Giving It A Try: Rugby Video Games - International Rugby Challenge - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Giving It A Try: Rugby Video Games - International Rugby Challenge

Chris Morley goes up and under...

With the Six Nations beginning in earnest on February 1st, and England kicking off the following day away to France (looking to consign last year's 12-32 World Cup final defeat to South Africa in Japan to the back of their minds), the next best thing to actually donning the Red Rose & putting a boot into the oval ball must be its as yet relatively unheralded virtual equivalent!

Developers Domark were first to have a go at transferring the action from pitch to Amiga & Mega Drive with 1993's International Rugby Challenge...

Several small errors in the spelling of ground names appeared within the game - not the best of starts from the point of view of the pedantic player. Murrayfield getting a space wedged in where there's never actually been one & the Parc Des Princes somehow becoming the Parc De Paris.

That was nothing, though, compared to the ire reserved for it in Stuart Campbell's review for Amiga Power magazine!
“Readers, rival journalists, complete strangers in the street, my own parents, they've all had a pop. It's all water off a duck's back, of course - I'm from Scotland. Now, though, for the first time, something's happened that's made me seriously consider my future. I'm faced with a two-page review of International Rugby Challenge, and I really and truly don't think I'm going to be able to find the words to adequately describe how dreadful it is.

Let's set out our stall by starting with a quick comparison. The previous lowest-rated game ever in AMIGA POWER was European Champions by Idea, which got a less-than-impressive 4% in issue 17. It is, approximately, 50 times better than International Rugby Challenge. “
In real-world international rugby '93 proved relatively successful for England as they won the Calcutta Cup by beating Scotland during what was then the Five Nations, though the auld enemy waltzed off with it last year for a 40th such victory, England still 30 wins ahead in that one sub-competition.

At least in the real game they could actually see the ball in play, mind, unlike poor old Stuart playing through a Scotland-England match on International Rugby Challenge! As part of a long list of its many apparent flaws, his having to squint for it features.
“The ball catapults around senselessly at random and frequently disappears completely off the screen, leaving the scrolling to catch up with it five or six seconds later.

The player you control is almost never anywhere near the opponent with the ball, even though he's got three of your men practically standing on his toes, or how if the ball's loose one (or more) of your players can actually run right over it without picking it up or coming under your control.

Sometimes you can actually have the ball, but be controlling one of the players in your own team who isn't the one actually holding it. The ball's so small and difficult to see, and when the other team's got it the player in possession isn't highlighted, that you can never tell where it actually is.

The 20-second loading delay before and after you kick a conversion. How you can throw the ball backwards for easily 40 or 50 yards. How a ruck consists of the two teams lining up in single file behind each other a couple of feet to the side of the ball, which eventually leaps off one way or the other of its own volition.

How lineouts are awarded without the ball ever going out of play.”

For all its many flaws, International Rugby Challenge does have one notable thing going for it - in that it made computer game history in the Amiga community when it received a review score of just 2%!

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