Wow, is that the time already?

Games: Summer Edition, The logo Amiga Computing Excellence Award

US Gold's timing is immaculate - not merely is the summer well and truly over, but these Games are set at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. So we are doubtly out of date. The delay can be almost wholly attributed to US Gold not being over keen the original Epyx PC version, and commissioning The Code Monkeys to do the Amiga and ST versions. It was the right decision.
After a rather neat opening sequence it is time to choose the players and their countries. Each country is denoted by its flag and a short burst of national anthem which is, again, rather nicely done.
There are eight events in total - two more than the usual six - and in competition any number of them can be played in any order. There is a good practice mode where any of the sports can be played singly, useful for learning up an event to thrash the competition next time round.

First on the list is target archery, and jolly playable it is too. Separate scenes allow you to choose the draw length and the aim, which leads up to the release of the arrow. Six arrows have to be shot in 90 seconds, which is a bit of a rush. Hit the target and you are rewarded with a white rabbit running across the screen. Miss high or low and... No. I won't spoil the surprise for you. Anyway, the whole thing is completely unauthentic because they have got the draw length all wrong. I know this because I am a target archer, albeit a mediocre one.
Next off is velodrome cycling. This is done in a very swish filled polygon track. The event is the exciting 1000m Sprint. Only the last 200 metres are timed, the rest being an exercise in tactics. The idea is to let your opponent act as a windbreak until the last moment, when you scoot out for your final sprint.
The tactics are captured well, but the actual riders are too small to give any impression of the type of real-life acceleration that is needed - so explosive that bicycles have snapped under the strain. It is still my favourite event, though.

Springboard diving is good family entertainment, but perhaps a little too confusing to be anything else. Even with the initial run-up and jump timed correctly, a similar sequence of joystick moves produced either 1 percent or 90 percent of the top score. Your guess is as good as mine as to how this works out. But it is good for a laugh, with animated crowd and judges, plus something nasty that appears if you take too long. Hammer throwing is straightforward. All this little beauty requires is the correct swing and the correct release timing, both of which are easier said than done.
There are a few ways of getting it wrong - release on the backswing for example, which makes a hole in the fence, and release at the side, which makes a hole in the monitor. There are more. Actually scoring points is far less interesting.

The 400m hurdles is run over another filled polygon track, solid vector being officially old hat. The actual race is another "Daley Thompson's got shares in the joystick company so he does not mind if you break it" type game.

What is really nice is the tune, with a groovy James Taylor style organ break - James Taylor as in the eponymous Quartet, not as in BOF. Although running is easiest using the keys, a new keyboard for the A500 is a tad more expensive than a new Konix, so I am sticking with the latter.

Most athletics games make the Pole Vault the difficult bit. The Games is an exception - it is very difficult, maybe even extraordinarily so. There are many variables to get exactly right, but I guess that is the way it has to go until someone thinks of a better way of presenting it. The vault can be made, but it takes a long time trying. Again, as in almost all the events, there are some laughs to be had along the way when things go wrong.

Making up the eights are the two gymnasium events - the rings and the asymmetric parallel bars. The rings need fast and accurate movement between set positions, and then a hold in each position for two seconds. Like the diving, until you have become very experienced at the controls a random set of joystick moves can give as good results as following the script. If you fail in any way, the little man - whose animation, like most of the competitors in most of the events, amounts to hundreds of frames - dismounts, and starts crying. Aww! You then have the honour, or the ignominy, of being photographed for the back page of a digitally plagiarised tabloid.

The asymmetric parallel bars - Epyx calls them Uneven, which is shorter and easier to spell - has your female competitor doing a set series of moves, egged on by her companion on the sidelines. Again, random moves can prove fruitful, but then again they can result in the Back Splat Fall, which earns no points and is somewhat painful looking. Again, the tabloids are there to record your success or failure.

After all is finished there is a neat medal ceremony followed by a small closing ceremony, complete with flypast. And that is about it. Polished, very well presented, some good events, some bearable ones, and plenty of scope for competition.

Niggle the first: Although the graphics are good, only the top 200 lines are used - three marks deducted for that, I am afraid.
Niggle the second: The game loader spends at least half of its time seemingly not doing anything, with the drive motor off. It is almost certainly de-compressing data, but it does make you yawn now and then.
Niggle the third: Even though The Games comes on two discs, it won't use the second drive. OK, so the code fills a 512k machine completely meaning that a second drive - which needs about 20k - cannot be used, but why can it not auto-detect a disc change? We are talking "Insert disk into A: and press button" here. What a pain!
Niggle the last: The usual caveat about additional hardware should be heeded - The Games caused my elderly modem to get confused and hang the telephones for several hours. Not funny.
Niggles notwithstanding. The Code Monkeys have done a very creditable job - you would be very hard pressed not to find something you would enjoy here. But what a shame we did not have boxing. Remember the Korean team? Missed out on a serious piss-taking opportunity there.

Games: Summer Edition, The logo

EPYX/US GOLD £24.99 * Joystick or Keyboard

Epyx the company recently closed down in the States, but Epyx the software label lives on. This latest Epyx sporting extravaganza takes eight events from the Summer Olympics, and from several different types of sport.

From athletics there are the hammer throw, pole vault and 400 metre hurdles. From gymnastics there are the parallel bars and the rings. Making up the eight are archery, cycling and diving.

The events are set in Seoul, scene of the '88 Olympics, and even though this is a bit out of date, the scene is beautifully presented. There is the usual attention to detail from Epyx: world records in each event, and two player options (simultaneous for cycling or hurdling). The events can be practiced individually or put together into a competitive event comprising one or all.

The most complicated events are the two gymnastic disciplines and the diving. These involve many different manoeuvres rewarded by points scores. This skill element makes these the most difficult events to master. In the rings and parallel bars sequences of moves have to be put together, trying to attain as much difficulty and as little repetition as possible. The diving has as many different moves, but obviously you can only select and perform one type of dive at a time.

None of the events are out-and-out wagglers, but the cycling and hurdles need the most. The cycling takes place around the banked turns of the velodrome against another rider. The riders dawdle around three laps, conserving their energy, and then burn it up on the last lap. You can also slipstream behind the other cyclist in the race to save energy.

The hurdles involve little more than just waggling, punctuated by whacking the fire button to clear the hurdles. The timing is important because getting it wrong results in a fall and being out of the race. The pole vault also involves some waggling but it has to be in rhythm to build up speed. Then it is a matter of timing joystick moves to plant the pole and swing your body over the bar.

The hammer throw can provide one of the game's highlights but only when you make a mistake. Mis-time the throw and the hammer comes hurtling towards the screen, shattering it spectacularly. The hammer speed is built up by anti-clockwise cycling of the joystick - a bit tough on keyboard players if there are any.

No surprises in the archery, it is just a matter of aiming at the target and allowing for the wind level (indicated by a windsock). There are only six arrows to shoot, but they do have to be loosed off within the time limit.


An excellent job has been made of the graphic presentation of all the events. The character animation is smooth and the scrolling for track events like the cycling and hurdles is also slick. There are lots of pleasant musical accompaniments to the events but not much in the way of sound effects.


There is little left to be said about Epyx's sport simulations: they are always competent and enjoyable. This one ahs been well programmed, delightfully presented and has some excellent highlights. It is not going to get too many pulses racing though, because there is not much new about it.

Games: Summer Edition, The logo

Wer die letzte Sommerolympiade im Fernsehen verpennt hat, hat jetzt die Gelegenheit, das Versäumte am Amiga nachzuholen - als Teilnehmer!

Mit gemischten Gefühlen machte ich mich an diesen Test, denn was konnte man schon Großartiges erwarten - nach dem Totalreinfall "Winter Edition" und den alten fast "eins zu eins" C64-Konvertierungen "Winter" und "World Games"? Aber siehe da: Epyx hat sich dismal zusammengerissen und die bis heute wohl beste Sportsimulation für den Amiga herausgebracht!

Summer Edition sieht wirklich nicht mehr nach C64 aus: Die Grafik ist Amigawürdig, der Anfangs-Zoom ins Stadion hinein ist atemberaubend schnell, und der Sound peppiger denn je (ein bißchen IK+ ähnlich allerdings).

Losgehen tut es mit den unvermeidlichen Formalitäten: Bis zu acht Spieler können sich eintragen und für ein Land ihrer wahl antreten. Dann muß man sich entscheiden, welche der insgesamt acht Disziplinen man durchlaufen will, oder ob es sofort zur Sache (sprich: Wettkampf) gehen soll.

Gleich zu Beginn geht es ins Velodrom, wo in drei Runden der Schnellste auf zwei Rädern ermittelt wird. Stehen keine menschlichen Mitstreiter zur Verfügung, schwingt sich unsere "Freundin" selbst in den Sattel, um den Spieler auf der Bahn zu begleiten. Dies ist leider die einzige Disziplin, in der zwei Gegner simultan antreten können.

Zweite Station ist das Bogenschießen. Um ins Schwarze zu treffen, müssen Windrichtung, Windstärke und Bogenspannung richtig kalkuliert werden. Man sollte aber ruhig mal an der Scheibe vorbeischießen, die Programmierer haben sich bein allen Sportarten ein paar tolle Gags für Totalversager einfallen lassen (werden hier natürlich nicht verraten!). Als nächstes kommen Turmspringen, Hammerwerfen, Hürdenlauf und Stabhochsprung an die Reihe, wobei der Sprung über die Latte sogar groß in Zeitlupe wiederholt wird. Zuletzt geht es dann zum Turnen an die Ringe und den Stufenbarren. Das sind auch gleichzeitig die beiden schwierigsten Sportarten, jedenfalls wenn man sie mit dem Joystick bewältigen muß!

Gegenüber der 64er-Version ist einiges dazugekommen: so sind die Icons der Disziplinen animiert, und es gibt jetzt mehr Gags. In Game-Sounds und eine ganze Reihe irrer Zooms. Leider hat man aber auch manch hübsche Kleinigkeit weggelassen, die Medaillenverleihung ist beispielsweise in der 16 Bit-Fassung nicht animiert. Zum Ausgleich ist die Ladegeschwindigkeit erträglich, und auch die Diskwechsel halten sich in vertretbaren Grenzen. Wer auf Sportsimulationen steht, dem garantiert Summer Edition wahrhaft olympischen Spielspaß! (mm)

Games: Summer Edition, The logo

US Gold/Epyx
Price: £24.95

The latest in Epyx's now slightly tired athletic sims to appear on the Amiga is linked to the long forgotten Seoul Olympics, which is a shame because it is an improvement on their recent releases.

The Games Summer Edition allows you to complete in eight events: archery, cycling, the parallel bars, the rings, the pole vault, diving, the hammer and the 400m hurdles.

You may practice any event before bidding for gold against the computer or friends. Each player chooses which country to represent and then proceeds to the game. Several of the events are standard waggle type games but some require careful practice with the joystick before progress can be made.

Graphics are extremely varied due to the different events and are always to an exceptionally high standard. Animation is beautifully smooth and there is plenty of it too. There are some nice graphic touches too, as in the archery event, when a mole appears cursing in Korean if you bury an arrow in the ground. Sound is also good, and although spot effects are occasionally a little lacking the myriad of excellent tunes more than makes up for this.

Epyx have introduced new twists to some events that set The Games Summer Edition out from the rest. For example, in the hurdles and cycling the track moves relatively to your athlete (rather than the other way round) by use of some excellent 3D routines.

Sensible control systems make it easy to get into the game straight away but cleverly designed events mean that much practice will be required.

The little touches of humour and style are present as in all Epyx games and they really do help to keep the player hooked until you can boast absolute perfection. One grip is that the program is on two disks and it does not recognise the second disk drive which means that a reasonable amount of disk swapping is required. Nevertheless The Games Summer Edition is a useful multi-format sports simulation software and I do not hesitate to recommend it.

Games: Summer Edition, The logo

Epyx/US Gold £24.99

Exactly one year after the 64 game (Issue 44, 49%) comes the 16-bit version of Games: Summer edition. And as usual with Epyx it's being released out of season - what do you mean you thought December was the height of summer? Well, only in the southern hemisphere!

Anyway, it's time to slip off your wellies and duffel coat again to play eight very summery events. One or two players can practise or compete in the extremely exhausting uneven parallel (asymmetric to most people) bars, rings, hammer throwing, diving, 400m hurdles, pole vault, cycling, and the slightly more leisurely archery.

Phil King As usual with Epyx, the presentation of Games is very good with different music with different music for each event and some nice graphical touches. Sadly, as in the 64 version, the events themselves are very simplistic, requiring very little input from the player. Although this makes Games very easy to get into, its long term appeal is severely impaired.
Stuart Wynne There may well be some nice graphical touches, but unlike Phil I was generally disappointed with presentation which looks more like a nice PC product than an Amiga one. Gameplay is unimproved, and it's a real shame there's not more head-to-head two-player options. I've never really been a fan of these sorts of games, and this certainly hasn't converted me at £25.