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Martech Games Ltd
1987
Arcade: Solo beat-em-up
£8.95
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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114
Ben Stone, Paul Sumner, Richard Eddy
Chris Bourne

Oriental martial arts have been around for centuries. Karate, Tai-Kwon-Do, Kung Fu and Kendo all rely on strength and dexterity with some form of weapon, ranging from rice flails to a clenched fist. However, the well known present day derivative of Ju-Jitsu - Judo - differs from other forms of self defence in that no weapons are used at all. Instead of bashing the living daylights out of an opponent, Judo relies solely on the participant using his opponent's strength and weight to his own advantage.

Uchi Mata offers you the chance to throw either a computer or human controlled opponent around the screen in a series of bouts, scoring points in much the same way as Brian Jacks would in a live contest. Each bout is played over two minutes and points are scored by successfully throwing the opposition.

Throws are executed by moving the joystick in more than one direction, utilising a sort of sweeping action. However, before your opponent can be thrown you have to get a good grip, by quickly pressing the fire button when in range. When a successful grip has been made, a 'grip light' is displayed to signal that you must attempt to perform a throw. If a move is not executed as soon as the grip light appears, then another attempt has to be made at gaining a good grip.

Once a throw has been performed, the referee appears in the top right hand corner of the screen with his hand outstretched to indicate how many points have been awarded for the throw. Either three, five, seven or ten points are given, depending on how your opponent lands. If you manage to perform a perfect throw, ie: the opposition lands flat on his back, then a full ten points are awarded and the bout is over. Otherwise, the player with the most points is declared the winner when the time limit expires.

Whenever a move is made by an attacking player, the defending player can counter it if he is fast enough. If the defending player is actually thrown, then a quick wiggle on the joystick in the right direction will have him landing on his feet.

Only four major moves are provided in the instructions, but by using the training option it is possible to discover undocumented throws and practice defensive moves.

CRITICISM

'I've always thought that Judo was a bit boring, you can't punch or kick so mindless violence is sadly left on the shelf. It's just a matter of getting your opponent off balance and then throwing him half way across the room. MARTECH's simulation does nothing to change my views on this martial art. The strange control method's a good idea, although there are problems. You never really get the feeling that the complicated wiggle you've just carried out on your joystick has had anything to do with your character flinging his opponent over his shoulder. Playing on the keys or with a cumbersome joystick is next to impossible because you simply can't access the various movements quickly enough. Despite all this I found Uchi Mata quite appealing for a short time - once you've mastered the controls it's a simple beat 'em up.' BEN

'Goodness gracious me, by golly! What a complete mess of a game Uchi Mata has turned out to be. This must be one of the most unplayable games ever on the Spectrum. MARTECH's latest offering is absolutely impossible to play on the keyboard and not much more fun with a joystick. The flickery graphics are appalling, there shouldn't be any excuse for this. Sound is non-existent. If you ignore the flicker, however, it's possible to see that the moves are very well executed, and feature some superb leg sweeps and throws. If you run off the end of the screen, you may notice that your body disappears, only leaving you hands! Definitely a disappointment.' PAUL

'A promising product - not just another martial arts game - Uchi Mata appeared to offer a bit more than your average beat 'em up. However, the manner in which it has been executed leaves a lot to be desired. The animation is hideously flickery, especially the way the characters are constantly updated. The graphics themselves are adequate but I 'm confused by the way shading is used - vertically rather than diagonally, as the old technique always appeared to work much better. The method in which the moves are executed is novel. Using the joystick to simulate the moves themselves; but, again, originality is not always the best ploy - a single key press for a throw seems easier to me. If you can bear the annoying graphics and handle the peculiar control system then Uchi Mata might be worth considering, but don't expect to be bowled over.' RICHARD

COMMENTS
Control keys: Q/A and O/P for movement, Space to execute a throw
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2, Cursor
Use of colour: pretty scoreboard, monochrome playing area
Graphics: extremely flickery and jerky
Sound: poor
Skill levels: one
Screens: one playing area
General Rating: There's some playability there, but it's spoiled by its graphics and playing control.

56%
38%
35%
36%
33%
36%

Screenshot Text

A mere minute and fifty-nine seconds into the bout, and our black belt in Judo, Cameron-san, performs a Soto Gari.