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Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Jim Douglas
Chris Bourne

Hypaball is another in the futuristic-sports simulation group of programs that have been appearing recently. It combines elements of basketball, American football and Volleyball. Unfortunately it doesn't quite live up to its ideas.

It's from the people at Odin who were most recently responsible for the critically acclaimed and reasonably successful Heartland unfortunately, an essentially good idea is marred by some uncomfortable playing options and other niggling problems.

In the future (it says here), only one sport will survive. It will have a huge following and it will be fast and dangerous and exciting. It will be played by two teams of three people. Right. Here we hit the first snag. No-one has yet come up with a decent simultaneous two-player option on a fast arcade game. The main problem is that most people use a Kempston interface which instantly prohibits a second player joystick option, forcing your opponent to use the keys.

The fact that each player has to control three little men is even more awkward. There is no way for you to decide which man you wish to move. The computer will automatically default and give you control of the man nearest the ball. While this sounds sensible, it is, in fact, extremely tedious as you always end up controlling a man that you don't want to move.

Anyway, while you are busy wrestling with the controls you can get to grips with the basic idea of the game. The play area radiates from a pole with a large metal box which goes up and down. The box has a hole in it. Now, the idea of the game is to pick up a bouncing ball and slam it into the box. Each team has one man on the ground and two in the air. The ball will launch from the box and whoever gets to it first makes the advantage. Futuristic eh?

While playing the computer, you realise that things are a bit unfair. Once the machine has control of the ball, it's almost impossible to get it back. When you don't have the ball in possession, the computer defaults to forcing you to control the guy on the ground, preventing any hope of airborne interception.

You can choose the members of your team from a batch of very ugly aliens. Each one has his own strength, agility and speed rating and works best in certain position.

The graphics are simple and move around sluggishly. In fact, the whole game has very poor response and isn't very exciting to play. Although it's quite innovative in the way it combines different sporting elements, it never quite gels as a game.

Label: Odin
Author: In-house
Price: £7.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Jim Douglas


Disappointing attempt at a future-sports sim. Some nice ideas negated by slow response. Mediocre.