Review by jup
"EPYX just keeps pumping out the Olympic Games for your computer...and now you can juncture them together."
The game starts out with the Olympic Torch being run up a small set of stairs and touching the hugh torch while the stadium of fans sit in the background under a slightly cloudy and blue sky, thus starting the Olympic Games....and to anyone who read my previous Olympic Game reviews (Summer Games I and Winter Games.) might recognize this very paragraph. It seems that once EPYX did a good idea, they kept recycling it. While each torch lighting scene for each game looks different enough from each other, the description is simply the same. Let us let those white doves start to fly and get on with the game review.
Next comes the basic joystick driven menu screen. (Talk about being recycled.) Your options are:
+ Compete in all the events (Play through the game, as you are suppose to.)
+ Compete in some events (Play only the ones you want to and avoid everything else.)
+ Compete in one event (Play only one game.)
+ Practice one event. (Great for learning how to do things.)
+ Number of Joysticks (1 or 2.)
+ Summer Games 1 Events (YES/NO) (This one is a new option. What it means is that the players who own the original Summer Games can merge those Olympic Games into play with this game. What a wonderful option!)
+ See world records (About the only true goal of the whole game.)
+ See opening ceremonies (The guy lighting the large torch with the small torch screen.)
+ See closing ceremonies (Another brand new option that was sorely missed in both Summer Games I and Winter Games. I'm not going to reveal what happens, except for the blimp advertising. But, there is a whole lot. EPYX made a worthy ending.)
Next, you get your choice of which country you wish to play for. There are seventeen different countries and the in-house one, EPYX, who made the game. (Press S when picking a country allows you to hear each country's song.) And, each one is identified by both the nations flag and their name. The game supports one to many players, each taking turns. (Unless the specific event supports competition.) This screen hasn't changed one bit since the original. Just like going down to your favorite fast food joint in a town you have never visited, you already know what is on the menu and what everything is going to taste like. (Would you like fries with that nation, sir?)
For games, there are:
+ Triple Jump (Colorful backdrop with the audience, flags of many nations and other sporting equipment. Your runner stands there, stretching on a track, surrounded by green grass. Just as in the Winter Games, there is now background music. The object is to jump three times, making the third a long jump into an area of red sand and get your jump measured.)
+ Rowing (By far, the worst graphics that this game will get. It is basically you against an opponent, sitting in row boats on blue water. The use of a split screen is a great idea that keeps the competing characters from falling off the edge of the screen. It is also seen in Winter Game's Speed Skating. It doesn't leave any room for eye candy, though. As always, try to get the best time you can. The computer supplies a pacer player, if needed.)
+ Javelin (Not that it isn't great to look at, but the backdrop is very close to the one used in Triple Jump. The idea is to bolt down the short running stretch and hurl a Javelin as far as you can without stepping over the line.)
+ Equestrian (Very nice backdrop they did with this one. There are fans in the foreground behind a fence. Then comes the horse and rider with a building behind them. More people and judges are behind that with some sort of temporary structures and another fence and flags even further in the background. Then, way in the back come the trees and the mountains and the blue sky. One picture could use up a thousand words to accurately describe this image. And, while in motion, the background moves in four different sections. An impressive effect. The object is to ride the horse and make it jump over various obstacles to the finish line. Question is, who are all those Jumpman (EPYX character from another couple of games by the same name.) in the background suppose to be?)
+ High Jump (Another event that happens in the stadium. So, expect a very similar backdrop to the Triple Jump. The object is to have your guy make a running attack and then attempt to jump over a pole onto one of those gymnastic cushions. The winner is the one who can jump the highest without knocking the poll off.)
+ Fencing (Another great backdrop that utilizes the element of 3-D. In the foreground, it would appear that the player(s) are looking through the eyes of a judge. In front of the judge is a computer. (Could be a Commodore. But, it has a separate 3.5'' drive by the monitor.) On the monitor are various information readouts. Behind the computer on the desk is the fencing arena with the two fencers (Same color scheme.) facing off on a marked mat. Behind them are the multiple rows of seated fans and the building's various fixtures on the far wall. The idea is to land so many successful blows to your opponent's body while avoiding or countering his (or hers) attacks. The computer will play if there are no other Humans available. The computer player has multiple skill levels.)
+ Cycling (Even though this event uses the split screen approach, the viewing angle allows for background graphics to be used. What detailing that could be stuck in looks great. (As usual.) If there isn't a second player, the computer supplies a pacer player. The idea is to peddle your bike to the finish line as fast as you can. However, this event is a real joystick killer. As the event expects you to move the joystick in a clockwise movement that is suppose to simulate the movement of your character's feet to the bike's pedals...for around a whole minute.)
+ Whitewater Kayaking (While it is an overhead shot, the use of graphics is still very nice. The rapid movement of the water is illustrated by white areas where the water has to go around something. And, the rough sides of the river show up well with the use of two colors. There are also fans waving you on as the screen scrolls downwards. (The screen can actually scroll both up and down, depending on which direction the Kayaker is heading.) The idea is for your kayaker to pass through multiple numbered gates in one of several different manners as fast as you can. Gate 10 is the unmarked oddball that you have to paddle against the flow and enter via the opposite direction to successfully get through. The R marked gates simply require you to through them, facing backwards. The sound effects of rushing water sounds really nice and fairly realistic.)
+ And, if you choose to use the Summer Games I disk, you also get Pole Vault, Platform Diving, 4x400m relay, 100m dash, Gymnastics, 400 Meter Free style Relay, 100 meter free style and Skeet Shooting. (See the Summer Games review for further details on these eight events.)
Which can make a total of either eight or sixteen wonderful Olympic type games that can be played in Summer Games II for the Commodore 64. (Expect each game to take 30 seconds or less to load. And that Summer Games II uses both sides, or even two disks. (If you opt to use the Summer Games I option.) So, expect to do some disk swapping.)
Graphics: 9 out of 10.
As always, the graphics look fantastic. The events that take place inside the stadium do use recycled backgrounds. But, there is plenty of action to go around, as always. All the animations looks nice and smooth. (EPYX always made sure that those looked great.) The menu screens were obviously cloned straight from the previous game in the series. But, no matter. It's a tactic that every major fast food chain seems to use.
Sound: 8 out of 10.
Each event has a few sound effects for certain things. There are the little background songs that each event has placed somewhere in it. There are the short bits of music for each nation that is played during the player/country selection screen and the Gold/Silver/Bronze awarding screens. (Which hasn't changed one bit since the original.) Plus, there are the recycled couple of songs that play in various spots throughout the game. All and all, it has become a standard in the series.
Controls: 6 out of 10. (A mixed bag.)
Each event has its own set of joystick controls, and it never changes from that in any of the Olympic games. Some are easy and understandable. But, others will always suffer from guessing or steep learning factors. EPYX still gives you no in-game instructions about what does what. You're going to want the manual...or just a whole lot of practice. At least, more of the games do not lean towards the illogical, this time.
Overall: 9 out of 10.
Just like in Summer Games I and Winter games, this game is best played with friends to compete against. The world records will always be there (Saved between gaming sessions.) for use as a goal if you can't find any friends willing to play this old game. The computer still does not provide an AI player to compete against. (Except in the places where it absolutely has to.) If you are the only human player, you will always win the game...no matter how badly you did. Visually, this game remains in top notch form. (A standard for the Olympic Game series, thankfully.) The very best news about the game is...it finally has a REAL ENDING!!! YEA!!! (And, it is a good one, too.) But, just like the whole series, this review feels like it was made with a template.
P.S.: Whoops...my blunder. The advertising blimp in the closing ceremonies says that Winter Games is really the third in the series of Olympic Games.
And, here's a few of the other things that blimp says. Also available from EPYX... Summer Games... Jet Combat Simulator... PitstopII... Impossible Mission... The World's Greatest Baseball Game... Temple of Apshai... GI Joe... Barbie... Chipwits... Watch for Winter Games coming soon to your local store... (Nothing like sticking in an advertising banner into a game you paid for. And, this listing hardly even spoils what happens in the closing ceremonies. It's just so that you don't annoy yourself trying to see everything that small blimp has to say as it keeps flying by. Though, I'd like to mix in the Skeet Shooting game and shoot down that annoying blimp.)
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 02/21/02, Updated 02/21/02
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