Simulations remain as popular as ever and I'm
sure this new one from Mastertronic will be gratefully received by a
good many armchair sportspersons. '180', as I expect you've already
guessed, is a darts simulation similar to the Thorn EMI game
released a few years back.
A large hi-res dartboard fills up most of the screen with a
blackboard to one side on which the scores are chalked up. There's
also a quivering hand holding the dart – good graphics but don't
darts players have arms too? Control of the hand is via the joystick
diagonals and to make things even more difficult it can't be stopped
at any particular point, i.e. to remain in one place requires
constant jiggling of the stick. The idea is to line up the dart, not
as easy as it sounds, and press the trigger to throw it.
In practice mode you have to hit each number in sequence, from
twenty down to one, in a limited time. The main game is standard
matchplay darts, that's where the winner is he or she who scores 501
points first, not forgetting to finish on a double. You join the
game at the quarter final stage of a championship knockout
tournament, and to win you've got to beat three opponents supplied
by the computer. These are chosen at random from a team of seven
dubious characters with names such as 'Belly Bill' and 'Limp Wrist
Larry'. It's the best of three sets to decide a winner, and if you
are successful you'll go on to challenge the world champion 'Jammy
Jim'. He seldom throws a dud shot!
When it's the computer's turn, an animated sequence shows the
opponent making his throw with a background of pub-scape sadly
lacking in detail and colour. At least the music is quite good and
the interlude doesn't last for too long! Keep your ears open for a
short burst of digitized speech if you manage to score the infamous
three double twenties in a row (hence the title).
If mathematics isn't one of your strong points
Mastertronic have kindly included a chart of winning combinations,
but don't take them for gospel – one or two errors have crept into
the text! A final quibble concerns the difficulty level which
appears to be on the easy side. I consistently beat Jammy Jim in the
final and was awarded a suitable rating such as 'mega-cool', however
since there is a two player option the game would seem to offer
In the words of Jim 'Bullseye' Bowen – 'Terrific, super, how about a
round of applause?'