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Track & Field II Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Rating: 78%
  1. 1985
  2. 1986
  3. 1987
  4. 1988
  5. 1989
Track & Field II
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Track & Field II Track & Field II Track & Field II
  • Review Score:

  • B+
The Olympic Games are all about disappointment. Every four years we expect the best, but we're always let down. Sometimes it's the opening ceremonies, sometimes the athletes are long past their prime and sometimes there's too much smog to breathe properly. The truth is, most Olympic
Games athletes will go home empty handed. Just like clockwork, every four years the Olympics disappoint.

But once and awhile this two-week event is able to shine through the many layers of cynicism and live up to the hype. There's that athlete that wins eight gold medals in a row, the sob story about the team that comes from behind and an opening ceremony you'll never forget. All of a sudden you understand why the Olympic Games matter. Track & Field II is that shining light. Of any Olympics-based game (official or not), this Konami sequel earns the gold.

Track & Field II (NES)

Now don't get too excited, because Track & Field II isn't a must-own video game. While it's significantly better than the competition, it's far from a cohesive sports game. There are a number of events that flat out suck, including a few weird omissions. Still, as Olympic-based games go, this 1988 NES game is at the top of the heap.

Part of the reason Track & Field II is so endearing is because of its wide range in sports. There are fifteen events in all, though a few of them are hidden and only accessible in the two-player mode. The game offers a few familiar faces, including freestyle swimming, the high dive, pole vaulting, archery and hurdles. But Konami is just getting warmed up. Once you get past the usual junk, you're left with taekwondo, canoeing, hang gliding, arm wrestling, gun firing and fencing.

Track & Field II (NES)

Although fans of Karate Champ may disagree, but Track & Field II is the best pre-Street Fighter II fighting game. Both the taekwondo and fencing portions are surprisingly deep, offering players multiple attacks. At the time we had no idea that Konami was training us for a whole generation of quarter munching fighting games.

Other standouts include canoeing, which is rarely done in Summer Games titles. The course is both challenging and interesting, forcing players master the controls and perform a series of tricky maneuvers. Even the longtime mainstays are tweeted to the point of finally being interesting. Yes, there's a lot of button mashing here, but you'll find just as many events that require real skill and finesse.

Track & Field II (NES)

Coming only a few years after the launch of the NES, Track & Field II is an incredibly good looking game. Gone are the tiny characters, they've been replaced with giant sprites and interesting backgrounds. While the first game was notorious for recycling sprites, every single event looks different in this follow-up. The audio is also good, suggesting that Konami knew what they were doing back in 1988.

Despite having a strong selection of sports, Track & Field II offers only a small amount of fun for solo players. Just like so many fighting games that came later, this is a game best played with friends. There are enough competitive two-player sports to keep you and a friend going long after the final gold medal has been won at the Olympics. Track & Field II takes the gold.
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