Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 72 / MAY 1986 / PAGE 52

One-On-One For Amiga

Charles Brannon, Program Editor

Requirements: Amiga with 256K RAM. Joystick and 512K RAM recommended.

As promised, Electronic Arts has successfully translated for the Amiga several of its popular games originally written for the Commodore 64, Atari, and Apple. These programs are showcase pieces of game design. On computers like the Amiga, they can be even better, using the power of the machine to enhance the realism with additional color, detail, and smoother motion. The Amiga's stereo sound system can also be exploited for more realistic music and unusual sound effects.
    Not all games can easily incorporate these new features without being redesigned, however. Because One-on One is an adaptation, it is-very similar to the original version running on, say, a Commodore 64. Although the Amiga version has a more colorful screen with true-to-life color schemes, basically the original game's graphics have been retouched. For example, the basketball court is convincingly colored to look like a polished wood floor. This is possible due to the Amiga's ability to display up to 32 colors simultaneously on its low-resolution graphics screen. (The term low resolution is relative; the same resolution of 320 X 200 pixels is called high resolution on the Commodore 64.) Each color is chosen from a wide range of possible hues (4,096 in all), so it's easier to approximate real-life colors.
    On the other hand, the sound effects in One-on-One are considerably enhanced, since the Amiga can play back digitally recorded sounds. You can hear the actual background noises of a basketball game, with the crowd murmuring, cheering, booing, catcalling, and roaring when a player makes a basket (if the Amiga is hooked up to a stereo sound system, you'll notice that the cheering is loudest from the scoring team's side). And if you listen closely, you can even hear a vendor wandering through the crowd ("Hot Dogs! Cold Beer!").

The Amiga version of One-on-One has
more colorful graphics and real-life
sound effects.

Two Superstars
For those unfamiliar with One-on-One, it's a two-man basketball game with a 3-D perspective of the court. The two ballplayers are none other than Larry Bird and Dr. J (Julius Erving). Consulting with Larry Bird and Dr. J, Electronic Arts has modeled the actual playing characteristics of the two superstars. You control the action with the mouse or a joystick. Push forward to move toward the basket, back to move away, and left and right to move laterally. A quick press of the button spins you around (a "360"). If you're holding the ball, a long press sends it flying towards the basket (you have to time it carefully). If you're not holding the ball, a long press sends your player leaping up for a rebound or attempted block.
    The computer sometimes adjusts your player's position. When you're facing the basket and the opposing player shoots, you automatically turn around to face the ball so you can jump up and attempt to block it.
    The game attempts to be realistic without encumbering arcade-style play. A bar graph at the bottom of the screen shows each player's remaining energy, a sort of exhaustion factor. As your energy drains, from strenuous running, leaping, and blocking, your player becomes sluggish, moves slower, is unable to jump very high, and misses more shots. If you stand still, your energy level builds as you rest. When either player takes a time out or when a quarter ends, both players are refreshed. This is an important part of the game, since if you had infinite energy, you could run the best players off the court.
    Every feature of professional basketball is here: the 24-second shot clock, the three-point goal, and penalties for hacking, charging, blocking, and traveling. However, the game makes no attempt to charge you for goaltending-where you try to block a shot on its downward flight into the basket.
    Although you have a choice of using the mouse or a joystick in One-on-One, the mouse doesn't make a very good controller in this game. You have to keep moving it constantly to keep your player going. This is difficult with limited desk space for the mouse. A joystick affords much better control. (Any Commodore or Atari joystick works with the Amiga.)

Master Of The Slam-Dunk
While playing One-on-One, I found that the simulation of the characters really doesn't seem to affect the game much. As in real life, Larry Bird is nearly always able to make a three-point shot and Dr. J. is the master of the slamdunk, but there doesn't seem to be all that much difference between the players. (However, a 76ers or Celtics fan might instantly notice some subtle nuances.) In the end, it's joystick dexterity coupled with some basketball experience that determines the ultimate winner.
    Pull-down menus that work with either the joystick or the mouse let you select the game's difficulty level, loser's outs versus winner's outs, and whether you are competing for points or against time. There are four difficulty levels: Park & Rec, Varsity, College, and Pro. You can also play against the computer, choosing which player the computer controls. If you can beat the computer playing at the Pro level, you can whip most human opponents.
    As proof of the careful attention that went into this game, Electronic Arts has included several cute features that give the game a special character. When the computer considers that it's just observed a particularly interesting or amazing shot, it calls for an Instant Replay that repeats the last few seconds-quite flattering if your player made the shot, but bound to draw a sneer from your opponent. A sufficiently powerful slam-dunk can shatter the backboard, raining down slivers of glass. A little janitor waddles out with a broom, looks at you and grumbles, then sweeps the fragments into his dustpan. This happened twice within a few hours of play, so it's more likely to happen than in real life.
    Although the graphics and sound are uniquely Amiga, the game play is consistent with earlier versions. A testament to careful research and clever programming, perhaps this element of One-on-One doesn't really need improving, even on such a powerful computer as the Amiga.

Electronic Arts
1820 Gateway Drive
San Mateo, CA 94404