Masterblazer logo

Rainbow Arts £24.99 * Joystick

A few years ago, a strange future sport game appeared on the 8-bit machines called Ballblazer. The game won a huge amount of critical acclaim and went on to become a huge success. The game is based around an inter-galactic competition which takes place in a specially created arena built on an asteroid.

Each match is between two players driving 'rotofoil' craft, either human or computer-controlled, on a large, fast-moving, chequered playing field. At either end of the pitch is a pair of 'goal-beams' which move across the width of the pitch. The idea is to catch and fire the hovering ball (or 'plasmorb') between the goal-beams.

A goal scores one, two or three points depending on the distance of the shot. The challenge is to achieve a 'shut-out', that is beat your opponent ten points to nil before the timer runs out.
Matches can either be played as a one-off, or as a tournament comprising of eight players, any number of which can be human or computer-controlled.

Match of the Century
The gameplay is simple once you've got used to the strange movement of the rotoroils (they snap at 90 degree intervals to face the ball), and once you get stuck in, it's quite an enthralling sport. If you start off by playing the lower-level droids, then you will soon be able to score a quick shut-out, but move up to a droid-nine opponent and the challenge is much more heated.

But even if you get tired of the standard game, then you can go for a straight speed test. This section has you racing another rotofoil along a track littered with sets of beams and plasmorbs, the idea being to inflict ten points of damage on your opponent. The goalbeams restore lost energy and the balls slow your craft down, damaging the hull on impact.

If you manage to score a shut-out in a record time against a level-nine droid, then you can put your name up into the highest ranking Masterblazers of all time.

Masterblazer is an example of a classic that has aged and travelled well onto the Amiga.

Masterblazer: Sections
  1. SINGLE MATCH - Play a single head-to-head match against a human or any level droid.
  2. TOURNAMENT - Up to eight players can take place in a knock-out competition.
  3. PLAYER DATA - For tech-heads, here are the statistics on the game equipment.
  4. RACE - Run a bump 'n' smash race against a single opponent.
  5. RANKINGS - Gives access to the Masterblazer hall of fame.
  6. DEMO - A brief explanation of the game and the equipment.

Besser spät als nie!

Masterblazer logo

1982 veröffentlichte Lucasfilm Games für den Atari XL ein rasantes SF-Sportspiel namens "Ballblazer". Noch nicht mal zehn Jahre sind vergangen, und es wird auch schon auf den Amiga umgesetzt

Natürlich hat man den Klassiker ordentlich aufgepeppt: Die Vektorgrafik ist beeindruckend schnell, Chris Hülsbeck hat ein paar sehr stimmungsvolle Musikstücke beigesteuert, und der Turniermodus, die Tafeln mit technischen Details und das kleine Bonusspiel (ein Wettrennen) sind ebenfalls neu.

Was das Spielprinzip betrifft, ist aber alles beim alten geblieben: Mit einem Gleiter versuchen zwei Piloten eine schwebende Plasmakugel zwischen die Torstangen des Gegners zu bugsieren. Dummerweise bewegen sich die Pfosten aber ständig hin und her, außerdem schrumpft das Tor nach jedem Treffer ein bißchen zusammen. Je nach Entfernung zum Tor erhält man pro Treffer bis zu drei Punkte, gewonnen hat, wer nach drei Minuten mehr (oder schon zuvor zehn) Punkte für sich verbuchen konnte.

Das Spiel wird auf einem 3D-Feld ausgetragen, das die Piloten auf einem Splitscreen zu sehen bekommen. Da man dabei immer in Ballrichtung (bzw. Bei Ballbesitz in Richtung des gegnerischen Tors) blickt, schwenkt die Perspektive häufig hin und her, was etwas gewöhnungsbedürftog ist. Es empfiehlt sich daher, ausgiebig mit den Computergegnern zu trainieren, ehe man gegen einen menschlichen Partner antritt. Oder auch umgekehrt, denn einige der Digi-Piloten sind wirklich fit!

Fazit: Masterblazer ist eine gelungene Umsetzung, nur der Grundidee merkt man ihr Alter halt ein bißchen an. (C. Borgmeier/ml)

Masterblazer logo

Before they entered, and subsequently mastered, the world of 'point and click' adventures, in 1984 Lucasfilm started to build their reputation with a quartet of unusual arcade games which were distributed by Activision. Three out of the four games were revolutionary in so much that they used fractals to depict the ever-shifting backdrops, but by far the most playable of these early releases was Ballblazer, a futuresport which could be played by one or two players.

Played on a chequered pitch, Ballblazer was a simple one-on-one affair in which two players must attempt to gain possession of a plasma ball and fire it into their opponent's moving goal. To do this, both players are seated within an extremely manoeuvrable craft called a Rotofoil, and you can gain possession and shoot the ball by use of the foil's surrounding magnetic field which is used to attract and repel the ball for shooting and tackling.

The action is viewed using a split screen system, with the top half of the screen viewing the action from within your Rotofoil, whilst the bottom half shows the view from your opponent's craft. In all, up to ten levels must be scored before the match's time-limit expires, and success results in a victory for you and instant death for your opponent.

Well, thanks to those resourceful guys at Rainbow Arts, no longer are Amiga owners neglected of the game that made C64 owners gloat with pride. Licenced from Lucasfilm, Rainbow Arts have taken the basic theme of Ballblazer and added new features and generally tarted up its appearance, retitling it Masterblazer in the process.

All the basic gameplay features have been faithfully recreated, and there are still nine computer-controlled opponents to work your way through, but the action is significantly faster, adding speed to an already fast game. The main enhancement, though, is the inclusion of a tournament, which allows you to compete for the coveted Masterblazer trophy by making your way through a number of sudden death rounds.

It was a real pleasure seeing an old favourite like Ballblazer updated and improved - especially since all the original's features have been improved and added to. The new tournament adds to the game's lasting appeal, whilst presentation has also been improved with a nice tutorial option explaining the game's intricacies.

These improvements also extend to the graphics which are detailed without sacrificing speed - a problem that could have wrecked this conversion. That said, I was a massive fan of the original, and have been looking forward to the Amiga conversion for ages, and must concede that Masterblazer probably won't appeal to all tastes.

The action can be a tad repetitive, but as far as I'm concerned this is an incredible blast from the past that should be seen as soon as possible.


In 1983, various computer mags were raving about a new American import called Behind Jagged Lines. Written by a sub-division of the Lucasfilm movie company, the game involved rescuing trapped pilots from the surface of a fractal-generated planet. Its novel gameplay and unique graphics won it a lot of fans, but it wasn't to be released over here until a year later, this time under the name Rescue From Fractalus to hype up the graphics system.

Following it came Koronis Rift and The Eidolon which involved scavenging a planet's surface for scrap and exploring a diseased mind respectively. These games, despite their sedate gameplay, were instant hits and it seems likely that Rainbow Arts will be updating them for the Amiga. If they do, and manage to speed them up like they have with Masterblazer, these could be ones to watch.

Masterblazer logo

Rainbow Arts/Lucasfilm, Amiga £24.99

Xmas '85 saw Ballblazer earn 98% as 'the computer equivalent of such classic sports as football and tennis'. The belated Amiga conversion boasts additional features such as a tournament option for eight human or computer players and a race game. The core game uses a rectangular playfield surrounded by walls. The goals are constantly moving at either end, and 1-3 points are awarded depending how far away you are when a goal is scored.

You pilot a rotofoil, which automatically points toward the ball - get close enough and it's captured in your pullfield. Pressing fire triggers a pushfield firing the ball, also useful for knocking the ball out of your opponent's pullfield.

The Race Game uses the same basic graphics, only the goal posts serve as gates which you must race through, hopefully carrying the ball - there's one between each set of posts.

Phil King I thought the original Ballblazer was overrated. Five years later, Masterblazer features the same extra ordinarily unsophisticated concept: a sort of high-tech blow football! There are very few tactics involved - play is limited to a frenetic tussle between the two players. This can be fun for a few games but, even with its tournament mode and (dull) race game, Masterblazer is woefully lacking content - especially for £25.
Stuart Wynne Excellent presentation is welcome, but the essential thing is the game and after five years it's a little dated. Fast, fun and frenetic it may be, but for long term play it lacks the subtlety of say, Kick 0ff 2 for one. Purple Saturn Day contained a superior single player variant among its four games and perhaps Rainbow Arts should have written some more games to go with the official conversion. The race game is less sophisticated than the main game and again, while fun in the short term, lacks lastability.