Commodore User

Track And Field

Author: Ferdy Hamilton
Publisher: Konami
Machine: Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #49

Track And Field

Three years ago, Track And Field was at the top of the arcade gamer's playing list. These days, most people wouldn't give it a go if it was on free play in their local arcade. Why, then, do Konami choose to release it after such a long time? I suppose they can't lose, you release a licence they have lying around in the archives, ask the programmer to do a half-hearted rush job on the game, and Lee Wong's your uncle!

For those of you who weren't big enough to get into arcades until recently, I suppose I better explain a little about this famous athletics game. The game is set out in events. There are six events, the hundred metres, the event that separates the contenders from the no-hopers; the long jump - can you break Bob Beamon's long standing world record? Javelin, show Fatima Whitbread how it's done. 110 metre hurdles, a test of skill, and agility. Why not try your hand at hammer throwing? And round off a great days athletics with the high jump.

To do each event, the main ability you will need is waggling power [Ooer! - M.P.] No. That is, joystick waggling power [Oooh-err! - N.K.] This is getting ridiculous, I'll explain event by event.

  1. 100 metre sprint
    Back to basics here. Simply waggle your joystick as fast as you can till you hit the tape. The timing here is rather ridiculous - I smashed Ben Johnson's 'unbeatable' record, by over three seconds!
  2. Long Jump
    Wiggle the joystick from left to right (again!) until you reach the line and press the fire button and hold it down until you think the jumper is at the perfect angle (around 45 degrees). Thank you, David. Now let's go live over the Crystal Palace for the...
  3. Javelin
    Fatima looking composed, waggles her bum, er, joystick from left to right and then approaches the line and presses fire... she's held on too long... No, no, she hasn't it's 45 degrees, what a throw, it must be at least 90 metres. My, my she's a natural for the long jump. Well, who wouldn't be, the two events are identical.
  4. Hurdle
    'Nippy' Nick Kelly crouches eagerly waiting to begin his race against 'Luckless' Lacey who hasn't won an event so far. This is the biggest mismatch since Gardner versus Bruno. And they're off, athletically built Kelly grins a victory smile as he begins to take the lead. But a much psyched up, serious-looking Ed who is waggling at a slower pace than his rival, times his stab at the fire button perfectly and clears the hurdles faultlessly. Kelly at the meantime has clipped one or two with his knee, and... Oh, he's caught that one nastily, and the Ed dips to the tape and leaves a much embarrassed Kelly sprawled across the fifth hurdle. Oh my word!
  5. Hammer
    At last an event that doesn't require attempting to put your elbow out of joint. Simply start the player turning by a touch of the joystick. Watch him spin around until you feel he has gained enough speed through the centrifugal force and then press Fire and release at the correct angle, and watch it soar. This event is OK but I really should note that it gave Commodore User's chief joystick basher Linford Pattenden (Mike's cousin) a little trouble, as it relies heavily on timing, rather than speed.
  6. High Jump
    Again another event that requires no bashing of the Quickshot. Tap the joystick to watch your planet boost thirty metres up to the jump, then again with the fire button you must first judge his lift off angle, and then once more press the button so he descends correctly.
Track & Field

And your verdicts please, gents, over to Said Appatenden. "Well I must say, Dessy. I really feel it got off the blocks a little too slow to make an impact on the athletic sim race."

Let's ask that young South African prospect Miss Eugene Budd "It's not going to git past me in a harry. Quite frankly, it'll faull fauster than Mary Decker."

Unfortunately Daley Kelly was not available for comment as he was busy off the West Coast of America, surfin', skatin', and BMXin', but we spoke to his T-shift who only said "I wish they all could be Californian..."

So that about sums it up. The score as they say is settled, Track And Field came in eighth, but in all fairness, it was injured by bad graphics, obstructed by appalling sound, and the fight should've been stopped in one 'cause the game is older than Chuck Gardner.

To the serious cola-drinking, chocolate biscuit-eating-gamer, this honestly wouldn't last one cupful and two biccies. I'm sorry Konami, but no point in trying to flog a dead horse.

Ferdy Hamilton

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