Game Review: Street Olympics (Commodore 16 and Plus/4, Mastertronic)

Street Olympics, Commodore 16 and Plus/4, Mastertronic - 2C0117
  • 4/10
    Score - 4/10


Although the idea to have Track and Field type events on a street is an intriguing one, in execution it is a letdown – more like a poor version of those joystick waggling games with little variety and a game you will get bored of sooner rather than later.  Street Olympic’s author would at least go on to produce much better games.

User Review
5/10 (1 vote)

Joystick waggling games in the vein of the arcade game Track and Field have always been a popular theme, with athletics being a much bigger sport then than it is now.  There have been many games which have attempted this formula, and after Ocean had released Daley Thompson’s Star Events for the Commodore 16 and Plus/4, with seven events across two loads, getting a multi-event simulation into 16K did seem a challenge.  So, when Street Olympics managed to get four events into a single load, that at first sounds promising and made you look at the screen shots – which then did make you wonder.

There are four events in Street Olympics, either controlled by the joystick or by the keyboard, with the SHIFT key for gaining speed and the RETURN key to jump or throw.  You can select whether to do all four events (Game A) or individual events (Game B) and then can use the F keys to select the event.  You then select joystick or keyboard controls, and are ready to go, with the background of a street with houses that scrolls as your athlete progresses.

Waggle Waggle Waggle

If playing all four events, the first event is the sprint of 200 metres.  Build up the speed by waggling or hitting the SHIFT key and the athlete runs whilst the houses and streets scroll in the background.  There is a distance meter which comes down to show you the distance remaining, and this is useful – because there is no finish line, only a sound effect to tell you that you have finished.  Once the distance meter is at zero, you simply must stop running to slow down to a stop and finish the event.  That is quite poor to be honest, it would be sensible to stop once you hit the finish line.  The second event – the jog – is the same as the first one, just over a longer distance of 800 metres instead.

If You Say Jump, I Say How High?

The jumping event is next, although in essence it is actually a long-distance jog event with walls of bricks as hurdles.  Build up the speed and then press fire or RETURN at the right time to jump over the wall – the quicker you are going, the easier it is to jump.  You can hit a wall at slow speed and come to a stop, taking time to build up the speed again.  Unlike the two running events, setting a record here is actually possible – and you can easily build up a good rhythm to run and jump without too many problems.  Possibly the best of the four events.

Throw It Over

The throw event is more like a shot put or discus event, and building up speed as the distance to the line goes down.  You automatically stop on the line with the angle meter showing.  Pressing fire or RETURN sets off the throw at the angle and it then gives you a distance.  The score here obtained for the distance is far higher than other events too, meaning that a good throw can really rack up the score and does seem a little unfair that one event can dominate so much.  In fact, I got a 70 metre throw on one attempt, which was around 7,000 points, having gained around 2,300 for the other three.

Graphics and Sound

The graphics are reasonable and take into account the colour palette available – the houses are simply drawn with the street in front, but the parallax scrolling of them does at least give you a sense of speed.  The sound effects are minimal – an effect for steps when you run, or hit the wall in the jumping event.  There are effects at the end and a little jingle if you break a record, and one at the end of the game.  It is not too bad, and the sound effect when you finish the first three events at least tells you when to slow down and stop.

Final Thoughts

Street Olympics tries to be a Track and Field clone with a twist, set on the streets and having bricks to jump over and stones to throw.  However, the implementation is not the greatest – it seems almost too simplistic and having two events virtually the same, one after another, is not that well designed. Maybe if the jog was the final event with the jump and throw in between, that would make more sense.  Even with the ability to practice an event, boredom soon sets in.  The programmer, Patrick Strassen, would go on to produce much better games for the system, some of which will be covered here, but this is best forgotten about.

* * *

You know what we think but why not share your thoughts on this game! Let us know what you think of it in the comments below, or add your own score using the slider in the summary box at the top of the review!

1 Comment

  1. Street Olympics is not a good C16 game, but it’s not a bad one either. The funny cartoon comic artwork cassette cover and the colourful screenshot shown inside the inlay prompted me to purchase it. Didn’t everyone? Made it actually appear better than it was.

    But it does play okay. Four events in total. But basically they are all running events, the first two events being standard ones with the second being much longer.

    The third event is the same but with hurdles, basically represented as brick walls. But they appear to be as high as the flat pavement it’s standing on.

    The final throwing event is another runner, but thankfully it’s only a short run and he automatically stops at the line for you to judge the angle. Press fire to throw.

    Then your final score is shown and it’s game over. Fortunately it shows the top hi-score. Without it, there would be little incentive to have another go.

    So much running gets tiring on the arms very quickly, and it quickly feels very repetitive. Only the hurdle jumping and the throw provides any variety. Fortunately there are keyboard controls to save on the aches a little and to preserve your joysticks.

    Perhaps if the 800m run was replaced with the javelin, and the event order became the 200m run, javelin, hurdles and then shot put, it would have made the game a little bit more interesting.

    Sound effects are minimal, but the graphics are nice and colourful, although the houses looks like it was drawn by a 6 year old child.

    But three cumbersome running events in a row, and a little more running in the fourth final event provides little lastability with boredom and aching arms setting in very quickly. But Tynesoft’s Olympiad still holds the gold medal for the worst C16 Olympics game. I’ll give this one 5/10, if only for the memorable cover artwork.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Mastertronic Best Sellers - Mastertronic Collectors Archive
  2. Commodore 16 Mastertronic Checklist - Mastertronic Collectors Archive

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.