There aren't many sport simulations available for the Amiga at the moment. One of them, World Games, is Epyx's latest addition to their famous collection of sporting games. World Games challenges your competitive skills with a series of athletic contests of one to eight players. The lineup of eight realistic and colourful events takes you on a journey around the world. After sharpening up our skills at each of the events we took our tour of the world to complete in World Games.
The scene for this event is in Russia, home of the best Olympic weightlifters in the world. The Soviets have ruled the 'Iron Games' since 1960, when 360lb giant Leonid Zhabotinsky squashed his competition by hoisting 1262 lbs in three lifts. The two events. 'Snatch' and 'Clean and Jerk' require timing, skill and determination.
Snatch: After setting the weight you bend down as you grasp the weight, pushing the stick forward to begin lifting, and pulling back to drop underneath the bar and snatch it over your head in the squatting position. You then push the joystick forward, standing up from the squatting position.
Clean and Jerk: This one is a bit harder, requiring more precise timing in the moves. By pulling back on the joystick you 'clean' the bar and drop into a squat position, with the bar resting on your chest. By pushing forward you stand up from the squat, and to jerk the bar above your head you pull back again. To straighten your legs and complete the lift you push forward.
Barrel jumping takes you to Germany, where skaters compete to jump over the most barrels in a single attempt. In their dash before take off, jumpers hit speeds above 40 mph, risking painful bruising if they fail to clear the last barrel. After choosing the number of barrels you wish to attempt, you start the skater's legs moving by rhythmically moving the joystick left and right with his legs. By pushing the button at the precise moment, you leap in the air, hoping that you have enough speed to clear the barrels. Once cleared you pull down to enable a safe landing. (If this is not done you fall through the ice and watch yourself turn ice cold blue as you freeze in the water.)
The cliffs of sunny Acapulco, Mexico, provide the setting for this dangerous sport. High on a cliff named Quebrada, courageous divers launch themselves from a craggy ledge towards the crashing surf far below. To avoid the rocks at the cliff base, divers have to jump 27ft out during their 118ft descent. Diver Raul Garcia has taken this leap over 35.000 times. You begin by setting the height of your dive (the higher the easier). You start by pushing the button and holding the joystick in the direction that you require the most velocity. After leaping you must push your joystick forward to arch your back and thus move further out from the rocks during the descent. Before you enter the water you must pull back to straighten out and complete the swan dive. To avoid hitting the rocks at the bottom of the ocean you must immediately move left after entering the water.
The setting for this event is Chamonix, France, where the first Winter Olympics took place in 1924. Slalom courses are designed as a test of reflexes, agility, precision and control. To begin the course you push the fire button. By moving the joystick left or right you control your skier's movement, and by holding the fire button you increase your speed and turning sensitivity. You must pass through each gate (no easy task) on your way down. There is a five second penalty for every gate missed. Sharp turns slow you down so you must keep your speed and turning ability moderate as you race down the slope to try and beat the opponent's score.
Log rolling brings a visit to Canada, where two lumber-jacks try to dislodge each other from a large floating log, spinning it back and forth until one contestant plunges into the icy river. Needless to say this sport requires great balance and agility. You may compete against the computer or another player in this sport. The movement in this is basic. Move the joystick left and right in time with your feet and with your opponent's feet. By pushing the button you can slow the roll and change the log's direction. (This event is extremely hard.)
Bullriding is the most dangerous event in rodeo, a sport born over 100 years ago in the west of America, when cowboys challenged each other to contests of riding and roping for entertainment. The rider sits bareback on a wild bull weighing over 2.000lbs, and holds onto a rope to avoid being thrown.
To choose which bull you ride, move the joystick forward or back (if you feel lucky or like a fool try 'Earthquake'). You must respond to the bull's movement. If he bucks you hold the joystick in the direction that he bucks. If he spins you must hold back while he spins around. When he halts you must move the joystick in the opposite direction to the way he is facing.
The heather-splashed hills of Scotland are the birthplace of the ancient caber toss. In this famous event from the Scottish Highland Games, athletes throw a tree trunk the size of a small telegraph pole. Cabers vary in size. The Braemar caber, one of Scotland's greatest challenges, is 19 ft long and weighs more than 120 lbs.
To run with the caber, move the joystick left and right in rhythm with the athlete's feet. To gain speed increase the tempo of the rhythm smoothly. To plant your feet and throw the caber, press and hold the button. As the caber pivots in your hands, release the button to complete the throw. If you release too soon or too late the caber may not flip correctly.
Sumo is an ancient Japanese sport with many traditions. Two huge wrestlers grapple in a clay-surfaced ring, trying to topple each other to the ground or push each other out of the ring. Japanese boys must weigh 160 lbs at the age of 13 to enter sumo apprenticeship, and todays pro's often weigh 400 lbs. You have a variety of moves you can do by moving the joystick in different directions with or without the firebutton. The computer maintains stamina and balance factors for each wrestler.
The background views are very good, but not many of the other graphics come up to this standard. The crowds in the background remind me of the crowds in Summer Games on the C64. Some of the contestants are very good, but most aren't. The characters in bull riding are of pretty poor quality (considering the capabilities of the Amiga.) One amusing thing was in Weightlifting. If you didn't drop the bar your lifter's face would slowly turn a darker shade of red, finally ending with you falling through the floor and the weight falling on your head.
The music is only of C64 standard with the same dreadful sounding instruments. The sound effects aren't even really of C64 standard. I think that Epyx should spend more time investigating the sound chip of the Amiga.
Not a game which uses the full potential of the Amiga, but it still is a good effort. The first games for the 64 weren't even up to the same proportionate standard.
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