Your Sinclair1st June 1986
Published in Your Sinclair #6
Funny, but the Ed's got me to review all the games with balls in this month. So what's Ballblazer got, apart from a load of balls? Ballderdash or Burrilliant? Well, the blurb goes on about it being an intergalactic sporting occasion beyond even the Freight Rover's Cup - mega-hype, yup, but its a mega-game, even if it is basically hi-tec 3D hockey.
Essentially you're on a grid (bound to be a Roto-foil!) with a goal at each end - it's curved so the goals are out of sight for starters. A ball, or plasmorb, is squirted into the centre in a kind of cosmic bully off. First off just go forward and you'll automatically catch the ball in your pullfield. Dribble round the droids and use the pushfield (fire button to you drongos) to score a goal in your attempt to become Masterblazer, no that's not Masterblaster!
Simple eh? Not so fast. For a start the goals shrink so you have to start with long shots (three points for a below the horizon shot. two points for a long one and one for Arsenal-type goal-hanging) if you're going to have at least a sniff at winning. But what makes it dead tricky is Mr Newton and his apples (and we're not talking Cox's pippins now) - 'cos every time you expend energy - especially when shooting - there's an equal reaction that'll leave you spinning like a pair of 501's in the cosmic laundromat. Not only will you be totally disoriented but it'll give your opponent whether, a humanoid or one of nine computer droids, the chance to blaze balls of their own. And brother, defending is a whole new ball game in its own right.
If that isn't whizzo enough for you the whole game is presented on a screen better split than a banana. It's a function I've not seen so profitably employed before. Each screen gives the individual antagonist's viewpoint. If you're a cross-eyed chameleon with a squint and Dennis Taylor's glasses you might just be able to view both simultaneously to locate yourself, opponent and goals on the grid. But, better still, when you're playing shoulder-to-shoulder two-up it gives a superb sense of cock-pit and dog-fight simulation.
So, though there are suggestions of other games and game types, there's nothing quite like Ballblazer. Go for it, and them. Those intergalactic balls of fire.