torstai 23. elokuuta 2012

REVIEW - Olympic Summer Games | SNES | 1996

GENRE(S): Sports
RELEASED: June 1996
PUBLISHER(S): Black Pearl Software, U.S. Gold (GEN)

I have one more game to go within the confines of this recent Olympic stretch of mine, and I might as well tell you right now that it's not a good one. Olympic Summer Games was the official game of the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta. Two different versions of the game were made, both were published by U.S. Gold - one for the 3DO, PlayStation and PC, and one for the dying pair of 16-bit systems, as well as the Game Boy. Neither one of these games or none of the versions were very well received, nor were they even noted, since Konami's long-anticipated International Track & Field came out around that same time. Well, you all must know what I think about that game by now. Olympic Summer Games doesn't call for any more celebration, but it has its own reasons beyond the button-alternating.

Bummer games

I told you before about my friend boasting how he got International Track & Field from his dad, when he actually got Olympic Summer Games. Now that I think of it, we actually had an argument. He had a PlayStation, so it could've been possible that he had International Track & Field, but he specifically said he got the game for the SNES. I told him International Track & Field wasn't available for the SNES, but he kept his head about it, and I went over to see if it was true. I had read about Olympic Summer Games, and it didn't look that promising, but I was very interested in the Atlanta games, so we started playing and I was in high hopes. I hated the game. The button-alternating system drove me nuts, and every nerve on my right hand screamed for mercy because of it. To this day, I had no recollection of any other major peeve related to the game, and since I've somewhat gotten used to (...) this crappy control scheme, I thought I would be in for a decent experience, especially after bearing that Winter Olympic Games garbage.

Oh Javelin, how you used to be my favourite.
The game isn't exactly ugly - from a strictly technical angle, it looks passable - but the colour palette is downright depressing, in the core sense of the word. I seriously don't know how to explain it in words rather than pictures. As for the music, there are just a couple of songs, playing over and over on an endless loop, and they will drive you nuts.

There are ten events of the usual caliber: Sprint, Hurdles, Pole Vault, High Jump, Long Jump, Triple Jump, Javelin, Discus, Archery and Skeet. Hell, it's like the first Track & Field for the NES, with Pole Vault and Discus thrown in to annoy. Even with those two immediately ringing some hell's bells, the list of events feels generally comfortable for an old Track & Field fan. Without further due, let's move on to the problems - there ain't a lot of shiny spots here.

You know what would be cool? Replacing the
skeets with copies of crappy games.
Since I no longer have the energy to DISCUSs problems with individual events (see what I did there...?), my attention automatically turns to common problems present throughout the whole game. "Lucky" for me, Olympic Summer Games has them. The control scheme is one, but it's not the worst one. The controls are also bad - in the sense that it feels like we're not in complete control of the game. This problem presents itself in many, many ways. While some events are just impossible to master - not to mention that they seem to be suffering from very random response to the player's actions, once again - some are RIDICULOUSLY EASY. I thought there'd be no need to mention individual sports, but breaking the record in Archery, Skeet, Long Jump and High Jump EVERY SINGLE TIME is completely effortless, double that if you've ever played just one game like this.

Well, that's about it. The bottom line is that Olympic Summer Games is more playable than its wintry predecessor, but it's still pretty much a worthless game. Digging up info on this game from MobyGames, I found a review with a header that said "Could be better, but could be a lot worse". That's exactly what I was about to say, having the memory of the last game carved on my spine, so I checked the reader review to see what conclusive rating he ended up with - to get a pointer. He gave it 3½ stars out of 5, which would be something between 7 and 7.5 on my scale. That's way, WAY too much. It's not totally awful, but it sure is a huge bummer, and I can't bring myself to rate the game over the following number.

+ It can be fun for a while, in a certain mindset

- Looks and sounds depressing
- The events' difficulty level changes between ridiculously easy and frustratingly difficult; it would be nice to have at least something from the between
- It feels like you're not in total control
- The control scheme itself keeps on sucking

< 4.2 >

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