Format reviewed: Commodore 64
Publisher: IJK Software
Developer: John Sinclair
Submitted by: Damian Butt
John Sinclair’s Rocket Ball was one of those Commodore 64 games that no-one ever seemed to actually own. You always played it at a mate’s house and that meant each go was fleeting and therefore treasured because you had to take it in turns.
Rocket Ball is a futuristic sports sim, essentially a videogames version of the Seventies film Rollerball. Two teams battle it out on rollerskates for ten minutes, both trying to pick up and then ram a steel ball into the opposing team’s goal mouth located on the edge of the circular rink.
Each match is introduced by a jazzed up synthesizer knock-off of the Rocky theme as two of the four teams in the game (Tokyo, Madrid, Houston and Moscow) skate out to rapturous applause (well, beeps and ‘wooshes’ – it is the C64!). At the start of each round the ball is fired around the top of the playing area and it is your job to race around after it and then tap down and the fire button to pick it up (trickier than it sounds because time it wrong and you go flying!).
The joy of Rocket Ball though comes not in trying to score a game, but preventing the other playing from doing so by ramming into or punching them. Such antics can go on for the whole game without a single goal being scored. Great fun if a little simplistic, but it kept many-a-13-year-old happy.