US Gold Ltd
1987
Sport: Action
£8.99
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Alkatraz Protection System

52,53
Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

Bet you thought that Epyx had pretty much done the games market to death with Summer Games and Winter Game® didn't you?

Wrong. What we have in World Games is a selection of sports and quasi-sports which either didn't make it into either of the other two editions (tossing the caber) or must have been so great they thought they would do them again (the Slalom Skiing option is unsurprisingly similar to the skiing games in Winter Sports).

Peculiar nature of some of the sports aside, World Games is pretty good in places the programming is excellent, although curiously, in other areas its decidedly flickery around the edges. Maybe different groups of programmers did different sections. Maybe it was one team and they had some days off.

Like Summer and Winter Games, you can play against the computer but it's probably more fun with human opponents. You can either tree the whole thing as a sort of Decathlon and take part in every event in sequence or you can do it bit by bit, practicing each event until you feel ready to take on the world.

Loading the individual sports is, inevitably, utterly tedious and if the sport you want to practice is somewhere in the middle of the tape, well... I hope your tape machine has a counter (Alan Sugar, creator of the 128K+2, please note). That said the hyperload seemed extremely reliable and didn't screw up once.

Event One is Weightlifting, not you may think very exciting when translated to the computer, but no. The animated weightlifter grimaces authentically as he struggles with ever increasing weights. It works as a game because of the judgement required to complete a lift - getting those weights above your head is actually a several stage process picking them up and bringing them to the chest and then going for the lift and keeping them up there until the lights change to tell you you've grimaced long enough.

Barrel Jumping is up next. Now Barrel Jumping may be hot in the Norweigian fjords within its unique blend of Eddie Kid and ice skates but it doesn't cut much ice over here. After the heady delights of the weightlifting I was disappointed, though the skater is nicely animated - particularly when skidding helplessly. The actual game is just like those budget titles where you jump on a motor bike over buses.

Cliff Diving is event three and gosh isn't it wonderful. Or to put it another way, I am simply fantastic at it - well I got a Gold Medal. Cliff Diving features, surprisingly, some of the most impressive graphics of the whole game. The idea is to hurl a bathing-suit clad figure from a rocky promontory and get him to dive smoothly into the see below. The cliff face is beautifully done, as it the central diver figure but cleverest of ail is the 'sea' effect which seems to wash a film of blue over the cliff base.

Slalom skiing is boring. just the usual ski between the flags twist left and right stuff it is so unspeakably unoriginal I can think of nothing for to say except that I wasn't very good at it.

Log Rolling is probably big in Canada where giant Redwoods are felled by mighty men wearing Raccoons on their heads but it never caught on here except in Butlin's holiday camps. The idea is that two bearded men (complete with Raccoons and check shirts) stand on a log and by spinning it alternatively one way and the other, each trying to catch the other guy out and spin him into the shark-infested drink. The danger is that overly fancy footwork may backfire and the wrong log roller ends in the drink. Though I didn't do too well at this one and some of the background graphics were a little naff the actual gnarled log rollers were expressively animated.

Bull Riding is a whacky sport from the American West. You get to sit on the back of a bucking bull (do bulls buck?) and you use the joystick to counter the bull's movements and thereby stay on. Graphics are fairish and I was hopeless at it.

Tossing the Caber is Scotist. That's not a misprint, just as somethings are sexist, caber tossing is Scotist in the way it begins with a kilted Scot making a complete fool of himself by waggling his arms and legs in the air. Obviously real Scots people are not nearly so stupid. In any event tossing the caber is roughly the World Games equivalent of throwing the javelin, except that it's a lot bigger of course, and heavier. And thicker. And you can't run very fast Anyway it's just like javelin throwing in that you run stop wait for the angle of throw to be right and then watch that caber zoom through the air.

Finally, and certainly the piece de resistance is Sumo Wrestling. Two giant men sit in a circle and squat at each other. The sprites are pretty good, nicely animated and large (very large actually). You play the game with a combination of joystick with/without Fire button commands just like Exploding Fist except that instead of elegant spins and speedy kicks you get lumbering bear hugs, and slow inevitable lunges.

That's World Games then. More hits than misses and a couple of real gems. If you have the other two and don't mind the silly nature of some of the games included I think you'll want World Games as well.

Label: US Gold
Author: Epyx
Price: £9.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

*****

True to the style of Winter and Summer games, this quirky mixture of sports is well programmed and a lot of fun.

5/5