Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Type : Arcade; Sports Compilation; Multi-load
Standalone Release(s) : 1989: INDOOR SPORTS, Tynesoft, £9.95
Compilation Release(s) : None
Stated compatibility : Electron Side A, BBC Side B
Actual compatibility : As stated
Supplier : TYNESOFT, Unit 3 Addison Industrial Estate, Blaydon, TYNE & WEAR NE21 4TE. Tel: 091 414 4611
Disc compatibility : Unknown
"INDOOR SPORTS contains FOUR excellent similations: Air Ball, Table Tennis, Darts and 10-Pin Bowling. Each is depicted in stunning graphical details and reflecting all the addictive qualities and required skills of the real thing. Play either against the computer or a partner. For Indoor Sports fans, this is definitely one NOT to be missed."
When a game has loaded from disc, you are presented with a Menu. This allows you to change the number of players, number of games, etc. To change use the number keys on the Electron. Press Q to return to game menus on all games.
On tape version, press <ESCAPE> to load next game.
Move position indicator with keys : and / to choose your vertical bowling position, press SPACE and hold; this also gives the amount of spin, as shown on the Spin Meter.
Releasing the Space bar will give you the angle at which you throw (shown by the arrow). When the Space bar is pressed for a second time, the 'bowling action' position is recorded. Too late and the player will fall, too early and he'll drop the ball!!
Each player has a maximum of two bowls per frame, unless a strike is scored; this is denoted as an X on the scorecard. If all pins are knocked down on the second bowl then this is deemed as a spare and is denoted as a triangle. You play ten frames to complete the score card.
Scoring: When a 'strike' is scored, the next two bowls are added to the 'strike bowled', effectively counting double for the next throw.
When a 'spare' is scored, the next single bowl only, is added.
Position the dart using keys Z and X for left and right. When it is in position, press RETURN and hold. The angle at which you throw will increase/decrease until you release RETURN. On releasing, the power of your shot will increase until a maximum, from which it will reset. To choose your power, press <RETURN> again.
An arrow points at the player's score boxes. This shows who is in play; Player 1 or Player 2. The game progresses until one player has a total of zero, finishing on a double, if the option is chosen.
Each game is won by one player reaching 21 points.
Controls for Player 1
Z - Left, X - Right, C - Reverse Bat, F - Serve/Hit Ball
Controls for Player 2
< - Left, > - Right, / - Reverse Bat, : - Serve/Hit Ball
Each player serves five times in a row, alternatively. The ball must bounce once on either side of the net when serving, once only on the opponent's side when returning the ball.
When hitting the ball without pressing the 'Hit' key, the ball will be returned either the way it came or 'reflected' depending on the direction of the bat. Actually hitting the 'Hit' key to return the ball will change the 'ball angle' depending on when it is pressed.
Points are scored by forcing the opponent to either hit the net, miss returning the ball or knocking the ball off the table without it first bouncing on the opponent's side.
Ten points are required to win a game; these are scored by moving your 'hitter' to hit the 'puck' into the opponent's goal.
Controls for Player 1
Z - Left, X - Right, F - Up, C - Down
Controls for Player 2
< - Left, > - Right, : - Up, / - Down
Instructions' Source : INDOOR SOCCER (Tynesoft) Back and Inner Inlay
Review (Electron User) - "Leisure Interests"
When Tynesoft brings out a sports simulation of any type, it's certainly something to sit up and take a look at. So INDOOR SPORTS got the treatment. There are four events on the tape - two less than its recent WINTER OLYMPIAD 88 - so I was anxious to find out whether it justified its top of the range price tag. I was to be pleasantly surprised.
First on the tape is 10-Pin Bowling. This realistic simulation is controlled by three keys, of which two are used to position your figure within the lane. All subsequent action is controlled with the spacebar - which led to some initial confusion.
After setting your position, the computer cycles through all the available levels of spin, as shown by the spin meter at the top of the screen. Pressing the spacebar sets the spin, and the computer will begin cycling through the shot angles - displayed on the lane by an arrow.
As soon as this is fixed - by releasing the spacebar - your figure begins his run-up to the line. At the right moment the spacebar must again be pressed to bowl - or so I thought - but at this point my figure kept either falling flat on his face, or dropping the bowl on his foot.
This continued until I finally understood the cassette inlay: "Press Space and the bowling action is recorded". What this rather unhelpful instruction means is that you must press it during, not after, the run-up, when your figure happens to be in the best posture for bowling. The bowl will then follow automatically when the figure reaches the line, using the previously recorded posture.
Once this sank in, I settled down to enjoy a really great game. As the ball coasts down the lane the view shifts to cover the run, and when the ball approaches the skittles the viewing angle changes to show the action from behind and slightly above the ball.
The hit itself is simulated very realistically, with some skittles teetering for a while before either toppling over or remaining upright. The frustration caused by the ball rolling straight into the gully was balanced by the nerve-wracking anticipation when it actually remained on course.
Darts is next on the tape, and as a mediocre to bad player I thought this would be one to skip over quickly. Not a bit of it. The skills needed are, of course, totally different when playing the real thing, so Tynesoft has added its own skill requirements, making this an addictive game in its own right.
You start off face to face with an accurately drawn dart board. Below is the aiming window, which is the same width as the board. To either side of this window are two meters, one for power and the other for the angle of shot elevation.
Inside the aiming window is a dart, which can be slid left and right. Slid is the operative word, because if it passes over the mid-point, a weird sort of gravity sucks the dart to the other side of the window. Hence aiming requires some concentration.
Pressing <RETURN> when the dart is where you want it sets the angle meter into action, which is in the form of a continuously growing and shrinking circle sector. Releasing <RETURN> fixes the angle and starts the power meter climbing, which is represented by three volume meter type bars. Finally, releasing <RETURN> throws the dart with the selected settings.
The scene then changes to a comfortable-looking pub, where a log fire crackles gently in the corner. In the centre of the screen, poised in front of the dart board - now hanging from the far wall - stands your figure. From behind, which is your only view of him, he could easily pass himself off as Eric Bristow.
Immediately he throws his dart. Well, it's more a flick of the wrist than a throw, but attention is focused on the dart, now flying through the air. This part is quite well done, although there is no inertia on the dart, not is its flight trajectory particularly curved.
I was both surprised and pleased to see that it was possible to hit the metal frame. I was therefore well able to match my real life performance to the Electron, thankfully unwitnessed by any grinning bystanders.
After each throw the enlarged board re-appears, showing the exact spot where the dart hit. Your score is then chalked up, by real chalk - a nice touch - and after three throws it's the Electron's turn.
In actual fact, although very competent and a consistent high-scorer, the Electron tended to hit the frame more often than I did - usually when attempting to show off by going for double-top.
Now on to Table Tennis, my favourite of the four. When the game has loaded, you are presented with a proper perspective view of a ping-pong table, with a bat floating in mid-air at either end. Four keys control your bat, one each moving it left, right, flipping it over for a back-hand stroke and hitting the ball.
Hitting it is not strictly necessary, because as long as the ball hits your bat it'll bounce back up the table. However, you won't win the game by being lazy like this. The real skill in Table Tennis is to press the hit key at the right moment as the ball approaches your bat.
This causes the bat to swing into the screen, and the direction of the rebound depends on which way your bat is facing. The actual angle is determined by the closeness of the ball to the bat when the key is pressed. The further the ball is from your bat when you hit it, the sharper the ball's angle will be as it goes back across the table.
Here lies the way to beat the computer, which seems incapable of producing clever shots for itself. Because the bats can only move at a smooth, slowish pace, you can fool the computer with a sharply-angled shot which just clips the other end of the table and the Electron won't be able to shift its bat across in time to return the shot. But if you swipe too early the ball will shoot straight past your bat's
tip to lose you a point.
Pressing the hit key with the ball at varying degrees of closeness results in realistically varying shot angles, and this results is a really satisfying, skilful game.
Table Tennis conforms to the proper rules of the sport, where 21 points wins a game, and service swaps to the other player after every five serves.
Also, this event - like the other three - has several variable playing options, to keep up the interest. You can determine the computer's skill level, and the number of games required to win the match. Most importantly, you can select a two-player option, as Table Tennis really comes into its own when played against someone else.
Finally, and most interesting of all, is Air Ball, a strange hybrid of ice hockey and the old video game, Pong. You and your opponent each control a bat which looks like part of a pin-ball machine, and the object of the exercise is to hit the Smartie-shaped puck into your opponent's goal.
It's quite easy to beat the computer, even on the highest level, but it's no mean feat when there's another person at the controls. The game is fast and furious - by Electron standards - and very addictive, as long as you can find a volunteer to play against you.
Sometimes the game ends in a deadlock, with the puck vibrating furiously between the two bats - but if this is successfully broken it can gain you the advantage of sudden surprise as the puck shoots away up the field.
Air Ball is an unusual game, and it really needs the stimulus of a second player to bring it into its own. The poor old computer opponent seems to get stuck bouncing the puck off a wall more often than not, and isn't really up to much even when playing properly.
INDOOR SPORTS contains a good mixture of entertainment, addictiveness and competitive spirit. If you have WINTER OLYMPIAD, you'll be pleasantly surprised at the different approach of these programs, and I enjoyed all four immensely.
Sound ........................... 2
Graphics ........................ 8
Playability ..................... 9
Value for money ................. 9
Overall ......................... 8
"Electron User Golden Game"
Chris Nixon, ELECTRON USER 5. 8