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Thoroughly enjoyable sports simulation, which had just as much impact as its older brother,
Soccer. Action packed, with great attention to detail and play that you can really relate to, make this one an instant classic. I loved every minute playing it and it's released at a price that anyone can afford. Don't miss it.

.

 
 


Well worth the wait and, despite its long time in development, still an excellent up-to-date game. The nine levels mean any standard of player can get a good game against the computer. The only disappointment was that you can't control the length of the game, and I would really like much longer high scoring games. Should prove just as popular as
International Soccer, and at a delightful price.

.

 
 


This game gripped me hard when I first saw it, and it hasn't let go several weeks later. It's similar to
Soccer to look at, but any similarities stop there. This is a brilliant sports simulation and is a worthy successor to its incredibly popular forerunner.

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Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
International Basketball
1985 Commodore Business Machines
Programmed by Andrew Spencer
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the second issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (June 1985).
 

INTERNATIONAL BASKETBALL
Commodore, 5.99 cass, 11.99 disk, joystick only


O Superb sports simulation from the author of 'International Soccer'
O One or two players with nine computer levels

The long awaited sequel to International Soccer has been floating around for months in various pirated and rather unsatisfactory pre-production forms. Now at last the real thing is here, and it's brilliant.

Anyone who has seen International Soccer will instantly recognise the players, only this time they are bigger and are dressed in really cool basketball gear.

For the two of you who haven't seen Soccer, control of a team of players is easy. The nearest player to the ball is chosen by the computer and put under your control. You'll know which player this is by his vest changing colour slightly. If you pass a ball, then the receiving player is automatically selected for you to control.

On loading, you are presented with a series of options. Select one of the nine computer levels, or play two players with a friend. If you don't like your team's colours, then you can change them from a varied choice of strips.

This program also allows you to play three types of rules: NCAA, NBA and Olympic. Each setting has its own rules and characteristics.

The blue Player prepares to take a
shot at a well-protected basket

Once you are happy with the settings you can start the game, which begins with four cheerleaders doing a little dance. The teams then run out of the changing rooms onto the pitch, and go to their tip-off positions.

A whistle will sound and the match starts. The ball is thrown into the air and the players have to jump up and knock the ball down to their own players. As the ball is thrown up and down the pitch, the playing area scrolls up and down, keeping the ball in the middle of the screen. The actual playing area is about three screens long, and is viewed panoramically like International Soccer.

On the far side of the pitch is a grandstand, in which detailed and polite spectators sit, watch, and applaud any great moves. Advertising hoardings and the scoreboard both feature in the grandstand, giving it a really lifelike appearance.

The players are large, chunky, and superbly animated, and look incredibly realistic. There are some really nice touches too, like a player stooping to collect a low bouncing ball.

The ball itself behaves like a real basket ball and bounces convincingly, and has a clear shadow which increases and decreases as the ball bounces.

The scoreboard displays the score (of course), time remaining and, depending on the rules played, the time the ball has been carried. It also prints up GOAL! and tells you when the ball is out, if you have fouled, or made any sort of violation.

At the end of the game the players will re-emerge from the changing rooms, and are followed by a woman in an evening dress. A player from the winning team steps forward and she'll present him with a cup, which he holds aloft, victorious.

The gameplay is terrific, and some complex and clever play can be performed easily. The game is easy to master and level one is a doodle to beat, but level nine really gives you a run for your money.

JR
.


Stealing

If an opposing player is standing still, rush up to him (be careful not to go crashing into him or else a foul will be awarded against you). When you reach him you'll automatically steal the ball: quickly turn away left, right, or back, and the ball is yours.

Blocking is another important factor in gameplay. Timing is crucial in this manoeuvre, although the movement is simplicity itself. Just when the opposition is about to throw, jump up and, if timed correctly, you will either steal or block the ball. You don't only have to stand still to block, you can run in, jump across the throw and catch the ball in mid air, which is really good.
.

 


Ball control

Control of the ball is really easy and takes only a little bit of practice. What is more difficult is actually scoring a basket, but again a little perseverance will reap its own rewards.

When you receive a ball, your man will automatically bounce it and will run with it without dropping it. If you press the fire button, he will throw it: the longer the fire button is held down, the further he will throw the ball.

If there is a player in the general direction of the throw, then the ball will go to him. If, on the other hand, there is no player present, the ball will be thrown off the pitch.

Actually, going for a basket is the most tricky and important aspect of the game, and practice at this is essential. Don't forget that manoeuvring in mid air is possible just before your player releases the ball. To do this, simply point the joystick in the direction that you want to throw, and your man will spin in flight.

Remember that the longer you keep your finger on the fire button, the further the ball will be thrown. Therefore, when you're near to a basket, tap the button. It takes a bit of practice to get the feel of the throwing action but is quickly mastered within a few games.
.

 

 
PRESENTATION
ORIGINALITY
80% Choice of difficulty level, award presentation after play.
65%
Another sports simulation, but it's not like the others.
GRAPHICS
HOOKABILITY
87% Impressive and realistic animation.
89%
Excellent game-play means very strong appeal.
SOUND
LASTABILITY
36% Bouncing ball, ref's whistle, crowd applause.
87%
The computer is very tough on the high levels -- also a great 2-player game.
VALUE FOR MONEY
92% Very cheap for such a high-quality program. May even do as well as International Soccer.


The US version, (c) 1983 Commodore Business Machines, is also worthy of your attention.

 

Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (28 October 2001)

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