One hunnndred and eiiightyyyy. Take your pack of three out of your back pocket and
get down to some serious arrow-throwing business. Actually, to call Bully's Sporting Darts
a darts sim is a total misinterpretation of what the game is all about.
the presence of Bully it has very little in common with the quiz show Bullseye, either
(so thankfully you don't get Jim Bowen leering at you). You play on a dart board, you
use darts and you can play bogstandard 501 if you want, sure, but there's a lot more
to it than that.
Bully also features Football, Cricket, Tennis, Snooker, Golf and
Round the Clock and all played using your darts - and you don't have to worry about
puncturing any balls.
All the sports are played on the standard dartboard that you'll find in hostelries
all around the globe (except in countries where they don't have pubs, that is - Ian).
The control system is much the same as John Lowe's Ultimate Darts, but looks more
impressive, with an animated hand chucking the dart for you instead of just a tiny
little cursor (though this makes it more difficult to be accurate, especially when time
is running short).
The little hand roams about the screen affected by gravity and the movements of the
'stick in your hand. The controls bring to mind those of UGH! - sudden movements of the
'stick can have you planting a dart in the double three instead of the treble 20.
In all but one of the games you have to play against an opponent. Challenge your
mates or hook up with the 64; the computer opponents range from deeply dippy number one
to the ultimate opponent, number nine, which would have a good chance of winning even
if it was pitted against Eric Bristow.
If I have to have a favourite, it has to be the snooker. The red balls are presented
by the numbers one to 15 on the board, the colours to pink by numbers 15 to 20 and the
the bulls-eye is the black. The rules work exactly the same as in snooker; pot a
red, then a colour, then a red, then a colour and so on until you run out of reds.
Then you have to start potting the colours in order till you pot the black. And
ta-daaaa, you've won!
In many of the games the trebles and doubles come in to play. For example, in football,
hitting a double will move you three spaces nearer to the 18-yard box as opposed to
the normal one space. The double and treble beds really come into play when you switch
to tennis, however, as these are the only active sectors of the board.
The server, as in lawn tennis, has the advantage. They have to hit a highlighted
section of the double ring, while the receiver has to return by planting a dart in the
There's nothing stunning about the graphics. No shiny intro sequence, no little
bulls doing a groovy dance. But who needs it? A dart board is a dart board and any
fancying up would just make things far too complicated. A direct bullseye gets a
thumbs up from bully but that's as far as the snazzing-up goes.
What no multi-load? You bet. All these fabulous games load at once into the memory
of your beloved 64! No fiddling about with the tape or waiting for an age just to
get back to the title screen. Yo!
Bully's hits the mark. Okay, so it doesn't stick fervently to the proper rules of
darts, but then, it's not supposed to be real darts: it's a computer game, and a
pretty addictive one at that.
For a good larf with your mates on a wet Sunday afternoon, when there's nothing to
do but watch Highway, it'll do just fine thank you very much (it might even keep you
away from programmes you like, too). It's a shame you can't stick pictures of people
you hate on the board to throw darts at, though.