Genre: Sports Developer: Khaos Publisher: Video Systems Players: 1-2 Released: 1991
Over the years, I’ve played a multitude of the lesser known and not as popular sports. lawn bowling, Bocce Ball, lawn darts, lawn dice, handball, rugby, field hockey, Lacrosse, heck, I’ve even tried to play a homemade version of that Chess/Boxing thing that you see floating around the Internet and on CBS Sunday Morning once a year. Of course, being from the shoreline of Lake Michigan, I’ve played my share of volleyball, both regular volleyball in gym class and beach volleyball at the various beaches around town. Nowadays, the majority of my contact with beach volleyball with a rum ‘n coke at the beach bar going out checking out the ladies playing in the State Tournament we have at the end of every summer.
Sadly, what is on the agenda looks nothing like the attractive women and leaves me with no amount of inebriation like copious amounts of alcohol at the beach. Where’s the market for a volleyball video game, even one that isn’t even beach volleyball? It’s just a terrible marketing idea in the first place, in my opinion. I guess there were a few decent NES volleyball games, but I don’t think any of them ever really set the gaming world on fire or anything.
Sigh, well, you pop in the game, and you see a System V logo? Ruh-roh. That’s a violation of my holiest of holy ten commandments. Who is System V? Better yet, why does it say System V and then say V System during gameplay? One red flag is up. The second red flag comes up on the title screen (and subsequent screen), and it spells Super Volleyball wrong! The game misspells itself (it spells it Super Volley ball)! That’ll make me love it. False. Options are sparse and confusing. What’s A-B option? Why is the default scoring set to 10-10? Is it meant to speed up the game or something? Nothing is making any sense anymore! On the title screen, you can play one or two players, create a team (but it’s called edit a team! Don’t you have to create a team in order to edit it?), and that ever popular “watch” option. That’s what I want to do when I play video games, watch the computer play.
In the single-player mode, you can play a single game or a tournament mode, though I would recommend cracking out the expensive 1981 Gold Medal Jack Daniels whiskey if you want to subject yourself to such terror (only if you’re of age, please). They have most of the athletically competent countries available to choose from, but if you are able minded, you will choose the United States team (USA! USA! USA!). Honest to God, I can’t figure out the differences between most of these teams. Okay, we’ve reached the court now and things only get worse from here. Why are there three guys bunched up right next to the net? If my gym class memory serves me right, there should be six players on each side. I only count four. And why are they bunched up at the net? Why is the viewing angle so low? Aren’t they supposed to be set up in a box-like rotation? Why do I have to bump, set, spike? Can’t I just bump it over? Did I leave the coffee on too long? Did you lock the car? So many questions!
So now we have a game that faintly resembles indoor volleyball, how does it play? It’s somewhat awkward, but not quite as fiendishly irritating as Pro Quarterback. Pro Quarterback is like the watermark for sports games that are historically bad. Even though the BLARING errors thus far are very irritating, the gameplay is interesting. False. So basically, it goes: serve, bump, set spike, point. If you are good at aiming, you can dig out the spike and keep play alive. Rarely will the computer be able to return your spikes, so volleys are usually very short and uninteresting. The timing of the block on defense is key to scoring points. What I don’t understand is that you have to hit a button to serve, to bump, but not to set up the spike. It does that for you. How does that work? And why can I only move the server, but not the guys in front? Returning spikes is officially possible, but quite difficult unless you can multitask efficiently. What I think is funny, almost is that your player goes nuts when you win the point off of a spike or block. This little music ditty plays as your guy seems to run frantically away from the net as if it were on fire or something.
Which leads me to my next point: the player animations are actually quite good. The players move across the “court” with smoothness, but they do jump up rather slow and you have to time it correctly. What is that in the background in the crowd? Rabid Lepus? Rabio Lepus? It’s like that “No Vibes, No Bevis” deal from that abomination of a game Bebe’s Kids.
Another thing I don’t understand is why the players have names. There is just no valid reason why the players have names, and different yet, you can switch them off with players on the bench! It would be okay if you could see their stats when you change players, or in some sort of a pause menu in which you could see statistics or something. But, no, that would make too much sense and take too much effort. Instead, we get a flat black pause screen, because maybe they thought that players would try to strategize when the game was paused or something. I use the word players carefully because I just can’t be convinced that multiple people would ever play this game at one time in two different places of the world, let alone on one Genesis.
The music, is bland. I don’t like it, and sometimes it is hilarious that when you win the serve or a point, your player runs for it and some little ditty plays. Overall, this game, just like good ole’ Pro Quarterback, makes me want to replay that scene from the movie Office Space where they smash the printer, except that instead of the printer, there are hundreds of copies of this game. Okay, it’s not THAT bad, but it certainly isn’t a good game at all and didn’t make me want to play volleyball. Let alone SUPER Volleyball. Rum, coke, scantily-clad women, and the beach are Super Volleyball, not this game.
SCORE: 3 out of 10