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Summer Games Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Rating: 64%
Summer Games
Summer Games Summer Games Summer Games Summer Games
  • Review Score:

  • B-
Years before Epyx traveled to California and took on the World; they were busy overseeing Summer Games. This 1984 masterpiece was the high water mark for sports compilation, going on to inspire Konami's popular Track & Field series. Although it doesn't use the Olympic Games license, this Sega Master System port brings all of the athletic action you would expect. Running, jumping, pole vaulting and more await you in this fun, albeit woefully out of date, track and field simulator.

While some ports of Summer Games have included as many as seven different events, this Master System version only offers five. You get the pole vault, 100 meter dash, gymnastics, platform diving and the 100 meter freestyle. The good news is that all five events are completely different, employing unique game mechanics that require both practice and patience.

Summer Games (Master System)

Summer Games largely plays against conventions. For example, not many of the sports require players to mash buttons. The 100 meter dash and the 100 meter freestyle are the two most traditional events, requiring players to alternate between the two face buttons in order to pick up speed. Thankfully they are the exception to the rule, as there are some events that don't require any running at all.

Believe it or not, pole vaulting turns out to be the most interesting event here. Instead of mashing buttons, your only goal is to get the angle and liftoff perfect. The same goes for the diving, which is more about the moves you pull off than testing your speed. And while the gymnastics portion of the game is brief, it shows that the developers were thinking outside of the box. Even though none of these sports offer enough depth to keep you going for long, it's definitely an interesting package that feels pretty good on the Sega Master System.

Summer Games (Master System)

The graphics are also sharp, all things considered. The characters may be small, but the animation is good and the world around them is colorful. Epyx even animated a few cinemas to look at. Even though this port is several years newer, you can certainly tell the game was made in 1984. Also, let's not even get into how terrible the music is.

Although some of the ambitious ideas seem quaint almost thirty years later, Summer Games is a strong contender on the Sega Master System. The two modes won't keep you going for very long, but it's fun to compete against friends to see who the best fake athlete is. This is one of the best Olympics games on Sega's 8-bitter, even if it isn't officially an Olympics game.
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