LOADS OF COLD SNOWY FUN WITH TOASTIE FEET
Really odd, you're saying to yourself (aren't you?), to release a decidedly wintry game in the middle of summer. Have the marketing men got it wrong, I hear you ask? Well perhaps they got it late, but an American software house could be forgiven for their confusion - with our lousy weather, there's hardly much difference between summer and winter!
Epyx's original Winter Games was well-received, and even though Games: Winter Edition continues the same theme, it portrays a few new events plus the old ones in a different style.
Up to eight players can compete against each other in seven events, each competitor trying to win that elusive gold medal. Players can choose any of 17 nationalities and hear the appropriate national anthem played and see the country's flag unfurled if successful in an event - an addictive factor in itself. You can compete in all, some or just one event (useful it you're not a keen all-rounder like Nick Roberts). And any event can be practised.
First event is the luge - a sort of tin tray - where contestants hurtle down one of four icy toboggan tracks at terrifying speeds with only a thin body suit for protection! Speed is increased by keeping to the centre of the track, achieved by steering against the corners to stop outward drift.
Next is the stamina-testing cross country skiing, where careful timing, rather than mad joystick waggling, ensures fast progress. Race over either a 1km, 2km or 5km course.
Then it's on to the more delicate sport of figure skating. You can choose to skate to one of eight pieces of music. Points are scored by performing moves, selected from the eight available, in time to the music.
From art to danger and the ski jump, where the competitors fly off the end of a rather large ramp and try to land without breaking their legs! Another skiing event is the slalom where you weave in and out of flags as fast as your little skis will take you.
Then it's back on to the ice for some more skating but this time against the clock as you slide round a huge oval in the speed skating event.
Finally, the downhill skiing course is strewn with gates through which skiers pass while hurtling down the mountain ... aaarrgghhh!
The oval track speed skating in this version is definitely more playable than the equivalent event in Winter Games. But it's a pity the biathlon has been replaced by the less interesting cross country though, as the latter simply involves rhythmic joystick waggling. This simplicity is also present in several of the other events: the luge seems to hurtle down the track on its own, with the player just making fine adjustments to the steering - and it never crashes! Despite a general lack of comprehensive control, the seven events are still very playable and with a few friends gathered around the computer, you can have a great competition. Sports fans should lap it up.
PHIL ... 82%
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: virtually all possible perspectives are used in various events: vanishing point 3-D, isometric and 2-D. PLUS a neatly presented front end
Sound: a superb variety of tunes for each nation and event
Options: definable keys. Up to eight players can participate in all, some or just one of the events. Extremely useful practice option
'The seven events are all excellently presented and each one is as addictive as the last. The graphics are well-animated and the control method is similar to the real thing (very hard!). There is 128K music throughout the game with the different anthems and spot effects in each event it would have been nice to have a fun event like hot-dogging as well as the usual slalom and downhill, but even as it stands, Games: Winter Edition is great.'
NICK ... 82%
And talkinq of cream buns, yes guys, it's joystick mangling time again! Games: Winter Edition relies largely on your reflexes and coordinates - whether it's getting to grips with the tin tray-sized conveyance in the luge or mustering the sheer iron will needed to attempt the mind-boggling ski jump (yes, now you too can be Eddie Edwards and land downside-up). The practice mode is handy because I can assure you that much practice is needed to win as many gold medals as possible. The one-player mode is enjoyable, but at CRASH Towers we found it more fun in a gathering, competing against others adds a great deal to the atmosphere.'
MARK ... 76%General Rating:
Although the events involve simple control, together they make up a fun sports package which is especially playable with friends - the more the merrier!
JOYSTICK MANGLING'S HERE AGAIN!
In the ski jump, the end of the ramp occurs just after the dotted centreline changes: don't jump till the last possible moment.Also in the ski jump, try and keep your man perpendicular to the slope (perpenwhaticular? -ED)In the luge, try and memorise the track so that you can anticipate corners... and don'ttell me you don't know what 'anticipate' means, Dom, I've seen you slavering at the thought of a cream bun
Hurtling down the track with nothing but a tin tray between you and the elements.
What do you mean, you don't know which way to go?
Weave through the flags or you'll turn into a giant snowball.