Commodore User

Bump Set Spike

Author: Eugene Lacey
Publisher: Entertainment USA
Machine: Commodore 64/128

Published in Commodore User #35

Bump Set Spike

Mastertronic's new Entertainment USA label borrows from a piece of Volleyball jargon for the strange title to the first game in this range - Bump Set Spike.

A word of explanation wil be welcome to non-Volleyball buffs. A 'Bump' is your first punch of the ball, well not strictly a punch, contact is made with the inside of the wrist. A 'Set' is the second hit, the one that sets your partner up for the point-winning smash, or 'Spike'.

That all sounds fairly easy but let me assure you that carrying out these manoeuvres in Mastertronic's game is anything but.

Bump Set Spike

Problem One: the movement of the ball is very slow and jerky. Its trajectory is anything but realistic and the attempt at perspective has failed entirely. What this means is that it's difficult to judge where to stand when the ball is travelling up or down the screen.

You do get some help in positioning your players in the shape of an 'X'-shaped cursor that shows you where the ball is going to land.

When your opponent hits the ball back to you, the 'X' will move to your side of the net. You must then line up your player's arms with the X and hold the fire button down for a friend is by far the most fun way to play the game. Solo against the computer is deadly, the computer is unbeatable, or you can even combine with a friend against the computer, but it's still unbeatable.

Bump Set Spike

Bump Set Spike is a difficult game to evaluate. As soon as it loads you think, "God what lousy graphics" then you notice the qually appalling music and you go on noticing it until, in the end, you reach for the volume control.

Despite these drawbacks you may well still find yourself playing it several hours later. I did anyway.

One of the better points about the game is that it has two backdrops against which to play - a gymnasium and a beach.

Bump Set Spike

The beach backdrop is impressive, replete with golden sand, a ghetto blaster pumping out an awful racket, and a beckoning strip of blue sea at the top of the screen. Occasionally a water skier gets dragged by but he looks more like a helicopter!

The beach scene is more difficult to play than the gymnasium because there is seaweed, which looked suspiciously like 'doggy doos' as my opponent dubbed them [Thanks Euge - MP] makes the 'X' cursor difficult to see.

Another nice touch is the speech bubbles that appear from time to time. The volleyball players have an annoying habit of tripping up from time to time for no apparent reason [Probably on the doggy doos - MP]. This will result in a theatrical dive like Diego Maradonna looking for a penalty and a speech bubble coming up with "Damn" or "Aargh".

You also get a speech bubble if you manage a 'spike' - no easy feat. I must admit though that when the players exclaim "What a spike" when the ball has been smashed ouot of play you have to question his powers of observation.

So would I fork out a two spot for it? Yes I would, just about. The main reason is that there aren't many decent two player games around and although Bump Set Spike isn't going to set the world alight it's absorbing, frustrating and challenging. Now back to the beach.

Eugene Lacey

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