Surf Champ
Copyright/Publisher: New Concepts, Programmed By: H. Wilkinson & N. McAndrew,
Release Year: 1986, Genre: Water Sports, Number Of Players: 1

Surf City, here we come...with New Concept's Surf Champ surfing simulation. Apart from a cassette, the package contains a plastic surfboard which fits over the keyboard of the 64, pivoting on a little fulcrum fitted over the G key.

The simulation itself requires some knowledge of surfing terminology, and a tutorial program is included on the B side of the cassette. Loading the tutorial allows you to step through menus which lead to descriptions of the various moves that score points, as well as information on the selection of gear, a glossary of surfing slang, a history of surfing and tips for safe fun in the surf.

Before starting play proper, the program gives some information on the climatic conditions prevailing. It then leads you through a set of options, requesting information on your age, sex, height and weight before allowing you to select the type of board and clothing you wish to take to the water. The conditions change every time, and as in real life the best surfing is only to be had when the sea is good...

The final menu option allows you to specify whether you want to practise riding the waves or enter a competition. In practice mode you can select from ten speeds and surf away merrily, without running out of energy while you practice manoeuvres. In competition mode, competition rules apply and you get ten rides in which to build up a score - as in real life, your performance deteriorates as you tire.

The sport begins with your surfer on the beach, carrying a board. Pick a spot to enter the water, press down on the nose of the surfboard on your computer to leave the beach and paddle out to sea. A large energy bar in the sky gradually disappears as your energy is used up - paddling the board gets tiring very quickly. Once a suitable spot has been reached, the next step is to turn round and wait for a wave. Pressing the space bar puts your surfer onto the board, and catching a wave allows the real fun to begin.

Once a wave has been caught and the surfboard mounted, the display changes to give a view of the wave you are riding with your surfer zooming along on the water. Using the surfboard overlay, it's up to you to attempt point-scoring moves as you ride the wave towards the beach. The board pivots about its centre and makes contact with some of the Commodore's keys.

As the little sufrboard is tilted and slanted during play, the key-presses produced are translated to movement on screen. The aim is to go for the highest score possible by assembling a routine of slick stunts. Your performance is governed by the type of wave you are riding, the choice of equipment and physique entered at the start, the weather, and the energy remaining - a tired surfer makes mistakes!

Gary Penn
I've never mounted a surfboard in my life, but if this simulation of surfing is anything to go by I'm glad I never bothered. Surf Champ just isn't realistic enough to be classed as a simulation of surfing. The only innovative thing about this package is the surfboard - and even this hasn't been used to good effect.

New Concepts should have produced some form of 3D surfing simulation instead of this tedious two dimensional game. I don't think Surf Champ will appeal to anybody vaguely interested in the sport, and it certainly won't convert anyone. Give it a miss.

Julian Rignall
This isn't much fun - it's very nicely presented and even has a plastic surfboard to plonk over the keys, but the actual program is pretty dull. The graphics are very poor - if you paddle your man far enough out to sea he can be made to swim over the buildings on the horizon.

The worst bit is when he stands on the board - he looks like a matchstick man. Even the sound is very poor. If you're dead keen on surfing you may like to give it a look, but I think you'll be disappointed.


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 85%
Informative instructions, detailed in-game presentation, and a cute surfboard.
GRAPHICS 23%
Lacklustre representations of the sea and surfer.
SOUND 6%
Sparse.
HOOKABILITY 39%
May prove mildly interesting to those unfamiliar with this unusual sport.
LASTABILITY 29%
Far too unrealistic and tedious to be absorbing.
VALUE 21%
Expensive - for a plastic surfboard and a poor piece of software.
OVERALL 30%
An original but uninspiring simulation.


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