Added: 7 Mar 2011
Forget the imitators because this is the Phil Taylor of darts games. You are presented with a clear depiction of a board with a disembodied hand clutching a dart hovering infront of it. Unfortunately the hand is shaking like it's George Best on the oche and being accurate with your throws takes practice. When your opponents throw you are treated to a wonderful third-person view of them 'chucking their spears' before a backdrop of pints being pulled and dogs urinating. Great fun.
Added: 21 Sep 2010
180 was released for the ZX Spectrum by Mastertronic Software (under their MAD label) in December of 1986.
Mastertronic were budget software spectialists with most of their titles selling for £1.99, and had (slightly unfairly) garnered the nickname \'Masterchronic\' due to the quality of their titles.
Their MAD label (or Mastertronic Added Dimension) released games that were slightly more expensive (£2.99) and were usually better in quality.
ZX Spectrum Games 180
180 was an arcade darts game that enhanced the reputation of Mastertronic - in fact they generally went on to better things from this point forward.
The version of 180 being reviewed here is the release for ZX Spectrum 128 - which was basically the same as the 48K version except for nice music playing whilst your opponent threw his darts.
The rules of the game are the same as real darts, you start on 501 and must bring this score to zero and finish on a double. A nine dart finish was possible, just like in real life. When competing against the computer, you would face opponents of increasing skill, one after the other.
The first couple of opponents were pretty easy to defeat, and often missed relatively easy shots and finishes. However, when facing the final player you often needed to conjure up a nine dart finish to win, he was almost always that good!
The gameplay was well implemented in 180. You would view the dartboard and a disembodied hand (which was nicely animated) would \'float\' in front of it, ready to throw your darts. The trick to hitting good shots was lining the hand up correctly so that you could hit your target. The hand was constantly moving, so lining up a good shot required a fair amount of skill and patience.
Once you got the hang of making shots to trebles and doubles (and even the bullseye), there was enough satisfaction in it - there was no \'randomness\' to what you were doing.
Throwing a good shot and checking out with a good finish could cause you to raise a smile. Also - and this was a big feature within the game, if you scored a maximum (with three darts) of 180 then the computer shouted this out to you in true darts and oche style!
Digitised speech (without a speech unit) on a ZX Spectrum was always a big thing.
When your opponent was taking his shots then the view switched to the bar (in which you were playing), complete with pumps, taps, spirit rack and a busty barmaid! Often whilst the player was throwing his darts (which you viewed from a \'side on\' angle) humourous things would happen like pints being poured and sometimes a dog would stroll up and lift it\'s leg against the bar. Hilarious stuff (which did tend to wear a bit thin after a while).
The two player option added more to the game, and a lot of fun could be had playing computer darts against a friend.
180 was pretty well recieved when it hit the high street. Up until this point there had been few (and mostly poor) efforts at reproducing darts on the ZX Spectrum, and 180 was the best of the bunch. There was not much depth to the game, but the humour, speech and all round gameplay made it a really good \'budget effort\'. For £2.99 you could not really go wrong - and 180 went on to become a bit of a cult classic arcade game.
The test of time:
We here in the realm of Spectrum Games reckon that 180 stills has some kind of magic about it. Yes it is simple, yes the synthesised speech is laughable, and yes, the bar scenes become repetitive quickly, but you know what, it is still pretty playable! Throwing the darts takes a little bit of skill and there is some playability in there. Two player mode can be fun too. It\'s a good way to spend half and hour - a nice little retro game.
Catch a re-run of bullseye, step up to the oche and give it a go. One \'undred an\' eeeighhtyyyy!
We recommend getting hold of the real hardware - but if not then download a ZX Spectrum emulator and download 180 for the ZX Spectrum. Alternatively you could try and play it online.
GENRE: Arcade game
RELEASE DATE: End of 1986
RELEASED BY: Mastertronic (MAD) Software
DEVELOPER(S): Binary Design
PRICE: £2.99 - UK
Added: 14 Mar 2011
0neehudredaneighteeee, the bellicose amplified sound echoes around the smoke filled, beer laden tables of the local working man's club. And on the stage, two lads with oversize guts working away at a Spectrum.
All the fun of Britain's most popular indoor sport comes courtesy of those busy lads from the Binary Design team. Can you topple Jammy Jim, World Champion and ace darts player from his No. 1 slot?
After selecting the controls, you are presented with three different games: two player, one player, or practice. The practice game takes you 'round the clock ' . The idea is to run down from twenty to one in one hundred seconds.
When it's your turn to throw, the screen shows a close up view of the dart board, and you control a large hand holding a dart. The hand moves in four directions diagonally across the board, moving in the direction it was last pushed in. You hit fire to throw the dart. The dart is also being 'waggled', so depending on the exact moment the dart was released, the trajectory will vary, and thus the final position on the board.
After three shots, the darts get handed to your opponent. If you're playing the computer, the display switches to a side view of the board, showing your good self propping up the bar whilst a bar maid recharges your glass and your opponent does his stuff with the darts.
You can play the main game against a Mend, or the computer. You start at 501 and work down, double to finish. To beat the computer, you play three matches. The first two are the best of three against such stars of the silver arrows as Delboy Des, Devious Dave or Limp Wrist Larry. The final is against Jammy Jim. Trouble is, he throws perfect darts. Your only advantage is that you go first. This guy is very hard to beat, he finishes every game in nine darts! The game packaging also contains a very handy table giving you the best scores to aim at to go out.
'There isn't really anything here that is done badly it is presented in an average way both graphically and sonically, the game does get a bit boring after a short while due to the simplicity of the subject matter. On the whole this isn't a bad little game but I wouldn't recommend it as ft gets monotonous after awhile'
'Oh no not darts again, I hear you cry! But this is different - believe me! 180 is a whole new different concept of darts computer playing. The graphics are superb - a brilliant combination of large detailed graphics and pleasing colours. The animation of the hand is extremely well done and the darts fly out of it very smoothly. Tire only thing I missed was the Northern accent of Sid Waddell commentating in the background. 180 must is definitely the best and most addictive darts game around.'
'The graphics on the throwing screen are excellent, but I think a little too much colour has been used on the opponent's throwing screen. Loads of featurettes have been put in, like the little dog who cocks his leg on the bar, and all sorts of things that make it really interesting to play. I would have liked to see a 'score required' indication, for non-mathematicians like myself, and I was a little disappointed to find that the finalist NEVER makes a mistake, but other than that, I think this is a Darts game that anyone is going to find it hard to match.'
Control keys: redefinable; left, right, up, down, throw
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair, Cursor
Keyboard play: awkward
br />Use of colour limited
Graphics: well detailed
Sound: unintelligible speech
Skill levels: one
General Rating: Best ever darts game.
Use of Computer 68%
Getting Started 75%
Addictive Qualities 65%
Value for Money 77%