California Games II (US Gold) Review | Amiga Power - Everygamegoing

Amiga Power

California Games II
By Epyx
Amiga 500

Published in Amiga Power #18

California Games II

Yo dudes, and dudettes! In this age of Wayne's World, Baywatch, Beverly Hills 90210 and the Olympics, what could make more topical (i.e. commercial) sense than for a software company to evoke a tiny morsel of the atmosphere from each in a single concept? Think West Coast humour and slang, think sea and surf think glamour and riches, and then think sports, of sorts. Sounds wacky? Sounds exciting? Sounds refreshing? Sounds fun? Sure, it sounds all of these things but unfortunately California Games II evokes 'just a tiny morsel' of each superlative.

It's not that any of the five sports are particularly bad, just boring. For example, Snowboarding involves being dropped by parachute from a helicopter onto a steep, snow-covered, mountain from where you surf down to the sandy beach, which sounds as amazing as it is preposterous. However, the reality is a numbingly repetitive pressing of the fire button to jump over logs and rocks on a simplistic obstacle course, nothing else really happens.

And so it is throughout the other sports. Bodyboarding, Jet Surfing, Skateboarding and Hang Gliding. The idea in each is to do stunts for extra points, but the individual games simply don't inspire enough enthusiasm for you to want to master the rather limited techniques on offer. An eight player competition mode adds some incentive, but basically it's all too familiar.

Possibly I'm being a bit hard, but the Epyx were making equally good, if not better, sports sims way back in the mid-Eighties when their Summer, Winter and World Games series seemed the ultimate in sophistication to your average Commodore 64 enthusiast. So what happened? Complacency? It's like in Epyxville the Amiga was never invented and time stood still, when will the old dog learn some new tricks? The only truly surprising thing about California Games II is the price. £25.99? Get real, dudes.

The Bottom Line

This is a non-essential item that will earn a fair recommendation when it eventually arrives in the budget bin where it belongs. But for the moment, it's most un-excellent.

Ronnie Randall