Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sonic Spike


This beach-volleyball game seemed utterly awful to me at first. The players, with overboard "beefcake" physiques and caricaturish facial features, looked absolutely ridiculous. The animation fared no better, and the music was NES-type garbage. There was too much "downtime," as I regularly found myself waiting around while the crowd cheered or the players switched sides or prepared to serve. And the gameplay sucked.

Well, as I spent more time with the chip, I gradually discovered that the gameplay isn't completely terrible. Elements of offense are actually handled pretty well: bumping, spiking, and serving all feel good once you get the hang of the controls, and it can be pretty exciting to nail a super-fast winner or serve up a crucial ace.

Defense, on the other hand, never feels all that great, as the action is too random. You can try to anticipate where an opponent's spike will end up, but blocking/returning said spike will ultimately prove to be a matter of luck. Instead of being able to rely on skill, I was relegated to "hoping for the best."

So after elements of offense redeemed the game to a degree, aspects of defense killed it all over again. Shame, but in truth, Sonic Spike doesn't have enough appealing ingredients to come off as a strong title anyway. If you really must play an old volleyball video game, go with the much better Kings of the Beach for the NES.

Pick your players (I like to go with Cindy for her "SLNM Spike"), and then face off against other "global superstars." My evil counterpart is apparently a "boss blocker."

Everyone is all smiles before a match begins.

One or two of the backdrops actually look pretty nice, while others are just odd.

Serving and other aspects of offense feel fine. It's too bad that the defensive elements don't follow suit.

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