(C64 / Commodore 64)

Winter Games (C64 / Commodore 64)

Game Review

Winter Games Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Mat Allen

This is the winter portion of the world's foremost amateur sports competition, matching skills against the top athletes from one hundred countries.

It was inevitable that after two batches of events from the summer side of the Olympic festival that the third entry in the Games series would concentrate on the winter side instead. Offering seven different events, Winter Games features the ubiquitous options of competing or practising each event, or doing the whole tour with up to eight players. While most events require a degree of skill, only one of them sadly offers head-to-head competition.

Starting things off is the Hot Dog, a name perhaps not as well known as the event itself. Competitors ski down a small slope and into the air, whereupon they aim to perform a combination of tricks and spins before hopefully landing upright. Think of it as a cross between the ski jump and high diving. Obtaining decent scores is not that hard, but landing successfully and especially obtaining a perfect 10 will require a certain degree of practice and co-ordination on the controller to execute.

Second comes the Biathlon, an event that tests both skill and stamina. For the most part it is a long-distance cross-country ski contest, as progress is made up and down slopes around the course. Dotted in several places are a series of targets that must be shot at before continuing, hence the rifle slung on the back. Matters are not as simple as that however; the more exertion during the skiing sections, the higher your heartbeat reaches. The faster your heart is beating, the harder it is to hit each target, but it does decrease when resting. With a penalty for each target missed, there is a careful balance needed between haste and accuracy.

As they are so similar, Figure Skating and Free Skating are being grouped together in the same breath here. This is your chance to be the next Nancy Kerrigan (minus the iron bar) as your lithe female avatar takes to the ice and prances about a bit, hopefully not falling down in the process. Figure Skating is the fixed program of moves while Free Skating allows you to pick and choose what to perform, each move such as the camel spin and double lutz requiring timing on both pad and button to execute properly. As per competition rules, scores are accrued and subtracted for faults with the maximum being 6.

Next up is the opportunity to do better than Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards ever managed and soar into the far blue yonder with just a couple of long thin strips attached to your feet. Hurtling down the slope and launching yourself, you need to move the pad to adjust skis and posture in mid-air to maximise the possible distance gained (by reducing air resistance) and to obtain those all-important style marks, as the final score is based on a combination of the two. Needless to say landing properly is rather high up the list of requirements as well.

Speed Skating is exactly what it says on the tin, although for simplicities sake in the game it is carried out merely in a straight line as opposed to the melee-inducing chaos of the oval used in competition. Like the rowing of Summer Games 2, timing is the most crucial aspect of success here as the pad must be moved left and right in rhythmic strokes simulating the actions of the skater himself. Left, right, faster and faster until your thumb develops a small blister or you scream frustration at missing just one action and failing to beat your best time.

Last but by no means least is the chance to go 80mph in a metal can. That's right, you too can emulate the Cool Runnings film by partaking in the Bobsleigh challenge. The controls are fairly simple, just left and right to steer and no braking considerations, but an intimate knowledge of the course helps as differing degrees of steering are required depending on how tight each turn is. Getting the right line keeps the speed up without banking too high and hence keeps the overall time down. The action is viewed from behind the bobsleigh itself, giving you a direct line view as to what is coming up next.

So those are the events, but what about the overall package? If you've played any of the other Games series then it will be very familiar, with the same opening and closing ceremony presentation aspects, the ability to choose the country of allegiance and medals awarded after finishing each event. High scores in each event are recorded for posterity and bragging rights.


To be fair on those aspects it is no better or worse than the other entries, but the range of events is a little limiting to be honest. The fact there are two ice skating events merely compounds that to a degree, especially when they are probably the weakest part. The other five events however are much more worthy of practice and dedication, especially the Biathlon which is probably the strongest. Also as before, the game comes into a different realm when more than one person is taking part. If you enjoyed playing the other games already out on the VC, then you should definitely consider trying this one as well.

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User Comments (14)



Outrunner said:

Pass... Aside from Last Ninja, there hasn't been a C64 game I'd want. Bring out Flimbo's Quest already...



CanisWolfred said:

Not really interested in this one, honestly. I like to stay as far away from anything that reminds me of winter as possible.



Corbs said:

I loved Bruce Lee as well. I'm still hoping Master of the Lamps and Forbidden Forest make it to the VC.



timp29 said:

I never played bruce lee :/ But my favourite c64 games would be the last ninja series, saboteur, potty pigeon, monty mole, international karate, barbarian and I'm sure there are others, but my memory just doesn't work well when stretched back that far. I'm pretty sure I played Archon, and I do love the premise of that game, but when I had a c64 I didn't really give it much of a go.



tasthomas said:

@ Mickeymac...agreed.
@ Corbie.. I can't believe that somebody else has even heard of Forbidden Forest! The dragon was tough to beat, but the Grim Reaper was worse, and the last boss...just shoot straight up...easy.
I'd like Roadwar: Europa - the best videogame ever until Advance Wars came out. Airborne Ranger, and Koronis Rift would be nice too.



Junkface said:

I remember how much my friend and I loved Bruce Lee when we figuerd out I could play along as one of the bad guys. The big green ugly dude and we would team up on the ninja and kick his butt lol.



Corbs said:

I loved Forbidden Forest. I can still hear those odd sound effects and music playing in my head to this day. I played that game into the ground.



gig said:

Elite for the C64 was the best hands down. Head over Heels and Iball close contenders. The IK series were good but I want headbands, Way of the Exploding Fist had it all.

The Music to Bruce Lee was ace you can check it out at www.vgmusic.com



Captain_Konami said:

Bruce Lee was classic, though I found it frustrating.....didn't know what the heck I was doing. Sabotuer was mentioned and that was awesome. And Airborne Ranger......YES, I love to get that, F15 Strike Eagle, and Gunship on the VC C64.

And now I'm reminded of a VERY fun basic ninja game called.......Ninja, by Mastertronic I think. Oh and had much good time on Tales of the Arabian Nights.



tasthomas said:

Ahh, yes, Gunship was a great game! I used to always outfit my copter with 4 sets of the hellfire missles.

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