Ocean Software Ltd
1985
Sport: Action
£6.95
£2.99
Multiple languages (see individual downloads)
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

21,22
Chris Bourne

Daley Thompson's Supertest is the long awaited follow-up to last year's big summer hit Daley Thompson's Decathlon. DTS and DTD (sound like weed killers) really originate from the Konami arcade classic Track and Field which started the Olympic sports craze around Easter last year.

There are eight events in DTS: four on one side of the cassette and four on the other. When you load in a side, the aim is to go through the quartet of events as many times as possible. To complete an event you have to beat the set qualifying time or score. If you qualify then you progress to the next event; if you don't then you lose one of the three lives you start the game with. Each time you complete a cycle of four events the qualifying times get harder.

Control is very simple, using gist two speed buttons and a fire button. The speed buttons have to be hit alternately as fast as possible - if you're using the joystick then swift left and right movements will do the trick. The fire button is used to do a number of things - fire a gun, jump and so on, depending on the event.

Initially, the qualifying targets are fairly low, but as you go round and round, things get progressively more difficult and the challenge mounts up. Once you've lost your three lives (or become a superhero) you can always flip the tape over and load in the other four events... but the score you achieve on one set of games cannot be carried over onto the other

THE EVENTS

Pistol Shooting
You stand in front of a set of six 'flip-round' targets. With ten shots in your pistol you shoot the targets as they spin round. You control a cursor, manoeuvring it over the target and shooting the bullet with the fire button. You cannot compensate if you move too far horizontally or vertically which can be annoying, and if you don't get a shot off while the target is facing you, you still lose a bullet. Points are scored for accuracy.

Cycling
This is one of those simple pound-the-keyboard-into-the-floor events. As soon as you hear the starting gun just hammer away at the keyboard (or joystick) to get the fastest possible time.

Springboard Diving
Bounce your man on the diving board three times by using the fire button to gain height and then he'll automatically dive. Pound away at the keyboard to make your man do as many somersaults as possible. When he's near to the surface of the water stop somersaulting when his head is pointing down. If you get it right, he enters the water perfectly. A panel of four judges awards points for each dive…

Slalom
Here you have to build up velocity by pressing the speed buttons so you can zoom down the hill. Once you see the flag gates you gain control of the skier and you have to steer him between the flags. If you hit a flag or turn too sharply then you lose speed and missing a gate completely means disqualification.

Rowing
This is another simple event where you have to beat the qualifying time by pounding the speed buttons as fast as you can.

Penalties
Here you have to build up speed during the run-up to the ball using two keys, then you kick the ball at the goal by pressing the fire button at the appropriate moment. The way the ball travels depends on how fast you run up and how long you keep the your finger on the fire button. The longer you keep your finger on the button the more the ball will bend. Too little and the 'keeper will save it, too much and you'll put the ball the wrong side of the post. You get five shots and must score three goals to qualify.

Ski Jump
Another event where you have to build up speed at the beginning. Whizz your way down the slope and when you reach the end press the fire button to jump. Watch him fly gracefully through the air and then press the fire button to land him safely.

Tug O' War
To complete this event you just have to build up massive energy with the speed buttons so you can out-pull your opponent.

CRITICISM

'The trouble with this game is that it's trying to break into the Track and Field market where Hypersports rules supreme. DTS is very similar to its predecessor and the essence is on hammering the keyboard as fast as you can. Here there is no skill involved and anyone with speedy digits can easily knock up huge scores. It's boring and predictable to play: two games on the market are incredibly similar. The graphics are nothing special and the sound is reasonable with a few jolly jingles and effects. The games isn't half as good as Hypersports and I wonder why Ocean haven't gone for a new type of control method… I'm just getting very bored of pounding my fingers into a Spectrum keyboard.'

'Only eight events this time. Supertest doesn't really test much other than your persistence at pounding two keys or waggling the joystick from side to side. No strategy, no tactics, just lots of stick waggling or key pounding and a little bit of timing. I suppose it's ultimately competitive, but the fun wore very thin for me very quickly. A respectable piece of programming with jolly tunes, passable graphics and eight different ways to pound two keys.... If you like this sort of thing you love it if you don't, you'll loathe it'

'I suppose the extremely unreliable loader bumps up Super Test's event by one. I'd say it was the only test with any kind of lasting appeal. The graphics and sound are quite good though very predictable, with Ocean employing all the little tricks they've learned from Hypersports. The events themselves aren't anything new either; all of them making appearances in various other joystick destroying games. If Ocean really intend to squeeze every last drop of money out of Daley Thompson's name then I think it's about time they broke the mould and did something different rather than trying to re-capture past glory through mediocre products such as this.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: definable
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor and Interface 2
Keyboard play: reasonable
Use of colour: fair, plenty of attribute problems
Graphics: varied, but mostly big, undetailed and not very well animated
Sound: nice jingles and spot effects
Skill levels: increases as you progress
Screens: eight events
General Rating: Very disappointing; nothing special.

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