The game of squash is usually thought of as a wealthy young businessman's game, and has generally failed to capture the public eye as much as, say, tennis. There is also much argument as to which is the more skilful. New Generation have joined forces with one of Britain's leading squash players, Jonah Barrington, to develop this simulation, which closely follows the real thing, and may give you the opportunity to make up your own mind about squash.
The actual game is played between two in a closed court using the side and back walls to return the ball on the rebound. The rules of the game are well described on the game's inlay card, which points out where the simulation differs from the real thing of necessity.
Squash can be played by one person against the computer, or by two players simultaneously using defined keys or twin joystick control if you have the right interface. There are four levels of difficulty, Red to Yellow, selected by the Spectrum colour keys. In play, the control is not unlike that of Match Point, directional keys moving your player, while the fire button makes a fore- or backhand stroke, whichever is appropriate to player and ball position at the time. The angle at which the ball leaves the racquet is determined by the length of time you keep fire depressed, and there are six possible angles. The other variable in is the point at which your swing intercepts the ball, which affects its speed of travel.
The screen display consists of two equal areas, the playing area depicting the 3D court on the left, and a status panel on the right with the score and service information. In addition to the visual scoring, Malcolm Evans has developed a way of reproducing Jonah Barrington's voice very accurately, and he can be heard calling out the scores.
'Squash is not unlike Match Point, two players and a ball with racquets, although being squash it's played indoors. The graphic representation of this game is extremely good and I love the way the ball bounces about with a sort of 'sodden' feel to it - quite realistic. Animation is good and, again, realistic - although on the forwards/backwards movement, do I detect some Trashman style walking?! The only real niggle I have about this game is that I found it very difficult to actually hit the ball. I'm sure it wasn't my fault, but that the racquet was a little too small! The voice reproduction is very good, although I found it difficult to hear it without my fandabidozy-super-blaster radio amplifier. (For assembly instructions on this super-Uffindell contraption please send £50 to .... I Of course you have to be interested in squash or tennis-type games in the first place to enjoy it to the full, but a good simulation anyhow.'
'This is a very elegant and polished program with speedy, clear graphics that simulate the real squash court very well. Given the obvious limitations of a small computer, New Gen have managed to convince me completely. One thing becomes clear immediately, however, Jonah Barrington's Squash isn't a game to get into in minutes, it takes a lot of practice to get familiar with the action of the ball and to get your swing into good shape. If you like sports simulations then this is a definite must for your collection, and a game l think you'll be playing for a long time to come.'
'Anyone who enjoyed playing Match Point will enjoy this game, as much for the differences as for the similarities. The graphics are simple looking but work beautifully, and the effect of the bouncing ball with its shadow is excellent. The option of playing the computer or another person at the same time is very useful and gives the game an added addictive quality with both players trying to win and being unwilling to give up. This is hard to get into though, and a fair bit of skill needs to be developed before really satisfactory games can be played with any ease - well worth the effort though.'
: user-definable for two players, four directions plus fire neededJoystick
: all popular makesKeyboard play
: very responsiveUse of colour
: sober, mostly greys and black, but works wellGraphics
: very good, fast and characterful, excellent bouncing ballSound
: generally simple, ball noises and the amazing sound of Jonah Barrington's voiceSkill levels
: 4Special features
: ReprosoundGeneral Rating:
A difficult but absorbing simulation that should appeal heavily to sports game enthusiasts, but probably has a wider appeal as well.