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Barry Jones
Sport: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

Here's another sporting simulation designed to test your skills in five events, this time at a budget price. Weight lifting, canoeing, the 200 metre sprint, shooting and discus throwing all feature, and what's more you don ' t need any fancy equipment or months of pre-season training to compete.

At the start of the game three lives are supplied, and a life is lost each time the player fails to qualify in an event. After each event the scoreboard appears on screen, updating the points won and number of lives remaining, and at the end of a circuit round the five events, a high score table monitors performance and medals won.

This pentathlon commences with weight lifting, and a well timed press of the O key is needed to build up enough strength to heave the weights off the ground. A hand on the power clock at the top of the screen whizzes round and has to be stopped at the 'noon' position for maximum power. If a lift is successful, you keep going until the qualifying weight is reached. Failure costs a life and a smug helicopter flies past with a banner that reads "rubbish".

To get through the canoeing event the O and P keys are used to manoeuvre a kayak down a slalom of boulders which poke out from beneath the water. A meter at the bottom of screen shows how much of the course is left to get through, and contact with a boulder results in failure.

The 200 metre sprint has your runner scooting along a seemingly never-ending track. Speed and distance bars show how the race is going, and the power clock method is used again, this time to build up speed misjudge the timing of the prod on the 0 key and speed is lost, but get it right and the runner accelerates. At the end of a race the qualifying time and actual time taken are shown, and the rude helicopter pilot flies past if you fail...

Skeet shooting puts the player in control of a cross hair sight and the idea is to blast the qualifying number of skeets out of the air. Little meters at the bottom of the screen reveal how many skeets are yet to be released and the number of shots remaining. Skeets whizz into the air, launched alternately from a position behind trees on either side of the screen. As usual, the chopper pilot is waiting to the wings to mock....

The fifth event, the discus, involves two little power clocks one has to be stopped dead on 'noon ' with the A key to determine the angle of the throw, and another stopped with the Q key to determine the power behind the throw. And yes, the pilot's waiting!


'This game is bad in every sense of the word. The graphics are awful, the colour is messy and unattractive, the scenario unoriginal, and the whole thing is just one big lump of unplayability and unaddictiveness. It's not a joystick-killer - but the clock stopping is rather inaccurate... Hint: prod the Q key when the needle is at the 10 o'clock position during the sprint for maximum power, rather than when it is at noon. Even for a couple of pounds this game is poor - you might want to persevere until you've seen all five screens, but I doubt you'd want to come back to it.'

'The graphics are some of the best ATLANTIS have ever produced - not such a hard feat - and consist of a good loading screen and some fairly large, smoothly animated characters. The sound is very basic, involving some sound loops up the musical scale, and then some down the scale - WOW! What variety... Olympiad 86 contains very little to keep the armchair sportsman interested further than seeing the loading screen. I expected more keyboard/joystick bashing, all I got was a consistent pressing of keys at long intervals. I didn't even feel panicked, never mind breaking into a Sweat!'

'The trend for track and field games ended months ago and this latecomer doesn't add much to the genre, even at the low asking price. The gameplay is very slow and on two of the five screens you only have to use one key so it all gets very monotonous. There are no tunes, the spot effects are minimal and the gameplay is hardly exciting - a mix between unplayability and impossibility. I'd keep well clear of this one if I were you, as it is very primitive.'

Control keys
Joystick: not applicable
Keyboard play: not always an accurate response
Use of colour lots of it; a bit garish
Graphics: nothing special
Sound: BEEPy spot effects
Skill levels: gets progressively harder
Screens: five one-screen events
General Rating: Even as a budget title this game adds nothing to the decathlon/sports genre.


Screenshot Text

Poor old Cam. He prodded the Q key at the wrong moment, stop the clock too soon and gave the helicopter pilot the chance to fly out and be rude...