Forget Around the World in Eighty Days - try Around the World in Eight Sports! The masters of the sports simulation, Epyx, do it again with this classic collection of fun national pastimes from Russia, Germany, Mexico, France, Canada, USA, Japan and Scotland.
You may have been wondering just what sports Epyx could drum up to fill this latest computerised compendium. Well in this little package you get weightlifting, barrel jumping, cliff diving, slalom skiing, log rolling, bull riding, caber tossing and sumo wrestling.
Before each event you see an intro screen which tells you about the history of the sport you are about to compete in plus little graphics showing scenic bits of the country the sport comes from and a little BBC rotating globe with the country flashing on it just to show you where in the world you are! A really nice touch this.
On the disc version you can skip the "travelogue" if you wish, but on tape you have to load it in as you go.
First up in our world tour is Russia where we take part in a spot of weightlifting. Two different events here the "snatch" and the "clean and jerk". Each style of lifting requires nifty joystick manipulation to get it right. You can select a weight to add weights on and they can be seen pilling up accompanied by some satisfying metallic sound effects.
If you lift the weight successfully the three judges - represented by red/white traffic light affairs at the bottom of the screen - give you the okay.
Timing is crucial as you add on the weights - miss the right time to complete the lift and your lifter will end up with a bruised big toe.
The lifting over with, it's off to wintery Germany where we can indulge in a spot of barrel jumping. You select the number of barrels you want your skater to jump. It all takes place on a frozen lake folks!
Remember your Decathlon skills and move the joystick carefully left and right to build up a proper skating rhythm. The faster you go the better.
Hit the fire button to jump and watch as your skater leaps the line of barrels or falls flat on his face as the case may be. Fun for all the family here.
After that chilly climate it's nice to arrive in Mexico where the sun is shining. Now for the bad news. We want you to throw yourself off this 118 foot cliff into the sea. You've never heard of the famous cliff divers of La Quebrada, Acapulco? Where have you been?!
These lunatics dive into the sea off a jagged cliff into raging surf. Here's your chance to have a go without risking your neck.
More joystick skills are required here to score maximum points for style and distance jumped. Watch out for the rocks under the surface, the ever changing winds and seagulls.
After all that it's a joy to get back to the simple pleasures of slalom skiing in France. Here all you have to do is hurl your battered body down a steep snow covered slope, weaving dangerously through "gates" marked by flags.
This is a timed event and any penalties your skier suffers add precious seconds to his overall time. And you'll be disqualified altogether if you fall. But you'd never do that, would you?
Get those skis off quickly now! You certainly won't need them where you are going next. Yes, we're off to the land of the lumberjack - Canada - for a lesson in log rolling. This is something out of It's a Knock Out. Two grown men stand on top of a floating log and attempt to get it rolling in such a way to make the other chap fall off. Not easy - especially when you're up against the computer.
Balance and rhythm are important here if you can stop giggling at the tune which plays along with this event. Yes it's Monty Python's "I'm a Lumberjack" tune.
Watch especially for the falling off routine. The victim plunges into the water with a satisfying splash and then resurfaces, furry hat over his face, and shakes his head. But I never knew you got sharks in Canadian lakes!
Onward to the good old USA and the rodeo ring. Elmer the bad tempered bull is waiting for you to take him for a ride.
Select a bull to ride - there are five of the beasts each with varying temperaments. Then climb on and hope to stay there as the bull bucks and runs around the rodeo ring attempting to throw you off. Which 99 times of 100 he will.
Practice is the only way to succeed here, as you'll have to learn to anticipate the bull's moves and respond quickly otherwise you'll end up in the dust with the bull doing a Muttley style laugh above your prone body.
Had enough? No? Then come with us to Bonnie Scotland where the locals love nothing better than throwing old telegraph poles about. Tossing the caber is the most spectacular event in any Highland Games and here the sport is reproduced in all its glory - including a bagpipe soundtrack which brought tears to the eyes of Craig the C+VG designer.
Once more, timing and skilful manipulation of the jockstick - sorry joystick - are key to throwing the caber successfully. Drop it and the caber could pound your little Scotsman into the ground Tom and Jerry fashion! Do it right and he does a Highland fling while the crowd goes wild.
The biggest bits of wood you'll see in the land of our next sport are chopsticks. The sporting trip around the world ends in Japan with a battle of the giants. Two huge Sumo wrestles grapple for supremacy in this ancient oriental sport.
The idea is to score points by defeating your opponent in the most elegant and stylish way. The joystick controls are pretty complex and require a bit of getting used to. But this could just be the best game of the collection in my humble opinion. Real skill is necessary to put a good combination of moves and holds together.
All the events have great graphics and superb sound. Some are more playable than others. The only really duff events in my view are the diving - too simplistic - the bull riding - too hard to get to grips with.
All the events have their own humorous graphic frills. The neat falling off sequence in the log rolling event, the caber falling on the, er, thrower in the Scottish event, the laughing bull in the rodeo sequence and the red faced weightlifter.
The game comes with some excellent instructions which include hints and tips on play and the tape version loads pretty painlessly - although if you don't want to play a game at the start of the tape some work with a pencil, paper and the tape counter is necessary.
World Games is well worth a place in anyone's Christmas stocking. Great value for money, extremely playable.