48k Disk £ 14.95
The fact that Britain is a nation of sport lovers
is reflected in the overwhelming number of new software releases
dedicated to one sport or another. In the comfort of your own home
you can now participate in a wide choice of sports ranging from
cricket to karate or baseball to boxing. Track and Field type games
started the ball rolling and they are still quite popular, so much
so that US GOLD have now released SUMMER GAMES in the UK. It was
previously available only on import.
The game is based on the Los Angeles Olympics and
when you first boot up the disk you are treated to a short animated
sequence depicting the opening ceremony of the games where a lone
athlete mounts the steps with a torch to light the Olympic Flame and
then a flock of white doves (symbolising peace) are released over
Up to eight (yes, eight!) players can take part
and each has the choice of representing one of seventeen individual
countries around the world. The flags of all countries are displayed
on screen and when you choose a country you get a brief burst of the
appropriate national anthem.
There are eight different events in all - Pole
Vault, Platform Diving, 4 x 400m. Relay, 100m. Dash, Gymnastics,
Freestyle Relay, 100m. Freestyle and Skeet Shooting. Usually these
sort of games require you to toggle the joystick back and forth at
great speed in order to get your athlete up and running and,
consequently, are 'lethal' to joysticks that use bubble contacts.
Whilst Activision's DECATHLON is a great game, a hard session could
prove very costly in joystick replacements. Not so with SUMMER
GAMES. Only the two running events require this hazardous joystick
operation and so you can play the game for prolonged periods with
There were no instructions included with the
review sample and it took me some time to get the hang of certain
events but after a bit of experimentation I just about managed.
Let's take a look at the eight events in order beginning with the
Pole Vault. You can adjust certain parameters such as the bar height
and pole grip before attempting each vault. The animation is
impressive with the pole bending under the weight of the athlete
before catapulting him over the bar. Or at least that's the general
idea. I'm afraid that all my attempts at clearing the bar proved
negative and I definitely need more practice at this event.
Platform Diving was completely beyond me without
the benefit of instructions. Pity as it looked the most interesting
of them all. Try as I might, my diver always ended up going into an
uncontrollable spin and crashing into the water in true 'belly flop'
style! Not the way to do it and the judges rewarded me accordingly
with a series of zeroes. I enjoyed trying though.
The running events are much of a muchness so I'll
skip quickly past them and move onto my favourite event, the
Gymnastics. This takes place over the vaulting horse and your
athlete undergoes a quick sex-change as you now control a girl
athlete for this one event. You can use the joystick to vary the
degree of difficulty of the vault and you can even attempt something
complex like a triple somersault if you feel like living
dangerously. The difficult part is making the athlete land upright
on her feet and some of my uncontrolled landings looked painful in
The swimming events are next and I've got mixed
feelings about these. They are laboriously slow and whilst the 100m.
Freestyle is only over two lengths of the open-air pool and is short
enough not to get too boring, the Freestyle Relay drags over eight
lengths and does get rather tiring. On the other hand the sound
effects are great.
After that, the final event - Skeet Shooting -
comes as a welcome change. It's also the easiest event by far as you
are only required to line up the target sight on the black skeets
and blast them out of the sky.
The program allows you to compete in all the
events, one individual event, or to practise any of the events so
there is a good deal of variation. Graphics are colourful and
detailed and the animation is super-smooth. The sounds are good too
but the game does have it's ups and downs and one really annoying
aspect is the way you have to keep flipping the disk over after
every event in order to review the results before moving on to the
SUMMER GAMES was priced at around £35 on import
but the U.S. GOLD release should be around £15 on disk. I am not
sure if it will be on cassette, best check with your dealer.
Overall, a worthwhile investment if you enjoy this
type of game. I hear that SUMMER GAMES II is even better. Can't