Sport Games CD
Last issue I looked at the Fourth Dimension Racing games CD, this time I am having a play with the Sports CD, this collection contains eight games:
The collection comes in the usual DVD box with printed colour inlay, as with the other 4th Dimension CD collections it is very easy to install on your machine. With the disc in the drive, load up the CD and a window will appear with the application !Install. Double clicking on this will bring up the following window:
Then you select which games you want to install to the harddisc - all of them by default, then drag the yellow joystick icon to the destination directory on the harddisc and click on 'OK'. The games will now install, and you should end up seeing something like this:
With the installation complete it's on with the games:
Break 147 + Superpool
Break 147 is a snooker simulation. Upon loading you can choose which type of game you want. Demo mode in which 2 computer players will play against each other, Practice mode which is self explanatory, Match mode is a proper competitive match against the computer and finally in the tournament mode you play a different player in each round. The aim is to try and beat them all and get to the final and become the overall winner. With the single match mode and tournament mode, any of the opposition can be replaced by human opponents instead of the computer, so you can have up to 16 different people playing in the tournament if you so wish!
The actual game of snooker is accurately recreated, all the rules and ball colours and the point scoring systems are all as they would be in a real game. The table graphics look exactly as you'd expect them to look, almost like the real thing! The game control is by the mouse, which works really well, you can rotate the table around to all different angles and different viewpoints to help you with your game. There is a game commentator who will tell you whose go it is as well as the score and other bits of information. The only other sound effects are of the balls being bit with the cue and going into the pockets and they sound realistic, probably sampled from the real thing.
There's not really much more I can say about this really, if you like computerised snooker games then this is certainly one that is well worth considering.
Superpool is basically the same as Break 147 but instead of a game of snooker you play pool (bet nobody guessed that!). The game set up is the same with Demo mode , Single match, and the Tournament mode, as with Break 147 the official rules of the game are followed, and it is played on the same table as before just with a different set of balls. The sound effects, the style of gameplay and everything else is the same, so there's not much point saying the same thing again!
Overall then the combined package of Break 147 & Superpool is certainly worth playing if you enjoy computerised versions of either or both of these games. They aren't difficult to play, although will need a bit of mouse practice I would imagine. I found Superpool more entertaining, but then it's a quicker and easier game to play than snooker, even more preferable is the real thing in the pub, but there you go - worth a go if you like either of these games.
GREVIOUS BODILY 'ARM
This is a sideways scrolling beat-em-up game, in which the object is to get to the end of each level, in order to catch an evil scientist at the end of the final level and destroy him.
Grevious Bodily 'Arm is a pretty basic beat-up-game, the only moves are punch and kick but that doesn't stop it being a decent little game. Starting on the first level in the city streets, you then go through into a warehouse, then an office and then out onto the roof and that's as far as I got, although this is one game I would like to actually finish, I just couldn't defeat what I guess was the end of level boss. (or evil scientist in this case).
Your enemies that are out to stop you range from normal people to cats and machinery, such as saws in the floor in the warehouse, explosions, and in the office electrical cables can harm you. Out on the streets a collision with a manhole will harm you, which is a bit silly really and it wouldn't do that much damage.
The levels aren't difficult to complete and you should find yourself at least onto level 3 - the office quite quickly. It does, however, get progressively more difficult as the levels go on. Controlling your character is easy via the keyboard, or joystick if you prefer, just left, right punch and kick, although on later levels, you find weapons which you can use as well.
The audio in the game is pretty good I thought, with a good musical introduction to the game and a good tune between each level - good stuff. The in-game sounds are punches, kicks, 'oofs' and and noises from the saws and electrical cables etc, and it all works really well. Graphically the game is quite cartoony and the sprites look good and I don't think it looks old really, although the playing area is quite small. I don't think it was this small when I used to play it back on my A3000, this might be to do with getting it to run on later machines - problems with screenmodes etc, thats why the screenshots are small, compared with the other screenshots.
One criticism of the game is that the backdrops could have been involved in the game a bit more, I mean for example on the first level you see gates for the subway, perhaps some enemies could have come rushing out of there, and out of the doors in later levels, would have added to the game a lot I think, but never mind.
Overall I always liked Grevious Bodily 'Arm, it's not the greatest game ever and certainly won't win any awards for best beat-em-up game, but its fun to play and certainly worth a go, and I wonder if this game hadn't have been written for a machine with an ARM processor whether it would have had the same title!
This is a game I used to play a lot back on the BBC and then later on the A3000, as it was an easy to play entertaining football game, there is no management side to this game, just the playing of football. (We used to have championships on this - ED).
Upon loading you are greeted by a rendition of the theme tune to ITV's football program "The Big Match" although I'm sure it sometimes alternated between that and Match of The Day, maybe it didn't, I don't know. Anyway after that it's onto the main menu, there are two parts to the menu, the left hand side is the player menu, and the right hand side the game menu.
From the player menu you select the number of players, whether they are computer controlled or a human player, whether you want to use the keyboard or joystick. The skill level of each player, and also the formation you want to use, such as 4-4-2 or 3-5-2, thankfully there isn't a boring defensive formation that a lot of teams go for these days which is the 1-10-0 formation, give me 4-4-2 anyday!
The other part of the menu is the setup for the game, there are three different types of games, from the simple one game friendly, the challenge match, where you have to beat 24 teams, who get more difficult to beat each match. The final game type is the World Cup where you can play a proper world cup tournament. The teams can be computer or human controlled, depending on how many people want to play.
Game configuration options include the power of kicking, speed of the game, weather, which ranges from sunshine to torrential monsoon conditions and thunderstorms complete with lightning flashes, length of each half, goal scoring replays, and the type of football you want to use.
With the configurations done, it's time to go down the tunnel and out onto the pitch, the action is viewed from above, and in the top left hand corner is a small pitch radar showing where the players are on the pitch, this can be switched off if it's annoying. You can only control the player nearest to the ball who will be highlighted, controlling that player is easy, just the movement controls and a key to kick the ball. One of the features I particularly like about Arcade Soccer is that the ball stays glued to your feet, if you turn round suddenly it sticks with you, other football games such as Sensible Soccer or Superior Soccer (if you can remember that far back!) didn't do this, turn round and you lose the ball, losing the ball like this maybe more realistic but it spoils the game..
The game itself includes the usual football rules, although I think the off-side rule is not implemented. There is an invisible referee who blows the whistle for throw ins, and other things during the game, and as a football game it plays really well, its easy to get into and have a good game either against the computer or in a 2 player match.
The graphics haven't dated at all and still look good now, it does not look 15 years old, the pitch is nice and green and the players look like proper footballers, the audio side of things is minimal but works well. From the opening music, there are just whistles and ball kicking noises, apart from the strange tackling noises which can be heard from time to time, if you are playing in the rain then rain noises and thunderstorms will be heard as well.
Overall Arcade Soccer was great fun to play 15 years ago and I see no reason to alter that view now. I think many of today's football games are far too in depth and almost too realistic this is simple fun to play and is well worth a go.
Remember Track & Field and Hyper Sports back in the 1980s? If you do then this is what The Olympics is based on, if not, then in short it is a multi sporting events game for a number of players.
Upon loading the game a decent rendition of Chariots Of Fire can be heard. From the main menu you can decide how many events you want to compete in, whether you want to practice them first, define the keys used, the number of players (up to eight players can compete against each other), in the next menu you enter your name and country you are from, and then you can start the games, as with the real olympics, medals are awarded for finishing in the top three, with bronze silver and gold medals.
Diving - in this event you have to perform a number of moves between jumping off the diving board and hitting the water,and need to hit the water with a proper dive rather than a flop into the pool to score good marks with the judges. There are four different types of dives to carry out, forward, backwards, reverse and inwards.
Shooting - using the mouse to control the sights you have to shoot all the clay pigeons that are fired across the sky, the more you shoot the more points you score.
Javelin - you have to run down the track and then when you reach the line throw the javelin into the air, as you'd expect the further you throw it the more points you score.
Swimming - this is a swimming race against 3 other competitors and the object as you'd expect it to be is to finish first. This event reminds me of the old Tynesoft 'keyboard bashers' when you have to tap the Z and X keys in order to build up a rhythm to swim faster, you also need to breath at intervals as well.
Canoeing - this an against the clock event where you have to steer your canoe to the finish and must go through all the gates on the way.
Polevault - another event which involves running down the track and at a certain point you have to launch yourself over the bar using the pole, the higher the bar the more points you score, if you can get over it.
The graphics still look OK after all this time, but some of the athletes look a bit odd and run a bit strangely but doesn't really matter, sound wise the opening rendition of Chariots of Fire is good and there are in-game noises and national anthems, which do the job.
Overall I would say the Olympics is OK, it's nothing amazing and never really was in the first place. I liked the shooting event the best, but didn't really go much on the other events really, I think Summer Olympiad on the BBC Micro was a better example of this sort of game, but it's still worth having as part of a compilation though.
Holed Out is a golf simulation game, which features a number of different courses, a course editor, and different gametypes. Upon loading Holed Out you can read the instructions, advisable the first time round as it gives game and editor control information. From here you select whether you want to edit courses using the course editor or play the game, if you play the game then you have to decide whether you are going to play "Match Play" or "Stroke Play" the difference being that in Match Play the object is to win as many of the 18 holes as possible this is a 2 player game, where as in Stroke Play the object is to complete all 18 holes in as few shots as possible, in this game you can up to four players.
Now it's onto the game and the course will appear and 'you' will be on the course with your bag of clubs. Now you have to decide on which club to use, how much power is in the shot and the direction of where you want the ball to land. The game is mouse controlled and is very easy to play, you can learn how to swing almost instantly, so you don't need to be a golf master to have a few rounds.
At the top left of the screen you will see the "Select a club" menu, move the move pointer around the area to select your required club. When you have picked the right one click on the select mouse button, a cross-hair will now appear, move this with the mouse to the place on the course where you want the ball to land. Now click the middle mouse button and hold it down and the power meter will rise from 0 to 100% when it gets to the required amount release the mouse button and the ball will now be hit into the distance and will then land hopefully in a good place for you to carry on. As in real life it might hit a tree, or go in a bunker or get lost in the water. If you didn't lose the ball then you can carry on with the next shot and repeat the process until you get onto the green. Obviously there is more to the game than whack the ball and hope for the best, there are slopes and wind to take into consideration, once on the green the view of the game moves to above and then with the putter you tap the ball into the hole, round completed!
Graphically Holed Out doesn't look too bad, the courses are well drawn, with the trees, water, bunkers and then the green. Its nothing outstanding but does the job, although the players do look a bit odd! The sound effects are minimal but then this is a golf simulation so you wouldn't really expect in game music, the sampled effects for hitting the ball, ball hitting the tree work well and there's a good sampled plop noise when the ball goes in the water as well.
This is actually the Holed Out Compendium, so in addition to the original release, you also get a number of extra courses plus the course designer. These additional courses are more testing and are for the more experienced player. Should you have the urge then you can also create your own courses with the hole designer which you access when the game is first loaded up. I haven't designed any courses so I don't know how well it works but the accompanying blurb says it is easy to use and highly sophisticated, so it must be good!
Whether you are going to enjoy playing Holed Out really depends if you like golf games or not, I'm not a massive fan really but quite enjoyed a couple of games. The multi player option can add a bit of competition to the game as well, overall it's not a bad game and you get a lot of golf for your money, so if you like golf have a go.
A double treat for golf fans on this compilation, after Holed Out, comes Virtual Golf which is as you'd expect is another golf game but a much better one, just looking at the game screenshots you can see how much better it looks, but what is this game like compared to Holed Out ? We shall find out..
Virtual Golf takes the Holed Out idea and takes it much further. This time the game is installed on the iconbar as a multitasking application, although the game only runs in single tasking mode. From the game icon you get a menu appear, from here you can select various configurations for the game, such as sound volume, number of players, type of game, tournament info, hole practice and choose which season to play in, the season you choose has different conditions to play in, with all the configurations done, click on the game icon and the game will begin.
There are a number of different tournaments you can play in and the overall aim is to win all of them, playing the game is via the mouse. The buttons are used, amongst things, to select which club you want to use, and to set the direction in which the ball will go. To actually get the shot taken you have to move the mouse about, it's a bit of a fiddly process but I seemed to get some shots in - I'm not totally sure how though!
A number of keys have special functions, for example pressing 'A' will give you an action replay of the last shot, which is useful to show off your quality shots , not so useful if you want to avoid some poor shots straight into the water! Also pressing Escape will return you to the desktop which will pause the game and you can change setting via the game icon, clicking on the icon will return you back to the game.
The graphics of the game are significantly better than Holed Out, they are scanned images (I think) and they make the course look so much better. The trees look far more realistic and there is more variety in the scenery, on the right of the screen is a map of the course and also a panel which gives the direction of the wind and other relevant information. The sound effects are minimal noises for hitting the ball, landing in the water etc, simple but effective really.
Overall I would say Virtual Golf is a better game than Holed Out but it did get released many years later so it's probably a bit unfair to compare the two, however with the much improved graphics and more realistic look, for golf players then Virtual Golf is certainly worth playing a round on (Ho ho -ED).
Silverball is a pinball simulator and there's not much else to say really. It's as you would expect in a pinball game really, you control the game with the mouse, the middle mouse button to fire the ball up the table, and then then try and get it to hit as many things in table to score as many points as possible. Until you lose control of the ball and it disappears down the bottom of the screen. The flippers at the bottom are controlled with the left and right mouse buttons, this is a pretty basic pinball game, the table is divided into two screens and it plays a reasonably good game of pinball.
The graphics of the game resemble a pinball table well and look alright, you can change the background picture of the table. The sound effects are minimal but functional, beeps and pings and other noises, there is no music. I don't really know what else to say about this apart from it's a reasonably good pinball game, and worth a go if pinball games appeal to you. The best RISC OS pinball game is the now rather obscure Arcpinball this is a superb game, with great sounds, graphics and is a forgotten classic, and should be revived and re-released!
This is a previously unreleased game, and it is always welcome to see a new games release, this is a football management game, upon loading you have to select the number of players, from 1 to 4, after that you go to the Team/Manager Initialisation Menu. To the right of the screen there are 4 options 'Quit game' which funnily enough quits the game, and returns you neatly to the desktop. Save/Load allows you save or load a game, on first load this will be unavailable, but when you have saved a game then or are playing a new game the option become available. The third option is Game options but it seems the only option is to select the type of mouse pointer to be used in the game, the final option is play game. Before you click on Play game, you will need to click on the bar on the left hand side of the screen where it says "AthleticCity Town" the next screen will allow you to change the name of the team, the ground you player and the manager, as the following screen shows, any guesses who I support?
Click on play game and the season is under way, you will be returned to the main menu after a quick screen change. If you now click on your team name you will see the list of your players and there are a number of options available from the menu which you change the option by clicking the mouse on the arrows, options available here, are buy and sell players, add improvements to the stadium, view the clubs finances and increase or decrease the clubs loan and then go back to the main menu screen.
Now if you click on play game the matches will start happening, you will see a list of your divisions fixtures, then half time scores and finally the full time results. After which match and team statistics will be displayed along with league tables, injuries and bookings from your match and club finance updates, then its back to the main menu to prepare for the next match.
Back in the main menu, clicking on your clubs name now gives you a different set of options which will stay there throughout the season, from here you can view the clubs finances, about the club, league tables for all four divisions, your squad and league fixtures.
Overall Kick Off is an OK game, whilst it's nice to see new releases, it's not a brilliant one, it's a pretty basic football management game, which is alright but doesn't offer much more than the original Football manager games other than better more colourful graphics, there is no sound, but it's acceptable as part of a compilation.
As with the other 4th Dimension game CDs, these versions have all been updated and include HTML manuals (although Silverball seemed to be missing one) and should all run without any problems on RISC OS 4/Strong ARM machines. All the games seemed to run without any problems, although there was a problem with The Olympics in some of the earlier CD releases, if your copy of The Olympics will not run visit the APDL website at www.apdl.co.uk/update.htm and download the patch for the game, all other games should run without any problems.
Kick Off almost runs fine on the Iyonix with Aemulor Pro but then gave an error message during the game, Break 147 & Superpool and Arcade Soccer work fine , as does Holed Out. Although Virtual Golf and The Olympics didn't work with Aemulor Pro, but that's not bad considering. Grevious Bodily Arm appears to be running, the music starts playing, but my monitor doesn't seem to be able to display the mode GBA uses, whether it can't or I haven't got the correct MDF - I don't know, so it may work.
Overall this is a reasonably good collection of sports game and it really depends on what games appeal. I like football so Arcade Soccer is a particular favourite, The Olympics is OK, nothing spectacular but OK. Grevious Bodily 'Arm, whilst a basic beat-em-up, is good fun and worth playing. If you like golf then Virtual Golf & Holed Out will appeal if you don't they won't. It's the same situation really with Break 147 & Superpool. Silverball and Kick off are OK as compilation fillers, but you can't have too many games on a compilation can you? Overall this is a mixed bag with something for everyone and considering this lot would set you back well over £100 originally £15.00 is a good price.
The next compilation of games I would guess will probably be arcade/platform type games, with the likes of Spobbleoid, Cataclysm, Enter The Realm and Pandora's Box to name but a few, we shall see, but I'm certain that there will be more 4D CD releases.