Jahangir Khan World Championship Squash
Copyright/Publisher: Krisalis. Programmed By: Andy Ware, Graphics By: Phil Hackney,
Music By: Matt Furniss, Genre: Mixed Sports, Release Year: 1990, Number of Players: 1 or 2

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 until now.

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 rungs.

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 a friend.

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.

THE DOWNERS
Play gets repetitive in the long run, unfortunately.
The view of the court makes it difficult to position your character at first (expect similar problems setting up shots later).
The more complex shot types take time to memorise.
THE UPPERS
Icon driven - hurrah!
Riveting (at first) in one-player mode, always exciting in two-player-mode.
Detailed and colourfil court and player graphics.
Different ball types enhance gameplay.
View match option provides a break from play.
It even plays a good game of squash.

INTRO SCREEN

POWER RATING 66%

The club option screen. Club games are more relaxed with nothing more to lose than a position in the club ladder. Other than fixtures, the options are the same as in tournaments.
The tournament menu. From here you can load and save your game, view your overall ranking in the competition and change some of the match variables (like ball type for instance).
A game in progress. The player whose turn it is should run forward at this point to intercept that low ball. If it hits the ground for a second time a point is lost. Predicting the ball's trajectory is vital.


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