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1-4 Player

Game Type

Sports Sim

Mem. Card

Review Date

April 1997

Setting the Scene

Jonah Tali Lomu is a New Zealand born Tongan who just happens to be the most powerful rugby flanker that has graced the sport. Two metres high and weighing in at 266 lb, Jonah can run the 100mtrs over grass in just over 10 seconds, and this man mountain, in full flight, runs straight through opponents, rather than the customary route of around them.

Jonah made his name a few years ago during the Rugby World Cup in South Africa when he destroyed some of the finest players in the world, almost single handed, with his supreme pace and power. The sight of his awesome frame tearing down the wing will remain in many spectators minds for years to come, as will the look of fear that was clearly shown on the faces of the defence that he was charging into. Jonah has also re-written the record books as the youngest player to represent the All Blacks at 19 yrs of age.

Rugby Union has never been rated highly among video game players and this has been highlighted by the lack of Rugby sims available over the years. There was an appearance on the Amiga a few years ago which was quite unplayable, while E.A's attempt using their FIFA game engine was received with acceptable acclaim.

Now Rage Software have teamed up with Codemasters to produce a sporting simulation that will revitalize the interest in the sport of Rugby Union , using their Striker '96 game engine.


The sport was established many years ago when a young schoolboy named William Webb Ellis decided to pick up the ball during a soccer match and then charge towards the goal. This event happened at a school named Rugby, thus the sport was named.

The rules of Rugby may at first appear complicated to those who are new to this sport but can be briefly explained as so:
A Kick Off must reach the opponents 10 metre line within the field of play, otherwise a scrum will be awarded to the opposition back at the centre spot.
The ball may be passed in any direction except forward. An intentional forward pass will result in a free kick awarded to your opponent.
If a player is tackled then he must release the ball immediately but he may 'hand off' an opponent using the palm of his hand.
There are four styles of kicking the ball. A Drop Kick will be kicked on the rebound from the ground, a Punt is kicked before the ball reaches the ground, a Grubber Kick is used to drive the ball along the ground and a Place Kick is used for a conversion after a try has been scored.
The object of the game is to advance across your opponents territory by passing and running with the ball. If your player crosses the oppositions 'goal' line then the ball must be placed onto the ground to score a try. Sounds quite simple doesn't it, unfortunately there is over three thousand pounds of muscle that will attempt to halt your progress.
If the ball crosses the touchline, then a lineout is called. In effect, this is a throw in where the ball is thrown down the middle of a line of players who must jump up to collect the ball and gain possession.
Certain infringements result in a scrum where the violation took place. This is where your heavy-weight players shove their heads up their team mates backsides and then push forward with all their might in order to gain possession.
Rucks and Mauls are when every player in the vicinity piles on top of the poor sod that is holding the ball and does not end until either the ball touches the ground or the holder stops breathing and releases the ball.

If you are still confused, then don't worry as Jonah Lomu Rugby allows you to switch off the penalties and offside offences to allow you to pick up the basics of the game very quickly.


The sport of Rugby Union has always proved a problem to convert into a video game format with all the complex plays and mass player involvement, but Rage have succeeded by utilizing intelligent camera angles that capture all of the action while allowing the player to keep one eye on the oppositions movements.

The decision was taken to use sprite based players, rather than polygons. This allows the 30 players and referee to be seen on the screen at one time without slowing down the game. All of the players are customized to their actual attributes with correct height and weight programmed into each player. This in effect is used as a difficulty setting because the weight of your pack and the speed of your wingers are an essential advantage in a Rugby match. Most noticeable is the presence of Jonah Lomu who towers above every other player on the park When the giant starts one of his runs down the wing he becomes simply unstoppable and the sight of the little sprites bouncing off his framework is hilarious. I'm sure that I spotted the odd pair of brown shorts amongst the defence.

Ruck, mauls and scrums have also proved difficult to accurately replicate, and Rage have re-written these aspects of the game some six times before they were satisfied that Jonah Lomu Rugby will simulate the essential elements of the sport and they have succeeded both in graphical form and playability.

The game opens with an introductory FMV showing the All Blacks performing their pre-game ritual, war-paint and all. Short, but effective.

There are four stadiums to choose from, each with their own identity, while the crowd can be seen waving flags and banners sporting the colors of the two teams on the park. This helps build an atmosphere, and let's be honest, we don't want to see the odd supporter going for a burger but a little bit of movement within the crowd actually works quite well. Nice touch.

The options offer a selection of weather settings that include showers, sunshine, snow or stormy conditions. The rain looks so realistic with the muddy conditions gradually grinding into the players strips. On a storm setting the dense clouds darken the pitch as they block out the daylight before a flash storm produces a horrendous downpour. A few minutes later the storm passes over and the bright sunshine returns with a blinding effect.

Sounds and Effects

Rage have signed up professional commentators, Scotsman Bill McClaren and former England player Bill Beaumont, to describe all the action. They will also provide useful tips on your gameplay along with sarcastic comments on your errors and a few amusing quips.

An audio recording of a Five Nations match between France and England has been used to create the atmosphere of the crowd which includes a heart rendering rendition of the English rugby anthem 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot'.

Each tackle is accompanied by a bone crunching sound that will take your breath away while the grunts and groans of the pack, as they push forward in the scrums to gain an advantage, are so accurate.


The game options are plentiful offering you the chance to pitch straight into a friendly game, choosing your favorite team to play against any of the thirty world class squads on offer. Australia, France, Western Samoa, Canada, England, USA, Japan they are all there to select.

A Tournament may be set up with up to four human players participating in up to a thirty two team K.O. competition. The draw is usually favorable, pitching you against some of the weaker teams in the early rounds but rest assured, the big guns will always be waiting for you in the final rounds.

Once you have become accustomed to the gameplay, there is the option to enter into a full World Cup challenge where the teams are pooled into divisional groups. Topping the table will qualify your team into the World Cup Finals against the best teams in the world.

The final game option allows you to try out some of the most famous showdowns of all time. Select a Classic Match from the menu and attempt to alter the course of history. How do you fancy playing as New Zealand as you enter extra time in the 1995 World Cup Final? The score is 9 all at the start of extra time. It is up to you to prevent South Africa from winning their debut World Cup. Or put yourself in Englands boots and attempt to re-create their stunning victory over the Aussies during the '95 World Cup quarter final. England are 22 points to 19 down with only six minutes left on the clock. Attempt to score the two goals or a try place England in the semi- finals, or indeed play as Australia and alter history by holding off those English surges for the final six minutes. This is an excellent inclusion, with each Classic Match featuring a unique challenge that allows you to sample the immense pressure of big match situations.

A great amount of thought has gone into customizing the controller and the resulting set up is perfect. The directional buttons are used to move your players around the pitch while the face buttons allow your player to run, kick, push, jump and catch. But it's the shoulder buttons that feel so comfortable when used to throw the ball. Top left and right pass to the immediate player in that direction and the bottom buttons throws to the next nearest player. This set up feels so natural.

I would advise you to bring along a mate to play your first few games as I found this will give you that little extra time to get to grips with the gameplay. Anyway, the game is far superior as a multi-player game rather than sitting alone in the bedroom playing with yourself, well you know what I mean. If you are unsure of the rules of Rugby, then I would also recommend that the penalties and offsides are switched off. This gives the game an arcade feel to it and will allow the action to flow more freely, but they can easily be switched back on when you feel confident enough.

I would advise you to bring along a mate to play your first few games as I found this will give you that little extra time to get to grips with the gameplay. Anyway, the game is far superior as a multi-player game rather than sitting alone in the bedroom playing with yourself, well you know what I mean. If you are unsure of the rules of Rugby, then I would also recommend that the penalties and offsides are switched off. This gives the game an arcade feel to it and will allow the action to flow more freely, but they can easily be switched back on when you feel confident enough.

As each match loads you are treated to on-screen team information showing your formation, squad names and a few lines of trivia recording your teams historic achievements. This is a great idea that allows the loading time to pass almost unnoticed.

Value for Money

They say that lightening doesn't strike in the same place twice but it does if you work for Codemasters. Following hot on the heels of Micro Machines V3, Jonah Lomu Rugby offers a brand new challenge to the Playstation console player. The graphics are superb, the sounds will leave you winded and the gameplay grows on you to become highly addictive. The one problem that they will face is how on earth are they going to get the consumer to try out this game when the sporting genre is packed with quality titles, and let's be honest, previous Rugby games haven't exactly set the world on fire. I really don't know the answer to that one, perhaps a demo disc will tempt gameplayers to 'give it a go'. All I can say is that I have never had so much two player enjoyment since........ well, that one is personal.





My first impressions of this game were that there were so many players attacking the ball that it was nigh on impossible to see what the hell was going on. But then you get to grips with the gameplay and suddenly everything falls into place. The pace is frantic and the action is non stop with many games ending in a nail biting finale. This is a tremendous two player sports sim that I could heartily recommend to those both new and old to the game of Rugby football. Congratulations are in order to Codemasters for producing two quality titles in the space of a couple of weeks.











It will take you a few games before you fully understand what is going on, its worth playing with a friend during this learning curve, so as not to get frustrated by the computer players scoring against you time and time again. Once the controls and rules of the game are mastered, a game which puts most of the American Football simulations to shame is revealed - this game is well worth a look!








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