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Power Spike Pro Beach Volleyball (PSOne)

Beach volleyball is not one of those sports that are made into video games very often. It has happened, years ago on Sega Genesis and once on Nintendo, but neither was officially licensed by the FIVB (and anything that's officially licensed by the FIVB has to be good). Power Spike Pro Beach Volleyball is the only beach volleyball game available for the Playstation, and you don't have to wonder very much why. Volleyball of any sort doesn't translate well into video games, but when you add sunglass-wearing self-righteous beach yuppies you get a game that was doomed from the start.

There are 40 available volleyball pros in all, but beside from being male or female, they are all the same character model; even if they were different it wouldn't matter much considering that the characters are too small to notice differences. One aspect that PSPBV does not disappoint in, however, is the variety of courts. Each court has a different look and feel to them, and you can also choose between day and night play. Exotic court locales include Osaka, Japan; Marseilles, France; Acapulco, Mexico; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Los Angeles, in the good old USA; and the Sydney, Australia, court that was the home of Olympic beach volleyball recently.

Control is probably the best aspect of the game, passing is easy and simple, and a myriad of AI commands can be made by pressing one or two buttons. Blocking, serving and spiking are also easy to get a handle of, so After about 10 or 15 minutes of practice you can roll with the best of them. Hitting speed is measured on a small bar on the right of the screen, and can be changed by holding a button. In 2 player mode, however, the characters, if you are on the far side of the court, are so small it is hard to even play properly without squinting or letting a pass or two go by.

Where's the music? In Power Spike you'll find a lot of crowd noise, a bit of commentary, but no music. When I didn't hear any other menu screen I expected there would be some, in game, sadly, I was severely disappointed. Although the lack of music helps you concentrate on the action, this is inherently a sports game, and without commentary there is not much in the audio department. The only sounds there are to hear in-game is the hooting and hollering of those rowdy volleyball spectators.

The Bottom Line: Power Spike pretty much plays like a day on the beach, not much action or variation aside from the occasional passerby or seagull.

SOUND: 6/10
- Music? There is none. The crowd's ambient noise works very well in the game, though.

- The characters are small, and the models are all the same. The courts look nice though.

- Controls work very well, AI commands are a breeze.

- There's not much here to bring you back later.

FUN: 5/10
- Not much of a challenge once you get a hang of it; it's an average game.

OVERALL: 5.8/10
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