As sport games go M.U.D.S. is extremely basic. But Rainbow Arts' novel approach has produced a potential classic. M.U.D.S. is set in a typical Dungeons and Dragons style land: the middle ages with plenty of monsters running round. The main pastime consists of watching M.U.D.S., a violent team sport that's not too unlike an Arsenal Vs Man United match, with two teams trying to score in opposing goals while knocking merry hell out of each other. Take over as player/manager of a small backwater M.U.D.S. team and aim to become the biggest sensation the sport has ever seen.
M.U.D.S. the sport is a cross between soccer, rugby and American football. A team consists of five players - two in defence, one midfielder and two attackers. Instead of a ball, a small creature called a Flonk is used, which is vomited onto the pitch by a larger creature. There's a bucket at either end of the pitch which acts as a goal, into which the Flonk must be thrown. Between the goal and the defenders lies a shark infested moat, which can be negotiated by players, but at great risk.
The average team consists of five main players plus six or seven reserves. In turn these are made up from the sixteen different races that inhabit the land. Each race has it's own plus points and disadvantages. Fuzzools, for instance, are obsessed with playing in M.U.D.S. teams, even though the hapless creatures are considered to be a delicacy in some parts of the country and likely to be eaten while on tour.
Tackling is performed with fists. Tapping the button once causes a mild tackle, twice and a player will fight until him or his opponent drops. A foul occurs when a player without the Flonk is tackled. If the ref isn't looking you can usually get away with this: if you are spotted the offending player is encased in a block of ice for thirty seconds as punishment.
A large part of the game is devoted to the campaign mode, during which you look after your team, buy players, nobble the opposition, and arrange tours. Select a hotel to use as HQ. If you don't stash your team in a hotel they end up milling around the streets getting into trouble. Every town has a slave market where you can purchase fresh players for your squad, or flog off the trashy ones.
Banks are on hand to update you on your finances, or lend you a small amount of cash. If you're particularly skint a loan shark will spot you a couple of grand, although this is risky - if you default on your payments, their collection methods can prove painful... And you're not just limited to one city. M.U.D.S. is set across an entire continent. This provides you with plenty of different teams and locations, and stops things from becoming repetitive.
Initially M.U.D.S. seems very simplistic, but once you start playing it takes on a style of its own. Not only is it funny and uncomplicated, but incredibly addictive. One of the best games I've played in a long time.
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