November 14, 2000
Did anyone in Australia fail to be glued to their TV's during the Sydney 2000 Olympics? The games did Australia proud. We should also be proud of our Track & Field athletes who performed so admirably. "Jumping" Jai Taurima (Long Jump), Tatiana Grigorieva (Pole Vault) and of course Cathy Freeman (400m) will always remain a part of Australian sporting history thanks to some magnificent performances. In a move set to cash in on the Olympic craze Konami are set to unleash ESPN International Track & Field on the Playstation 2.
Konami's title is yet another attempt to develop the ultimate athletics game on a console. Past efforts have usually resulted in good games while never managing to become "must have titles". Perhaps it's the repetitiveness' of the game that holds it back a little. ESPN International Track & Field also makes you bash the buttons to run faster but it's the variety of sports on offer that may help this game get ahead of the pack. The game includes typical events such as 100m sprint, javelin, long jump and swimming but also adds less mainstreams sports such as weight lifting, pole vaulting and even gymnastics!
Graphically Konami have done an incredible job. As you can see from the surrounding screenshots the characters are very detailed as are the backgrounds. The water in the swimming events is particularly impressive with incredible clarity of the swimmers who kick up quite a splash when going full steam. Animation is also impressive with real athletes such as Maurice Green providing the motion capture for the game. ESPN International Track & Field also includes some great sound effects and speech. It seems like you are actually in the stadium as the crowd "ohhs" and "ahhs" with every attempted event.
It's doubtful that this game will be more then button basking for most events. How else can you determine the fastest runner through a control pad? ESPN International Track & Field may be saved however with a wide variety of events. How many other sporting games can boast having gymnastics? Not too many, but in reality they are hardly a track and field event so their inclusion is strange. Perhaps they should have called this "Summer Games" or "Summer Olympics without the license".