The Games: Winter Edition
Copyright/Publisher: Epyx, Graphics by: Suzie Greene, Sheryl Knowles, Jenny Martin,
Matthew Sarconi, Steve Snyder & Paul Vernon, Sound and Music:
Chris Ebert & Chris Grigg,
Programmers: Edward Chu, Fuzzy Furry, Eric Knopp,
Carl Mey, Scott Nelson, Kevin Norman, Edwin Reich,
Al Rubin & Chuck Sommerville,
Release Year: 1988 Genre: Multi Events, Number Of Players: 1 to 8
The latest sports simulation package from the Epyx stable comprises seven winter
events: the Luge, Cross Country, Speed Skating, Ski Jumping, Down Hill, Slalom
and Figure Skating.
Five options are available from the title screen: compete in all events,
compete in some events, compete in one event, practice one event, and select the
number of joysticks in use. Three viewing options are also available: see
world records, and the obligatory opening and closing ceremonies. Once selections
are made, a name and one 17 available countries are chosen.
The first event is the Luge, a death defying sport which places the competitor on
a tin tray hurtling down a mountainside course. Four tracks are on offer, the aim
being to score as many poins as possible by completing the course in the shortest time.
Three meters at the bottom of the screen assist swift movement: steer, drift and
Next is the Cross Country race, with a choice of 1km, 2km, or 5km courses against
a human or computer opponent; rhythm, as with many Epyx sports games, is the key here.
Following this is Figure skating - the only event which doesn't depend on brute
force and ignorance! The first task is to select the piece of music for the performance,
and then choreograph a routine of up to 14 moes, depending on the length of the
To attain a top score you must have selected at least one of each of the
eight different moves, and perform at least ten moves throughour the performance.
At the end, the judges award appropriate points for technical and artistic merit.
Three skiing events are featured (apart from the Cross Country): Downhill,
Slalom and Ski Jumping. In Downhill and Slalom you hurtle down snowy slopes whilst
avoiding gates strategically placed along the route.
Ski Jumping sees the
competitor leaping from a huge ramp: speed is not necessarily of the essence, although
concentration and distance are. Correct posture on the ramp and in the air (coupled
with a safe landing!) all add up to a medal winning performance.
Finally we come to Speed Skating: four tracks are on offer, 1000m, 3000m,
5000, and finally 10000m. Again, rhythm is the key to success, since lack of
co-ordination will find the player flat on his back and his opponent at the
At the end of each event, if successful, the medal ceremonies, the winning
country's flag and a rendition of their national anthem are all displayed.
From the classy opening ceremony to the scintillating finale, The Games'
marvellous presentation makes it unmistakably a product of the Epyx stable. Unlike
its predecessprs, however, this addition to the series isn't likely to win the
solid gold approval of armchair athletes quite so readily.
Yes, the superbly designed and animated graphics are there as ever, but gameplay -
where has that gone? Many of the sports are excruciatingly difficult to complete
and, even when following the instructions to the letter, the program always
seems to expect supernatural intuition; in some events, the loading sequence is
longer than the action, even in disk!
Trying to compete in the same sport more than once is thus so slow that tedium
quickly sets in. The instructions say 'Practice. Practice. Practice'. Thanks,
but 'No. No. No.'
Maybe it's just because we've come to expect so much from them over the past few
years, but this effort makes you wonder if the Epyx bubble has finally burst.
All the events are good, but they're not quite brilliant - there's definitely
nothing as outstanding as the sumo wrestling in World Games or the surfing in
Graphically it's as good as we've come to expect, with some smart animated
sequences; but each event is marred by small annoyances. The luge is made
awkward by the rapid flick-screen action, the figure skating includes a technically
impressive by slightly dull choreography section and the cross country skiing is
That said, all events are beautifully presented (as usual) and the slalom, downhill
and speed skating are great. It's well worth a look, but don't be surprised if
you're a little disappointed.
I'm sure that sport sim fans will love The Games; personally, I'm not that keen on
sports whether the physical or armchair computer type, so I wasn't really
interested - at first.
However, after a few attempts I found that even I enjoyed
it, although a lot of practice is needed to perfect the skills required to earn
the much coveted gold medals.
Graphically the game is good, with some nice character animation, especially on
the figure skating, although I found that on most of my attempts the poor girl
ended up on her backside! If, after the deluge of other sports games from the
Epyx stable, you're still keen on this kind of game, check it out.