In Sydney 2000, the official PC game of the 2000 Olympics, there are twelve official Olympic events: 100M Sprint, 110M Hurdles, Hammer, Javelin, Triple Jump, High Jump, 100M Freestyle Swimming, 100M Platform Diving, Kayak K1 Slalom, Super Heavyweight Weight Lifting, Olympic Sprint Cycling and Skeet Shooting. You choose which of 32 countries to represent.
The game's developer, Attention to Detail, does a superb job in representing the Olympic venues in Sydney, Australia where the events took place. Six authentic venues are included with 18 more pre-Olympic environments. The authentic venues were actually created from blueprints and do an excellent job of infusing the game with a realistic Olympic look and feel. The camera views and positioning are also excellent. The intelligent camera system has over 600 positions that are based on actual Games Host Broadcast TV feeds. The inclusion of Olympic commentators Dwight Stone and Marty Liquori add to the overall experience as well.
Modes of play in Sydney 2000 include an Arcade Mode (play any of the events) and an Olympic Mode where you train for and try out each Olympic event as a different athlete, competing to become an Olympic participant. A third mode, Head to Head, allows you to play simultaneously against other opponents. Before you can compete for a medal, you first have to work your way through pre-Olympic games. The problem here is the overwhelming monotony of gameplay -- you can easily lose interest and desire to continue the game.
Much of the problem lies in the area of control. Seemingly more suited to a console, Sydney 2000 requires you to push one or two keys repeatedly to increase power, run, or build up speed to jump. For example, in the 110-Meter Hurdles, you start tapping the power keys as fast as possible after the starting gun is fired. The faster you hit the keys, the faster you run. When a hurdle is reached, you press the action key to jump then start tapping feverishly on the power keys again until the next one. All the events and exercises are done in this manner and it makes for an often-frustrating experience, not to mention very tender fingertips.
As you work your way through training and stages of competition, you also find that computer athletes are tougher and much more skilled. Between official competitions, you have to make good use of the gym and training levels to be able to place for any medal. In the training levels, you basically do three different exercises that, unfortunately, also require incessant and excessive key banging.
The multiplayer aspect seems exciting at first glance. Upon further investigation, though, you quickly realize that options are limited. The game's multiplayer action is restricted to only four people playing against one another on the same computer -- Internet play is sadly lacking. As it is, though, one player uses the keyboard while the other three must use three connected (daisy-chained) game pads.
One saving grace of Sydney 2000 is the ability to save your game as you progress through the Olympics. This actually becomes a necessity of the game since you'll need to periodically stop and rest your weary fingers after about 30 minutes of continuous gameplay. Sydney 2000 is a somewhat difficult game to play on the PC and the repetitive style of gameplay is a big disappointment.
Graphics: The 3D graphics are the best part of the game. The venues look great and you have a wide selection of different looking athletes from which to choose. The camera views and motion capture is also well done.
Sound: The sound effects are fairly good and the voiceovers are decent but, unfortunately, there aren't enough of them.
Enjoyment: What started out as enjoyment soon turned to frustration. The gameplay is rather repetitive but aspects like gym training exercises between events add a bit of variety.
Replay Value: Sydney 2000 provides a decent level of replay value since you can choose various athletes in the dozen events.
People who downloaded Sydney 2000 have also downloaded:
Athens 2004, Salt Lake 2002, Torino 2006, RTL Winter Games 2007, Alpine Ski Racing 2007: Bode Miller vs. Hermann Maier, Ski Racing 2006 - Featuring Hermann Maier, Tennis Masters Series 2003, Beijing 2008
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