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Track & Field Reviewed by Matthew Clarke on . Rating: 50%
  1. 1984
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Track & Field
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  • Review Score:

  • C
In the last few days leading up to the 2012 Olympics, I've realized that the closest I had come to experiencing such a grand affair was watching previous events on TV and playing two video games. The first was the joystick destroying
Daley Thompson Decathlon on the old ZX Spectrum. The second was this conversion of the original hit Konami arcade game, Track & Field.

This is a game that's cruel to your fingers, as many a willing victim will confess upon mentioning its name. The source of this pain came from the main running controls found in most of the events on offer. The player must tap A and B in rapid succession to emulate to rhythmic cycle of feet and sustain this at full speed until reaching the finish line or jump area. Fatigue can set in fast and many weird techniques were created by players to maximise the tap rate and minimise the ache!

Track & Field (NES)

Wide spread finger masochism aside, there is thankfully some variation in the eight events on offer in the form of skeet shooting (with rhythm action style of play) and the rather awesome archery, which along with javelin and the long jump based sports needed angles to be set as well as just raw speed. The whole package remains fairly close to the arcade original and that includes good quality recreations of the cute (albeit basic) graphics. The whole affair has an uncanny Excitebike motif.

Both music and sound effects are good and rage from pleasing fanfares and crowd sounds to the classic 'Chariots of Fire' theme on the title screen. The events are in a set order but you may select where to start on the list. One thing that cannot be changed is the sexist nature of the game, which would have you believe that only moustached men ever compete in Olympic events.

Track & Field (NES)

Track & Field has a difficulty curve that's mainly driven by the ever increasing qualification requirements. It gets progressively harder as you loop around the events to gain your highest overall score. Fail to reach one of these challenging qualification guides and its game over. What will become apparent after an hour or so of playing this game alone is major repetition, and of course that nagging hand cramp!

The trick up Konami's sleeve was to include the much needed two player mode. It's the primary reason to keep it in your collection alongside other equally frantic multiplayer games like the classic NES version of Micro Machines. That competitive fizz and taunts you get between friends really brings out the true sporting nature of this game which is so lacking in playing events solo like the 100m dash against the CPU.

Track & Field (NES)

Modern parallels can be drawn to this release via Wii sports for its similar competitive multiplayer action combined with the simplistic casual controls of most iPad games. I recently played the iOS version of the official 2012 UK Olympics and sure enough the ancient tap, tap, tap mechanism is still present. So much for progress ...

All in all this is a game that feels a little too simplistic and repetitive for rewarding solo play but still holds fun and value within its concise two player action. I'd also recommend good quality retro sweatbands, a set of two decent joypad's and do some finger exercises before play ... don't say I didn't warn you!
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