0neehudredaneighteeee, the bellicose amplified sound echoes around the smoke filled, beer laden tables of the local working man's club. And on the stage, two lads with oversize guts working away at a Spectrum.
All the fun of Britain's most popular indoor sport comes courtesy of those busy lads from the Binary Design team. Can you topple Jammy Jim, World Champion and ace darts player from his No. 1 slot?
After selecting the controls, you are presented with three different games: two player, one player, or practice. The practice game takes you 'round the clock ' . The idea is to run down from twenty to one in one hundred seconds.
When it's your turn to throw, the screen shows a close up view of the dart board, and you control a large hand holding a dart. The hand moves in four directions diagonally across the board, moving in the direction it was last pushed in. You hit fire to throw the dart. The dart is also being 'waggled', so depending on the exact moment the dart was released, the trajectory will vary, and thus the final position on the board.
After three shots, the darts get handed to your opponent. If you're playing the computer, the display switches to a side view of the board, showing your good self propping up the bar whilst a bar maid recharges your glass and your opponent does his stuff with the darts.
You can play the main game against a Mend, or the computer. You start at 501 and work down, double to finish. To beat the computer, you play three matches. The first two are the best of three against such stars of the silver arrows as Delboy Des, Devious Dave or Limp Wrist Larry. The final is against Jammy Jim. Trouble is, he throws perfect darts. Your only advantage is that you go first. This guy is very hard to beat, he finishes every game in nine darts! The game packaging also contains a very handy table giving you the best scores to aim at to go out.
Control keys: redefinable; left, right, up, down, throw
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair, Cursor
Keyboard play: awkward
Use of colour limited
Graphics: well detailed
Sound: unintelligible speech
Skill levels: one
'There isn't really anything here that is done badly it is presented in an average way both graphically and sonically, the game does get a bit boring after a short while due to the simplicity of the subject matter. On the whole this isn't a bad little game but I wouldn't recommend it as ft gets monotonous after awhile'
'Oh no not darts again, I hear you cry! But this is different - believe me! 180 is a whole new different concept of darts computer playing. The graphics are superb - a brilliant combination of large detailed graphics and pleasing colours. The animation of the hand is extremely well done and the darts fly out of it very smoothly. Tire only thing I missed was the Northern accent of Sid Waddell commentating in the background. 180 must is definitely the best and most addictive darts game around.'
'The graphics on the throwing screen are excellent, but I think a little too much colour has been used on the opponent's throwing screen. Loads of featurettes have been put in, like the little dog who cocks his leg on the bar, and all sorts of things that make it really interesting to play. I would have liked to see a 'score required' indication, for non-mathematicians like myself, and I was a little disappointed to find that the finalist NEVER makes a mistake, but other than that, I think this is a Darts game that anyone is going to find it hard to match.'
'Lo there, lads, (not forgetting you lassies) - get them old plates up to the oche and let's get down to some serious flechettes. Bar Sports might have proved an all rounder on the Bar Wars front, but 180 will decide who slings the meanest arrer in town.
180 is, quite simply, the best pound for pound darts simulation you'll ever lay your mitts on. And if the noble art of pint pots and fag ends isn't your cup of tea, fear not, this stands up as a Speccy game in its own right, requiring the kind of hand to eye co-ordination any arcade adept would be proud to exhibit.
What's more, it's actually two games in one. The practice mode is not played in competition, but is a fine test of your own nerve. You have ninety seconds to go round the board from twenty to one. This not only teaches you how to throw at speed and find your way around the board but introduces you to the throwing technique. This is rather disconcerting on two counts. First the screen presents you with conventional dart and black boards. But hovering before it, like a hand of Orlac or a bit part from Friday The 13th is a well-realised disembodied hand. What's more, it shakes! Thinking this was me I partook of more liquid refreshment. Eventually the hand stopped but I found the room was revolving around me instead.
Though this game is keyboard compatible, joysticks suit it like Fergie loves Andy. The joystick motion needed to control the hand is doggedly diagonal whilst the hand essentially rotates in a wider and wider circle. So you can only fire on the move (tricky), and the earlier you fire the better, except, of course, you'll have less time to aim. Check the trajectory is correct too (depicted by the angle of the dart in the hand) then hit the fire button and, hewgh!, watch that tungsten bird fly home.
In a competition of 501, with the best of three sets, the technique is the same, with scores automatically deducted on screen, (nice chalk simulation here, Mastertronic) - and the bumf provides a very useful list of all the finishing combinations which saves on the brain-ache. There is a two-up facility if you want to quaff a can with your pals, but it's playing the computer that'll really hone your skills.
Your opponents come in nine guises like Belly Bill and Sure Shot Syd - don't be put off by the silly names! You'll always go first in the compo which, in theory, means you'll be first on the double - make sure you are cos these guys are hot stuff! After your throw, there's a simulation of the oppo's go - text tells you his target and what he gets while in the background pints are pulled and dogs cock their legs. Each player has different abilities and tactics - and I might be wrong, but they all seem to have the ability to raise their game - in other words, the better you get, the better they'll respond. Equally, if you start badly they won't rush into an unassailable lead, so you won't be demoralized.
In its presentation, 180 does veer toward the macho, crafty cockney Bristow school of darts rather than that of Gentleman John Lowe, but otherwise there's little to quibble about - a winner across the board!
180 is a darts game from Mastertronic. Now that may seem like a pretty banal and dull statement but it isn't.
It has every trimming you could want from a darts game, including excellent graphics and digitised speech. Yes, your Spectrum will screetch 'onchhh Kuchchdrechhh anchd eighchchchyeeee' should you score it. You also get what appears to be a multi-channel Rob Hubbard-type soundtrack consisting of a sort of Depeche Mode play the hits of Chas and Dave sing-alonga-bleep. I liked it but others in the office threatened violence unless it was turned off immediately.
The game is played strictly according to the rules of 501 as played by those fat people on the TV. The actual dart-aiming bit is rather clever - the dartboard fills the screen, over it is a hand, holding a dart, which sways back and forth as though aiming carefully. You try to steer the hand into the right position and release the dart at the right time. This is made difficult by the fact that a) the hand can only move along diagonals and b) it never stops moving.
There are opponents, whose playing skills increase as you move from quarter- to semi-final to final. The idea of opponents seems a bit bizarre, I mean the only way the computer can fail is to to metaphorically kick itself in the shins and obviously this is what happens. Some sort of randomise function determines when the opponent will fail to hit his intended target.
Not one but eight extremely bizarre darts players take you on. In the section of the game where they play you see a sort of 'corner of the pub' view which takes in a barmaid and anonymous persons sitting at the bar and an occasional dog. The occasional dog only appears on some occasions and occasionally urinates against the bar. It's occasionally funny.
The actual players who have names like Mega Mick, Belly Bill. Devious Dave and Tactical Tel appear to all wear the same unpleasant clothes - a lumberjack shirt and light cotton trousers with sneakers.
Great game, excellent graphics, lots of fun touches, a real challenge but it's darts.
Buy it and play it in secret.
Author: Binary Design
Reviewer: Graham Taylor
The definitive computer darts game. If you must play arrows on your micro then this is the one to get. 180 puts you up against a variety of foes in the championship game where you start in the quarter finals and have to defeat two computer opponents before facing the incredibly skilful Jammy Jim. You can of course elect to play a friend or go for a leisurely game of 'round the board'. Whatever you choose to do, you should raise your glass and get your belly on the oche.
With the advent of this game, Mastertronic has smashed a long-standing and highly-respected myth. You do not have to be fat, ugly and alcoholic to be successful at darts. A score of 180 puts you in the shoes of a budding Eric Bristow and with eight opponents ranging from Big Belly Bill to Limp Wrist Larry, you had better sharpen your points.
With oneor two-player options, digitised speech and excellent graphics, the game is well worthy of the MAD label.
Mastertronic - MAD range
Up to the oche comes yet another darts game. Through to the quarter finals of the championship knockout, you go into the draw with such giants of the arrows as Delboy Des, Sureshot Sidney (a real gas), Belly Bill and Limp Wrist Larry.
The game is 501 straight in, double out, played over the best of three legs although the computer sometimes cuts this to one leg for no obvious reason that I can see save that it is always the computer that has happened to win that particular leg. You always get to throw first, a decided tactical advantage and one that is crucial in the final against Jammy Jim who throws nine dart finishes as regular as clockwork (seven treble twenties, treble nineteen and double twelve).
When it is your turn to throw, a large hand appears in front of the board, shaking so much, you can see why darts players have to keep knocking back the pints. Movement round the screen is diagonal to put you even further off your aim.
Keyboard operation is decidedly easier than using a joystick. A scoreboard on the left of the board chalks up your scores as each arrow thuds (hopefully) into the board. Should you achieve a maximum 180, the computer greets you a rousing rendition of 'one hundred and eighty' although speech synthesis being what it is on the Spectrum, it comes out as more of a hissed "nuh-nuh-nuh-neh-neh".
Then it's time to sit back, slurp your beer and light another fag as your opponent has his three shots. The scene switches to a sideways view of the pub as Mega Mick or whoever takes his go. The blurb says to watch out for animated action in the background but all this seems to consist of is the barmaid sliding a pint along the bar to a customer and a small dog relieving itself against a chair leg.
Other options in the game include a practice facility in a version of round the clock and the chance to play against a fellow human should the pubs be shut. 180 is not one of Mastertronic's better offerings and I found it slightly surprising that they decided to bring it out on their more expensive MAD range. Like most of my darts, 180 is way off target.
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