Crash1st December 1985
Published in Crash #23
For those of you who were wondering if there were andy sports left for software houses to simulate, the answer's is clearly, YES. The latest offering for armchair sportspersons is International Rugby from Artic.
The scenario places you among the world's finest rugby teams, trying to win your way through to the championships. The teams playing are England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and France, and you can choose which team you want to control at the start. If you choose to be one of the Home International teams, England, Scotland , Ireland or Wales, then you can have a go at the Triple Crown, and try to defeat the other three home teams. Alternatively, you can choose to go for the Grand Slam, by thoroughly defeating all the other contestants.
The game can be played in two ways: practice or contest. Both modes can be played with either one or two players taking part. Practice allows a one off game to be played with either the computer or another human as an opponent. The competition mode sets up a sort of league with the five different teams taking part, up to two can be controlled by humans, with the computer controlling the rest of the teams in the league. As you play through the different games the computer presents a table at the end of each game, giving details on games won, games lost, games played and other such statistical information.When it actually comes to playing, the field is represented in a semi 30 perspective. The rugby ball stays central while the screen scrolls around it. You can only control one player at a time and control is automatically switched to the player nearest the ball. The player you can control is highlighted by the computer to keep things easy.
A number of moves are available to the player you are controlling. Passing is effected with the fire button. To tackle and gain possession of the ball from the other team you've got to run past the man in possession from the back. Score a try by placing the ball over the touchline, and a kick is awarded. The kick is actually taken on a small screen which shows a front view of the posts and stadium lights up in the top right hand corner. Two arrows show the direction of the wind and you position a cross which marks the path the ball will take once the kick has been taken. You'll have to take the wind into account if you are to convert the try...
When two people are playing against each other at the same time, two sets of keys are provided on the keyboard, though things may get a bit cramped and there might be a bit of a real-life scrum on the keyboard!
Control keys: 1/Q up,down S/A left,right and bottom row pass or kick.
Keyboard play: responsive enough to play
Use of colour: colour clash abounds
Graphics: a bit ancient stylistically, but sufficient
Skill levels: 2
'Not really my scene, these sports simulations. International Rugby pleasantly surprised me, however, by being quite playable. The graphics are crude and move rather dodgily and the scrolling can not really be termed as unflickery either - but the game's just got something that makes it playable. A minor moan was the difficulty levels- when you first start the easy level proves too easy and the hard level is way too hard. But after four or five games acclimatisation, things fall into Place a lot easier. Though not being a mega slick, well presented release, I quite enjoyed International Rugby and I can see it appealing to others. '
'I must admit to being a bit of a sports fanatic so when International Rugby came you can imagine my excitement. So I rushed of to my computer and immediately loaded it. Fantastic loading screen, I thought. When loaded, the presentation was very pleasing so I went straight in to the championships. The game itself was a bit of a let down: all I had to do was a few 'Solo one' efforts down the wing and I was thrashing them 21-0. The game was too slow and the scrum looked like a line out in the middle of the field. It doesn't obey championship rules either - there was no 22 yard dropout when the opposition missed their conversion attempt. Overall a bit disappointing for rugby fans I think, though I hope other companies will have an attempt at this sort of game.'
'As an ex rugby player (two manky kneecaps are constant reminders of being at the bottom of a scrum too many times) I really hoped that this was to be something special. Unfortunately it's nothing extra special but is still great fun to play. Not all the rules of rugby apply in this game - but then it would be next to impossible to produce a Matchday quality rugby game! Naturally attribute problems do hinder play somewhat, but if you are after a rugby game on the Spectrum then give this one a bash - it's great!'