This game was endorsed by John Lowe who was World Champion in 1987 and won the title on two other occasions. A nice surprise in the box was a special edition set of Unicorn Darts Flights endorsed by John Lowe and Gremlin. This game wasn't just a game - it was a simulation and a good one at that. All other dart games were just kiddie games. Some were fun and quite playable. The Graphics were often poor and most of all they didn't really play darts that well. Something was different about this game - it was smooth and slick and actually played darts.
The game came on two sides of tape for the C64. Side A played Competitions, Exhibitions and Two player Scoreboard. Side B contained Round the Board games, Darts Soccer and Darts Football. All games could be played in either REAL mode or ARCADE mode. REAL mode allowed you to play darts on a real dartboard and enter your score via the keyboard. Great as a practice aid. ARCADE mode allowed you to play darts using the joystick as an aimer.
On loading the game went through a routine of throwing at doubles finishing with a shot at the Bullseye. The noticeable thing missing here was the absence of some jazzy music that most other games incorporated. Not using the beloved SID to the full.
Press the A key to put the game into ARCADE mode. By default it plays in REAL mode. That was a bad idea as most people would want to play this in ARCADE mode. Playing exhibitions allowed you to play against a computer simulation of a top pro like John Lowe, Eric Bristow and Jocky Wilson. According to the instruction booklet it said these were pretty accurate sims of each players throwing ability. So I'd select one of the 16 pro darters as my opponent and get soundly beaten. The aiming icon moved pretty fast in a figure of eight movement and also tended to wander around the screen. It took ages to master but once you spot the sequence you can start getting some decent scores and eventually take on the Top Pro's at their own game. I think this game was much more difficult to master than the other dart games I've played and also had a lot more depth. You'll be lucky if you manage a 9 darter in this game but you can get a constant good score if you stick at it. I won the Darts World Championship on a few occasions in ARCADE mode. Playing in REAL mode is like playing in real life. You'll never win the Darts World Championship. I used this game more in REAL mode as a practice utility but never got further than the Semi- Final of the County Championship.
The animation was brilliant - The darts were as realistic as you'll get on the C64. The other dart games don't come close. I think this game was aimed at the adult market and could have done better if it was re-designed with the younger kids in mind as well. Throw in some music and this would have been an all time great. Still a classic for me and the only true darts game ever made.
|GRAPHICS - 9/10|
|Great dartboard. This is C64 graphics at its best. Dartboard was split into two halves and screen switched between the two when you moved the aimer. Dart animation was realistic. Graphics let down by text as all writing in bog standard c64 characters.|
|SOUND - 4/10|
|No music ! No music ! How can you write a game without music??? Good dart thud though. Other dart games had a squelchy sound to the darts. This one went thud, thud, thud. Some digitised speech would have worked wonders. |
|PLAYABILITY - 9/10|
|Wow - lots of different dart games you can play in REAL or ARCADE mode at various difficulty levels. Side A games were brill. Side B games not as good. Played this game until i destroyed my keyboard caused by repetitive use. |
|OVERALL - 9/10|
|Not a kids game. This is a true darts simulation for the dedicated darter. Could have been turned into a great all round game if it was re-designed for a younger audience. This is a little known GEM in the gaming world. Every darts player should play it ! |