Omni Play Horse Racing
Copyright/Publisher: SportTime/Designstar Consultants, Designed & Produced By: Ed Ringler,
Programmed By: Simon Ffinch, Mike Goodwin & John Wilson, Graphics By: Thomas Cardin Jr. &
Ed Ringler Sr., Release Year: 1989, Genre: Horse Sports Number Of Players: 1

The latest in SportTime's Omni-play series is a simulation of the 'sport of kings'. Up to four players can compete against computer opponents in a tournament, not riding or training horses but betting on them.

Of course, professional punters don't simply use luck to win - so all the important statistics about all 128 horses' and 15 jockeys' previous races are available including race distance, track condition, and winning time.

And if you're a mere pinsticker you can buy a tip from an expert computer player - if you trust them enough!

When all bets (including various combinations) have been placed the race section is multiloaded in. The horses are shown side-on, galloping down the straight, the view switching to overhead (and the horses to mere numbers) for the bends of the oval track.

The overall winner is the player who has won the most money after a definable number of races or the first to reach a definable amount of winnings.

ROBIN
Aaargghhh! I just can't believe how bad this multiload is. Still, this is a very topical game: by the time it's loaded The Grand National will be upon us again!

Considering the huge manual, the game is surprisingly shallow. There's loads of options but very little depth of play and zero incentive to carry on once the thrill of winning money has worn off. If gambling was this boring William Hill would be out of business!

PHIL
This is typical of all the previous Omni-play games: a huge manual to read, loads of lengthy disk accessing and minimal playability. And this one's probably the worst yey with very little to do other than pore over reams of statistics before deciding which horse to bet on.

Then you have to wait four minutes (only about two-and-a-half with a fastload cartridge!) for the race section to load. In racing terms this nag should be sent straight to the glue factory!


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 24%
Appallingly lengthy and frequent disk accessing. Plenty of options though.
GRAPHICS 54%
Multiloaded pre-race presentation screens, okay race graphics with good horse animation.
SOUND 30%
Muffled galloping effect.
HOOKABILITY 32%
The multiload's a huge handicap and studying loads of statistics isn't much fun.
LASTABILITY 28%
There's nowhere near the game depth the large manual implies.
OVERALL 31%
A faller at the first fence.


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