Contrary to popular opinion, the game of rugby was not invented by schoolboy William
Webb Ellis, but instead began when one of my equally rotund ancestors sat on a
football and squasef it into the now familiar oval shape.
From humble beginnings rugby union has evolved into a truly international sport,
spanning such vastly diverse cultures as Western Samoa, the USA and even Wales!
Every four years, the best sixteen internatioal teams come from far and wide to play
for the World Cup - the world's biggest sporting event after the Olympics and the
Soccer World Cup.
In Domark's official version of this prestigious tournament, the human/computer-controlled
teams are split into four groups of four: the top two from each go through to the
quarter finals. Other options allow you to play a friendly and alter match length.
The match action is shown from directly overhead with tiny Kick Off-style
players running around the huge scrolling pitch. It's so big and your players so
slow, that you can 'run' for ages and get nowhere near your opponent's end!
A small radar scanner shows exactly where you are, which is just as well, as
the pitch has few markings - it's mostly just a vast expanse of plain green.
Another graphical disappointment is the lack of accurate team colours: the two
sides always play in black or white shirts.
Sadly, gameplay sophistication is no better with many standard rugby features
missing. Why, there aren't even any penalties - so England would have no chance
of scoring! There are line-outs and (odd-looking) scrums, of course, but
no choice of tactical moves as in World Class Rugby.
Instead, both simply involve rapid joystick waggling. There are no mauls or
rucks, only set scrums, and it's difficult to get the ball out of these as the
scrum half is often tackled before he can pass the ball out to the backs. So you
usually get a long series of scrums, getting nowhere.
Once the ball does get into open play it's not much better. Accurate passing
is easily acieved by pressing fire with left or right, but clever running moves
are virtually impossible due to the players' poor positioning.
This lack of intelligence carries over to tackling with 'cowardly' defenders
often running away from the ball-carrier! Defending against a computer team is
almost impossible, and when you do get near the ball-carrier he lobs a massive,
perfect pass way over to the other side of the field.
The inevitable try is followed by a conversion attempt, and a change of view
to just behind the enlarged kicker. A white cursor moves sporadically left/right;
press fire when it's between the posts to score - dead easy.
Kicking during open play is achieved by pressing forward or diagonally forward
with fire held down to determine the strength, but you never have enough time to
do a long positional kick so it's an ineffective tactic.
If you really want to kick something, I suggest booting this slow, woefully
inaccurate simulation into touch.