California Games (Epyx) Review | Your Sinclair - Everygamegoing

Your Sinclair

California Games
By U. S. Gold
Spectrum 48K

Published in Your Sinclair #27

California Games

Crikey, its the game that Commodore owners (yeuch!) have been crowing about recently - California Games, a joystick waggling multiple-event affair. Last time I played a 'waggler' my joystick shaft suddenly went all wibbly and came off in my hand, but as the California Games menu screen finally popped into life can you guess what was missing? ... a joystick option! Anyway, onto the six multiple-loading events, which can be played in any order you desire:

  1. Half-Pipe Skateboarding
    You have to ride your skateboard up and down the walls of a U-shaped ramp, performing as many stunts as you can in 75 seconds. There are three stunts; ariel-turn, hand-plant and kick turn, and believe me, they are HARD to master.
  2. Footbag
    Keep a bean-bag in the air for 75 seconds by kicking with your left or right foot, or by heading it. Perform stunts (eg 180 degree turns) while the bag is in the air to get your points. Bit tricky this one, as the bean bag is about the same size as a pixel!
  3. Surfing
    This one's totally simple, but strangely enough I found it the most satisfying of the lot to play. Just turn your surfer left or right to keep him upright on the wave. Points are gained by flying off the crest of the wave and then successfully rejoining it (ie by not 'wiping out' or to coin a far hipper phrase, 'crashing into the water').
  4. Roller Skating
    Pump the keys to gain speed and negotiate the hazards on the right to left scrolling sidewalk (or 'pavement' as one would say here in good old blighty). Points are scored for 360 degree spins.
  5. BMX Bike Racing
    Again, a right to left scroller, but with bumps, humps and jumps. Points are scored for performing a variety of stunts while airborne, but be careful how you land, or you'll 'chew sand' (erm, that means crash, I think). And finally...
  6. Flying Disk
    Pump the keys to throw the frisbee with the correct power and angle. Once it's been launched the control switches to the catcher. Score points for, well, for catching it basically. Similar to the javelin event in Daley Thompson's Decathalon although, luckily, you didn't have to catch that!!

Righto, summing up time. Well, the graphics are certainly big and chunky with reasonable animation and use of colour, but alas, the sound is kerrapp!!! (A couple of 'ping' noises, but that's it). The "challenge quotient" is average for a game of this genre, but is enhanced if competing against chums ('cos up to four bods can play, you see). All in all not a bad bundle of games, but I for one was expecting better. Dare I say it? ... Yes I do: I think California Games (the Speccy conversion) was a little bit of a 'rush job'. Crikey!

Not too frenetic keyboard waggler with six quite playable West Coast flavoured events. Up to four can compete.

Duncan MacDonald

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