Olympic Gold review - Sega Megadrive
Every four years the world's finest athletes come together to compete in the Olympic games. On this great occasion they have the opportunity to realise their dream and return home in triumphant possession of a gold medal. Now you too can realise those dreams, but with this latest sports game you don't have to do any early morning training - all the action happens on-screen.
US Gold's Olympic Gold contains the whole spectacle, from the lighting of the torch to the medal presentations. There's the chance to become the new kid off the blocks in the sprint, be untouchable in the hammer and win Bully's special prize in archery. Four other gold medals can be won in the hurdles, the pole-vault, diving and swimming. Olympic competition can be tough so national or club standard is best for rookie athletes. Beginners can also learn perfect technique from the teaching facility which takes the player, step by step, through the necessary moves of the various disciplines. As talents flower, the challenge is not only to beat the opposition and claim the gold, but to break the Olympic and world records, thus ensuring a place in athletic history!
What the Mean Machines staff thought
When you consider all of the different events that make up the Olympics, US Gold haven't really chosen particularly exciting ones for this game. Only archery and diving are genuinely different and addictive. The rest are fairly run-of-the-mill: running, swimming and hurdles are all mindless button-mashing events, the hammer is plain dull and the pole vault frustratingly fiddly. I'm surprised that there's no simultaneous two-player mode. The multi-player option here only allows contestants to take turns, which isn't even half as exciting as competing with one another directly. There are plenty of decent touches throughout the game - the graphics and presentation are both great - but the bottom line is that this simply isn't anywhere near as good as it could have been.
With Olympic hype starting to grow, the timing of this release is just about spot on. Add to this my enthusiasm for athletics and you'd think Olympic Gold couldn't fail to impress. But I found nothing particularly appealing about this game. There's a wide variety of disciplines and events such as diving or the pole-vault demand practice and flare. The major drawback is the control method: getting something right can be a fidgety business and, at times, I found it difficult to pull off certain moves in the diving and hammer events. After plenty of practice it becomes easier, but this doesn't detract from the game's bland and unpolished style. I remember Track and Field in the arcades and it seems like things just haven't moved on. It's a pity that innovations in other sports games haven't rubbed off on Olympic Gold. As it stands, it's a merely adequate game that only just about justifies its price tag.