Daley Thompson's Olympic Challenge

by Bill Harbison, Dave Thompson, Jonathan Dunn
Ocean Software Ltd
Sinclair User Issue 79, Oct 1988   page(s) 12,13

Label: Ocean
Author: Dave Thompson
Price: £9.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tony Dillon

I'll say one thing for the Summer Olympics. They don't have Eddie Edwards in 'em! Another thing I'll say about them is that they must be the most computerised subject matter there is. Find me a software house that at some stage or other has not tried to do an authentic Olympic simulation. Impossible! Remember a while ago, Ocean joined in with Daley Thompson's Decathlon? That was 4 years ago, and now Daley's back with another version of the most gruelling ten events known to man. Unless, of course, that particular man knows of something a little more gruelling?

The decathlon is probably the largest event in the course of the Olympics. Spread over two days, the participants have to endure the 100m, 400m and 1500m races, the long and high jumps, javelin, shot putt, 110m hurdles, discus and the pole vault. Taking all this physical activity into account, you'll understand that before you can compete in the Olympics, Daley has to train. Three events (two of which were on last month's MegaTape) each comprise of frantic joystick waggling. What's your end result after the curls, sit ups and squats? A half full bottle of Lucozade. So now you know why it tastes like Daley Thompson's sweat. (Ugh! TH). After the training, you are given a fitness rating, and it's this rating that decides how well you're going to do in the Olympics. A high fitness rating means it's going to be a lot easier to reach those high speeds in the 100m sprint for example.

So, you've done all the training, it's off to the Olympics you go. After playing through it a couple of times, I came to the conclusion that under the enhanced graphics and nice visual techniques, it's still DTD hiding under there. Each event, as in the training, requires nothing more than moving the joystick left and right and then left again in very quick succession, occasionally pressing fire on some events. Total lack of originality in the gameplay is one of the things I don't like about the game. Along with the very bad picture of Daley in the bottom left hand corner. I didn't know Daley was a pirate, chirped out lovable Dep Ed.

One very important point that I'm glad Ocean haven't missed out on is the fact that the correct footwear should be worn. That's why you have to choose the right pair of Adidas trainers for each event. I wonder why Ocean chose Adidas. Couldn't have been for the sponsorship, could it? (Tony, don't be so cynical - GT).

On the plus side, though, there have been some considerable enhancements. The graphics, while maybe not any bigger, are certainly a lot better defined. Daley is quite recognisable in some events, and the animation is smooth enough to give quite a realistic effect. Sound is limited to the odd tune-ette here and there, which though quite nice, all have an amazing grating quality. A good graphical touch is the animated portrait of Daley you get between screens. If you qualify in an event, Daley will jump and wave his arms about frantically. If he doesn't, he just shrugs his shoulders and looks really I... sorry, fed up.

Daley Thompson's Olympic Challenge is, on the whole, an excellent game. But I do think that it's a shame really that a megabuck company like Ocean can't come up with new ideas instead of lugging old horses around while trying to teach old dogs new tricks while flogging them and making them drink while stopping them from gathering moss. (Tony, are you OK? GT)

Just a quick message from all at SU. Good luck at Sole... er... soule... um... syule... well wherever it is. And don't forget to bring some warm sweaters. You don't want to get a chill before your big day. (Tony, shut up! You're waffling - GT I though that was the idea - TD)

Graphics: 83%
Sound: 78%
Playability: 53%
Lastability: 65%
Overall: 72%

Summary: Most competent sports sim, but why is Ocean ripping off its own ideas?

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 104, Oct 1990   page(s) 28

Label: Hit Squad
Price: £2.99
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

As I recall, Daley Thompson came 11,000th out of 11,001 in the Olympics, so his real challenge was to get off the plane on the way home without anyone recognising him. But if the great Lucozade-guzzler's recent lack of athletic distinction doesn't put you off, Olympic Challenge is at least an unusual sports sim.

This budget re-release first appeared in 1988, when Daley wasn't such a crock - just to emphasise the fact, there's an advert for the September '88 Personal Computer Show on the title screen.

The sim itself is a bit unusual in that this time the gold medal isn't enough - you're out to beat the world pentathlon record, accumulating over 9000 points, which will make you the world's greatest athlete. Apart from the sporting events themselves, you get training session the results of which obviously effect your performance in the real thing.

There's a lot of multi-loading involved in the 48K version, though the 128K version loads in one go from side one of the tape. You have a choice of definable keyboard or joystick controls, and this is one case where keyboard may be preferable.

In all the events, the important factor is the amount of power you build up - for power, read key/joystick-pumping. In the training section, Daley's muscles expend with effort as you pump weights; in the track events, 100, 500 and 1500 metres, you pump to build up speed - in the 1500, once you're at cruising speed you don't have to pump so hard to maintain it.

In the remaining events - hurdles, long jump, shot putt, discus, javelin and pole vault - in addition to pumping you also have to hit the fire button at the right moment. The length of time it's pressed determines the angle of the jumps and throws, and to release the missiles you hit the fire button again.

All pretty standard jock stuff, then. The graphics and animation are decent, the scoring system straightforward and the sound passable. If you're a complete trainer-head you might as well add this to your sports collection, but even at £2.99 this isn't going to hold your attention much longer than it takes to say "The British lad done great, there he is coming in twelfth behind the cheating Germans..."

Graphics: 69%
Sound: 57%
Playability: 58%
Lastability: 59%
Overall: 60%

Summary: Decently designed but uninspiring sports sim.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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