The Recreation Tools Listing: (O)

By qaxio

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O is for Oh dear

Olympic Gold: Barcelona ’92 (1992)

There’s nothing duller than an Olympics, and Olympic Gold: Barcelona ’92 captures the banality of the faceless sporting contest with some aplomb. That, of course, isn’t the best thing in the world. It could be worse, but with the track and field stuff limited to mashing buttons, a near-random archery contest that relies on a totally erratic crosshair for any of its challenge, and an appalling hammer-throw with baffling controls, there’s very little to enjoy here. It’s also rigged, something I tested out by repeating a hammer-throw and watching the final results change to guarantee a second-place position regardless of how well I did. So, basically, there’s really no point in playing this game in the slightest. I guess the music is OK, but the running race music sounds like Flash Man’s theme and I can’t really let that slide. *

The Ottifants (1993)

Oh dear. This immediately sets the tone all wrong by having your enormous player character have to drop down to a platform you can’t see, simply because the game is entirely too cropped. This might have been an okay-ish platform game without this crippling drawback, but there’s another issue – it’s one of those games that requires you to collect a certain number of objects before you can exit each level, but thanks to careless design it’s entirely possible to progress through stages to a point where it’s impossible to backtrack, meaning you’re softlocked. And, worse yet, there’s no time limit or way to restart a level besides re-entering your current password. Now, this is such carelessness that I read and re-read the manual assuming there must be some way to mitigate it, but no – The Ottifants really does seem to be that bad. I’m still pretty incredulous, though, so if it turns out I have actually missed something please get in touch. For now, though, leave this one well alone. *

Out Run (1991)

Inarguably a Sega arcade classic, but this Game Gear version felt a little lacking to me. The graphics are decent, perfectly acceptable for the Game Gear, but the handling just doesn’t hit right. Taking corners feels very inorganic, lacking the sense of flow that defines the series; control is much the same as ever, but a combination of the visual/audible feedback and the general soul of the thing just don’t feel like… well… driving. You’re moving a picture of a car around the screen, there’s nothing grounded here, nothing tangible, and that’s just not Out Run to me. Is it horrible? Absolutely not, no – it’s great that the game has been adapted for the handheld so carefully, without compromising its essential smoothness – the road looks great! Unfortunately the lacking game feel brings it all down to the point that it’s a difficult game to recommend. **

Out Run Europa (1991)

This Probe effort had the potential to be a lot of fun – and, briefly, it is – but it’s just way too hard. The game fits the Game Gear fine, but the choppy framerate and low visibility sees progress impeded by enemy vehicles that seem to just pop into view right as they’re about to hit you, and they are a constant presence which means you don’t get to enjoy the feel of uninterrupted speed. Yes, there’s a storyline here that sees you pursuing thieves across multiple different vehicles, but none of them give you the chance to breathe. Out Run is about that vibe and it’s totally missing here. It looks nice at times, mind, with impressively 3D scenery, but the horizon looks rubbish and the sacrifice of a smooth framerate isn’t worth the trade-off. A shame, because the concept here is rather good and it should have been a home run. If you can’t even make Road Rash-style punching of other lads off their bikes fun, you know you’ve fouled something up. **


(Next: Pa)


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