Tension mounts as athletes crowd the arena. Bang! They're off, with the deafening roar of the crowd ringing in your ears. Then the TV packs in and the excitement is gone. "Not so!" I hear you cry: "What about Summer Games, Winter Games and now The Games by Epyx available now from all good software shops?"
This latest edition is lightly, and somewhat belatedly, based on Korea 83, and bears perhaps not unexpectedly a remarkable likeness to the other Epyx sports sims. There are eight events and nice opening and option screens. The events include archery, velodrome cycling (Don't worry, I had never heard of it either), diving, hammer throwing, hurdles, pole vault, rings and uneven parallel bars.
The options include practice (disk only), review world records or go right in and compete with up to seven other players. The opening ceremony shows a map of Korea and pictures of its culture, while A Sickening Tune plays throughout.
Diving is great fun. especially trying out the different variations. The diver can be made to spin, swan dive, belly flop or indeed do all three - and more. The only problem is that it is difficult to see where you ought to land, which can make for an interesting landing.
Next is the velodrome, a sort of cycling up the wall against an invisible opponent (yes, really!). It requires a good deal of waggling and a great deal of patience. It's rubbish.
The uneven parallel bars are like diving, with numerous, easily mastered, moves. Having said that, all I could manage was to push the joystick and hope I didn't fall off. I fell off.
The rings are the hardest event, and I did some more falling off before I could get properly started. But you can perform several moves; at least, that's what the instructions say.
Hammer throwing requires technique or the hammer wraps itself around your head!
Hurdles is good but hard. You don't have to waggle too fast: it's more a case of accuracy. This probably explains why I can only do two before somersaulting and looking dizzy.
Although the pole vault has been done numerous times before, this version is as good as they get. You build up speed by waggling rhythmically as the man runs towards you, and then you see him vaulting sideways on.
Archery is my favourite. First you pull back the bow by pressing fire, then you take aim - a great deal of experimenting is needed at this stage. Finally you let fly by pressing the fire button again. Then it's time to see how you did, and/or to work out what went wrong.
Having competed in all these events, it's time for you receive the medals and listen to The Sickening Tune again.
This is only the second Epyx sports sim I've played, and I must say I enjoyed it. The instructions are well set out, and the diagrams and chalk talk (as the playing tips are rather cleverly called) are especially good. Inevitably, there are bad points - the odd duff event, in this case velodrome cycling, and the fact that it's a multi-loader.
Overall, though, The Games is well worth investing in if you like this format or you're just beginning to build up a software collection. It may not occupy your screen forever, but it's fun while it lasts.
Try not to fault when you vault!
P. Lots of colour.
P. Very detailed too.
N. The odd, hardly realistic, beep.
N. A sickening tune.
Grab Factor 68%
N. You have to wade through the instructions.
P. After that, you can't stop.
Staying Power 73%
P. You can continue to improve.
To be kept for a long afternoon.