Summer Athletics Review
By Boyd Kitson |
Plainly missing in formal Olympic Games licensing, Summer Athletics is nevertheless a fun, different activity that stands for the soul of the occurrence in a inexpensive and pleasant way.
A friend of mine asserts that diving and archery don't qualify as 'athletics'. Fortunately, then, that the designers took a differing perspective - these activities are the most pleasant areas of the game. The challenge of diving in particular forces things into the currently more stylish areas of rhythm gaming (you have to hit series of control buttons at key moments to take off , as in Guitar Hero), versus the uncomplicated button mashing that pushes most of the operating and diving.
Not that button mashing is entirely a bad thing. There's appreciation for the past here, for starters. Lovers of old-school track-and-field models will be pleased with Summer Athletics' common principles: hit the right and left buttons as quickly as you can to go as quickly as possible. They'll also know how amazingly obsessive these methods can be. Throw in some fantastic design, an amazing range of activities, and the wide range provided by the more complex activities described above and you have a successful system.
There's some uneveness in Summer Athletics, however. The swim events, for example, are very simple indeed - I beat the world record by 18 seconds in my first, wrist-destroying effort at the medley relay.
The team bicycling, on the other hand, is incredibly difficult - as with several other activities, the instructions make little sense. You can, however, modify the difficulty in Summer Activities, and it's actually awesome to have a couple of activities that are instantly available and others that you have to work at.
A more annoying problem is the multi-player function, which could have been the game's trump card and the savior of the track activities. What you want here is for all events to be designated two control buttons on the same key pad and then tap away at once - hey voila, you've got a perfectly crazy party game. Instead, with Summer Activities you have to take turns.
Finally, the replay value of Summer Activities is enhanced by the addition of career and character-creation modes, enabling you to modify your character's name and overall look, progressively enhance his or her fitness abilities, and discover achievements.