Why You Should Play: 180! (Mastertronic, 1986)

“It’s tense here at the Horse and Garter annual Pub darts championship. Up steps “Dodgy” Dave McDrunkard. He got lucky last time out, when he needed double top for the win, and at that moment his opponent got felled by a rogue pork pie! Up he steps….Oh, and he’s completely missed due to his eyes wandering over to the barmaid!! I think that’s going to cost him dearly, as it’s hit Mark “Hardman” Blackeye square in the forehead. And he looks a little angry!”


When you think of the sport of darts, you think of pubs, lashings of lager being consumed and then the thrower falling over before their wayward “arrow” goes into some poor fellow sitting at the front. It’s not normally something you’d associate with making into a Spectrum game. However, 180! is much different from the rest of the pack.

Created by Binary Design, 180! sees you as a lowly average Joe darts player. It’s your job to become the Foot & Knackers pub darts champion. You must face off against an every progressingly harder roster of characters like Dodgy Dave until you come to the grand champion (and resident drunkard) Jammy Jim (and he’s a right git as well!). While you watch your opponent’s arrows go skyward or hitting their target, the barmaid pulls pints and slides them down the bar and once every so often the bar patrons dog decides the corner of the bar is perfect to have little slash against (nice!)

Mine’s a pint of mild please, barmaid!

When it comes to your turn, you get a neat little hand animation that shows your player getting ready to take his shot. All the while your hand is actually going downwards all the time, so you need pin point aiming on every shot. When you do everntually get that prestigious 180 score on your three shots, the speccy will shout out “180!!” in all it’s…erm…speccy glory. Then you have to wait your turn until it’s hand wrestling time (and that’s not a uphemism!). As you score your points, the score for the currant shot is chalked onto the scoreboard by the side of the dart board itself, just like in real darts (only without the busty barmaid and the alcohol…sadly!). There’s a few game modes contained in the game itself: game on! is the main one player game, player vs player does what it says on the tin, around the clock is you going from 20 to 1 before the time runs out.

I don’t normally like darts games, save for Wacky Darts on the Commodore Amiga as it is a generally fun game to play. But, I found myself enjoying this much more than I should do. First off it looks good. The bar is detailed with loads of tipples to drown the patron’s sorrows (or whet their whistles, whatever they’re in to!). The scoreboard and playing area is not too cluttered and if I’m honest it doesn’t need to be. It does it’s job well. As mentioned you have 5 opponents to face off against, each progressively harder than the last, and the opponent which epitomises this is none other than Jammy Jim, the hardest opponent in the game. No matter how many times I’ve got to him I just cant beat him whatsoever! I just think he’s a right bast(OI! – Ed)

To the oche!

The controls are quite hard to use at first as you’re forever fighting against the gravitational physics. Having said that, once you’ve got used to them it’s really fun to play. Although don’t expect 180 on every turn, as they are hard to master.

Yes, yes, that’s all well and good, but why should I play it?:

It’s got humour, it’s actually quite fun, and once you’ve got to Jammy fu(SNIPPED AGAIN! Here’s a bar of soap. Get washing, you foul mouthed little git! – Ed)…..bubble…bubble….Right, as I was saying about Jammy….Jim, once you’ve got to him you’ll want to keep playing to finally beat the git, just to try and wipe the smug look off his digitised face.

It was worth the £1.99 I paid back then, and it’s still worth the money now. A cracking game with a good sense of humour.