Epyx have moved away from the hot, sweaty and dizzy
heights of Summer Games to those of a far colder,
but equally sweaty clime of Winter Games, their
third sports simulation to be released in Britain.
game has a similar format and presentation to the Summer
Games bilogy (well you have a trilogy, so
why not a bilogy)? The options open to you are
the same, with the choice of three competition modes
or a practice mode. The former allowing you to compete
in either one, some, or all of the events in the form
of a one-off, the latter to practice one event as many
times as you wish. You can also view the world records
and repeat the opening ceremonies as before. Even the
act of selecting your county is performed in the same
manner. However, there are only seven events in Winter
Games as opposed to eight in Summer Games.
Nothing to do with flying sausages, but a test of how
well you can manoeuvre on skis whilst flying through
the air. The object of the exercise is to score as many
points out of ten as possible by performing a stunt,
or stunts, during a short ski jump. You are allowed
three attempts at proving your worth.
skier starts atop a small peak with a mountain range
and static crowd in the background. A press of the fire
button ejects him from his perch and for the short period
of time he is in flight you must perform one or more
movements from the six available. You must also land
successfully since falls are penalised, as are poorly
executed, or 'awkward', movements. Points are awarded
by eight different judges and an average is taken for
your final score.
This is the first of three skating events and is a timed
test of grace, accuracy and coordination. You have one
minute (real-time) to perform seven compulsory movements
with as much elegance and precision as possible, and
without falling over in the process!
event takes place on an indoor ice rink (where else?)
that scrolls from right to left as your skater does
her stuff. One can skate either forwards or backwards,
depending upon which manoeuvre you wish to execute.
Certain jumps and spins can only be performed by skating
in the correct direction.
with the Hot Dog event, you are penalised for
performing an 'awkward' movement or falling, so one
must time all jumps etc carefully. For instance, spin
for too long and you fall over through dizziness! At
the end of the allotted minute, eight judges rate your
performance and an average for your final score is taken
as before. One can score no less than a shameful zero
and no more than a perfect six, since the marking scheme
used is similar to the real thing.
High atop a man-made ski-run stands a lonesome skier,
shivering with cold and anticipation. He crouches low
and pushes off with a push of the fire button. Down
the runway he speeds, the wind pressing hard against
his body and his mind concentrating hard on the jump
reaching the end of the strip he sails majestically
into the air, temporarily at one with elements until
he lands, heavily, the snow breaking his fall and a
few bones simultaneously. Whoops. Who forgot to adjust
his position during the skier's brief flight, then?
Ski Jump is effectively the next step on from
the Hot Dog, although no acrobatics are required.
One has simply to jump as far as possible to score points,
but style is also of importance. While the skier is
in the air he meets wind resistance, and this affects
his 'balance'. Therefore one must ensure that the skier
is as aerodynamic as possible and that any faults that
occur along the way, such as crossed skis and bent knees,
are quickly corrected.
Although the Americanism may suggest otherwise, this
event is in fact Freestyle Skating and is a sort
of extended version of the Figure Skating. Instead
of having to execute only seven movements successfully
in one minute, you are required to perform them three
times in two.
music played during the event is different, and so is
the scoring system used for judging. Greater skill is
needed though, as you have to perform for longer, but
other than that the game is the same.
This event is very similar to the rowing in Summer
Games II, being a head-to-head split-screen race.
Each player may choose their lane and after the countdown
it's a speedy race down the 250m straight. The joystick
is used in Decathlon fashion although it's not
frantic speed waggling that is required, but good rhythm
in time with the skater's legs. When you first start
racing you have to do some swift waggling to build up
speed, but once you're cruising it is leisurely strokes
that gain the optimum results. Both screens scroll independently
with each player. There's a bar so the player can gauge
the speed and also a timer.
The Biathlon is a gruelling race on skis over a beautifully
drawn country track with only a .22 calibre rifle for
company. You have to make your way through valleys and
up and down hills between four separate points. At each
point there are five targets, and this is where your
gun comes into action -- load the gun and try to hit
the targets. You only have five shots at the five targets
and, because each miss will give you a five second time
penalty, every shot counts.
is a fluent left/right movement to make your skier move
across the ice surface. If you go too fast then he just
slips (like running on ice), too slow and it takes ages
to build up speed. When you go downhill use up and down
on the joystick to dig your ski sticks into the snow
to send you zooming down the slope. When you reach a
hill it's swift left/right movements that are to get
you to the top.
the end of the race your time is shown and any shooting
penalties incurred are taken into account, the winner
being the one with the fastest time.
This event has very basic controls -- just steer the
bobsleigh left and right as you hurtle down the ice
track. The difficult thing is trying to find the best
tactic to allow you to gain speed and yet not end up
careering down the course like a drunken driver.