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Zeppelin Games Ltd
Sport: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Jonathan Nash
Chris Bourne

Oh no! How am I possibly going to make a review of this appalling game interesting? (Sorry to give away the surprise ending there folks.) Erm... umm... I know! I'll do it in the style of Frank Richards. (Obvious really.)

'He, he, he!' cackled the Owl of the Remove as he rolled up to Harry Wharton's 8MB Macintosh IIsi. 'Old Quelchy's given me this game to review and it's almost exactly the same as International Five-a-Side Football!' Quickly, the disreputable schoolboy sifted through the captain of the Remove's hard drive and transferred the appropriate archive file to a 1.44MB floppy disk.

'Hallo hallo hallo!' The voice of Bob Cherry boomed from the doorway. Bunter trembled. If he was caught reusing old material, he'd surely be reported to his form-master! Quickly he slipped the disk into his pocket as Bob clapped him on the shoulder. 'What are you up to with Wharton's Mac, old scout?' Bunter glared at him from behind his large spectacles.

'I hope you're not insinuating I'd cheat on this review he said with dignity. 'I didn't pass Wharton's study and I didn't see he was out and I didn't take an old review from his hard drive: 'Oh, my hat!' gasped Bob. 'Ha, ha, ha" he shrieked. 'You'll never get that past Quelch's gimlet eye!' he roared.

Bunter quivered with indignation. 'And why not?' he squeaked. 'All-American Basketball is obviously a shallow re-write of the soccer game. The graphics are exactly the same, the tackling method identical - one merely dashes up to the player with the ball and steals it away every time - and the playing method remarkably similar. They - they've even kept to the flashing man to identify which player you're controlling, and the way you can press fire to switch control to the player nearest the ball. I shall take this disk, add my name to Wharton's review, march up to Quelch and say - ow! Leggo, you beast! Yaroooh!

Bob had seized Bunter's ear and was pulling it with gusto. 'You silly chump. Quelch will give you six if you try that. Why don't you write something original?" Bunter squirmed in his grasp. 'I - I - I don't think there's anything to add, old chap! If you play against the computer, it merely rushes across the pitch in predictable zig-zags so you can intercept it easily, and there's never enough room to try anything fancy. I rather think all the programmers have done is shrunk the goal and put it on the wall.'

Bob had fished in Bunter's pocket and was looking at the cassette inlay. 'But what about these features - the full basketball rules, the accruate ball dynamics, the tournament option?' 'All - all bumph, old fellow! I grant you the tournament option produces a long list of authentic American teams, but they all seem to play in exactly the same zig-zag style.'

Bob released the Owl of the Remove and stood deep in thought. 'Odd! In which case, why would they put it in?' He paused, like Brutus of old, for a reply. Like Brutus, he waited in vain. Bunter just rubbed his ear and glared. Bob kicked him into his own study and loaded the game on the Spectrum Colonel Wharton had included in Harry's Christmas hamper. 'Hmmm! I see what you mean. Its not exactly wonderful, is it? The same jerky scrolling, the same way the computer opponents mob you to stop any clever passing, the same repetitive and boring gameplay. All the same Bunter, you'd better write it up in your own words. Remember what happened when you tried to crib Toddy's maths exercise.'

'Yah!' replied Bunter. 'If Zeppelin can get away with releasing just about the same game twice, I don't see how I can go wrong with repeating the old review.' 'I can see reason isn't working,' smiled Bob grimly, looking around for his fives bat. 'There's only one thing for it old man - I'm just going to have to upend you and sit on your head until you come to your senses.' He made a lunge for the door, but Bunter's suspicious mind had put two and two together, and for better or worse, the Owl of the Remove was gone!

Uppers: Well, that was quite a fun review to write. Downers: Everything about the game is crap, basically. Slight differences do not a new game make.


Screenshot Text

Something very odd was going on. All the other players seemed to be playing with their backs to one another.

The Owl of the Remove made quite a dapper figure on the court. The Head later asked him to dismantle the model - a lifesize 1942 pocket book.