"International Track & Field" is a video game released for the Gameboy Color console in 2000 by Konami. It is a sports genre game with athletics being represented. In the United States, the game received a rating of "E" by the ESRB panel which deemed it suitable for all ages.
Gameplay of this title features summer athletics competitions including the 100m sprint, long jump and javelin throw. Players control a male character as he progresses throughout the various events. There is some element to roleplaying in this title, as the player will be able to facilitate his training and advance certain physical characteristics like strength and stamina which can play a crucial role in certain events. The game itself is very easy to complete and only requires simple "button mashing" techniques to conquer all events. Because of this, there does appear to be some element of difficulty in defeating computer opponents due to the generally unresponsive hardware of the Gameboy console in such fast button alternating environments.
The graphics are presented from various camera angles depending on the event, for example the 100m sprint will be from a side scrolling view whereas the javelin throw will be presented from a trailing view. The detailing of the characters is somewhat poor and do not seem to have been composed with much effort. There are no facial features on each sprite which creates a sense of odd faceless imagery. The soundtrack is also of a comparably poor standard and features very primitive musical scores and other effects which screech throughout play. Many players would likely opt to play this game in silence.
Overall, I would not recommend this title to prospective buyers. It is unnecessarily difficult due to the Gameboy's lowered technology and becomes a frustrating play due to the subsequent in-game losses.
Athletics games are becoming more and more popular these days. The trend started with the Mega Drive's successful games Barcelona '92 and Atlanta '96. These games introduced the fast button-pressing action that all athletics games now include. With a wide range of events the speed of the button-pressing was the key and the rest was relatively simple. Since then the Playstation has had a few successful Athletics games to its name. The first and probably most famous was International track and Field. Again it was down to fast button pressing at the end of the day but this time you needed more than speed to be successful. Timing was vital for the angles of jumps and throws, and other aspects made this a more challenging and lastable game. great in multiplayer mode, particularly if you own a Multitap, International Track and Field for Playstation was an all-round great game and proved to be very popular. After that success Konami soon brought out the sequel, International Track and Field. Most sports game sequels are virtually the same, just look at the Fifa range, but was Track & Field 2 the same as Track & Field 1? Most definitely not. The list of events had been greatly expanded now with not just Athletics & swimming but also events like Canoeing, Cycling, Diving and Gymnastics. Track & Field 2 was not just about speed and timing, it was also about stamina (just try the cycling event) and other skills too. In some events you didn't have to tap the buttons fast but had to press combinations of buttons or press buttons alternately at the right time. As with the first game the graphics were good, multiplayer was excellent and it was an all round great game. This year the third Olympic video game was released in the form of Sydney 2000. The game brought, like Track & Field 2, a wide range of events spanning from the 100m sprint to weightlifting to diving. Sydney 2000 has not been out that long so I am still playing on it. It requires the
same skills as Track & Field 2 as well as a few more, the skeet shooting is very different. As you might guess, it involves moving a target and pressing a button to shoot, but there are many skeets and they come from all over the place, so until you know the order by heart the event is extremely difficult. Sydney also brought two great new modes to athletic video gaming. The first was the Practice mode in which you try to beat your best time or distance or whatever, and you race against a ghost figure that represents your best. This gives an indication of how well you are doing and is very useful. Sydney also contains a great Olympic mode. You have to train and qualify for all the events, which takes a great deal of time for each event, and you finally reach the Olympic games and compete through three rounds. The training is done in the virtual gym with such excercises as press-ups, skipping, treadmill and medicine ball twist (?!). The Athletics video gaming range is now very successful but what would the Gameboy's first game bring? My original guesses about International rack & Field for Gameboy were poor graphics, basic events and overall bad playability. I've just rented the game, and, OK, the graphics are poor compared to Playstation, but what do you expect from a Gameboy game? Track & Field for Gameboy has both single-player and versus modes, not true of quite a lot of Gameboy games. I haven't tried the versus mode but I have a link cable and I'm sure if its anything like the Playstation versus mode it'll be very exciting. The singleplayer mode has two game types; Championship and Trial Mode. Also records are stored on the game. In trial mode only six events are available at first then if you win them all you unlock the seventh and eighth events. Win them to unlock the ninth and tenth events. Simple! Trial Mode is a good way to hone your skills. Is the Gameboy version about fast button-pressing action? You bet it is. You have to al
ternately tap(or slide across in my case) the a and b buttons. The Gameboy version may not be as advanced as Playstation versions but it does have some fairly complex events. In events such as Long Jump and Javelin you have to time your pressing of the Up button and hold it to get a 45 degree angle if possible. The Gameboy version also includes two original events (not available in single-player mode) which look like great fun; Fencing and Table Tennis! The fencing is about using directional buttons and pressing a to thrust your sword, and in the table-tennis mode you have to press a when your cursos is in a certain section of the gauge (the sections are smash, lob, normal hit and miss). In the 100m freestyle event speed is not important, you have to press a and b at the right time when a cursos reaches the a and b letter displayed on the screen. One possible disadvantage of Playstation games was that in 110m Hurdles, the hurdles were sometimes difficult to clear but on teh Gameboy it is easy to get your timing right and hurdle to victory. Other complicated events on the Gameboy include Weightlifting, High Jump, Gymnastic Vault(impressive for Gameboy), Skeet Shooting(again impressive for Gameboy) and Pole Vault. There is of course, also the 100m sprint which is very basic and totally about speed. I was pleasantly surprised by how playable and complicated the Gameboy version of International Track and Field is, and it is a valuable addition to the growing world of Athletics video games. I give it five out of five.
The format of Summer Games follows on from International Track & Field which was released around the turn of the year. You can opt to compete for a medal in any one particular event or you can go the whole hog and enter a ten event point-scoring marathon to challenge for a medal at the very end. After choosing your nationality its time to get down to business. Its probably best to start off with single events so you can get the idea of how to play. Available from the start are 100m sprint, 100m freestyle (swimming), Javelin throwing, Weight lifting, Long jump and Fencing. If you manage to get medals in all of these events, 110m hurdles and high jump will be unlocked. Get silver or gold in these two and you’ll get the opportunity to compete for medals in pole vault and vault jumping. The final two events (table tennis and trap shooting) are only available as single events once you have attained gold medals in the vault events. On the face of it, the ability to unlock events is a good sign and should have you playing for longer than otherwise. The main problem is in the method of control. In the majority of events you will need to build up a power or speed gauge and the way to do this is through alternate pressing of the A and B buttons very quickly. In more complex events you will also need to use the directional control pad, e.g. in the 110m hurdles A + B are used to run while pressing up causes your athlete to jump. Not only is it very hard to press the A and B buttons fast enough, when you have other actions to think about as well it can become exasperatingly difficult. Trap shooting, fencing and 100m freestyle do not use this frantic A and B action thankfully and provide a welcome break. In fact, the 100m freestyle is the best event of all since it gives you a realistic chance of winning through a cunning control method of pressing the A and B buttons at critical times to represent the power of your swimming strokes. The characters are ani
mated well enough and are perfectly adequate for the gameplay, and although fairly poor the sound and music are bearable at low volume. The question you have to ask yourself is whether you have the patience to give this game a go as it really will test your nerve. Not only that, but the button-bashing will cause severe short-term discomfort in your hands and wrists. I appreciate that there are few other ways of playing athletics games, but when you have a small Game Boy to contend with where it is all the more difficult you have to ask yourself whether it is worth the bother. For budding athletes only.