Newest Review: ... bottom of the pile. Main reason – in athletics and Olympics games, generally you want a lot of events to partake in. VA2K has 7. 7... more
No Gold medal here!
Virtua Athlete 2000 (DC)
Member Name: D1A1
Virtua Athlete 2000 (DC)
Date: 29/03/01, updated on 09/04/01 (123 review reads)
Advantages: It's four player fun!
Disadvantages: Read opinion!
Many Playstation owners may have experienced Konami’s Track and Field athletic games, but for Saturn owners, like myself at the time, there was just one athletic/Olympic game – Athlete Kings (known as Decathlete in Japan). And to be honest, it’s still one of the best 2player games I’ve played, and still play. There were loads of events (but no cycling or swimming like in the T&F series), 8 likeable characters, all of which looked graphically impressive, and a superb game engine and control system. It was excellent, and sparked off the best winter athletics game – Winter Heat, which you really should play someday! So, when I heard that a ‘follow up’ to the original classic would be arriving on Dreamcast soon, I had to get it eventually.
The first disappointment (and there are a few) is the start up, sound and menu voice – I kind of hoped that the ‘aha’ sound from AK would be included in VA2K (if you had the game you’d know what I mean!!). The start up introduction isn’t spectacular, there aren’t any revolutionary FMV to kick start the game off, but then that’s not what it’s about, right? The next setback, and be prepared for this one, Virtua Athlete 2K only features 7events! And that is a crime in my view. Here’s the run down of events:
· 100mere sprint: a favourite for many games players, and one of the most exciting real life events to
watch, however something is very wrong with this rendition. The annoying and somewhat bemusing thing is that you have to run at a pace – but make sure you don’t run too fast as your health/pace gauge gets less and your athlete will start to run like a chicken. Strange, but true, but why? Surely Sega didn’t see this as an innovative inclusion? For me, this has ruined one of my favourite events!
· 110m hurdles: at least they got this one right. Another excellent event that needs precise and accurate timing as well as good old button bashing skill. Not much to fault with this event!
· 1500m Race: like the 100m, there is the pace bar, so you’ll have to be aware of this for the duration of the event if you’re to succeed. Keep the bar in the green, and use the silly AI computer controlled athletes to push you along – another strange aspect of the game, but you may as well take advantage of it! The races sometimes feel more like a game of bumper cars, but there you go.
· High Jump: for some reason, I found this really hard to execute, but you might have better luck or skill, or both. Adjust the height of bar and jump as high as you can! A good event in my opinion!
· Shot Put: not the most exciting of events, and also a very difficult one to perform well in. Timing is all-important here, but be sure to get the angle right!
· Javelin: this used to be my favourite event in Athlete Kings, and it’s pretty good here too, aside from the change in camera angles. Get the angle of throw correct, don’t overshoot the line and you’ll do ok.
· Long Jump: what can I say? Again, this requires running, jumping at an angle and then landing! Aim for around 8.5metres to gain a decent point standing.
Well that’s it! As I say there are only 7 events, which you can either practice in or complete in the championship/circuit mode. VA2K is a heptathlon I suppose, which is a g
reat shame as the game loses so much in the way of longevity and actual playing appeal. It would have been great to see some swimming events, or some cycling, or canoeing or even weightlifting, but it seems as though Sega couldn’t deliver enough.
I now own a Playstation 2 (I’ll be changing my PS2 review later…) and own the ESPN track and field game for it, and although the graphics may be slightly more jagged in the PS2 game, it certainly offers far more in terms of playability and satisfaction. Virtua Athlete is a slice of a game that could have been excellent, but the puzzle was never completed, and so a feeling of emptiness occurs whenever the game is played. The visual side of things are fairly good, with some excellent character animation, and acceptable looking athletics tracks, and the sound isn’t too bad either, but if you want a game with some passion, something that actually has atmosphere then turn a blind eye at Sega’s offering because it’s really quite lifeless and bland. There’s no real character here, which is undoubtedly a shame.
There’s the 4player option, which will always prove to be a laugh no matter who you are, or where you’re from, but there isn’t really any AI players to challenge you in any event. The player-create system is totally pathetic – you can choose from a selection of about 10 faces, all of which are actually existing characters, oh yeah and you can change the nationality and name of your new super athlete. Not good.
The controls are simple – it’s easy to pick up and play should you feel the burning desire to do so, but it’s nowhere near as good as Athlete Kings, and struggles to compete with the botched Sydney 2000 and ESPN on the Dreamcast, and any of the PSX T&F games would provide more hours of gaming fun than this. The game case is good, but that’s not much help when the game isn’t.
only recommend this if you can get it cheaply – it’s probably worth £9.99, and the 4player battles are quite entertaining, but there isn’t a single player experience with Virtua Athlete – it’s boring.
This isn't the kind of game that I expect from such superb game producers like Sega, and so I'll be playing Athlete Kings for a good while longer. Maybe we'll see something that can truly match the Konami games, and maybe even a Winter Heat sequel?!
Let's hope, but for now, you could do a lot worse than not getting this game.
2stars is the most I can give this really!
Thanks for reading, and have a nice day.
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