An original sports simulation? On the Spectrum?? Surely not! Well that's what we thought, but we were proved wrong because Additive's Hotshot has worked a lot better than some recent sports sims we could mention.
Hotshot resembles a wacky kind of pinball crossed with a few elements from Breakout and a large splodge of Beyond's Bounces. The game is played by two players, and, as always, the computer player is a bit of a pain to compete against (computers always seem to be so good at this sort of thing!). But there is a much needed, and heartily recommended, two player option to riven things up.
Each Hotshotter occupies one half of the screen which is viewed in a similar way to the various Breakout games. A ball is shot into the playing area, and the competitors then have to battle it out by puffing the ball away from the other player's side using Graviton guns to gain posession.
Points are scored by shooting the ball off the end of your gun, bouncing it against as many bricks or pins as possible and hopefully catching the ball again to have another go. If the ball isn't successfully trapped the chances are it'll bounce all over you, killing you, or it'll be picked up by the other player giving him a chance to do some point scoring of his own (that is, of course, assuming that there aren't two balls on screen as there are on higher levels - complicated stuff huh?)
The object on the first three levels is to score enough points to qualify for the next. The fourth and fifth levels are similar but they also involve a fight to the death between the two opponents.
There is a great deal of skill involved in playing Hotshot well, and there's definitely a knack to getting the ball to land on the end of your thingy (fnar!) without it hitting your other bits (whaaaaaey!). The best part (we reckon) is the animation - the ball slides smoothly all over the screen in arcs and lines, and the players, there are five different sorts, flow liquidly around!
Playability is great; once you suss out the way in which the ball reacts to your efforts, then it gets really fun. Addictiveness is in less abundance, as frustration really sets in after a tong session. The two player option works well, the graphics are detailed but minimal, and the different levels should guarantee many hours of boingy, bouncy fun.
If you're looking for a futuristic sports sim, then check this one out! 'Cos Hotshot is hot!