It's a decathlon, Daley, but not as we know it. Five summer sports, a six month gap, then five
winter sports. You need to be an all-round athlete, and we're not talking Geoff Capes. James
Leach fails to be excused from PE.
Global warming has thrown the season into total disarray. Nobody knows whether it is day or night,
summer or winter, raining or slightly overcast put possibly clearing up later. Out of this maelstrom
comes a game that can cope.
It's called The Olympiads and is a double-pack game for all seasons. The idean is that because
both the Summer Olympiad and the Winter Olympiad are getting slightly long in the tooth (getting
near to Janet Street Porter proportions, in fact), bunging them together and flogging them during
an Olympic year would give them a whole new lease of life.
You've got to admit, this is a pretty sound idea, especially when everyone's got Barcelona fever.
Right. Let's start with the Summer Olympiad. You get five challenging event to master here.
So shall we wander along and have a look at the first, diving?
Here you man stands, petrified, at the top of what looks like a 200-foot drop into a rather
small pool. When you're ready, he leaps off into the stratosphere. As he plummets, you've got to
twiddle the joystick around at an enormous rate in order to do the turns, flips, wobbles, somersaults and
other nonsense which impresses the judges.
After you splash in, the jury holds up cards with the ratings on them, and you retire to see
your score (and attned to your nosebleed).
Next up, skeet shooting. I used to think skeet were wild birds, or little foxex or something, but
apparently they're clay frisbees. You get two barrels of shot to blast into the sky at them, and
direct hits rake in the points. It's rather nice 3D section, this. There's a crosshair which
slides around the screen, and you've got to get it in the right area, but just a skight bit ahead of
After the fun firearms, try the frantic fencing. You step out on to a sort of squash court
thing, dressed stupidly in a weird suit connected to a buzzer. If your opponent hits you with his
sword (they're called epées - Ed) then the buzzer goes off and you lose the point.
You end up swinging your blade around like a lunatic, trying to stop your foe from prodding
you in the chest. It's hardly the skillful approach as the judges want to see, but it's effective.
With luck you mught even slash through your opponent's mask and hack his nose off as well. Max points!
Now it's time for hurdling. By now you won't be feeling like jumping over a load of hurdles, but
it'd be rude not to, so off you go. It's a timing-related sort of waggler, this event, and you've
got to keep concentration because it only takes one slip and you're tangled in a hurdle, then
lying on the floor waiting until an ambulance arrives.
Finally in the summer event programme is the triple jump. This always looks dead ridiculous
when you see it on the telly. I mean, who in their right mind needs it? It's not as if you often
jump over three sets of electrified railway tracks, or three closely-spaced canals. Anyway, in this
event you've got to waggle until your little fellow is running at full tilt, then time the jumping,
bouncingbit so that he flies as far as possible, pedalling his little feet as he goes.
And that's it for the summer games. Each event works well, and there is mucho fun to be had
from all of them, especially the shotgun and swordfighting events.
The Winter Olympiad offers another five bone-breaking sports, bobsleigh, slalom, downhill, biathlon
and ski-jumping. Playable as either single vents or a tournament, they allow up to six sports fans
to waggle their arms off in the fight for the gold gongs.
Ski-jumping is the human race's second most stupid sport (after the triple jump). You stand at
one end of a long ramp, slide down it, hurl yourself into space, and then you aren't judged on
the distance but style! Isn't living through such an ordeal reward enough? Antway, The Olympiads
lets you have a basj at this terror trip. It's more Dick Tracy then Rainbow Islands, but it ain't
The first view's impressive, as the ramp trails off into nothingness ahead, but that's more
for show than anything else. Then it switches to a side view, where you guide your brave young skier
(or was that sucker?) gently towards the ground - or not, as the case may be.
Downhill takes the Outrun approach, but you have traded in your shiny red motor for two planks
of wood that have been nailed to your feet. The aim is to survive a high-speed run through the trees
and over the fallen logs. Steering by a goggle-o-meter at the bottom of the screen, you must guide
your boy over, under and between obstacles to the base of the mountain in least possible time. Hit
a conifer and you don't get another chance, so caution should win the day - but never does!
Slalom is a weird beast of a game, setting you the task of negotiating a series of coloured
poles in the shortest possible time. Fine, you may think, but because your man is at such a strange
angle on-screen all the controls seem to be in the wrong place - yanking the joystick to the left
doesn't make him go left, but rather off on a strange diagonal bearing! It's a tough test, and
despite being rather small, requires some deft and skillful touches to win.
Biathlon is one of those sports that mad people do. You know the ones, the type of geek who
dresses in a yellow lycra and runs up small mountains carrying pianos. Biathlon isn't quite that daft,
but is working on it! The aim is to waggle slowly but surely around a track and then stop every
now and again to shoot at some targets. You can't exactly describe Biathlon as the most exciting sport,
but as simulations of someone skiing 30 miles and then shooting at 15 targets go...
The bobsleigh is the only method of transport for the seriously suicidal. Leap into a metal
buggy and blast down a flume of ice, steering and braking until you either reach the end, fall
out or mess up big style. It's fast, it's fun and it's potentially fatal; bobsleigh is the best of
the Winter Olympiads bunch.
None of the events stand out for the right reasons, but a few stand out for the wrong ones
either. Many don't even register on the interest scale at all, which is a shame, as a lot of effort
has obviously been put into the programming.