Future Basketball logo

HEWSON £24.99 * Joystick

Let us get one thing straight. Basketball is about cruising across the wooden floor, bouncing that big ball, dodging those suckers with long legs and clumsy arms. It is definitely not at its best when some beefhead launches himself at your torso, gives you a crack on the nod, and then zips off with the ball. That just is not basketball. Not cricket, as they say.

But the writers of Future Basketball do not reckon on it working that way. They figure basketball is best when the good players are getting turned into pancakes and all the slobbering gits are crashing around scoring baskets. In their future, lots of people are unemployed and so become loonies who like to watch basketball played the Oliver Reed way.

In Future Basketball the general idea is to don Robocop suits, go out, go berzerk and if by some happy coincidence you end up with the ball, go towards the basket. When you are close enough to the target, stop dead, lob the ball netwards, and jump around stupidly when the darned thing is home. Of course all this requires some heavy duty joystick waggling and fire-button slamming, but you get the general idea.

To add some variety to this exercise, there is also three different 'playing surfaces' which have the novel distinction of being almost exactly the same. There are also some inexplicable little flying bits which get in everybody's way for no apparent reason whatsoever. These saw blades and bombs are supposed to take down the other team, but prove a far greater hindrance than help.

As you may have guessed, playing Future Basketball does not require a degree in sociology. As in most computerised team sports games these days, the computer decides which player is closest to the ball and four big arrows start flashing over him (it is all seen from an overhead perspective). That player should then be directed at an opposing player (preferably the one with the ball). Press the fire button, crash towards the fool, and come out of the encounter with the ball. No problem.

Then go forward the basket, avoid the suckers and get yourself in front of the net. Leave the joystick on dead, dire the button (there is no need to aim) and - surely not, what a surprise, knock me over with a fanzine - the ball is in the net. Do this several times and you will win the match.


There is an awful lot of Speedball floating around here and graphically it is by no means a bad job. Players will usually go in the direction you point them, but footspeed is a problem on all levels. Annoyingly, all players run at roughly the same speed, so if you are chasing someone in full flight, you are going to stay that way until the computer chooses an idle player to take over.

The worst aspect is impact detection. Once you attempt a tackle the chances are you will win the ball, and it works in much the same way for the computer or human opponent. If there is no competition, why bother?

On the sound front there is nothing to say because as soon as you hear the dreadfully cliched 'Amiga action computer game music', you will switch the volume down, or at least toggle the effects.


The amusement level of such violence plummets after about half an hour, even if you are playing against someone whose face you would love to carve in. All the pushing, shoving and grunting wears a little thin on the fun front after that. The league option, which features an editing facility, does help the game hang on a little while longer, but it has not got the legs for a long run in the big league.


Future Basketball looks like too many other games. The original concept suffers from flawed logic: basketball with contact is rather like boxing with baseball bats: mindless fun for a while, but the real skill vanishes. Technically, it suffers the odd glitch where players refuse to do what they are told. It suffers from a lack of depth, but worse, it suffers from a serious lack of fun.

Future Basketball logo

Lange Zeit war es recht still um Hewson, jetzt melden sich die Engländer mit einem futuristischen Sportspiel zurück. Na denn: Wie hat man sich das Körbchenwerfen in der Zukunft so vorzustellen?

Nicht viel anders als heute: Der Ball ist immer noch rund, wird aber von einem Wagen auf das Spielfeld gefahren, und die Sportler sin dimmer noch Menschen, allerdings haben jetzt alle einen Irokesen-Haarschnitt. Freilich geht es ein bißchen rauher zu als heutzutage, außerdem liegen auf dem Feld allerlei Extras herum.

Zu Beginn hat man die wahl zwischen Einzelmatches und dem Ligaspiel, wo bis zu 32 menschliche Mitspieler je ein Team übernehmen dürfen. Einzelne Cracks können ge- und verkauft werden, man darf sich eine Mannschaftsfarbe aussuchen, und es lassen sich sogar Spielstände speichern.

Das ist auch gut so, denn es sind immerhin vier verschiedene Ligen vorhanden! Wurde dann noch die Spieldauer (3-30 Min.) und der Sound (Musik oder FX) bstimmt, findet man sich auf dem Feld wieder.

Hier muß man sehr bald feststellen, daß Future Basketball mit der Konkurrenz nicht ganz mithalten kann: Das Game läuft etwas langsam, das Scrolling ruckelt ganz schlimm, und die Spieler zucken immer so merkwürdig, während sie auf einen Einwurf, eine Ballabgabe oder ähnliches warten.

Aber zumindest die Joystick-Steuerung und der Sound wissen zu gefallen, die Grafik ist halt eher zweckmäßig. Mit etwas mehr Liebe zum Detail hätte das Spiel ein Hit werden können, so aber kann es weder "Speedball" noch "TV Sports Basketball" das Wasser reichen. Eigentlich schade... (mm)

Future Basketball logo

The idea that one day mass revolt and public disorder might be quelled by offering the masses a sop in the form of some form of violent entertainment is not a new one. Comic books have recycled it on numerous occasions, and it has appeared in movie form most notably in Rollerball and The Running Man. Game designers too, have used the idea, the most successful example being the Bitmap's Speedball and it is to this that Future Basketball is severely indebted.

The game is quite literally what its title suggests, an updated form of basketball. Whereas the original game is tedious in the extreme and devoid of any physical contact, Future Basketball offers the player the opportunity to shove and punch the opposition to gain possession, and provides pitfalls in the shape of little niceties - such as exploding tiles and circular saws which home in on players. Goals are scored, in time honoured tradition, by dunking the ball through a net at either end.

There is a league system which starts you in the third division and pitches you against such charming opposition as the Geisha Boys and Heavy Duty.

The season lasts fourteen games played against seven sides over a period of six minutes. You can edit your squad and strengthen it by buying new players with greater skill, aggression, stamina etc. Prices start at about 10,000 (10,000 what I am not sure) and go up to 1,000,000, but you have to sell a player first before you can buy one - an idea that should be applied to the likes of Man Utd and Liverpool. However, you do not seem to make any money for a sale which seems a bit tight.

In practice the games are very competitive, but you should not have a problem dragging yourself out of the lower divisions. The graphics are fairly neat and colourful but there is no attempt to conceal Future Basketball's debt to Speedball in its stylisation, overhead view and metallic surface. But where it really comes second (much more so than because of its lack of imagination) is in its scrolling which is not quite as smooth making things a little difficult to focus on at times. Sorry, but a clone really has to be superior in every way to merit recommendation.

Future Basketball logo

Hewson, Amiga £24.99

Supposedly a non-contact sport, in the future basketball is mutated into something more violent than Phil playing Kick Off. The game uses an overhead view, with you automatically controlling your player nearest the ball.

Dribbling is automatic and you can pass or stand still to shoot (scoring two points, or three if outside the area). To take the ball from an opponent you can slide into them or run over one of the special weapons capsules which appear to automatically shoot at the ball carrier.

Other capsules give money which is important in the four-division league. Up to 32 humans can be in this, all competing to buy the best players. There's five in a team, and you're not allowed substitutes so you must sell a player before buying a new one. You also earn money by winning matches.

Stuart Wynne Future Basketball looks like Speedball, but doesn't play like it. Zinging balls off the walls in this game leads to a dull throw-in, and scoring baskets isn't as exciting. What you're left with is plenty of extremely fast violence, which is executed well enough - the icon weapons are particularly good fun - but it's all a bit repetitive for the price. Due to a very small radar scanner, tactical play is limited and the management options could also have been better. Still, it is fun to play and was very popular with the Film Planners!
Warren Lapworth Ho-hum, future sport again. Usually an unsatisfying experience. And Hewson haven't let me down. Future Basketball is a rare translation of the ball-dribbling sport but with its metallic arena, tough players and plan view it obviously owes a lot to Speedball. Unfortunately dribbling and particularly shooting is just too easy; true, it increases game speed considerably but takes away the basketball feel and makes the whole thing disposable - not good at 25 quid. Wait for Speedball 2 or play International Basketball on the 64.