GAMES ... UTILITIES ... SERIOUS OR FUN, IT'S ALL ON THE ST
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
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
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!!