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US Gold Ltd
Sport: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Jonathan Davies
Chris Bourne

If phrases such as 'slam it through,' 'slow dribblers,' and 'pop 'em from the corners," mean anything to you. then you'd probably be better qualified to review this game than me. I'm afraid that corpuscle redistribution is more in my line, but I'll give anything a go.

Street Sports Basketball puts you in the dubious position of having control over a team of, ...yes, basketball players. Only three, admittedly, but we all have to start somewhere. Your side is picked from a selection of ten possibilities, none of whom I'd want to be seen with in public. Then either another player or the computer goes through the same ordeal to select the opposing team.

Having done this, and named the teams, you're now almost ready to start. But wait for it... you've still got to decide where to play. You can choose between such picturesque locations as the school playground, a back alley, a street out in the suburbs and even, for those romantic, poetic moments, a parking lot.

By the time you've got to this stage, you'll have endured hours of tape starting, stopping and turning over, some horribly average graphics, a beepy tune and. most stomach-churning of all, the original Sinclair character set! Urgh! And it would only take them 768 bytes to design a new one, he says knowledgeably.

Sadly, things don't improve a lot presentation-wise during the game, either. The players stagger around as if they're recovering from the side-effects of a particularly violent tandoori, none too inspiring when they're just about the only things that move in the whole game. The playing area is a small window in the centre of the screen, hemmed in by some close-ups of your team members, just in case you forget what they look like. That's just what I was trying to do, in fact.

And then we get onto problem number four hundred and sixty two: controlling your players. Rather than adopt the normal method of the guy (or girl, for a change), nearest the ball coming under your control, this game has plumped for a different system, whereby pressing fire flips between your players, unless one of them's got the ball, in which case it'll make him pass or shoot with it. Well I said it was different didn't I?

Having sussed that lot out, the next stage is to get hold of the ball. Not easy, I can tell you. Jiggling around next to the bloke you're trying to get it off sometimes works, but it's usually easier to wait till he takes a shot at the basket, invariably misses and lets you grab it. To have a go at shooting yourself (that wasn't meant to come out like that, but I came close at times!), position your player near the basket and press fire. Then it's mainly down to Lady Luck whether it goes in or not.

Which leads me (and rather neatly, I think), onto my next point. The main snag is that you simply haven't got a lot of control over what happens. The moves available to you are minimal and ball control is a very hit or miss affair. Compared to the likes of Match Day II with all its subtleties of gameplay, SS Basketball looks pretty poor.

No doubt this one will find a home with a select group of basketball fanatics out there, but I'd advise even them to give it a thorough checking out before parting with any of the folding (or jingling if you want to annoy the shopkeeper), stuff.

It's tough on the streets, as the bumph points out, especially after its been lying there for a few days (Eh? Ed).

Unimpressive sports sim that won't set your joystick on fire (ouch!), let alone the world.