California: a place rumoured to have inhabitants of almost God-liker beauty and sports of almost
unbelievable banality. It is these 'games' have been bundled together in California Games
from Kixx, and include such classics as skateboarding, surfing and footbag (footbag?).
You can practise the events or choose to compete in all or any of them. If you choose
to compete in all of them, each one is loaded in turn: results are displayed
at the end of each event and summarized together when you finish a session.
You can also choose the number of teams against whom you compete. Either play alone or with
up to seven friends.
The first event involves skateboarding through a half pipe. All you have
to do is whizz back and forth across the 'pipe' performing flips and airborne turns without
falling in a messy heap at the bottom. Good fun but incredibly difficult.
Event number two is the enigmatic foot bag. Obscure it may be, but it's a real hoot, too.
Just keep the little bag in the air by repeatedly kicking or heading it (a bit like practising
football skills with a bean bag). It's also possible to hit the seagulls
occasionally flying past.
The thrid event is probably the most enjoyable of the lot. Surfing gives you
a ticket to perform mindblowing leaps across the waves with the usual outcome being an
ignorable plunge into the watery depths. This one is hard to beat.
Next comes the roller skating, a straight-forward sprint on wheels in
which you have to jump obstacles and perform stunts whilst completing the race
in the quickest possible time. Think it's easy? Think again.
Onto the penultimate even which is BMX bike racing. The aim here is much
the same as with roller skating. Complete the course as fast as possible
and as stylishly as possible by pulling wheelies and jumping debris.
And so the grand finale, the flying disk. Be manipulating your character's arm and
setting the power bars at the bottom of the screen, you must attempt to
throw the frisbee as accurately as possible to the catcher at the other end of the screen.
Each of the events are superbly done. The graphics are very pleasing and the
gameplay can't be faulted. Where California Games falls really flat is in the
inordinate amount of time it takes to load each event.
As a cassette game it just doesn't work at all. How about a cartridge version, guys?
It's really the only way to get away with this sort of game. As it stands, it
can't be recomended. Steer well clear unless you have several days spare to
spend loading it (never mind playing it).