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California Games (DOS)

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MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.9
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Roedie (5226)
Written on  :  May 25, 2003
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Summary

This radical game is totally awesome dude!

The Good

Please forgive me for talking like Bill & Ted in my online summary, I just wanted to give an example of the language used in this game. If you didn't know by now, California Games is about extreme sports that became popular in the eighties.
  • The whole eighties extreme sports theme is one of the reasons why this game is fun. It's visible in the gameplay, the cool graphics, the (official) brand names and, as mentioned, in the language. This one simply has style, just look at the cool title screen with the state of California license plate. You just got to love the game's presentation.
  • The game has many nice touches and charming humor: Hitting the seagull with the footbag, the letters of the Hollywood sign falling down, the boy whistling at the girl while roller-skating, the appearance of the dolphin during surfing etc.
  • Great graphics & animation (the surfing event was especially well done) and neta sound effects (always used at the right moments). The music was allright and fortunately it only played before the start of an event, not while you were competing so it didn't distract you (No, I'm not a big fan of PC speaker tunes).
  • Of course Calgames wouldn't have become a classic if it didn't also had great gameplay. Oh boy, Calgames is easily the best of Epyx's Games-series. There are six events: Half-Pipe, Footbag, Roller-Skating, Surfing, Flying Disc and BMX.
    1. All the events are fun to play.
    2. All the events are different (unlike Winter Games with biathlon & cross-country and, yuck, two figure-skating events).
    3. All the events had controls you could actually master (unlike the high-jumping event in Summer Games II or bull-riding in World Games)
    4. And best of all, none of the events relied on button-bashing (think speed-skating from Winter Games or Summer Games' rowing).
  • This was a great game to play with the family or a friend. Up to 6 (or 8?) persons could compete in the tournament and everybody had his favorite events. Before the tournament you could pick your own sponsor and for every event there were some huge trophies you could win.

The Bad

  • You couldn't do any cool tricks on the half-pipe (only turns).
  • I always fell down the ramp at the end of the BMX course :->

The Bottom Line

One of the definite classics of the first decade of PC gaming. I can't imagine there's anybody out there who doesn't like playing California Games.