Summer Games II

Take on me.

For a few years in the mid '80s, Epyx barely put a foot wrong. Having already wowed gamers with Summer Games, Impossible Mission and Pitstop, the release of Summer Games II in 1985 showed the world's most adept C64 developer take sports games to a whole new level.

Improving in every way on the game's predecessor, Epyx conjured up another eight event series which went far beyond the mindless button-bashing frenzy that characterised the many Konami-inspired games of the era.

As one of the pioneers of the multi-load system, Epyx realised that you didn't have to cram an entire game into a single load. Instead, each event loaded one at a time, allowing the US team to utilise the limited system memory for each and every event, and therefore lavish far more detail on the game than was otherwise possible. Designed for disk, the game nevertheless was also released on tape to make it accessible to the masses, but took an absolute age to load.

But for those who could afford the mind-boggingly expensive (and massive) 1541 disk drives, Summer Games II was like having the Rolls Royce of gaming in your own home.

Having already covered many of the obvious Olympic events in Summer Games, the sequel turned to less popular, but more interesting sports like Kayaking, Fencing, Equestrian, Rowing and Cycling. More popular events like High jump, Triple Jump and Javelin also made it in, but they too had something to set them apart from all the other Track & Field clones.

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Apart from the absolutely amazing graphics (for their time), what struck gamers was the inventive demands of each event, such as circling the joystick to simulate the pedal motion, or the sweeping action required in rowing. Rather than knacker players out with incessant joystick waggling, Epyx had a knack of varying the demands and cramming each event with sublime subtlety.

And the icing on the cake, for many, was the way Epyx even thoughtfully saved all your world records on the game disk. Booting up the game in preparation, it was a real trip to note there were still records dating back to 1989 on there - from friends I've long since lost touch with. The biggest surprise of all was finding out how little the game has aged in gameplay terms. Epyx were the kings of multi-sports games in the '80s, and it's debatable whether anyone has ever matched its feats.he cake, for many, was the way Epyx even thoughtfully saved all your world records on the game disk. Booting up the game in preparation, it was a real trip to note there were still records dating back to 1989 on there - from friends I've long since lost touch with. The biggest surprise of all was finding out how little the game has aged in gameplay terms. Epyx were the kings of multi-sports games in the '80s, and it's debatable whether anyone has ever matched its feats.

8 / 10

Read the Eurogamer.net review policy Summer Games II Kristan Reed Take on me. 2007-10-26T16:20:00+01:00 8 10

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