One hundred and eighty!
Judging by the amount of prime time television devoted to darts, it must be one of the most popular sports around - at least with the armchair athlete brigade. Me, I prefer to get up and have a bash rather than sit and watch, so it was with some enthusiasm that I tackled Blue Ribbon's latest budget release, titled simply, Darts.
The loading screen is plain, but I'm not grumbling as there is nothing more infuriating than waiting for a 20k title screen to load before you can get into the game itself.
After this comes a short program containing instructions and, as this is essentially the same as supplied on the cassette insert, it isn't strictly necessary. This program then loads the main game.
First up comes a simple menu and you can choose from three different types of game, all played on the dart board. The first is 501 - the game so popular on television.
Both players enter their names followed by the score they wish to start on - there is no need to start on 501, and you can start from any score up to 1001. All games are two player and I was disappointed that there's no option to play against the micro as it's not always possible to find a partner.
Each player takes it in turn to throw his three darts and his score for that throw is subtracted from his total. The object is to get your score down low enough so that you can throw a double which will zero your total before your opponent manages to do the same.
The screen displays a large dartboard with running totals down each side for both players. When it is your turn to throw you use the Z, X, * and ? to try to position your erratically moving dart as best you can. Holding down the spacebar releases it.
The second game is Round the Board, involving thowing a dart into each number up to 20, followed by the outer then the inner bull. You have the option of making it harder by specifying that the doubles or trebles only must be hit. As before, on-screen scoring keeps track of your progress.
The third game - my favourite - is cricket. Each player takes it in turn to throw as usual, but this time one is batting and the other bowling. The batting player tries to score as many as possible and each throw is added to the last.
The bowling player tries to score an outer or an inner bull. The former counts as one wicket, while the latter counts as three.
The innings is over when 10 or more wickets have been taken and the players then swap over batting and bowling. The winner is the one with the most number of runs.
The graphics are simple, with a board shown head on with the darts as crosses. The throwing action is again simply executed with a randomly moving dart which you can control to some degree by four keys for up, down, left and right. The spacebar throws the dart - it just becomes fixed at its current position and stops moving. There's no sound to speak of. just a few notes played when you win the game.
For a budget game it's OK, but nothing to write home about. I found it quite interesting at first, but it soon became tedious, despite the three different games.