Athens 2004

Moby ID: 14607
PlayStation 2 Specs
Buy on PlayStation 2
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Description official descriptions

The official game of the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad held in Athens in August 2004, Athens 2004 features 25 events spread around 8 sports, the real stadiums and arenas such as the state of the art Olympic Stadium built for the competition and the Panathinaiko, venue of the first modern Olympics, and 64 nations from all around the world.

While new developers Eurocom (following two games from ATD) kept most of the gameplay still inspired by the old button-mashers of the early 80s, some events feature interesting twists. While sprinting events don't need introductions, there are two middle distance events (800m and 1500m) that require the player to control their pace in order to reach the final curve fresh enough to have a second wind and sprint towards the finish. Other innovations are on field events, such as the high jump requiring the player to alternate buttons not as fast as possible, but time them as well as possible to the athlete's steps as possible, and the discus has the player circling the analogue knobs to build up power, among others.

All four swimming events are played in the same fashion as sprinting events, except the athlete must breathe as quickly as possible in intervals, or risks losing precious speed over a section of the race.

On gymnastics, floor exercises change according to sex: mens' is mostly based on power, with mashing sequences followed by timed button presses, while womens' require the player to follow on-screen cues (similarly to games such as Dance Dance Revolution), while rings to use both analogues to match the on-screen cues, and the vault has the player mashing the buttons before following an on-screen cue to perform the routine. Some of these events require the player to choose from a predefined routine, which affects the difficulty level and the maximum score awarded by the judges.

Making its first appearance in an official videogame, the equestrian individual jump competition requires the player to navigate the horse throughout the track, jumping over obstacles while keeping a steady pace, as the winner is who took the shortest time while collecting less penalties from hitting obstacles.

Archery is only slightly modified from previous games in the genre, but skeet now has the player following a predefined path instead of the free aiming gameplay of Sydney 2000.

Two game modes are included, the first being arcade (practice, single competitions and a special mode developed with dance mats in minds) and competition, where the player can customize their Olympics in order to play in just one final, compete in the decathlon or heptathlon, all pool or gymnastics events or become one in the Champion mode, featuring all 25 events, the winner being that with the most points.


  • Летние игры. Афины 2004 - Russian spelling
  • 雅典2004:奥林匹克运动会 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (PlayStation 2 version)

309 People (248 developers, 61 thanks) · View all



Average score: 60% (based on 34 ratings)


Average score: 3.3 out of 5 (based on 13 ratings with 1 reviews)

Sometimes Xs and Os aren't hugs and kisses.

The Good
Let me look into my crystal ball and tell you about Tranquility Base 2024 available for the PS7. Using the power of the platform, it's the best looking Olympics game yet—sweat globules float away from photorealistic athletes from around the world (and Denebula Prime) who complete in a variety of sporting events in accurately rendered lunar stadiums. In fact, the only problem Tranquility Base 2024 has is that it's a bit of a button masher. Sigh.

Back to Earth, Athens 2004 has many athletes from many countries competing in twenty-five events, the majority of which are completed by pressing X and O as rapidly as possible. I think some elements of athleticism don't translate to gaming well, but it's disappointing, in terms of game play, that the controls are fundamentally the same as the EPYX classic Summer Games.

Athens 2004 has basic one to two player support, with up to four players using the multitap. Players select one of the five regions of earth to represent (the Olympic Rings represent Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceana) and then a specific country within that region. While over sixty countries are represented, no national anthems (or the Olympic Anthem, for that matter) are included.

Twenty-five events are available, with most of the emphasis being on Track and Field and Aquatics events. The standard races (and all the swimming events) are OXOXOX endurance tests, but the longer 800m and 1500m races are geared towards strategy. Players control their runner's speed with the analog stick, but must be careful not to exhaust the runner's energy supply.

The better events strike a balance between button mashing and timing. In the Hurdles events, players alternate pressing X and O to run as fast as possible and L1 to jump. Other events, ranging from the Gymnastics Vault to the Javelin Toss have players building up speed with X and O, before utilizing the rest of the controller to complete the event.

Other events have nice control variations. The Equestrian Event relies on the analog sticks to direct the horse and control its speed. The Discus Throw uses the analog stick for the wind up and release. Archery has a nice dynamic where the player aims the bow, adjusting for the wind, at a target that grows smaller the longer the bow is drawn. The Men's Gymnastic Floor Event works by pressing the buttons at the correct time and the Women's Gymnastics Floor Exercise uses the dance pad using a control model familiar to DDR Max players (but doesn't work well with the standard controller).

There are a variety of game play modes, from simple practice sessions to official competitions where players can break the Olympic and World Records. Players can play through the entire 25 event roster, Competition modes focused on certain areas, or create a Custom competition with their favorite events. The memory card records the players' progress so they can review their personal bests.

Each event has color commentary, replays from different camera angles, and cheering crowds. These all come together nicely. After landing a lengthy long jump, the commentator reacted to how far I flew and the crowd roared. Then the judge held up a red flag, disqualifying my attempt and the crowd booed, but the replay showed that I faulted by stepping over the board before jumping.

Rounding up the good, I have no complaints about Athens 2004's graphics or sound (apart from the absent anthems). The commentary is good, even though the commentators aren't pulling from a deep pool of canned responses. In game effects sound convincing and I was pleased with the ambient effects.

The Bad
Athens 2004 is a button masher. This makes sense for some events, but for others it's just torture. I found all of the swimming events to be unplayable, because I couldn't sustain the XOXOXOX pattern and still breathe (not me, I had trouble pressing L1 when cued, for my swimmer). Likewise, I still haven't been able to complete the first Weight Lift and my Pole Vaulting is just sad. As an aside, I suck at Skeet Shooting and the Discus Throw which don't require button mashing while I'm quite good at the Long Jump and Triple Jump which do.

Athens 2004 is shallow. Only one piece of music is used for the Women's Floor Routine. There are many running and swimming events, but where's diving? Actually, where are the other Olympic Events which wouldn't require button mashing? Wouldn't fencing be cool, or any of the Aquatic Events involving boats, or Judo, or Cycling? With the Olympics, you have a wide range of events to pick from, but Athens 2004 avoids all the team sports and has either an overabundance or strange mixture of other events.

Athens 2004 is vanilla. It's inoffensive. All the countries are equal and there is no emphasis on individual athletes—no Michael Phelps, no Paul Hamm, no Svetlana Khorkina. If the Olympics have any draw, it's the connection with the athletes as we watch them compete, not against each other, but against themselves. There's no human face for Athens 2004 and no option to create an avatar, just a roster of stock characters.

The Games of the 2004 Summer Olympics were tainted with judging mishaps and doping. Events were delayed by raucous crowds, favorite athletes fell short, and while underdogs stepped up. There was magic and grandeur watching the Modern Games take place back at their home and at on the site of the Ancient Olympics. Eurocom Entertainment Software captured none of this.

The Bottom Line
Athens 2004 is not a terrible game, but you get the feeling that the developers knew that they had a very small window in which to release the product. If you don't mind button mashers, want a game where you can kill a few minutes by yourself or a few hours with some friends, then Athens 2004 has something to offer. If you are looking for a great Olympics game… well… Beijing is only four years away.

PlayStation 2 · by Terrence Bosky (5398) · 2004



The weird looking Olympic mascots are Phevos (male) and Athena (female). This brother and sister pair represent the spirit of the Olympics and connect the modern games with their ancient origin. Their bell-shaped appearance is inspired by ancient Greek dolls. Also of note, the game's load screens feature the official logos of the events, showing the Athens mascots in action.

Learn more about them at Olympic Mascots.


In 2004, Athens 2004 (PS2) has won the Gold-Award from the German VUD (Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland - Entertainment Software Association Germany) for selling more then 100,000 (but less then 200,000) units in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.


  • Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland
    • 2004 - Gold Award (PS2 version)

Information also contributed by Xoleras


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Silverblade.

Windows added by Kabushi.

Additional contributors: Terrence Bosky, Unicorn Lynx, Patrick Bregger, Zhuzha.

Game added September 21, 2004. Last modified February 23, 2024.