Next month, the Canadian city of Calgary hosts the 15th Winter Olympic Games. The competitor's environment is a world of snow and ice, in which danger and rivalry race hand in hand.
In Winter Olympiad 88, written by former CRASH adventure reviewer Derek Brewster, up to nine players can test their nerve and skill to compete in some of the star events of this international extravaganza.
The five events are downhill skiing, the biathlon, the bob run, the ski jump and the ski slalom. Different combinations of actual play and practice in events may be selected.
In downhill skiing, a trip down the sheer face of a mountain on skis must be completed as quickly as possible. Your speed is controllable, and you must steer yourself to avoid rocky outcrops and lines of trees and take corners. You'll have to jump right over other hazards to complete the course and stand a chance of a medal.
The biathlon has competitors pumping their legs backward and forward in a speedy cross-country ski walk. But the physical exhaustion generated by this activity must be balanced against the requirements of the shooting range, where the skier calms his nerves and steadies his arm to fire at six targets. A miss costs valuable time.
On the specially-built ice chute, you can clamber into a bob sled and head towards a distant finish line. A speedy start is the essence of success, for without that initial momentum the craft cannot hurtle quickly through the bends of the track. To enhance your time, what little steering you have must be smooth, to take you through the top of the bends where maximum velocity is achieved.
Go too high, however, and the bob can be sent 1ff the track, and your chance of a medal goes with it.
You take to the air in the ski jump after making a death-defying descent down the elevated jump. Maximum points are awarded by the judges for distance and style: good style is keeping your skis snugly together while you're gliding through the air.
Once this event of nerve has been completed the ski slalom gets under way. With new strips of waxed wood strapped to your boots you can begin. Wend your way through a succession of poles to reach the finish in the fastest time and you're a winner. Remember, though, to keep red slalom flags to the right of you and blue flags to the left.
Ocean's Olympic innovation ...................................page 8
'Winter Olympiad 88 is one of the best sports compilations I've seen since Epyx's Smashed Winter Games (reviewed In Issue 26). It's very well-presented, with a great opening sequence and a rather good tune. And the actual gameplay has a realistic feel - for instance, the slalom skier's whole body moves appropriately to each different manoeuvre, especially when cornering. The backdrops are nicely detailed, mostly featuring snow-capped mountain ranges and large pine forests. Not many winter-sports games come up to the standard of Winter Olympiad 88.'
NATHAN ... 64%
'After Epyx's Winter Games, this is a great letdown. Graphically the two games are pretty similar, but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty gameplay Winter Games beats Winter Olympiad 88 on every event. True, there 's a nice opening sequence here, but when you have to go through loading every event separately Minter Games needed only two loads, incidentally) things get tedious. And as if the dodgy animation, suspect collision-detection and simplistic sound weren't enough, you have to pray that the game won't crash - it's riddled with bugs. The Winter Olympics theme has great potential, but it's wasted on such a mediocre (perhaps rushed) product.'
PAUL ... 34%
: Kempston, Sinclair (though our copy reset back to keys after the first event!)Graphics
: some jerky animation but some beautiful backgrounds
A dismal failure which loses skis down to Epyx's two-year-old Winter Games.
'Jerky animation but beautiful backgrounds' in Winter Olympiad 88.