Winter Games

Reviewed by John Davison jnr


Issue 25

Jan/Feb 87

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a whole variety of software reviewed


Epyx Computer Software


Winter Games is a simulation of a Winter Olympic Games (it is the sequel to the highly popular 'Summer Games' which can be found on ATARI 8-bit micros). There are seven events to play; Hot Dog, Biathlon, Speed Skating, Figure Skating, Ski Jump, Free Style Skating and finally Bobsled. Every single event in the Games has its own theme music which plays while the event is loading. These are all extremely good and match, in a way, the type of event.

When the game first loads, a colourful animated title screen leads into the opening ceremonies, complete with the lighting of the flame and the fly past by some highly detailed doves. You are then put on the main menu screen where you select to either compete in all the events, compete in some events, compete in one event, practice an event, see the world records, watch the opening ceremonies (again) or leave Winter Games. If competing in an event you can select your country out of a choice of 16. This section is almost the same as Summer Games on the 8-bit micros.

To give you an idea of what to expect let me take you through the events.

Hot Dog Aerials is a demonstration sport, you have to perform daredevil ski-jumps in front of a panel of judges. Moves you can perform include; Back and Forward Flips, Mule Kicks, Daffys, Back Scratches, and Swans. The graphics in this event are fantastic. The backdrop is just like an oil painting, with highly detailed pictures of mountains and trees. The animation is very, very slick.

Biathlon is a combination of cross country ski-ing and target shooting. It may seem like a strange combination, but it is great fun. Again the backdrops are superb, in this event there are four animated backgrounds all of which are amazing! The animation is very good, my only complaint is that this event is a joystick 'waggler', in other words, you have to move the joystick left and right very quickly to achieve any decent results! You can use the keyboard (as in all the events) but I don't advise that for this event.

Speed Skating is another 'waggler', but not quite as violent. You have to move your joystick to move the skaters legs like a real human. The animation in this event is smooth and so is the scrolling (considering the ST has no hardware scroll) but the background graphics have no 'pazazz', to tell the truth they are downright boring. The occasional blue reflection in the ice and the number of metres travelled scroll by to give the illusion of movement. The music at the beginning is very catchy and although the sound effects are relatively good there are not enough of them.

Figure Skating consists of a one minute, timed exercise of seven compulsory movements: Camel Spin, Sit Spin, Double Axel Jump, Double Lutz Jump, Triple Axel Jump and Triple Lutz Jump. The graphics are back to the standard set by the first two events, superb, slick scrolling and smooth animation. Some of the movements look so natural and the music is well executed.

Ski-Jump. Fantastic graphics on this event and a really dramatic tune to get you going. The animation is also very good and the background graphics are (yet again) superb. Not a lot to really say about this one as it is straightforward and great to play.

Free Skating. This event uses the same graphics and movements as the Figure Skating. The differences are that you have two minutes to invent your own routine, and you don't have to do each move just once (you mustn't do more than three of each though). The music is very different - it's all drums and modern 'pop' type music - overall a superb event.

Bobsled. This is a very pretty event with smooth animation, good background graphics and nice sound. There just seems to be something missing from the playability point of view. I couldn't find as much enthusiasm for this event as for the others.

The program comes on two single sided disks and has a detailed, easy to read 12 page manual. Overall I cannot deny that this is a superb game and anyone who is looking for a good sports simulation for the ST should check this out, it's great! 24.95 is not a bad price, but still a bit expensive for a game. Let's hope the price of ST software starts to come down soon!!