The game of squash is usually thought of as a wealthy young businessman's game, and has generally failed to capture the public eye as much as, say, tennis. There is also much argument as to which is the more skilful. New Generation have joined forces with one of Britain's leading squash players, Jonah Barrington, to develop this simulation, which closely follows the real thing, and may give you the opportunity to make up your own mind about squash.
The actual game is played between two in a closed court using the side and back walls to return the ball on the rebound. The rules of the game are well described on the game's inlay card, which points out where the simulation differs from the real thing of necessity.
Squash can be played by one person against the computer, or by two players simultaneously using defined keys or twin joystick control if you have the right interface. There are four levels of difficulty, Red to Yellow, selected by the Spectrum colour keys. In play, the control is not unlike that of Match Point, directional keys moving your player, while the fire button makes a fore- or backhand stroke, whichever is appropriate to player and ball position at the time. The angle at which the ball leaves the racquet is determined by the length of time you keep fire depressed, and there are six possible angles. The other variable in is the point at which your swing intercepts the ball, which affects its speed of travel.
The screen display consists of two equal areas, the playing area depicting the 3D court on the left, and a status panel on the right with the score and service information. In addition to the visual scoring, Malcolm Evans has developed a way of reproducing Jonah Barrington's voice very accurately, and he can be heard calling out the scores.
Control keys: user-definable for two players, four directions plus fire needed
Joystick: all popular makes
Keyboard play: very responsive
Use of colour: sober, mostly greys and black, but works well
Graphics: very good, fast and characterful, excellent bouncing ball
Sound: generally simple, ball noises and the amazing sound of Jonah Barrington's voice
Skill levels: 4
Special features: Reprosound
'Squash is not unlike Match Point, two players and a ball with racquets, although being squash it's played indoors. The graphic representation of this game is extremely good and I love the way the ball bounces about with a sort of 'sodden' feel to it - quite realistic. Animation is good and, again, realistic - although on the forwards/backwards movement, do I detect some Trashman style walking?! The only real niggle I have about this game is that I found it very difficult to actually hit the ball. I'm sure it wasn't my fault, but that the racquet was a little too small! The voice reproduction is very good, although I found it difficult to hear it without my fandabidozy-super-blaster radio amplifier. (For assembly instructions on this super-Uffindell contraption please send £50 to .... I Of course you have to be interested in squash or tennis-type games in the first place to enjoy it to the full, but a good simulation anyhow.'
'This is a very elegant and polished program with speedy, clear graphics that simulate the real squash court very well. Given the obvious limitations of a small computer, New Gen have managed to convince me completely. One thing becomes clear immediately, however, Jonah Barrington's Squash isn't a game to get into in minutes, it takes a lot of practice to get familiar with the action of the ball and to get your swing into good shape. If you like sports simulations then this is a definite must for your collection, and a game l think you'll be playing for a long time to come.'
'Anyone who enjoyed playing Match Point will enjoy this game, as much for the differences as for the similarities. The graphics are simple looking but work beautifully, and the effect of the bouncing ball with its shadow is excellent. The option of playing the computer or another person at the same time is very useful and gives the game an added addictive quality with both players trying to win and being unwilling to give up. This is hard to get into though, and a fair bit of skill needs to be developed before really satisfactory games can be played with any ease - well worth the effort though.'
|Use of Computer||86%|
|Value for Money||82%|
Not all oldies are mouldies, though - this game dates from 1985 and is still superbly playable. I'd never seen it at all until a couple of years ago, when YS did a feature on sports sims and I had to play all of them. I was amazed at how good It was, even though it was a little basic (if not Basic). I suspect that Mastertronic, with this 79th rerelease, has tarted it up perhaps a touch, but it remains not only the best squash simulation iVe ever played, but the only one, as far as I'm aware. Why else has no-one ever tried to repeat the trick? It can only be because this one is quite good enough. Buy it and try it - it's hard but not too hard, and it's very, very simple in presentation and structure. Let's not knock simplicity - Jonah Barrington's Squash remains a classic.
Roger: I'd always thought that squash was a silly game played by overweight and middle-aged executive types to burn off the worst effects of their business lunches. The obvious reason for playing it inside a big indoor 'box' is to stop the rest of us from seeing them at it and cracking up in helpless mirth... That's still probably a fairly accurate description of the real thing but the Speccy version is something else.
It features all the basic elements of the sport with two players on court, one of whom can be computer controlled. The only thankful absence is the wobbling bellies and puffing and panting.
The graphics and ball movement are realistic but the computer chooses stroke for you if the player has been positioned with some reasonable degree of accuracy. There are four options of difficulty and I can say, from experience, that it's easily possible to bait the Spectrum at the easier levels. Squash is a well-crafted chunk of sporting software which, usually, isn't boring to non-enthusiasts of the aforesaid physical pursuit.
It won't cut down on the jolly old midriff bulge, but then nobody will laugh at you either. 4/5 m HIT
Dave: It felt a bit strange playing squash and not ending up drenched in sweat and gasping for air. Still, the graphics are good and the game's addictive. I also found out that Jonah Barrington is mike shy - the voice synthesis sounds like he spent hours down the pub getting his courage up... 3/5 HIT
Ross: Master the techniques necessary for hitting the ball against the wall and you'll find this an enjoyable game. The lack of diagonal movement though is a pain, but not as much of a pain as playing the real thing. It's a pity that Jonah Barrington sounds like he's got a squash ball in his throat. 3.5/5 HIT
SPORTS superstars endorsing computer games seems a trend that is likely to continue until all the superstars have been used up.
Jonah Barrington's Squash is endorsed by the former world champion and the score is called out in his own voice which has been 'accurately reproduced taking full advantage of the unique Reprosound system'.
However, plugging Jonah into the MIC socket produced a fuzzy unintelligible gabble as if he was speaking from the belly of the whale. Better get that throat seen to, Jonah.
The screen is divided, one half being the score table and the other a small 3D representation of a squash court.
The ball bounces off the walls in a convincing style and depending on the length of time the fire button is depressed, you can alter the angle at which the ball leaves the racket. The 3D illusion is effected by the use of a shadow on the ball, in much the same way as Psion's classic Match Point.
Hitting the ball can present a problem. It is very difficult. Whenever the ball comes within striking distance, press the fire button and you will automatically play that shot whether forehand or backhand. Obstructing your opponent is a foul and a let is called, but unfortunately you can't assault him with your racket.
The game is an accurate simulation of the game and play is fast on the higher levels. Jonah seems impressed and says that it "is fun to play and will teach players at all levels to improve their game". Personally I would prefer to exhaust myself in the more conventional and sweaty way, actually playing the real thing.
Publisher: New Generation
Joystick: Sinclair, Kempston, Programmable
Whatever happened to Jonah Barrington? I'm told that he's now running a squash farm in Kidderminster, or something, his days of world-championship squashing glory now long gone. But when Jonah Barrington's Squash appeared in 1985, he was Mr Golden Boy British Sporting Champion of Everything (ie the only Brit to win anything in the whole universe) so the licence made a bit more sense, unlike squash itself which seems singularly pointless, consisting as you probably recall of two men taking turns to bounce a small hard ball off a wall in a fairly girly manner.
Oddly enough the game itself is quite good, due largely to the strangely life-like animation of the two players. You can play against a computer or flesh-and-blood opponent, there are several difficulty levels and all the rules of the game are supported (whatever they are). There's even a spot of sampled speech for a birrovalaff. Yeah, give this one a quick whack around the bedroom.
MACHINE: CBM 64/Spectrum
SUPPLIER: New Generation Software
It's a smash! New Generation Software has come up with a winner with Jonah Barrington's Squash.
Fast and furious action, superb graphics, topped off by one of the best systems of voice reproduction C&VG has ever heard.
The game can be played by one or two players. They can be moved left, right, backwards and forwards. Depressing the fire button enables the player to make forehand or backhand strokes.
By timing the stroke, you can alter the angle at which the ball leaves the racquet.
And throughout the match, Jonah Barrington calls the scores.
New Generation has achieved this amazing voice reproduction using a system called Reprosound, a hardware sampling system which enables the voice to be reproduced using software only.
Spectrum, Amstrad, C64 £2.99
This rerelease features not only Jonah Barrington's name (he's very big in the squash world, by the way), but also his voice, which can be heard gargling the scores and telling the players off for missing shots. The speech is probably the game's only high point, because the actual action is so confusing. Placing your player in a position from where he can return the ball is so difficult that more often than not whoever serves wins the point. As a squash game this is no more enjoyable than playing on my old Binatone TV game.
New Generation Software
Jonah Barrington's (he is a famous squash player) Squash can be played against another human, or against the computer.
There are four difficulty levels, just as there are four ball spot colours in squash, ranging from red (easy) to yellow (difficult). The screen display is split in two sections with a three-dimensional representation of the game on the left hand side of the screen.
Hitting the fire button makes your player do a forehand or a backhand stroke, depending on the position of the ball when the button is pressed. So by careful timing you can alter the angle at which the ball leaves the racquet.
All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB