Olympic Summer Games 96
At a Glance: Almost a year ago I reviewed a rom called Winter Games, an in-depth look at the detrimental effects winter sports can have on the video game industry. But since we at SA are committed to the kind of Fair and Balanced journalism that will get us sued, I have obtained an ultra-rare copy of this game to demonstrate that games based on summer sports can be just as shitty. Instead of being a collection of minigames, this is essentially one minigame repeated over and over with minor graphical differences - sometimes you stab the ground with a pole, sometimes you stab the ground with a javelin and sometimes, if you're particularly bad at hitting the up arrow, you fall and stab the ground with your face.
Platform: SNES (Download Emulator here - 395k)
Download: Download ROM here - 867k
Just like two thirds of the roms I've reviewed, this is a game I rented several years ago and never ended up buying, and playing this abortion again has made me very grateful that monotonous button-mashing spazfests are no longer developed outside of the Bloody Roar series. There are ten twitchtastic events, each one worse than the last.
100-Meter Sprint: This is the first event, and sadly, it sets the tone for how deep and complex the rest of the game will be. The first step in your conquest of the 100-Meter Sprint is to avoid hitting any buttons before the gun goes off, or else you and every other racer on the screen will take off and run off the edge of the screen while the referee stands there looking confused. Once you've mastered the fine art of not pressing the buttons until the gun goes off, you can proceed to mash the A and B buttons while your athlete propels himself down the track by repeatedly kicking himself in the ass. After you cross the finish line, all the runners obliviously keep on running until they vanish off the edge of the track, never to be seen or heard from again.
110-Meter Hurdles: This event is exactly like the 100-meter sprint, but with the addition of ten extra yards and a bunch of magical blue limbo sticks that the janitor forgot to remove from the track. And instead of just mashing A and B, you also get to mash the up button whenever your runner gets within 40 feet of a hurdle! If you don't, the hurdle will teleport to the ground while your runner bends over and loses all his forward momentum and his arms disappear. You can also hit the up button right before the finish line to make the guy bend way over and spread his arms out, which was probably supposed to look like he's lunging across the finish line, but looks more like he's trying to be an airplane.
Pole Vault: The Pole Vault introduces an unheard-of level of complexity into Olympic Summer Games by requiring the use of two different buttons PLUS three directions on the control pad. After you're done watching your athlete guy stand there humping the air in front of him and flailing the pole around for no readily apparent reason, you once again have to mash A and B until you reach the end of the track, at which point you hit down, then up, then right. This will cause him to slowly float over the bar, land on his feet and then collapse on his back in a dead clown pose.
Triple Jump: Players daunted by the intricacies involved in the Pole Vault event can take refuge in the Triple Jump. It's the same thing as the Pole Vault, only instead of waving a pole around you stand there doing a conga dance, and instead of hitting "down up right", you hit "up up up." If you fail to do this, you will fall down, bang your face into the ground and angrily swing your fist at the track while your head turns into a square.
Long Jump: Exactly like the Triple Jump, but you only have to hit up once instead of three times. For some reason the computer players really suck at this event, and if you have functional hands you should have no problem breaking all the records and giving your opponents an assful of shoe.
High Jump: This event gives you a rare side-view of your athlete standing there making lewd gestures at the nearby female judge while another runner does some yoga (the stupid non-Dhalsim kind) off in the background. I don't know why they bothered making all these new visuals for this event, because the gameplay is exactly like the long jump. Just wait until you get to the end and hit "up" when your guy starts to make a face and twist around sideways.
Javelin: Showcasing the development team's amazing ability to beat the shit out of a dead horse, the Javelin event is yet another "mash A and B and then hit a button" variation. This time you're trying to throw a javelin without stepping on the grass, and if you succeed you get to watch the javelin fly through the air in a really choppy weird-looking way (which is surprising since the rest of the game's animation is pretty smooth) and then magically change direction at the last second and stick in the ground at the exact same angle every time.
Discus: This is by far the most difficult event, just because the timing takes forever to figure out. You need to charge up your strength (I'm sure you can guess how) and then hit left and right as you spin around. If you let him down, your brave little athlete retaliates by turning his arms into rubber and slapping his hips.
Archery: This first-person shooting event is only made interesting by the fact that your guy acts like he just drank a barrel full of coffee and washed it down with a paint thinner milkshake. While his damaged brain struggles to swing his shaking hands back into alignment, you get to swing his arms around and try to time your shots so that the arrow can fire before your aim randomly jerks three feet to the left.
Skeet Shooting: The final event is, both graphically and gameplay-wise, worse than the clay pigeon mode in Duck Hunt. After hitting B, your "Yell 'pull'"button, you have to shoot the little gray frisbees that fly into the air by moving a little cursor back and forth. There is no firing animation at all; it just plays a muffled sound effect while the frisbee-thing breaks into several pieces and disappears.
Defining Moment: It's hard to narrow it down to just one when I've run, thrown and jumped over such a wide variety of grainy objects. But I'd say #1 is "pressing the A button", followed shortly by "pressing the B button", since these two activities define what you'll be doing for 95% of your playtime.
Each category in the rating system is based out of a possible -10 score (-10 being the worst). The overall score is based out of a possible -50 score (-50 being the worst).