Beach Volley logo

Sommer, Sonne, Strand und Volleyball - ganz klar, beim Veröffentlichungsdatum ihres neuen Sportspiels haben die Jungs von "Ocean" daneben gehauen. Ansonsten aber ist Beach Volley alles andere als ein Schlag ins Wasser!

Schon der Vorspann macht Freude: In feinster Comic-Tradition wird auf verschiedenen Panels die Geschichte zweier typisch amerikanischer Sunny-Boys erzählt, die sich aufmachen, um in einer weltweiten Tournee die Beach Volley-Meisterschaft zu erringen.

Sodann darf man wählen, ob gegen einen menschlichen Parner oder unsere blecherne "Freundin" gespielt werden soll.

Das erste Match findet in London statt. Am Strand der Themse bekommt der Spieler unter den interessierten Augen der zuschauenden Beefeaters und Beaty-Queens den ersten Aufschlag zugesprochen.

Bei den anfänglichen Spielversuchen stellt sich schnell heraus, daß die Steuerung des eigenen Doppels zwar sehr exakt und variantenreich ist, aber doch einiges an Training erfordert, ehe man auch nur den ersten Punkt einheimsen kann.

Zudem spielen die Computer-Gegner ziemlich gut, wer nicht auf ein schnelles Stellungsspiel und perfektes Timing beim Schlagen (Feuerknopf) zurückgreifen kann, wird kaum jemals zu den folgenden Spielen in New York, Sydney, Paris, etc. zugelassen werden.

Zur Praxis: Die Stelle, an der der gegnerische Ball auftreffen wird, ist mit einem Kreuz gekennzeichnet, über dem momentan aktiven Spieler schwebt mahnend eine Hand. Um nun einen satten Schmetterball über das Netz zu zischen, muß die Spielfigur genau im richtigen Moment abspringen und den Ball erwischen.
Für einen erfolgreichen Block gilt der gleiche Bewegungsablauf - nur eben ohne Ball.

Grundsätzlich ist Beach Volley also nichts anderes als ein klassisches Two on Two-Sportspiel. In der französischen Unterabteilung des englischen Software-Giganten hat man es jedoch meisterlich verstanden, die Motivation des Spielers über den reinen Wettkampf hinaus tüchtig aufzustacheln.

Dafür sorgen zum einen der abwechslungsreiche Sound, zum anderen die fließende Animation der Spieler sowie die sehenswerten Hintergründe. Wen stört es da noch, daß die Original-Volleyballregeln nur teilweise gelten? So darf zwar der Ball nur dreimal gespielt werden, man kann jedoch auch dann punkten, wenn der Gegner das Service hat - ja, selbst ein mißlungener Aufschlag wird gleich nach dem ersten Versuch mit einem Punktverlust bestraft.

Zusätzlich findet sich am linken unterem Bildschirmrand eine stilisierte Uhr, die angibt, wieviel Zeit noch bleibt, um das Match zu gewinnen. geht's dem Ende zu, so wechselt die Musik zu fetzigem Rock 'n' Roll, um die müden Recken zusätzlich anzustacheln!

Das Fazit in aller Kürze: Beach Volley ist ein durchwegs gelungenes Game und ein absolutes Muß für jeden Sportspiel-Fan! (ml)

Beach Volley logo CU Screen Star

Price: £24.95

This is one of the most addictive games I have played in a long time. Beach Volley is as simple to play as it is gorgeous to look at - and by simple I do not mean easy, but brilliantly straightforward in idea.

The origins of beach volley lie in California. All you need to play it is a net, two teams of two players each, and, of course, a sun-kissed stretch of sand.

The game has both one and two-player options, and the rest is simplicity itself. First of all you or your opponent serves, knocks the ball over the net to an opposing player, who passes it to his team mate, who lobs back over the net, then the process is repeated. A flashing symbol indicates the spot where the ball will land; the ball can only be touched twice when it is in your possession; and the first team to score seven, with a margin of two, wins. And that is it...

Apart from the fact that Beach Volley sets a furious pace, and you can get to do close-to-the-net smashes, volleys from the rear of the court, and you can play bluff with your opponents. I love playing table top football - Beach Volley is similar in that you instinctively know what your next move should be but are your reflexes up to the test?

The graphics are really quite enchanting, in particular the animation sequences which link each level. Every game takes place in a different country, and the links take the mickey a bit; so, for instance, you will arrive at Hawaii on a sailboard which has been strapped to a sea serpent.

The title screen has been drawn like a page from a teenager's comic. The programming for this game was done in France and it has the look of a Frenchman's idea of what the perfect American 'yoof' should be like; so thank God that it was not programmed in America, or we would have got the Waltons.

And that is it, apart from to say that Beach Volley has a jolly nice soundtrack full of rock 'n' roll and other popular noises and that you really ought to give this one a go. It has hot nice big sprites, Day-Glo colours, and it is actually rather good.

Beach Volley logo

Ocean, Amiga £24.95

One of London's top two-man volleyball teams has been offered the opportunity of a lifetime: a free trip around the world. The only catch is that they must beat the host country's top team to be allowed to progress to the next. The first contest is London, with the houses of Parliament in the background, and Royal Guardsmen acting as the scorers.

There are eight countries to visit in all, including America, Russia, Egypt and France. Each country has different backgrounds, tougher gameplay and a hilarious intro-sequence showing the two men arriving in the country. Alternatively two human players can battle it out in London.

The rules of volleyball are fairly simple. A point is scored by making the ball land inside your opponent's half of the court, but only if you're serving. If not, you win serve, and the opportunity to score points. Once the ball crosses over the net it can be touched only twice before being returned.

To win the game you must score seven points with a lead of two points. In the computer game there's also a time limit, indicated by a rock jingle which starts up as time is running out.

Actually playing the game is straightforward too. To serve you press fire, throwing the ball up, then press fire again to hit the ball. As the ball crosses the net the screen pans to follow it, and when it comes back you're automatically given control of the nearest man. Unless you're blocking a smash (or 'spike' in volleyball-ese), your first move will simply to keep the ball in the air, allowing you to manoeuvre into position to hit it back.

To begin with simply keeping the ball aloft will be enough to keep you occupied, but the more the play the more moves and tactics become apparent. It's perfectly possible to aim the ball as you hit it, but getting the knack takes practice.

Robin Hogg Yeah, Beach Volley! Now we're talking sun, beach bombshells, and bump, set, spike - roll on the next summer! It may be a little late in the year for a summer sport but what does it matter if it's as playable as this. The typically Gallic, slick presentation really makes the game, with a great sense of humour and cartoon characters. I found the gameplay a shade simple, with not all that many moves to hand, and there isn't that much variety despite the changing backdrops and funny intermission screens. Still, eight levels of increasing difficulty make a good challenge with plenty of red-hot playability.
Stuart Wynne Brilliant! All the fun of the real thing but without the risk of sunburn and getting sand in your shorts! The basic game is simple, but hard to master, making for great addictivity. To begin with, the way the screen pans can be a bit irritating, but you soon get used to it and the competitive action in two-player mode is immense. But even in one player mode, the sheer playability and great cartoony graphics make for a highly enjoyable game. A touch pricey perhaps, but otherwise highly recommended.