Atari User

Winter Olympiad '88

Author: Bob Chappell
Publisher: Tynesoft
Machine: Atari 400/800/600XL/800XL/130XE

Published in Atari User #37

Winter Olympiad '88

Coming hot on the heels of the recent Winter Olympics is this new sports simulation from Tynesoft.

Although this style of game is now a little old hat, and similar ones were on the scene at least twelve months ago - notably Winter Games by Epyx - this fresh product from Tynesoft has a lot going for it.

It kicks off with a lively rendition of the signature tune from the BBC Ski Sunday program, then offers up to six players the chance to participate in any or all of five different events - the downhill race, ski jump, biathlon, slalom and bobsled.

Winter Olympiad '88

Each player can represent any country from twelve given, although this has little bearing on the game. The selection process is followed by a picture of the Olympic flame in full blaze and then it's on to the simulation itself.

All the events rely on judicious and timely joystick waggling to control the participant's movements and, sometimes, speed.

In the downhill race you view your skier from behind as he prepares to hurl himself down the slope. The objective is to manoeuvre him in and out of trees and sundry obstacles and deposit him safely across the finish line.

Winter Olympiad '88

It's not easy and, since you only get the one attempt, mistakes such as creaming yourself on a sitka spruce are costly - not to mention probably fatal.

Next comes the ski jump. If you ever thought you could do better than Eddie the Eagle, now's your chance.

Your man shuffles out from a hut and positions himself at the top of the long and menacing ramp: Your view is from behind him. Then it's all systems go as he launches himself down the jump.

Winter Olympiad '88

When he reaches take-off point the picture changes to give a side-on view of the competitor as he flies through the air.

Unless you manipulate your joystick correctly, chances are the poor chap's legs and skis will go every which way and he'll make an ungainly landing, usually face first.

Unlike Eddie, the jumper doesn't get up and smile when he goes base over apex but instead beats the ground with his fists.

Winter Olympiad '88

My skier must have had hands like raw beetrott by the time I'd finished because this is not one of the easier events to complete successfully, even though you do get three attempts at it.

The biathlon is somewhat boring and easy in comparison. It involves making to laps of a course on skis, the course consisting of a couple of flat tracks - one past a lake complete with motorboat - a short uphill climb, followed by a pretty bridge and then a short downhill run.

The view during this is from the side. However, during each lap you have two opportunities to draw a bead with your rifle and hit five static targets - 20 targets and 20 bullets in all. Here the view is from behind the competitor.

Winter Olympiad '88

The slalom is particularly difficult. Your view is from the side but moving downhill from right to left. You are supposed to weave past the appropriate poles but I found it only too simple to crash into the side barriers.

Finally comes the two man bobsled event. The sled is first pushed from left to right to the top of the run when the picture changes to give you a view looking down the run.

This is rather like Pole Position on ice with the run scrolling towards you and the backdrop scenery whistling across from side to side as you go round bends.

Winter Olympiad '88

A small display to the left of the main scene shows an overhead view of the course. The sled has a natural tendency to swerve up the banks as it hurtles round bends and it is your job to see that it doesn't overturn. The ride seemed to go on forever but this event turned out to be the easiest in my experience.

The game's main strength lies in the very picturesque graphics - lots of lovely Alpine scenery here for you to enjoy, and some good animation too. Sound effects and music are also used to the benefit of the game's atmosphere.

While the gameplay may not boast anything new or novel, and perhaps lacks lastiing interest, there's no doubt that Tynesoft has done a good job on this one and you certainly get your money's worth of thrills and spills.

Bob Chappell

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