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League of Pain


Beyond Reality / Psygnosis




1-8 Player

Game Type

Futuristic Sports Sim

Mem. Card

Review Date

August 1997


Setting the Scene

Some years ago, the Bitmap Brothers developed a couple of successful futuristic sporting simulations called Speedball and Speedball 2. The ideas of these games owed more than a little to a splendid movie by James Cameron, titled Rollerball. Now Psygnosis produced a game that displays their own ideas on how futuristic sporting contests will evolve over the next century, in the form of Riot.


Set in 2078, when all major sponsors of basketball, ice hockey, boxing and football are reinvesting in the future of sport, and the game of Riot is taking over. Riot is essentially a combination of all of the above sports.


There are 22 camera angles available for selection which show off this 3D sporting game to its full splendor therefore you should find at least one to your liking.

The players are highly detailed and move quite freely, although when fighting they look as if they are partaking in a spot of robotic dancing. A yellow triangle highlights the player currently in your control while a star denotes your most skillful player.

Graphically the game is set in a fairly dark and gloomy surrounding but because the ball has been designed using a lens flare technique you should never loose sight of it due to the fact that the plasma glows so brightly on the screen. Each game is played in fairly similar surroundings, a rectangular arena filled to capacity, although the playing surface switches color from blue to red occasionally. I understand that the Wipeout 2097 (XL) team were involved in the graphical development of Riot which is evident from the smooth, sharp visuals. Very impressive.

Sounds and Effects

The crowd help to build up the atmosphere as they almost raise the roof when you score a goal. So does the ability to let off air horns during gameplay to annoy your opponent.

The commentary team provide the usual one liners such as 'great move', 'great short pass' and 'great passing skills there'. Tends to 'grate' on you after a while.


The basic idea of the game is quite simple. Two teams of four players compete in an enclosed circular arena and the goal is a rotating drum that floats in the centre of the playing area. The ball is an orange glowing globe of plasma, which is launched into the arena where the players must battle for control. Once in possession, the ball must be taken to the outer barriers of the arena and connected to one of the power points, which will change the plasmas color from orange to your teams colors, either blue or green. If the ball is not charged correctly and launched into the scoring drum, an own goal will be awarded.

Grabbing the ball and tearing across the court towards the goal, will only result in losing possession, therefore each player has the ability to use two passing moves, one short, for a close contact pass and the other being a long distance pass.

Once in shooting range, you must throw the plasma ball into the rotating drum to score a goal. Points are awarded from where the scoring shot was taken, as the court is segmented into varying point zones. If you score from the outer regions of the arena, then 3 points are awarded, a mid range goal results in 2 points gained and a close range 'dunk' wins 1 point. The highest scoring team at the end of time will win the game.

On the defensive side, your team has four possible means to retrieve possession. You can collect the ball in mid-flight of a passing manoeuvre, perform a sliding tackle on the player holding the ball, or you can wait until your opponent shoots for goal, then use up your one chance to manually close the goal by hitting a button, and if your timing is correct, the ball will bounce off the goal and fall back into play. Your fourth option is to kick the shit out of your rivals, as apart from the basic gameplay, there are absolutely no fouling rules. Players can kick, punch and charge opponents at any time in the game as the only objective is to get the ball and score. During gameplay the baying crowd will indeterminately throw power ups on the court, which when collected will boost the players speed, energy and power punch capability.

There are many options available in Riot, which include a selection of playing modes of full leagues and knockout tournaments. As a single player game, you can challenge the computer controlled team, or invite a mate around to play against. Four players can battle against the CPU or how about an eight player contest using the multi-tap, where it is possible to really develope tactical play, assigning players to aggressively defend, while you concentrate on scoring goals. A knockout competition may be played over 2, 3 or 4 rounds involving up to 16 players.

So how does Riot play? My first thoughts were which audience this game is exactly aimed for. Riot plays very similar to a high quality basketball game, passing the ball around the court which an eventual aim to throw it at a central target with points awarded for the distance thrown. But this creates a problem. If your a basketball fanatic, would you want to see your sport desecrated in this fashion? If you don't enjoy basketball games then is it dissimilar enough to draw you in?
Well, it does play similar to NBA Jam Extreme with it's turbo power-up moves and the 'no-rules' rough play but there are enough new features and fresh ideas to separate the two games. To be honest I don't really go a bundle on basketball games but I found this game a 'riot'. The closed in arena provides such frantic non-stop action that I had to keep pausing the game to rest my tiring fingers and that has never happened since the time I attempted the world weightlifting record in Us Gold's Olympic Games.

Value for Money

Once you find the correct viewing angle to play the game then Riot becomes an enjoyable experience. Even if you select the most skillful team for a full season or tournament your opponents will provide a worthy challenge. The inclusion of a two player mode and the ability to connect two multi taps for an eight player match will prolong the life-span of this futuristic sporting game.





I became a little bored with playing Riot in single player mode after about a week but that is not unusual for me with sports sims. However two player mode will keep the blood flowing for a few more weeks allowing you to face a mate or combine your talents against a CPU team, as will the connection of a multi-tap for an eight player romp. Riot will remain in the collection, but probably because there are so few games that allow you to wipe off the dust from the multi-tap.











A great multiplayer game that will keep you and your mates entertained for quite some time.








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