When a professional skier's in Austria he can't keep off the Alpine slopes. So you don your ski pants and padding, pick up your freshly-waxed skis and set off for the slopes. Your first piste is Saalbach, a relatively easy course.
But ice, snow banks, sheds, trees and flags are all placed to give minimum moving space and if you accidentally slip you can plummet for ages, missing the flags, and get disqualified.
You're off down the course at a terrifying speed and you just miss an old shed. While your swearing wafts into the chilled air a set of flags loom on the horizon. You remember what the instructor said: 'You must pass through every set of flags to qualify for the next piste and get your money's worth.' So you pass the flags, but what's this hurtling toward you?
It's a very awkward-looking Christmas tree that doesn't want to move. Before you know it, you're stopped suddenly in your tracks by the tree without so much as a 'sorry'; the instructor shouts down 'you're disqualified!' and you're carried off on a stretcher.
In Professional Ski Simulator you can choose one-player or twoplayer mode. The skiing is easy but getting every single flag is a mite more difficult, and you're timed on each piste. The time limits get tougher the further you progress.
It's presented in bird's-eye view. The left and right controls refer to the skier's view rather than the player's - he is skiing 'toward' the player - so when you press LEFT or move the joystick left he goes toward the right of the screen and vice versa.
If you ski too slow you can go off the screen, and then have to play using the radar - a touch of unreality, though the game is supposedly 'based on the authors' experiences in Austria '
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: monochromatic and well-detailed
Sound: good in-game tune
Options: definable keys, one or two players
'This simulation is so good it's just like being on the slopes. The graphics are very similar to those in BMX Simulator, also by The Oliver Twins and from Code Masters. The slopes are highly detailed, which makes it nice to look at, but tricky to ski down! The only problem is that when you fall behind, or get too far ahead, for that matter, you go off the screen it scrolls down without caring where the player is. And the radar's confusing. So you have to be patient to get anywhere in this excellent game, but don't forget - practice makes perfect!'
NICK ... 87%
'Skiing isn't the easiest of sports to simulate; Pete Cooke tried two-and-a-half years ago with Ski Star 2000 (Issue 14) and came up with a pleasing 3-D game. Here the different types of snow and a sense of three dimensions are created quite effectively by the clever use of shading. It takes a while to get the hang of the game, and the way the screen scrolls downward regardless of what's happening on screen is also frustrating. But once the controls have been mastered Professional Ski Simulator is an enjoyable and difficult maze game, though it offers little long-term interest.'
ROBIN ... 71%
Ski simulator my elbow! This new release is about as realistic as seeing Phil on skis. Where are the thrills and spills, the whoosh of snow, the apres ski (hic)? Instead there are two very dodgy geezers wobbling around at the top of the hill, and then they're off. Well one of them is, if you're slow off the mark, the screen moves on, you're off the screen, impossibly out of your depth, and no chance of catching up. Piste poor.
Could Code Masters be the new challengers for MicroProse? This is a simulation. Well, as with all budget simulators, they are not pure cockpit-view games. More often than not they're overhead views and this one's no exception. PSS is a very playable. The game is viewed from a 45 degree angle and your skier is a tiny little matchstick man.
Control is the difficult part of the game. It sounds easy - left/right and forward. Pretty easy to master, yeah? It would be if it were not for the fact that left is the skiers left, not yours, so if you push the joystick left, the skier turns right. Pretty confusing?
The slopes are the best part of the game. A delight to see, they are beautifully designed using clever shading to give the impression of different gradients. Another great game by the Olly bros... Well done lads, more please, more.
Label: Code Masters
Author: The Oliver Twins
Reviewer: Tony Dillon
Go snow blind with Code Masters.
Shoulder your skis, grab an airline ticket and catch the next flight to Austria for Code Masters' latest game. Professional Ski Simulator follows firmly in the footsteps of Codemasters greats including Grand Prix and B.M.X. Simulator.
Pro. Ski Sim, is for one or two players and contains seven authentic slalom slopes. The player starts the game at the top of the slope and uses three keys (left-right and thrust) to guide his on screen sprite toward the bottom, taking care to weave in between all the gates on the way down. Each slope has its fair share of dips and flats and the player has to use the 'thrust' key to pump his poles and propel himself along the flat sections. Holding the thrust key down while the character descends a small steep section results in the character adopting a crouched position that increases his speed.
Each course has the player racing not only the clock - you get less time for each course - but also struggling to remain on the screen. You view the game through a large on-screen window that continually scrolls down, and should you hang around for too long your character disappears off the top.
If that happens then you have to refer to the radar strip to the right of the screen in order to navigate. This gives a very simple aerial view of the slope and only shows the gates and the players, not the surface features.
Initially, the gameplay is tough and takes a fair while to get used to. The screen design is colourful, (blue snow?) but it takes time before the player can confidently recognise the terrain features. If you can get to grips with the controls and learn the layout of the slopes you're in for a lot of fun.
Reviewer: Andy Smith
C64/128, £1.99cs, Dec 87
Spec, £1.99cs, Reviewed
Ams, £1.99cs, Reviewed
Predicted Interest Curve
1 min: 60/100
1 hour: 50/100
1 day: 70/100
1 week: 80/100
1 month: 60/100
1 year: 10/100
Those budget stalwarts the Oliver Twins take to the slopes with this tricky, engaging piste-em-up. Your job's to get down that mountain first, using the traditional controls of left, right and thrust - a shove on the ski-sticks in this case - to get through the control gates of each slalom course and avoid obstacles en route. The slope scrolls vertically up past the camera as the race progresses, but the rate of scroll is constant so you can get left behind by it. End up "off camera" and you'll have to struggle down navigating with the scanner: tricky stuff! Seven different slopes, some tough time limits and a great simultaneous two-player mode make this terrific value - even if it is a bit unseasoned now!
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