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1-6 players

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What do you consider an unmitigated disaster? Michael Caine's recent movie career? The entire ``rap'' genre? Add APBA's Pro Basketball to the list. What is particularly distressing is the normally ultra-reliable source.

APBA have a remarkable track record going back almost six decades. Their sports games are generally deemed the most ``playable'' on the market, if a little unwieldy. In my book, they can do no wrong. Of the many sports they have simulated, only the previous basketball incarnation can be considered below par. Talk about not learning from your mistakes!

PB2 allows for three game options, Super Basic, Advanced Basic (sic) and Master. The latter is a $5 add-on which should be the hub of the system. In reality, it is a few photo-copied sheets of team indices which provide player choices for shooting, assists and rebounds. In the game's ``basic'' modes, the shooter is chosen by the player. And therein lies the first problem. Sports simulations are usually (99%?) played solitaire. The inherent game mechanism will provide a top flight ``opponent''. A smidgeon of common sense will eliminate any difficulties. With PB2, the choice of shooter is left to your own designs. Just who do you choose? And when? At least the rebound count is left to the game chart. In Master mode, the team lists are invoked. A 2d6 roll is made to generate a number between 11-66 (the APBA trademark), and this referred to the specific team list -- let's say Houston. You have rolled 53 (red 5, white 3), but the player indicated is not even on the court. Try again. No luck. Once you have rolled for the back-up centre who averaged about 2.5 points per game six times in a row, you will look for a suitable spot to cast this purchase. Those who persevere with this selection method will also need to remember the die roll, for this provides either the rebounder for a missed shot or assist-man for a bucket.

All other elements of hoops are covered by the game charts. As is usual, APBA do not skimp on contents. The player cards, charts and peripherals are of excellent quality. And the company always include a couple of dice cups! The only shoddy part of the package is the cover artwork, which is the same as used in the original game, and features five short white guys! This would be a marketing disaster if the game were readily available in shops.

After the success of their recent Ice Hockey release, it was odds on that APBA would get the basketball game right. They haven't, and I'm mortified. The game costs £30, including airmail postage, from 1001 MILLERSVILLE ROAD, PO BOX 4547, LANCASTER, PA 17604-4547, USA

Mike Clifford

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Next: BREAKING AWAY Up: Sumo 20 index Previous: NIZZA
Stuart Dagger