Winter Supersports '92 logo

FLAIR SOFTWARE * £25.99

As the Summer Olympics in Barcelona end, Flair bring out a game based on winter games. This is either a bit out of date, considering the Winter Olympics were held earlier in the year, or a tad premature - the next event will be in 1996.

Aside from a poor sense of timing, as a game it's on the ball. It's based on a multiple-sports format, along the lines of Epyx's Games series a few years back. There are eight events, which can be played individually or in a series, by one or two players.

The problem is, some of the events are so similar it seems there's not much to the game. Bobsled and Luge are variations of the same event, while Downhill Skiing and Giant Slalom are both based on the familiar downward-scrolling ski course. Also, Bale Jumping and Speed Skating are based on an identical 3D course with polygon graphics, the only difference being a polygon bale which has been thrown in for good measure.

Pro Ski Challenge, a one-on-one downhill ski race with jumps, and Skidoo racing, an average Super Sprint-style game, are the highlights of the package. A not very mixed bag of out-of-season sports, playable... but not for long.



Winter Supersports '92 logo

This is a collection of simulated sporting events set in a chilly clime and very much in the mould of the Epyx' Games series. If any of you remember that. There's Downhill Skiing, Bale Jumping, Bobsled, Giant Slalom, Speed Skating. Pro Ski Challenge and Skidoo Racing to try your hand at, but if you think that makes eight different events in total (and I can see how you would) you'd be wrong. In fact, there are only four.

How so? Well, the Bale Jumping and Speed Skating differ only because the former has a single row of hay bales to jump on its circular course, while the Bobsled and Luge are pretty much one and the same too, save for the modes of transport used to hurtle down the runs.

There's more that these four events share too - they're all bult as polygon block constructions. And it's to good effect too, though it must be said that in each case the racing action isn't racy enough.

As for the remaining events, these are presented in a more 'traditional' manner - that's to say, sprites and bitmap backdrops are used. That doesn't make the game any more individual, however. The three skiing events - reminiscent of the one seen in Epyx's Winter Games in many ways - are basically variations on the same thing, a selection of different courses where the player must dodge flags, leaving the Skidoo as the lone individual of the bunch, a real drop out from the Super Sprint/Supercars school of racing, with its every-which-way scrolling track, if ever I saw one.

As is often the case with these things, playing wintry events on your tod is not much fun, so it's nice to see that a maximum of six players can take part in a competition, with up to two of them on-screen simultaneously. (In the absence of a chum, the computer controls the second player and seems to take great delight in thrashing your pants off - a bore, if ever there was one)..

That's all there is to say really. The music's quite jolly and actually manages to come across as "tele-aural", while the use of sound is adequate, if a little inappropriate at times. The presentation's no big deal either, but it's better than nothing - preceding each event there's some big scrolly transparent lettering that moves across a snowscape (that's not bad) and a digitised animated sequence, usually involving a camera - though I can't help feeling the designers and programmers should have spent the effort providing more interactive playability instead.

As I said, the multi-player element is Winter Supersports 92's saving grace. Otherwise, there's nothing much worth broadcasting.

Still, if you do decide to pursue Winter Supersports 92, here's a tip to improve the atmosphere: take the lump of polystyrene used to fill out the packaging, break it up into little pieces and voila! Your own snow...