Indoor Sports
Copyright/Publisher: Mindscape/SportTime/Designstar Consultans Inc, Designed &
Produced By: Ed Ringler, Associate Producer: Simon Finch, Programming: Simon Finch,
Daniel Lucas & Ed Ringler, Music: John Fitzpatrick, Support: K.Lamb & W.Robinson,
Release Year: 1987, Genre: Multi Events, No. Of Players: 1 to 4

Bored? Don't feel like venturing outside? Fear not, Advance bring you three indoor sports to beat those rainy day blues - giving you a choice of Ten-Pin Bowling, Darts or that old fairground favourite, Air Hockey.

Game choice and the number of players to compete are selected from a main options screen. On loading the required section, you are presented with another list of options, from which many aspects of the relevant game can be altered according to choice.

In Ten-Pin Bowling, you begin with a side profile of your bowler at the start of the lane. Moving the joystick positions the bowler, and holding the fire button down highlights an arrow which continously move across the lane. This marker determines the direction of the ball: on releasing the fire button, the marker stops moving and the bowler then begins has walk up.

As he completes this action, another press of the button releases the ball. Shoot too soon and the bowler hits his ankle, sending the ball trundling into the gutter - too late, and he ends up sprawling on the land, while the ball takes the gutter route once again.

As the ball heads for the pins, the screen changes to a first-person view of the lane, showing the consequent pin-fall. The score is then displayed above the alley, next to a picutre of the bowler's face as he displays an expression suitable to the outcome.

Both players have two attempts to clear the pins, over ten frames, and the scoreboard is updated in the correct manner, with strikes and spares recorded in the usual fashion.

The Darts simulation is slightly more complex, as all aspects of the arrow's flight are covered. The screen shows a central dartboard, with score and other relevent details displayed around this.

A dart appears at the bottom of the screen and is moved to the appropriate position below the baord. Pressing the fire button stops the cursor and an anglemeter begins to fill, corresponding the the arc of the flight. Once this is selected, the power-meter begins to change colour, and as before, the required power is selected by a click of the fire button.

The view switches to an over-the-shoulder viewpoint of your player as he throws, set in a suitable pub surrounding. The screen then reverts to a close-up of the board, showing the dart's final position and the updated score. This is repeated twice more and then the next player takes his turn.

Finally, you are treated to a blast from the past with a two-player simulation of air hockey, a table-top version of that all-action ice sport.

A forced perspective end view of the table is given showing the puck and the two joystick-controlled 'hitters'. The aim is to get the puck into your opponent's goal as many times as possible within the time limit. The puck moves rapidly around the table in perspective and the speed of the hitters may be speeded up by holding down the fire button.

Any goals scored are displayed by a row of lights along the end of the table corresponding to the player.

R.E.
If Advance think they're ready to take on Epyx with this sports simulation, they're going to have to produce better products then Indoor Sports. The introductory menu is needlessly complicated and only provides initial confusion to lead into more of the same in the three games that follow.

I prefer Mastertronic's budget darts game to this awkward method of arrow throwing. When all the correct settings enabling you to throw a 60 have been discovered all that needs to be done each time is to make sure the settings are the same. Then there are the joys of ten-pin bowling - like the darts, this is badly implemented and confusing to play.

Finally, there's the more promising Air Hockey which is in truth not a bad game - it's fast, uncomplicated and initially addictive, but after a few games it all tends to wear off.

S.J.
The standard of the three games which comprise this package varies greatly. The air hockey looks smart and provides a decent two-player challenge. The action gets very tense and things move about smoothly and realistically. Ten-pin bowling is less enjoyable, having an awkward control method and not giving true pin-falls (you can hit the four pin and get a strike - barely possible in reality).

The timing required for the final release of the ball is too precise and on many occasions it ends up in the gutter, while your bowler leaps about clutching his leg. The darts section is really dire - it's far too slow and unnecessarily complex, taking ages to actually finish a game. It's a shame that this is only as good as its weakest link, as you could have had a lot of game for your nine quid.

Julian Rignall
Advance have tried quite hard to emulate three indoor sports, but they've failed miserably with the darts and bowling. The problem with the darts module is that it's incredibly difficult to throw the arros. Having to gauge the power and trajectory is silly - it only serves to makes simple game complicated.

The bowling module fails along those lines too - controlling the man is really tricky, and there's no feeling of realism. The only good module is the air hockey, but even that has limited appeal. If you're after a sports simulation, look up the Epyx series - they're streets ahead in every department.


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 87%
Plenty of options and good instructions.
GRAPHICS 73%
Fair on air hockey and darts, naff on ten-pin bowling.
SOUND 61%
Awful jingles, but adequate effects.
HOOKABILITY 68%
Easy to get into, although the controls may take some getting used to.
LASTABILITY 46%
Only the air hockey holds interest for any reasonable length of time.
VALUE 51%
Insufficient entertainment for the price.
OVERALL 58%
A commendable, but mediocre attempt to produce an alternative sports simulation package.


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