio..."
"Aaaaah, thank you Philip. And it's Darts next. Looks like, aaaaah, an amazingly similar game down at the Advance stadium to the traditional version. Let's take a look..."
(Pictures of a dart board and a dart beneath it which sways about a bit. Suddenly the dart steadies and some bars at the side of the picture begin to rise, along with a pair of figures in the right-hand bottom corner. The figures are degrees, indicating the angle at which the dart is about to be thrown. The shot switches to the back of a darts player who throws a dart which misses the board entirely.)
"Ah, well, he, aha seems to be having some problems with judging just how hard to throw the dart.
"Oh. and we've just got time to go back to, ahh, Philip for the amazing Ping Pong..."
"Yes indeed. Here we are again though this time it's Ping Pong. There were some interesting development earlier in the afternoon when one of the players found an apparent blind spot and by continually putting the ball into the same spot on the table, was able to defeat the opponent with no opposition. Not entirely fair.
"You actually missed the Bowling that took place earlier. It was pretty exciting in fact. Many people find themselves sprawling in the gutter with their balls missing every pin in sight. And... I think that's just about all we've got time for so it's goodbye from the Essex and back to David in the studio for a round-up of the events..."
"Aaahhhh. Yes. Yes indeed. Absolutely amazing then, these, ah, events today. What an amazing season it looks like being for Advance. They've come up with another aah, absolutely amazing program. A very pleasant and, aah, nicely presented. Truly amazing"
Label: Advance Software
Author: In house
Reviewer: Jim Douglas
Hey, I've discovered air hockey. It's brilliant. For years I've always wondered what that game was called in the arcades and amusement halls where you skim this puck across a shiny table smacking it around with bats, busting up your knuckles in the process. Now I know.
It's really nothing special to look at and I thought it would be pretty boring. Half an hour later I was still eager for more. It's exciting, addictive and fiendishly fast.
The other games on Indoor Sports are bowling, darts and table tennis. All very good but you've seen them before.
Ping pong is my next favourite. Again it's nothing much to look at, simple to play, great fun, very addictive. An early copy I played had a bug in it. The computer kept serving to me at a certain angle, making it impossible to return. This has now been corrected.
Darts and bowling are nicely presented and fun to play. But it's air hockey that's the winner for me. If Indoor Sports was a little cheaper I'd say it was worth buying for that alone.
Spectrum 48/128/Plus 2
All right, I'll confess, I like this one. Indoor Sports, from Advance Software Promotions, is a great little cassette for the Spectrum family of computers, and is either keyboard or joystick (lots of interfaces to choose from) compatible. It also contains four very different games as well, which explains the rather long and tedious loading time. He very careful that you don't manage to wipe out your copy of the game, because the tape deck can also be used to save or load high score tables. Label your tapes carefully.
On completion of loading, you are invited to enter up to four players' names, although if you just want to take on the computer - or have three friends who wish to remain anonymous - then the one name will do. You then decide which of the four games you want to play. A significant wait then ensues while the correct game is loaded from tape.
Ten pin bowling is not a bad version of the game, using the joystick to position a little man who delivers the ball when you tell him to. Nothing brilliant, but everything you could wish for is in there, including correct scoring for strikes and spares, and a reasonable, if not quite reaching brilliant, screen display.
Air hockey is good fun and consists of moving a block around a table while whacking the living daylights out of a puck which, sitting on a mound of air, whisks off towards your opponents goal. He, needless to say, is trying to do the same as you and score, so plenty of joystick action there.
Table tennis is another good one. Just the sight of two table tennis bats floating around in mid-air kept me amused for a while. It seems marginally easier to play the real thing than it is to control the Spectrum bat, moving the joystick backwards and forwards to get backspin or a smash, left and right of course just to return the ball if that's as far as your competence goes. It is fun, but awkward, and the screen display does only the bare essentials, as indeed it does for air hockey.
Darts is darts is darts, and somehow no computer version has ever come near to reproducing the real thing. No beer by the side of the computer is probably its biggest failing, but as far as darts games go this one's good enough and will certainly get you going for the magic one hundred and eighty. The character is definitely wrong on the screen though, since he is lacking the vast beergut which seems to be a prerequisite for playing darts.
As individual games, they would all sit well on a £1.99 tape. For a four in one package, one can't complain at all. And for me, it's back to the darts. Shame about the absence of the beer, though.
All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB