World Darts logo


Avid readers of CU will remember that not too long ago, a rather pleasant cheapo from Mastertronic by the name of 180 appeared on the scene. Being the excellent simulation of darts that it was, and costing only three quid, it was duly awarded our coveted 'cheapo of the month' award. Not wanting to leave 16-bitters out in the cold, Mastertronic have converted it onto the Amiga and retitled it World Darts.

Upon loading you are presented a neat opening sequence in which three darts land with a sampled 'thok' into the treble twenty.. A fat northern commentator appears and exclaims "Arcadia presents World Darts", as it's supposedly been converted from the Arcadia Super-Select coin-op that houses 4 games in one machine (including that old fave Xenon), although I have never personally come across it.

After selecting the type of game you want from the option screen (you can either compete against a pal or go for the world title, playing against three computer controlled opponents in turn) you take the arrows in hand and begin play.

The board itself takes up about two thirds of the screen, with the far-right hand portion housing the scoreboard. To throw your dart you guide a large hand about the screen with the joystick until it points to the part of the board you want to hit and then press fire.

It may sound easy but I can assure you it ain't. It's impossible to keep your hand totally still as it is constantly moving, so you simply have to release the dart as the hand passes over the required segment required. Add to this a 15 second time limit to throw each dart and it results in a highly difficult (but not frustrating) dart-throwing technique which takes a lot of practice to perfect (having played both this and 180 though, I found the 'diagonals only' method of 180 a better one).

After throwing each dart, another hand passes over the scoreboard and chalks up the score. After all three darts have been thrown, the computer does a quick bit of subtraction and tells you how many more points you require. As in the original, there's a handy table on the inlay that saves you from having to get a calculator to work out what you need to 'check out'.

When your turn's finished, the computer opponent steps up to the oche. This was a real let-down for me, as it's nowhere near as good as the original. Whereas in 180 there was a typically bad piece of pubby music played along in the background as the computer throws his darts, in WD it's all done in complete silence. On top of this, the player and the backdrop are both poorly defined and animated. Very dull indeed.

What more can you say about a game like World Darts? The first to zero fro 501 is the winner and proceeds to the next round. Win all three and you are presented with a platter or trophy or whatever. The graphics have been well done (except in the opponents' throwing sequence) and sound is good, albeit sparse, with the same bouncy soundtrack as the original.

Not surprisingly, the speech has been greatly enhanced. Although it doesn't fully live up to it's predecessor, it's an enjoyable game in its own right and worth a look, if only for the appallingly bad artwork on the packaging.

World Darts logo

Mastertronic, £9.99 disk

Follow in the footsteps of the Crafty Cockney or any of those other fine figures of personhood as you take to the oche in the quarter finals of the Mastertronic Darts Championship. The familiar pub sport of plump beer-swilling people throwing pointed objects at circular chunks of cork reaches your Amiga, with eight suitably chubby cartoon opponents pitting their skills against you.

Skill level, number of legs (that's rounds, not locomotory limbs), and suggestion on/off (an option which suggests what you should aim at) are all set by you, and the computer randomly selects one of eight opponents for you to out-dart. In a two-player game it's beer belly to beer belly direct confrontation. Either way you control a hand wavering over the dart board (no doubt under the influence of certain alcoholic beverages!). So pick up th' arras an' get cobbin'.

Gordon Houghton World Darts is the Amiga version of the Arcadia coin-op which is in turn a conversion of the old 64 arra-chucker, 180. In the transition from 64 to coin-op, the designers obviously had to push the difficulty level up a few notches and it is this that proves the downfall of this verbatim conversion. The matchroom and player graphics are atmospheric enough and sound is fine (I particularly liked the introductions by the digitised Master of Ceremonies), but in play the dart hand tends to wander aimlessly around the screen with almost complete disregard for joystick position. I'd much rather get my joystick around MAD's original Commodore 180 which was much more playable once familiarity was gained - the wild controls on World Darts make the 16-bit version a bit of a disaster.
Maff Evans There have been a number of darts simulations on home computers, which is rather surprising as I wouldn't have thought it a sport which lends itself very well to the format. Anyway, it seems that once a workable game system has been worked out, all subsequent simulations are virtually all the same. Arcadia's attempt has a couple of nice presentation points, like the chalked up scores and the sampled Master of Ceremonies introducing the game - but, yet again, it adopts the same format as every other darts game. At the price, you wouldn't expect anything world-beating, so only look into this if you're a darts freak or you haven't got any darts games already.