Copyright/Publisher: Activision, Produced By: Software Studios,
Programmed By: O.D.E.,
Release Year: 1987, Genre: Water Sports, Number Of Players: 1 or 2
Riding high on the wave of nautical enthusiasm inspired by the Americas Cup, comes Sailing from
Activision - a simplified simulation which attempts to give a realistic viewpoint of a yacht
race as seen from the vessel's bow.
Before you are even allowed near a boat, the level of play has to be selected to determine
your starting position in the league table, and hence the difficulty and length of the race.
The basic design of the ship can then be altered to suit the long-range weather forecast, which
scrolls past at the bottom of the screen. A blueprint of your vessel is shown, with the variable
dimensions represented numerically. Adjustments to the craft are joystick controlled, with
forward and back selecting the desired option, and left and right changing its value. The
blueprint is constantly redrawn as the dimensions are altered.
Aspects of the ship's design which can be changed include: the overall length, water-line
length; height of the hull from the waterline, and mast length. It's also possible to change
the material from which the hull is made, and add wings to the keel for stability.
Having settled on a design, it's then time to get down to some serious racing...
A list of potential opponents is highlighted, and their ship's blueprints presented for
inspection - enabling you to decide which team to race against. When an adversary has been
selected, the race begins...the screen display changes to show a view from the bow of your ship,
with your opponent lying abreast of you, facing the first buoy. The objective is simple: sail
around three buoys as quickly as possible - and beat the opposition to the final flag.
The craft is controlled by steering left and right, and raising and lowering the spinnaker for
extra speed when the wind is favourable. The sail is 'winched' by rotating the joystick - anti-
clockwise to raise, and clockwise to lower.
Beneath the view-screen is a panel showing details relevant to the race: the wind speed/direction
and spinnaker status (up, lowered or stowed). There's also a radar screen showing the positions
of your ship, your opponent, and the buoys which define the course of the race.
After five days of racing, you are given a week in which to trim your vessel in readiness
for the next bout competition. Inspecting the league positions and competitor's blueprints allows
you to see how the different designs respond to the current weather conditions, enabling you
to achieve optimum performance from your ship.
I though that a sailing program would never really work on a computer, but I was wrong - this
is very playable and exhilarating. Mind you, it's not really a boating simulation - more of
an unusual arcade racing game. You don't have to worry too much about trimming the sails and
all that, the trick is getting the wind behind you and whizzing around the course as quickly
The initial opposition is easy to beat, but later countries are very skillful and a lot of
practice is necessary before they can be overcome. The boat design screen is great and
epitomises the program's superb presentation. All in all, this is a nice race game -
requiring skill and clear thinking rather than ultra-fast reflexes and nimble fingers.
At first sight you would be tempted to think that a sailing game would be deathly dull, but
Sailing surpasses all expectations. The view of the ocean is sufficiently realistic to give
most people an odd sensation in high seas, and the sight of your opponent pulling away
makes play both atmospheric and exciting. The only drawback might be the lack of variety between
races - the course always remains the same, and once the controls have been mastered interest could
Waht a pleasant surprise this turned out to be. I wouldn't have expected a sailing game to be
so absorbing - but I became thoroughly involved after only a few plays. There's very little
real substance to it - sailing around a triangular course, coping with a single competitor
and differing weather conditions... it doesn't sound like much fun.
But it is! The music works
remarkably well, and combined with the simple but effective spot FX, generates a gripping
atmosphere. The sea moves convincingly, and, surprisingly, watcing the waves tends to induce
malaise more than when you are actually sailing! My only real complaint is that the instructions
don't go inot enough detail, which is annoying, but not overly off-putting