Strangely this is Sega’s second Olympics release over the past 8 months – their first one being Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games. This is the official game of this year’s Olympics and in fine tradition will have you waggling the analogue stick or mashing buttons until you develop RSI and, if you’re from the US anyway, try to sue. Brits will just complain quietly to the person next to them.
The game covers all 38 disciplines including the standard track and field events but also table tennis, judo, archery, cycling, weight lifting and swimming.
If you’re old enough to remember, this game takes ideas from both Konami’s Track and Field and US Gold’s Winter and California Games. Games are a mix of hitting buttons quickly and timing stick rotations , as well as matching button sequences as quickly as possible.
The game’s at its best when things are simple – waggle or mash to run and press buttons at the right time to jump and set your angle for jumps etc. Stupidly there’s an annoying charge system for running off the blocks which often leaves you doing a false start or leaving behind the pack and trying to catch up – absolutely useless if you’re doing the 100 metres.
It’s also annoying having to skip through all the animations before getting into a race or event. Games like these need to be instant especially if you’re playing with 7 others and taking it in turns. You can also play with 3 others online – and of course there’s online leaderboards for you to smash if you’re that obsessed with getting to the top of the tables.
This game’s like a Western – there’s a mix of good, bad and downright ugly and it’s all a little too disjointed. About ten of the events are enjoyable and for me that’s not enough to warrant buying this game at full price. Still, if you want to get into the spirit of the games and you want to rent it when they start on the 8th of August, then be my guest. Beijing 2008 gets an average 5 out of 10.