Better make sure your controller has life insurance - Review By Mad Carl
Next up, the multiple modes of play (12 different sporting events in all), all result in you doing the same thing over and over again: slapping madly the A and B buttons on your controller, followed by slapping the X or Y button at the appropriate time. I'm old enough to remember the golden age of gaming and let me tell you something, the old 8 bit Nintendo version of Konami's arcade classic Track & Field had exactly the same gameplay mechanics. Guess what; that game was a lot more fun than this one. I was depressed upon digging through my NES collection to discover that I did not own that title after all. I instantly went looking on eBay and placed a few bids in an attempt to acquire a copy as soon as possible so I could play a real Olympics-style game.
Kayak was one of the more fun events in Track & Field II. Not so here, where it's just annoying.
Oddly, it seems that getting to the part where you slap buttons in Olympics mode will require more button slapping in a screen that looks like a reject from Tron. Obviously, Real World athletes have to train for the Olympics, right? Well, now so does your virtual athlete. He or she has to train in a weird glowing neon world where they are represented by an odd silvery avatar, right out of the The Lawnmower Man. The whole art direction of the game changes for this one portion for no discernible reason, making something unpleasant to do now ugly as well. It's as if the designers decided their game wasn't lame enough, and they should really try to bring it down a few more notches by forcing the player through the tedium of training. It gets worse when you realize that upon switching events you have to go through the "VR" training all over again.
After training, you go through open trials, invitational trials and finally the qualifications, followed by the Olympics themselves. This might all be very interesting if every single piece of this didn't look exactly like every other piece. First day qualifications look like the Olympics themselves and none of it looks good. As I mentioned before, the models are chunky, non-human looking beasts that, were I an Olympian, I would take as an insult to my years of training. The credits swear there was motion capture work done to animate the in-game models, but I refuse to believe it. In what little time I have spent with 3D Studio MAX, I have churned out better animations than these hack jobs. Their textures make them look as if they are made of plastic, and the world they are competing in is not only just as dull as the virtual Olympians themselves, it's also presented at a stupid camera angle. The triple jump takes place at a horrible over-the shoulder view, which makes targeting the jump line nearly impossible. At the same time, an event as inherently dull as weight lifting (okay, it's pretty cool to see a guy lift several hundred pounds in Real Life, but boring to watch polygons do so) is given a straight on camera view instead of something more dramatic. This is especially irksome since the camera position in the weight lifting competition is irrelevant to actual gameplay, unlike the camera position in the triple jump.
Choosing Arcade mode allows you to skip all of the training nonsense, but that really just gets you to the annoying "gameplay," ugly models, and bad animation faster, so I don't recommend it. Another choice for "gameplay" is Coaching. It's basically Arcade mode, but now you're competing against yourself in some sort of weird ritual of self-abuse. Coaching mode, like all of Sydney 2000, is for masochists only.
The Final Word
Creative abortion. I give Sydney 2000 one point better than Spirit of Speed only because of the didgeridoo music. I recommend you log onto eBay, buy a NES and a copy of Track & Field (or its excellent sequel). You'll have a lot more fun with a game that is almost a decade and a half old than you will have with this piece of shovelware.
Highs: Didgeridoo music!
Lows: Everything. All of it. The whole damn package is bad.
Other: 1-4 players, VMU Compatible (64 Blocks), Jump Pack Compatible.
Intro (MPEG) - The intro proves that stock footage can be more interesting than the actual game. [Big (10.3M)] - [Med (5.5M)] - [Small (1.2M)]
Gameplay 1 (MPEG) - Swimming. Pain. [Big (17.7M)] - [Med (9.5M)] - [Small (2M)]
Gameplay 2 (MPEG) - Skeet shooting. [Big (12M)] - [Med (6.4M)] - [Small (1.4M)]
(out of a possible 10)
Visit this Game's Dreamcast Database Entry
Comments on this review? Mail Feedback.