Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
£24.99; 2 players
You serve, and the crowd leaps to its feet... sheer poetry in trackshoes.
Okay guys, its cross the ball time. One of you better find it soon...
This has got to be one of the oddest games to simulate so, of course, Sega were bound to do it. If the world of spikes, dinks and bumps is all Greek to you, then read on. The aim in volleyball is to get the ball over the net and in contact with the opponent's bit of court to win a point, much like in Tennis. The ball is not allowed to bounce. As soon as it hits the deck, it has to be served again - so the aim of the game is to keep the ball aloft and preferably over your opponents side. The game follows the 'service point' ruling, where you have to win a serve first, and then win that serve before gaining a point.
Your team is made up of six players, who's job it is to sprint around the court and attempt to keep the ball in the air by hitting it with their hands or forearms. You can make as many passes, or 'dinks' as they call it, to your own players as you like, but no-one can hit the ball twice in succession.
Before diving right into a game , it might be a good idea to start yourself off gently with a practice session. Here you can get to grips with serving and spiking, while some geezer stands on the sidelines and lets you know when you've fluffed it!
After selecting to play in a friendly game or the world tournament (which in this sim is unfortunately one-player only), both teams scurry on court and take up their positions. During play, you automatically control the player nearest the ball, pressing the button as the ball approaches to make a hit, and pushing the joystick in the direction you want the shot to go. You can also bunch the front three players together and make them jump in unison to block an attack, or set up delayed or dummy attacks - (Hey, pretty technical, huh?).
A good scoring move is to 'spike' the ball by hitting it high in the air, as a set-up for another player, who then jumps up and hits the ball straight down over the net. This is difficult to defend against since you don't know quite where the ball is going and it comes over your side at Mach three! Each match comprises three sets, with the first team to 15 winning the set. And... erm... that's it.
The forced 3D perspective doesn't make things easy to follow - it's best to watch the ball's shadow since the ball doesn’t give a good impression of where on the court that sucker is going to land.
With a lot of sport sims, trying to control more than one player is a pain in the joystick. For instance, if you chase the ball with one player, and the ball reaches another player first, you find the control suddenly switches and you end up pushing the other player away from the ball! The ball movement is generally good, although it does do a strange 'blip' on the way down after a high hit. It'll zoom towards you, then suddenly move off to one side, making you miss it.
Visually, GV is very nice, and it's quite good the way the players look like they're continually panting. Sound is on the whole pretty average, though, with a moronic background tune and some very strange effects.
With a difficult control method and repetitive action, GV isn't really a first choice for anyone wanting a two-player sports sim.
Incredibly tricky at first... and second, and third... The strange perspective takes a while to get used to,
Nicely detailed backdrop (fully animated crowd!) and neat player sprites.
Silly 'bloopy' ball sound, forgettable jingles and white noise crowd roar
If you don't have your wits about you, you're doomed!
There’s a few set pieces to practice and room for some moves of your own
Hot action between two players - but the Sega teams are just too good. (They cheat.)
A difficult and unusual game which is rather overpriced for what you get.
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