Well well well, it looks as if Ocean's another company that's been digging around in the cupboard under the stairs in readiness for Spring Cleaning Time. The cleaning ladies have dragged out ten different titles, blown off the cobwebs and lo and behold - all the games have sporting connections, so they can be packed together and labelled Game Set And Match 2 - ten games for the price of, erm, one and a half. But are the games any good? That's the question, and I'm the chum with the answers. Read on.
Side-on viewed monochrome scrolling pitch with two fair sized cartoony players: you versus the computer or a pal. I thought this was going to be quite good at first, but the identical player-sprites soon had me totally confused as to who was who after a jostle. I lost every time, until I sussed out how to win, and then I won every time. Not exactly a challenge if you know what I mean.
You view a race track from above and control one of four cars (a pal can control one of the others or the computer can place all three on auto). Forward on the stick speeds you up, back slams on the anchors, and left and right, well - it's obvious, innit. There are eight tracks in all, all of varying difficulty (the number and severity of bends) and each with icons to be avoided or picked up. As a bonus there's a track designer - make up your own layouts. Quite good fun, but it has to be said - the graphics are small: positively picoscopic.
IAN BOTHAM'S TEST MATCH
Scrappy graphics, badly thought-out application and less than compulsive gameplay aim this simulation firmly in the direction of the dumper. A game based on Botham's antics on Australian domestic shuttle flights would've been a lot more fun. If you want a brilliant cricket sim look no further than the one we gave you free at the beginning of last year.
MATCH DAY II
The definitive animated football game for the Spectrum. What more can I say? Apart from that it made Marcus go all wibbly at the edges when he reviewed it. A 'powermeter' for different strength in your shots, 128K sound, music and more options than you could poke a squirrel in the eye with. Let me say it again - the definitive animated football game for the Spectrum.
NICK FALDO PLAYS THE d)DEN
Um, unusual this, as I'm used to the Leaderboard trilogy. Erm, a novel approach to a golf sim which shows the action from above. There's a window at the bottom of the screen in in which an arrow icon can be moved about and clicked on to make choices: club weight, direction of shot, entire course map etc. Choose your club, check the distance to the hole, adjust your 'powermeter' and fire. Oh dear. Overshot the green. Have another go. Oh dear... Five hours and 53 shots par later - hoorah, what a hole (oo-er)!
STEVE DAVIS SNOOKER
Almost as boring as the man himself - small cluttered graphics and program tendancy to either lock-up or crash completely. I'm surprised that no-one's done a really good snooker or snooker-based game on the Speccy - I'm sure there'd be great demand for it. This isn't it, anyway.
An American Football sim. The screen is split vertically into two windows. Instructions are entered into the left side while an overhead view of a portion of simplified scrolling pitch is shown on the right. After your team instructions have been entered, a little bit of play is animated (the players are represented as little blocks) and then it's back to the team-orders screen again. I'm afraid I don't really understand the rules for American Football, but one thing I did notice - this sim has got all the stopping and starting of the original game.
SUPER HANG ON
Yaaa Hoooo!! I'm a sucker for racing games - especially motorbike ones - and this is the business. It's view over the handlebar time as you zoom away from the chequered flag in a race against the clock. There are four continents to race over, each of which has a number of stages within. Each time you reach a stage marker, your clock is sproinged back up to full and any time left over is also added - giving you more time on the next Stage (of which there are an amazing 48, as opposed to Enduro Racer's five). Graphically the game is a treat - almost as good as Enduro Racer itself, with the uphill and downhill bits included. It's skill.
TRACK AND FIELD
A joystick waggler that's so crap I almost feel sorry for it. No Daley Thompson's Decathalon this.
Snowy version of the above with better graphics and, I suppose, marginally better gameplay. Five events: downhill, biathlon, bob-sled, ski-jump slalom.
And there we have it. Game Set And Match 2. Quite a mixed bag in my opinion (and let's face it, that's the one that counts Brian). Erm, I think that two of the enclosed are absolutely brillo (namely Super Hang On and Match Day 2) and are worth getting the compilation for on their own. The rest? Erm, not exactly show-stoppers, are they. So, basically, if you've already got Super hang On and Match Day 2 then you might feel a bit of a plonker for shelling out on this; however, if you haven't then it's worth a look (the game, not your plonker). Right, I'm off to have another go on Super Hang On!
Birrova mixed box, really. Two great games, six slightly iffy games and two totally crap ones. Worth getting for the good ones.