Spot The Ball from Creative Sparks is a double game package aimed at the sports enthusiast. It contains Soccer and Snooker, both multiplayer games simulating two of the country's favourite entertainments.
Soccer is the most realistic game of football I have played on a home micro.
It caters for up to four people, either four against the computer or two on each side, but the game is just as entertaining played by single players.
There is an option to select a match that will last for 10, 45 or 90 minutes.
Press the fire button to kick off. On an individual basis you can control any one of the eleven players on your team on condition that he is nearest the ball.
Pressing the fire button in these circumstances flashes the number of the first joystick pressed (1-4) momentarily in the position occupied by the character on the screen.
This is only relevant in the multi-player game to identify which of the participants is controlling the man with the ball.
Once you have possession the rest of the team runs forward with you, and you are chased by one or two of the opposition. They are certain to catch you, as your progress is slower once you have the ball.
Success in surviving a tackle tends to depend on whether or not your opponent can guide his player accurately over the ball. However, should you decide to pass the ball a second press of the fire button will kick it in the direction in which you are running.
Retrieving the ball is again a matter of getting one of your players nearer to it than one of the opposition and again pressing the fire button.
When the ball goesout of play, possession goes as usual to the other team.
The ball is thrown in under computer control, using a player from that team, in an apparently random direction, and the chase is on again.
The graphics are nicely done and the animation smooth. I soon found the game fun to play and very addictive.
However, I cannot say the same for Snooker.
As a keen fan of the real game, I have played many versions on a variety of micros, but I found this one very disappointing.
It's a standard implementation, with a plan view of the table showing fifteen red balls and six colours.
You control the cue ball's starting position in the D using the four arrow keys. The joystick moves a white cross around the screen to establish the direction in which you want the cue ball to travel.
The power of the shot is selected using the blue bar which constantly rises and falls at the side of the screen.
When the bar is at the right length for your shot, either short for a soft shot or long for a hard one, press the fire button.
Because of the Atari's restricted colour set in the mode used, the green and pink balls have been indicated using white circles and the brown is a red in a black circle, but this does work and the game is playable.
The major letdown for the real enthusiast is the inability to impart any kind of spin on to the cue ball.
This makes ball control a virtual impossibility and as a result the game ceases to be one of skill.
There are several versions on the market for a variety of micros that implement full ball control as standard.
Because of its shortcomings, this version is left way down the list and as an individual game I wouldn't entertain it.
The fact that it is paired with a great football game gives it a chance of success and taken as a whole the package is good value for money at £9.95 for the 32K tape.