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Software Images
1985
Sport: Action
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes

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123
Chris Bourne

Electric Dreams have joined the Snowy Sports compilation market with Winter Sports, a collection of eight games on one cassette. The first part of the program to load presents a main menu screen listing the events. Pressing a number key puts the Spectrum into LOAD mode and the computer searches the tape until your chosen event is located and loaded. The menu screen also allows you to view the highscore tables. Record breaking scores give a readout of your speed and indicate how sharply the skier is turning, while a scoring area above the windows indicates how many gates have been passed or failed and times the whole run.

In all three events the object is to belt down the course as fast as possible without missing gates. In the Slalom the skier has to weave between the gates, passing to the right of the first gate, to the left of the second and so on, and any gates missed lead to penalty points. The Downhill is similar to the Slalom, except the skier has to pass between gates made from two poles, while the Giant Slalom is a mixture of the two events. Once the skier is through the finishing posts any time faults are added to the time taken to ski the course and an overall score is given.

Ice Hockey can be played as a two player game or against the computer. Most of the display is occupied by a 3D scrolling panoramic view of the pitch, and a scanner at the top of the screen shows the position of all the players on the full pitch. The player nearest the puck is automatically under your control and can be moved in four directions with the fire button used to shoot the puck. To tackle a player with the puck, just run into him. The match is played over four quarters lasting five minutes apiece with a change of end after each period.

In the Ski Jump the screen is split into two displays once again, with the left window showing the view from the top of the slope and the other giving a close up of the skier's profile in the air. The skier begins by sliding backwards and forwards at the top of the ramp pressing Go when the skier is moving forwards begins the run and the player then has to guide the skier down the middle of the slope to gain maximum speed. If the skier deviates too much from the middle of the ramp then a sever loss of speed results. At the end of the slope another press of the fire button launches the skier into space. During flight the skier's balance must be maintained, using the skier Up and Down keys to avoid a tumble on landing. Marks are given for the length of the jump and for style while in the air.

Next comes a whizz around an icy track the Speed Skating. Another split-screen game with two views of the skaters: the window on the left gives the view from behind the skaters while the right hand window gives a side view of the track. Essentially it's a Decathlon type event where the onus is on bashing the left/right keys alternately gain speed, indicated by a bar display at the foot of the screen. Up and down keys are used to keep the skater in the designated lane since he has a tendency to stray off course slightly. At the start of the game the length of the race can be specified.

After whizzing around a track, why not zoom down one? The Bobsled event allows you to do just that. Yet again the event features two displays, a 3D view from the sled and a plan view of the track with a line plotting your course as you go down. The Bob has four controls: speed up; slow down; left and right. If you go into corners too fast, a crash is likely and the sled has to be banked on bends. Once again, bar graph readouts display speed and orientation of the sled.

The final event on the cassette is the Biathlon, a gruelling cross country test of stamina and shooting ability. The main display shows the skier and the landscape and a smaller screen above shows a map of the whole course and your position on it. Readouts at the bottom of the screen indicate your speed and stamina, and it is important to pace the event so that your skier doesn't run out of stamina before the course has been completed.

Rapid presses of the left/right keys sends the skier along until he reaches a shooting range. Here the screen switches to a 3D display of the four targets. A cross hair moves rapidly over each target in turn and the player has to press the fire button at the right moment to score a hit. The skier only has one shot at each and a miss constitutes a time penalty, so careful shooting is the key to this event. Once all four shots have been fired it's back to the cross country and more Decathlon stuff.

CRITICISM

'Sports games are not what I really like, and this game hasn't changed my mind at all. As I played it I realised that this has some of the most basic graphics I've seen for a while, and some of the games move really slowly from screen to screen. Colour is used well in places, but there's very little sound. Overall a game I wouldn't recommend you buy unless you've had a good look first.'

'I was really looking forward to this new title from Electric Dreams as I imagined that they would have done a good job, but I was to be disappointed. Winter Sports has to be about the worst sports simulation that I have seen over the last six months. The graphics on all the events are large but undetailed. The sound, where there is any, is mainly unrealistic spot effects. The main fault of this game is its speed: with most of the events I was bored half way through my first go. Monotony set in quickly. Generally I wouldn't recommend this game as it is unplayable and monotonous.'

'After playing Winter Games last month I thought that perhaps we were in for another wintry bonanza. Unfortunately it's not the case. Just about every event is incredibly slow to play and boredom set in about half way through each one. The multiloadin9 is a complete pain in the backside and I found that I spent more time loading in each event than playing. Really, none of the events stand out as being any good and the tacky graphics, unimaginative sound and dull gameplay all add up to this being a complete waste of money.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: definable
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2, Cursor
Keyboard play: a bit sticky
Use of colour: very poor; dull
Graphics: just about average
Sound: squelchy
Skill levels: one
Screens: eight events
General Rating: Very disappointing.

57%
47%
43%
57%
39%
39%
43%

Screenshot Text

The Slalom from Electric Dreams WINTER SPORTS. On the left is the skier's eye view while the right hand window gives an aerial view of your skier's progress.