Projectyle logo Amiga Format Gold

Electronic Arts £24.99 Joystick

Most ball games are complicated enough. Football, basketball, hockey and the rest all have their own peculiar rules which can have even an aficionado scratching his head at times. And these games are all played on one single pitch - just imagine what a game that was played on five pitches would be like!

This game of three players, three halves and five square pitches is surprisingly simple: eight teams, each of eight players, make up a league. One, two or three human players take control of a team each and during a match attempt to score goals in either of the two opponents' goals. The team with the most goals at the end of the three periods wins.

The five pitches are all linked by tunnels, through which no players can pass. The centre pitch is where the kick-off takes place and on each wall there is a tunnel entrance leading to another pitch.

Three of the four entrances are colour-coded to show that the pitch on the other side contains a goal belonging to the team with that colour. Send the ball - or projectyle as it's known in the game - through the tunnel and it emerges onto another pitch that has that team's goal on the opposite wall.

The tunnel on the fourth wall however, which is the one always at the bottom, leads somewhere a bit special - the Frantic Zone. On this pitch there are three goals, one for each team.

The rules of the game are terribly easy - anything goes! This means you can bump, bash and smash into the opposition as often as you like in your attempt to get to the ball and knock it around to keep it out of your pitch, then get it into an opponent's where there's a goal.

Once a goal is scored the scoring team is credited and play begins again from the centre pitch (if an own goal is scored - which happens very often, especially in the Frantic Zone - the opposing player who touched the ball last is credited with the goal.

The match then continues in this fashion until the end of a set, at which point all the teams move one place to the right. Suppose your goal was on the top pitch for the first set: once the second starts, your goal will be on the right-hand pitch. No-one ever gets the bottom pitch because that's always the Frantic Zone.

After three sets (about six minutes of real time) the match is over, the scores are logged and the points are dished out.

The players each have peculiar attributes and all remain in the same pitch that they start the game in, so it's well worth checking out their stats before deciding where they should play - a fast chap on the start pitch is a must.

Before a match the players can be trained, and their attributes increased: however, not only do they then run the risk of injury but training costs money and the only way to get any money is to pick up the dosh symbols that appear on the pitch at random. These benefits appear regularly throughout the match on all the pitches and can be collected by the first player to slide over them.

The money can be used to finance your training program while all the other benefits - such as 'freeze opponents' or 'block exits' - only last on the pitch they were picked up on and only for a maximum of 10 seconds.

The closest the gameplay comes to a game in the real world is ice hockey. The players all slide all over the shop in pursuit of the projectyle (your players automatically turn to face the ball wherever it moves) and you're ale to move the player using the joystick with the fire button acting as the accelerator.

GRAPHICS AND SOUND

The perspective, viewing from directly above, works very well and everything is smoothly animated. The effects are fine and so is the music - and you can toggle between the two at will. Games are played on different pitches belonging to different teams, which makes a welcome change during the game not only from the aesthetic viewpoint, but also because the different playing surfaces change the way the game's played. Looks great.

LASTING INTEREST

Bags of it. The shortest league season requires you to play 18 matches, so get ready for some long playing sessions. The multi-player option and multiple skill levels mean you won't burn out for a very considerable while: and fortunately there's always the save game option to fall back on.

JUDGEMENT

The action is fast and furious - especially with a couple of friends - and though at first it seems as if too much of the gameplay is left to luck, a few hours of play will convince you that it is in fact very skilful. You need to use some sound tactics to beat the better of the computer-controlled teams. Cracking stuff that can be as exciting as Kick Off when you've got a few mates round.


A GAME OF THREE HALVES...
Projectyle
  1. START PITCH. The game re-starts here after every goal and at the begging of each set.
  2. TEAM PLAYERS. One player per pitch: the players are unable to move through the tunnels.
  3. GOAL MOUTHS. One per pitch (except in the Frantic Zone).
  4. CONNECTING TUNNELS. Join all the pitches together. Only the projectyle is allowed to pass through.
  5. TEAM EMBLEMS. Show who's playing who. The top emblem indicates the match will be played on their home pitch.
  6. THE FRANTIC ZONE. In which all three teams have a goal-mouth to protect.

Projectyle logo

Futuristische Sportarten sind ja spätestens seit "Speedball" nichts Neues mehr auf dem Screen. Doch was sich Electronic Arts zu dem Thema ausgedacht hat, zählt nicht gerade zu den Meilensteinen der Softwaregeschichte...

Vorbei sind die Zeiten, als man sich noch mit Tennis oder Fußball abgab, in der Zukunft ist "Tribal" angesagt. Hier besteht das Spielfeld aus fünf sternförmig angeordneten Einzelfeldern, die durch eine Art von Schleusen miteinander verbunden sind.

Es treten drei Mannschaften gleichzeitig an, die jeweils als großer runder Punkt dargestellt werden (toooll). Der Ball, nein entschuldigt, natürlich das Projektil, muß durch die Schleusen geschubst werden, dafür gibt es dann Punkte.

Hin und wieder tauchen Bonussymbole auf, die sich positiv (mehr Power oder Sprungkraft) oder negativ (weniger...) auswirken können. Optionen gibt es reichlich, so unter anderem Zeitlupenwiederholung, Computerdemo und Drei-Spieler-Modus (mit Joystick-Adapter, sonst Tastatur).

Die Grafik ist mäßig, höchstens vier bis acht verschiedene Farben gleichzeitig, Ruckelscrolling und NTSC-Streifen. Sound ist zwar reichlich vorhanden (Musik und Effekte einzeln abschaltbar), aber recht langweilig gemacht.

Die Steuerung ist simpel, was bei dem schlichten Spielprinzip auch gar nicht anders geht. Das ganze wirkte auf mich wie ein müder "Speedball"-Abklatsch, der allenfalls zu dritt etwas Spaß macht: die wechselnden Hintergründe oder der Liga-Modus (acht Mannschaften) bleiben vergebliche Liebesmüh. (mm)



Projectyle logo

ELECTRONIC ARTS
PRICE: £24.99

In the movies, futuristic sports are depicted as explosive, destructive, exhilarating, and very glamorous. Not so, says EA, as they check their astronomical starcharts and discover Projectyle, a cross between snooker and Subbuteo.

The game arena is split into five square 'zones', connected together by vacuum tunnels to create a cross. In each zone you, plus two other players (human or computer controlled), command one character each with the eventual aim of knocking a small ball into an opposing goal. In two of the zones are solitary goals owned by one of your opponents. Likewise, one of the zones contains one of yours. The fourth and final outer area, known as the 'Frantic Zone', has a goal from each, so things can get petty hectic in here, hence the name.

I'm not a bad games player, but I did have one hell of a time getting to grips with the game controls. The idea is a well worn one. Manoeuvre your player to the desired angle, and then 'flick' him at the ball to send the ball flying at a chosen trajectory. Just this much in itself was hard to get used to, with staggeringly short inertia stopping you from making any tight moves, and when you have two other players smashing the ball out of your way, it can get a little frustrating.

But I persevered, and with time you do find yourself getting used to the controls, and the game does become enjoyable, but does it last?

Though it may not have sounded like it so far, there is a fair bit of variety to be found. All I have described so far is the game 'core'. Around this EA have structured an entire game network, including an eight player league, a sudden death championship, as well as solo game against the computer, friends or both.

There are a myriad of different backdrops and game graphics, which is nice, but sadly none of them are that great. A simple, blocked pattern is used for each, and the twin level parallax is really old hat. The scrolling is smooth and the movement of the characters and the balls is realistic enough to make the game convincing.

The sound really lets the game down. Unimaginative tunes, played with the same old guitar and drum samples.

Projectyle is a very subjective game. A simple idea executed well enough to appeal greatly to some people, but not to others. I didn't enjoy it because I found the control system too frustrating to get to grips with, but the I know some people that swear it's one of the best games they've ever played. Try before you buy.



Projectyle logo

Electronic Arts/Out Now/£24.99 (ST version reviewed in ZERO 9)

Amiga reviewPaul: Something of an oddity this one. Basically you're whizzing around an arena on a cross between a frisbee and a jet ski. The arena is divided into four connected courts; each one belongs to one of the three players and contains that player's goal.

Ah, but what of the fourth zone? Ah, well that's the Frantic Zone where you each have a goal. The aim of the game is to put the ball into your opponents' goals more often than they do in yours. Easy really, or straightforward at least. Don't you believe it!

Projectyle is a frenetic and exciting game. As well as goals to score there are bonus features to pick up. It's more fun as a two or three player game; playing versus the computer can get a bit boring after a while, despite all the training and league options. The range of teams, players and types of competition add an extra dimension to the game and the graphics are very colourful.

Projectyle is certainly a game you'll keep on going back to.



Projectyle logo

Electronic Arts, Amiga £24.99

This futuristic SF game originated on Jupiter's second moon (no, I don't know what it's called either!), where a bunch of rejects from Earth's satellite cities were playing around inside a crashed shuttle. M Throid the Third observed this once, and promptly set about it into a multi-billion dollar sport which would make him a very rich man indeed.

The essence of the game is simple, involving three teams (all of which may be computer controlled) whose sole aim is knock the ball, or projectyle, into the other team's goals. The pitch is split into five multi-directionally scrolling zones. Think of a simple cross. At the centre is where kick-off happens, in the middle of each wall there's a passageway to another zone. Each team has its own Defend Zone containing a goal for the others to score in. The remaining zone is Frantic, which contains three goals (one for each team) allowing for some very frenzied action!

In each zone there's a member from each team: as soon as the zone appears you take control of that member. Joystick control is simply directional, while pressing fire automatically boosts your toward the ball. The Zones are biggish and you can sometimes go off screen, so there's also a radar scanner to help you. After you score a goal a Replay box appears which will show the goal again - but this is easily bypassed by pressing fire.

A game of Projectyle is split into three sets, each lasting a few minutes. At the end of a set the 'cross' is rotated, changing the position of all the Defend Zones around the central sector. To liven things up there are plenty of bonus objects which appear on screen for you to collect. 'Teleport' magics all the players to the Frantic Zone and 'Loony Ball' makes the ball act weird for the collector. There are also bonuses which affect how slippery the pitch is, and how bouncy the ball.

Each teams has eight players who each have six attributes; speed, weight, acceleration/deceleration, bounciness and intelligence (for your computer players). These attributes can be improved by spending money on them. Players can also be injured. The games comes with eight weird teams, including the Jovian Jello Juggernauts and the Devils (from film planning!). These all have their own graphics, with a portrait of each player in the training screens.

The teams can compete in a one-off solo match, for one to three players, a Sudden Death tournament with six preliminary games and a League of between six and 21 weeks of all eight teams.


Phil King This is simple but frantic fun and the three-player option adds an extra twist with players forming fleeting alliances. There's not much time to think, though as the action takes place at a frenetic pace. So it's more than made up for by the team selection and training screens which, like the rest of the game, are slickly presented. Overall, Projectyle is great fun with friends and well worth buying.
Phil King The basic concept for Projectyle is very simple: a variation on Xeno and Ballistix which guarantees plenty of frantic action. It's certainly good fun to play, especially with three players. The graphics are very slick and fast, accompanied by some rich Amiga tunes. Overlaying all this is some superlative presentation, from the replays to the player portraits. This improves playability, of course, but also lastability with the great team training/formation options and the league to compete in. I don't know if it would be quite as fun in one-player mode, although the league and options are bound to keep anyone amused for quite some time.