'The rules are, there are no rules.'
Rocketball takes the fictional game of Rollerball - from the movie of the same name - tweaks it a little and turns it into one of the most original and best sports simulations on the C64 (or any other platform for that matter).
You begin the game by selecting your team. In this futuristic world of corporate city-states you are given 4 options: Houston, Tokyo, Moscow and Madrid. Whichever team eventually wins the game will have their city anthem played at the match's conclusion. Each anthem is different, borrows heavily from the musical culture of the relevant country and is terrific fun. After choosing 1 or 2 players and the level of difficulty (if playing against the computer), the contest begins.
The arena is a circular skating rink, banked like a velodrome. It is divided up into 8 equal sections. The goals are located in sections 3 and 7 and swap every time a goal is scored or the ball goes out of play. You have to watch this carefully otherwise you'll shoot a goal for the other team (did this many times as a kid I remember). Each team has five players and they move around the rink on rollerskates from right to left - there is no going backwards. The player you are controlling at any given time is shown in a slightly different colour to his team-mates.
The metal ball gets shot out onto the rink at section 1. Obviously the object is to take possession of the ball and attempt to throw it in your goal. The opposition will try to prevent you from doing so by employing any and all of the various methods of biffo that the game controls allow. You can punch, skate through, jump into or flatten players by throwing the ball at them. It's all very violent and really, really cool - you can even carry on the argy-bargy when the ball is out of play.
Rocketball's classic quality, though, is playability. The gameplay is a fictional construct but simple and easy to understand. The action scrolls seamlessly and the controls respond well. Learning the evasive, defensive and teamplay skills needed is absorbing and utilising them against your opponent is completely addictive.
If you enjoy sports games and haven't tried Rocketball, download it today. You will not find a better simulation anywhere.
|GRAPHICS - 8/10|
|Graphics aren't mind blowing but the design is great, the action scrolls beautifully and the player movements don't miss a beat.|
|SOUND - 8/10|
|Great intro music - a Bach fugue which ties the game in with its
inspiration, the movie Rollerball. Anthems played at the end of each game are also terrific (Moscow's the best in my opinion). The game sounds are a little limited, however.|
|PLAYABILITY - 10/10|
|This game plays perfectly and, more importantly, logically. It is fast, smooth and responsive.|
|OVERALL - 9/10|
|This game is fun, addictive and challenging. The best sports simulation I have played on any machine - no joking.|