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Sport: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

Strike is the latest on the Mad label from Mastertronic. It's also the latest from Binary Design - an independent development house gaining quite a lot of cred for games like Zub and Amaurote. Strike is less impressive though clever enough in its way.

It's a graphically very clever simulation of ten pin bowling. This is, I think, where things went wrong. It wasn't a very good idea in the first place.

True, Mastertronic did well with 180 which was a slick darts game but darts has always worked well on computer from Atari days and besides 180 was funny. I found my interest flagging in Strike after around the thirteenth ball.

Ten-pin bowling is really not a very complicated game. You take a run up, drop down and release the bowl as accurately and smoothly as possible. The skittles are arranged so that it is possible to knock the lot down with one bowl - possible but not easy. The real version requires considerable skill but in this computer version there just aren't that many tactics to learn - don't run too far or else you'll get a foot fault, release the ball at the right point in the arm swing and see what you hit.

The screen shows two views of the action, your man with ball and the first part of the bowling alley and an insert showing the actual skittles at the end of the track. It's nicely presented, you even get the funny tray thing that comes down and removes the knocked down skittles and sets up the skittles again that you didn't manage to get for a second try. Clearly no effort has been spared.

Playing against the computer is pretty unsatisfying - you can only beat it because some sort of random factor makes it sometimes perform badly. You don't get much sense of achievement however.

I don't think Strike is going to be another 180 despite being a good bit of programming - it would have been OK as part of some sort of World Games-style collection but on its own it just doesn't raise any interest.

Label: Mastertronic
Author: Binary Design
Price: £2.99
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor


Definitely quality programming, but it is as boring as you d expect a same based on ten-pin howling could be.