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The Games: Winter Edition (Commodore 64)

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Written by  :  Tom White (39)
Written on  :  Mar 20, 2010
Platform  :  Commodore 64
Rating  :  2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars
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Summary

A fun game when it's not confusing and frustrating

The Good

The game has some great animation all-around. The sound and music range from decent to better than decent, though the music is somewhat rare. It's most common in the Figure Skating game. Some of the events are fun to play, like the Ski Jump and there's a really nice opening cutscene and menu screen to draw you in from the start.

The Bad

Many of the different events are very hard to figure out and have horrible controls. The only way to have fun is to only play a few of the events and ignore some of the others, which makes the intended play through (Competing in all events) a highly unwanted thing.

The Bottom Line

Similar to Summer Games and other such Olympic-based games by Epyx, you can have up to 8 players take turns competing in each event. Every player can register a name, pick a country to represent, and compete against each other and possibly obtain world records. Each event is its own mini-game.

Luge: I honestly never have any idea what I'm doing when I play this event. It cuts from one section of the track to another and you have very limited time to figure out which direction to steer your competitor. It's difficult to even tell whether your actions even do anything most of the time. In fact, just leaving your joystick alone and watching will still allow you to complete the event without any problems. The only purpose to even trying is to shave off a few seconds by making more smooth turns.

Cross-Country: Cross-Country Skiing is rather awkward, requiring you to pump the joystick back and forth to give the skier momentum, and making travelling uphill really aggravating. There's little in the way of obstacles, meaning it's just the same repetitive motion for the entire event.

Figure Skating: You can select background music to skate to, and pick a bunch of techniques to arrange for your performance which sounds great. The idea of customizing your performance is excellent, but the execution is far from ideal. The controls are very awkward and there's little to no instruction as to how exactly you do these techniques. The skater seems to move on her own, meaning you only get to control the techniques themselves, which makes you feel less like you're in control and more just observing and button-mashing to provoke a response out of her. Each of the techniques can make the skater lose her balance but I have no idea how to prevent this from happening. Also, it's very easy to accidentally end your performance prematurely. Many times I've accidentally ended just as I started to get a score of 0.

Ski Jump: The most fun event, in my opinion. It's rather difficult to figure out the first few times but it gets easier with practice. The timing of the jump needs to be very good just to prevent you from falling on your face and playing the most hilarious sound effect in the history of gaming, and once you're in the air, you need to carefully position your skis with the ground to make sure you land properly. Tricky but doable, which is more than I can say for certain other events.

Slalom: This is very hard to master. You practically have to memorize the layout so you know when and where to turn and at what angle. It doesn't suffer from the game-breaking annoyances of certain other games, but it's highly difficult to play.

Speed Skating: This is like Cross-Country in that it requires you to pump the joystick back and forth, but in this case you have to time it with the animation of your skater and if you're not exact not only do you not go as fast, but you fall over. Frustrating.

Downhill: Downhill skiing has to be the worst event simply because I can't figure out how to do anything. It switches between two camera angles often. When you start, you speed downward from a sideways angle, then it switches to a first person view. Occasionally it will switch back to the sideways angle, but every time it does so I am utterly unable to prevent the skier from falling over and tumbling down the hill. It switches frequently, so every time I play I'm horribly mutilating myself the entire trip down until I hit the finish line where it refuses to give me a score because I wiped out. I honestly have no idea how you're supposed to win.