PDC World Championship Darts

Format: PS2
Oxygen Games

5 060015 535237
Age Restrictions: 3+
02 January 2007

World Championship Darts brings together the high drama of major championships with a control method that recreates the skills of a top arrows player. Classic commentary from Sid Waddell and Sky-Sports style presentation make for an enthralling spectacle in both one and two player modes. Meanwhile for those post-pub gaming marathons there are 13 party games for up to four players...

Darts, one of the most boring sports on the planet! There aren't even any good looking blokes for the women in the audience to get excited about. Nope, just a bunch of fat, ugly blokes chucking mini javelins at a small target. So, how do you bring all of the the glitz and glamour of the dart's world into your living room. Well, you could stuff a pillow down your top, drink nothing but lager all day, buy a dart board and get all your neighbours round to "ooh!" and "ahh!" as you throw your projectiles at the bull... Or you could have a look at Oxygen Games's latest release for the console market.

PDC World Championship Darts is so close to cracking the art of bringing darts to the PS2, that it's quite sad that it doesn't succeed thanks, in the main, to the fact that no effort was made on the presentation side.

As with real darts, the art is in the aiming and throwing of the darts. This is handled quite well in the game. You have to place a cursor where you are aiming and then, watching the on-screen meter, pull back the right analogue stick and then, when the meter reaches the desired point, push the stick forward. If you accidentally push the stick to the left or right, then the dart will veer off target accordingly. However, hit the spot and the dart will sail straight to the desired target on the board. Going for maximum score? Well, when you hit a critical moment of tension (for example you've already got two treble twenties and are going for the magic 180) and the cursor starts to move, making it even harder to hit your desired target.

To be totally honest there is a lot here that makes this game a totally naff offering, but for some unexplainable reason I was totally hooked. Even though I could see the bugs and should have been cringing at the poor commentary and bad animation, I was so drawn to beating my opponents that I even took the game home and had quite a few sleepless nights playing through the various levels.

It doesn't really seem to matter which mode you play (with the exception of the Party Games) as this is quite simply darts on your PS2. The biggest problem is that it's too easy to win. I managed to win both the first trophy in career mode and in tournament mode on my first attempt. Even the finals in both modes seemed a little too easy (with neither opponent managing to win any sets - although it was close on a few occasions). Having said that, it still takes long enough to beat each opponent.

The commentary... The less said about this the better. This is truly awful - like some stupid goon got into the commentary box by mistake. Not only is it poor, but very, very repetitive. There only seems to be a handful of phrase, so I wonder why it was included in the first place. Not only that, but the commentary doesn't link with what is going on on the screen. The commentator will scream: "What was he aiming at there!?" when the dart player has just got what he was aiming for. Or, he'll yell: "Lovely shot!" when you miss the treble twenty and instead get a single one.

The presentation is also pretty poor. The computer versions of the famous players don't really look that good. You can't really customise your own character, despite the fact there are some very limited elements that you can alter (like style and colour of shirt). You can't even choose the appearance of your dart flights!

If you want to get the best out of this game you're probably best off playing a two player game against a friend - and ignoring the Party Games mode all together.

It's an odd game. It's one that I enjoyed, on balance, but I would certainly recommend that you rent it first. The poor presentation may be too much for some gamers to overlook.

Nick Smithson

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