Years ago, I vaguely remember playing a game on the Spectrum (it was a friend's, honest) called
Jonah Barrington's Squash. It featured some of the worst synthesised speech I've ever heard,
but the point is it was also on the C64, and I can't recall there being another squash simulation
Jahangir 'I have balls of four different types' Khan has endorsed the latest product from
Krisalis. It's and arcade squash sim or, to be more precise, two sims. Side A of the cassette
containts the club game: basically a mini league featuring a ladder arrangement of up to eight
Each rung contains four to six players and you need to play each of the club members in your
rung and finish in the top two. If you're successful you get promoted to the next rung. If you
finish last or second to last you get put down a rung. Get to the top of the eighth rung and
you're the club champion.
For a bit more of a challenge flip the tape and boot up the Tournament game to take part
in the world championship. This knockout competition is much less forgiving: get beaten here
and you're out of the championship - game over.
Playing is dead easy to start with, allowing you to put up quite a challenge with little
expertise. As long as you can perform a legal serve, you can sustain lengthy rallies simply by
positioning yourself correctly and hitting fire.
For harder opponents though you need to familiarise yourself with the more intricate types
of shot available. You can do normal shots, power shots and drop shots with both a left and
right bias, although these do take some joystick practise to get right.
To add some variety, there are a number of different game options. You can watch, in full,
and other players' games to weigh up the competition. There are also four ball types, each
with a different level of bounciness according to your taste. Also, if you get paranoid about
the computer players being better than you, select the two player option and go up against
JK Squash is a hoot to play, at leadt in the short term. But even if you find yourself getting
better at it, each round does get quite repetitive towards the end. Most fun is to be had by
playing against a friend.
Despite shortcomings in the gameplay, the presentation is more than up to scratch. The icon
system works well, the court is very nicely drawn and the dinky little hi-res player sprites
are neat, if poorly animated.
This isn't a game that will have you frothing at the mouth but given that it's such good
fun to play (especially in two player mode), it's one of those games that you'll keep to
one side of your C64 and come back to when nothing else takes your fancy. In fact, it could
make quite a refreshing change.