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Athens 2004 (PS2)

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  • Some events V. Hard
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    8 Reviews
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      17.09.2011 12:51
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      An "old style" button basher game.

      My 10 year old son has been an avid fan of the athletics recently on TV, but he realised that although he has quite a few sports games on his PS2, he hadn't got any athletics games. Since the PS3 has been out for some time now, PS2 games are dirt cheap at the moment, some being available for a mere penny plus postage from Amazon. after a quick search on Amazon, I came across this game, based on the 2004 Athens Olympics. Based on the picture on the Amazon website, it looked a pretty decent game, but had been reduced in price because of its age. So I paid my penny, and the game came a few days later.

      Athens 2004 is a "button bashing" athletics simulator, which follows the tradition of those early pioneering athletics games by Konami (who can forget playing Hyper Sports on the ZX Spectrum?). Although the appearance of the games has obviously improved over the years, the basic technique is still the same, and translates pretty well to the Playstation controller format. Basically, to control a runner in a race, you hit two buttons on the controller alternately as fast as you can to control his feet. Fastest finger wins! I imagine that after a few games of this, our controllers will need replacing...

      The graphics are quite good for a 2004 game, and the programmers have done their best to try and recreate the human body...with some quite creepy results! Most of the athletes look like they would be more at home in a zombie shoot-em up and they are all as ugly as hell, the women especially, who seem to have taken a wee too many steroids for my liking! Despite this, the graphics must have been ground breaking at the time that the game was made, with good rendering of the crowds in the stadium and the water in the swimming pool. The different camera angles used in the game recreates the experience of watching the athletics on TV. The sound, likewise, is quite realistic and gives an authentic ambience.

      As in the real Olympics, there are many different events to choose from and the controls are simple and intuitive for all of the games. Personally, I think there is nothing worse than a sports game with complicated controls! Most events involve holding down a certain button and releasing at the right time, or as I mentioned earlier, a good old button bash to the finish line. The controls would be easy for most kids 6 and over. The variety of events is really good, including equestrian events (which I have never seen in a game like this before), weightlifting, swimming, gymnastics and archery, to mention just a few.

      One of the best aspects of the game for me is the fact that you can have up to 4 players if you have a multitap. Luckily, we do, as we are big fans of party games, and this is an excellent game to play with family and friends as it gets very competitive indeed. I managed to discover a really good technique for winning all the running races, so soon became very unpopular with the rest of my family!

      If you like athletics games and have a PS2, this one is a no brainer. After all, it is only 1p! For that single penny, you get a game that is great fun to play on your own or with friends, with long lasting playability due to the variety of events on offer, and most importantly, nice, simple controls. A word of warning though...those zombie athletes might give you a few nightmares...

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        24.11.2008 22:33

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        Great fun for all!

        What a great game. This is button tapping at its best. I brought this game on the cheap a few years ago, and the wife and I have spend hours upon hours on it. It is the old classic formula rebranded and re-packaged but it is quite brilliant! What we really love about this one is that different players (humans) seem to have different strength and weakness. Whilst the game involves much high speed tapping, there is more to it than that, and this is where the beauty lies. Technique and skill does play a part. There is nothing more exciting (maybe I am going a bit far here) than breaking a world record in one of your weak sports!

        Take it for what it is. These types of games will never be high quality sports simulators. What they do excel in though is good multi-player fun which is accessible by all.

        If you can pick this up for under a tenner then do. The graphics might be a little data, but if there is more than 1 of you, you will have a blast!

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        05.10.2008 15:19

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        Anyone can enjoy it

        The Athens 2004 Olympic Games may seem a long time ago now, and with the introduction of Beijing 2008. The playstation game may now seem like an unecessary and old product. However, I disagree. The Beijing 2008 game is not available on the playstation 2 yet and the Athens 2004 game is just as challenging and fun as the new, just without the more superior graphics. The game itself covers a variety of sports from athletics to swimming and archery to gymnastics.

        If a dance mat is plugged into the controller port, you are able to get a workout at the same time as having fun! It is almost impossible to get bored and if you are a competitive person, this game offers an easy way to prove your capabilities. Overall, I would recommend it to people of all ages and playstation players as it is a straightforward, but demanding game.

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        05.09.2008 21:04
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        a great game for all the family and easy to play.

        Awsome game! i would still play it now if i knew where it was. Athens 2004 was obviously released in 2004 and if you think about graphics have recently got a lot better, this game has as good graphics as any other PS2 game made. All the competitors are very realistic and the way they move and go about the sporting activities is just like real life in the sense of techniques and professionalism. You can play all the events on the game all in one big compettition or you can even choose your favourite events on custom mode where you pick which events you want to do and play them in your own competition. All the 20 events that come from 7 sports include Aquatics (Swimming), Athletics (track and field), Skeet men (shooting), Archery, Gymnastics, Horse riding and Weight lifting. The controls are extremely easy to pick up and i would say it is suitable for any age. The better you get the more times you can break the world and olympic records from the 2004 Athens Olympic games.

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        14.07.2008 16:22
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        One of the best Olympic games i've seen

        The first Olympic style, button bashing game was released over 20 years ago and was the famous Track and Field made by Konami. It is great to still see these kind of games still being made in which you have to have 'super human' abilities in order to beat all your friends at this type of game.
        Athens 2004 of course was the accompanying game for the Athens Olympics which was taking place four years ago now, and it certainly lived up to its potential.

        In the game there are two main modes to choose from: Arcade which is designed to be more fun in which world records and medals are not important, just enjoy yourself. The second mode is competition in which glory is what matters and you can become a hero in many Olympic events.

        Arcade mode:

        - Practice: Here you can practice your skills as a beginner learning the events or as a more experienced player just honing their skills. You can have unlimited attempts at each event.
        - Single Event: Put your practice into a single event in a real Olympic environment.
        - Party Mode: This mode is for use with the dance mat controller and allows you to truly experience the demand an athlete goes through - see how long you can go on for!
        - Challenge: Up to 4 players can compete in tests of stamina and skill. There is also a special handicap system to give everyone an equal chance.

        Competition Mode:

        - Individual: choose a single event to compete in and try to beat the world record and get gold.
        - Decathlon: compete in ten different athletic events from 100m to Pole Vault, Shot and 1500m. Male only event
        - Heptathlon: This time it's the women and only seven events.
        - Athletics: Compete in all of the athletics events in the game (there is a list later on)
        - Aquatics: Compete in all the swimming events including backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle and butterfly.
        - Gymnastics: Attempt all the gymnastic events from the rings to the floor exercises.
        - Champion: Compete in every single event in the whole of the game including horse riding, weightlifting, shooting and archery!
        - Custom: Choose your own set of events to participate in.

        Of course when you play the game you are able to input your name (up to 3 letters), choose a country (there are most countries in the world available) and choose either a man or a woman.
        The basic controls are using the x and o (circle) buttons. For example in the hundred metres you must hold down r1, then on go release and just press x and o (circle) as quick as you possibly can. It can become extremely tiring and this just adds to the fun of the game when you hear your friend shouting after the arms start to seize up (don't worry its nothing serious! lol).
        Most events incorporate this basic use of these two buttons and will require a bit more for example to press another button to throw or jump.

        Here is a list of the athletics events:
        100m, 200m, 400m
        800m, 1500m
        110m Hurdles (or 100m for women)
        Long and Triple Jump
        High Jump
        Pole Vault
        Discus, Javelin and Shot Put

        Gymnastics:
        Floor Exercises (men or Women - both different)
        Rings (men)
        Vault

        This is, in my opinion, one of the most enjoyable games on the PS2 and i am always playing it with my sisters at home - they still can't beat me! I have had it for 4 years and it is forever coming back out to be played and is great with 4 friends. I still think that the music is really good and the graphics are still very good and do not deter me from playing the game.
        I just wonder whether the Beijing 08 game can really beat this.

        Price: £7.50 (play.com) - a real bargain and great with a lod of mates.

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          28.06.2008 00:32
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          I don't know whether to switch back to 3* now

          Athens 2004 was the game released to accompany the arrival of the olympic games in Athens '04. It's been four years since then but I still have this game tucked away in my closet. As a very basic overview it has the vast majority of olympic events, like running, swimming, various throwing, shooting etc etc. So was it going for gold or a shameful last place?

          My personal opinion is that it's closest to silver or bronze to be honest.

          For a start off, a more detailed overview of the game:
          After the start menu, language, etc. you go to a screen which allows you to pick a few options:
          Free Practice: a quick unranked attempt at an event
          Individual: an individual event
          Tournament: A whole host of events, either preset in categories such as heptathlon, decathlon, swimming or a custom tournament that you can create yourself.

          The individual and tournament modes can either be played against the computer, or alternatively 2 players vs the computer and each other.

          A good feature of this game is that you get to choose which country you represent and all major countries, from USA to Kenya, from Austria to Zimbawbwe are included. Once this is done you move on to choose an event. They are broken down into several categories:

          Running
          Running events are just like it says on the tin, you can choose a variety of distances, like 100m, 200m etc.. until 1500m and the hurdles. They are played in two different formats: short distance (100m - 400m inc. hurdles) are done by rapidly pressing X and O buttons, whereas longer distances are more strategic where you choose when to inject pace and you have to maintain your "Heartmeter to make sure you don't run out of steam."

          Field
          My favourite category, as it includes all the obvious things from throwing, discus, javelin, shot put to jumping, long, high and triple. The long and triple jump are similar format to short running, where rapid button bashing is required and then correct timing of either L or R1. High jump is about timing pressing the buttons right as is shot put. Discus is similar in some respects, however you have to rotate the analog stick to get power.

          Aquatics
          Exact same principle as short distance running, button bashing (are we starting to see a bit of repetition?) with having to press L or R1 right time to breathe.

          Gymnastics
          This is another good area of the game with a variety of different tasks required. A dance mat style game is used for floor exercises, entering a button combination quickly for the vault, and timing elements for the rings.

          Weightlifting
          ANOTHER button bashing event. Obviously just lifting weights in thsi category. (my thumbs are definitely hurting at this point)

          Equestrian
          Horse riding is by far THE funniest game I have played in a while, though if you're good at it, you'll enjoy it properly not laugh. You use analog stick to direct and time the jumps, but don't time the jumps or struggle to control the horse and you get an annoying commentator woman nagging you.

          Shooting
          Is either archery or skeet. Skeet is purely timing, whereas archery is a lot more skillful, wind power and accuracy are essential, which makes this a good event.

          So my opinion:
          The button bashing events, seem alright at first, until you realise how many there actually are. I believe this area needs to be improved as it shows no imagination and makes gameplay tedious and repetitive, especially if you can't press butttons fast, if you can you may feel differently.
          Despite this, some events are constructed really well and require a lot of effort. Archery, discus and gymnastics are very good examples and give the game a more unique feel.

          Generally the majority of events are purely comprised of button bashing and or timing which is a major nag for me. The way in which you play them sometimes makes the event tolerable, others just boring.

          Other points I wish to make are about the commentary team. They are really way too harsh, you get a near perfect score and the commentator says: "They'll be disappointed with that round" and it does get annoying at times.

          Multiplayer is probably one of the best features here. I really like the multiplayer aspect as it creates geat competitiveness and great humour, though ina couple of events, if one player gets knocked out they could be waiting a while for the other player.

          As for lifespan, it's a game where you can weave in and out of it, but one thing that does extend the life span is that it does save records, but only for top slot, so you can try and break the world record when you can.

          Finally, there is no soundtrack which is disappointing, you only hear crowd noise whilst doing the events.

          Would I recommend a Beijing 2008?
          Short answer, if they added new processes and didn't amke the events as repetitive by adding new things then yes they really should go for it. I'd buy it.

          For this game, I would say rent it rather than buy, as once you've had a feel for the games you'll see repetitive gameplay and this can be boring.

          I wasn't sure whether to give this game 3 or 4 stars, but I will say it scrapes 4 by the narrowest of margins as you can't give half star ratings. But if I could, 3.5*

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          21.05.2008 11:45

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          A great effort with plenty hours of gaming involved.

          From the year 2004 , We are brought the Olympic games from Athens, only this time it's in Video game form. The Playstation 2 is the format and the game itself promises to be a button bashing extravaganza. Previous to this one the last Olympic game I had played was Track and Field on the old PSX and that was over 10 years ago now. Surely this would have no trouble living up to that.

          Well there's your usual array of events to take part in:

          Sprints over the different distances, Hurdles in the same vein in the Track section.

          As for the Field events you get the high jump , long jump and pole vault. Along with the shot putt and discus throwing.

          There's more fun with my personal favourite the Swimming section plus a whole host of other fun events like archery and skeet shooting.

          The graphics in the game are pretty good, they're not earth shattering but they're pleasing on the eye and plenty colourful too. The presentation of the game is great and they've taken the graphics straight from the TV coverage which is a nice touch.

          Gameplay is the simplest of simple! Button bashing for the racing events and just a couple of easy presses for the other ones. It's tried and test and still works in this one.

          Sound isn't too bad, some background music and the usual grunts and noises of you tearing up the track and a pretty cool bounce noise when you hit the sand in the long jump competition.

          Overall this game is pretty good, this isn't a genre that's been done to death so if you're looking for a sports game with a difference then this is definitely the one for you.

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          30.10.2004 03:02
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          • "Some events V. Hard"

          I've always been a fan of athletics games, hailing from the good old days of Track and Field for the N64.

          It took me a while to get my hands on this game because all the shops I tried were sold out, but I guess that's why they sold it around the time of the actual Olympics huh? But eventually I prevailled and got it a good few quid cheaper on ebay, brand new for £27.99 (+P&P).

          When it landed on my welcome mat It was straight out the packet and straight onto the PS2! Rule book out the window, I'll figure it out as I go along!

          You can choose to represent one of 64 countries, but I'm a patriot, so it was straight to the American team, I mean the British team... ahem... to win me some shiny medals. You can have up to 4 players on this game if you have a Mulititap, but unfortuantely it was only little old me - Number of Players?: 1

          There are 25 events to choose from in total, including track and field events, swimming, equestrian, weightlifting, archery, gymnastics and skeet shooting. If you pick the arcade mode you can practice these events before entering into the big league, the Olympics.

          Choosing the Competition option on the main menu brings up a whole new menu where you can choose a pre-selected event schedule to compete in (such as the Decathlon), cutomise your own mini olympics of up to 10 events or jump in the deep end and do all 25 events.

          Not being one to shy away from a challenge I jumped... look out deep end, here I come!

          The events require a degree of different techniques to really test the player. The female gymnastic event is designed like how a dance mat is played, following a combination of arrows as they scroll up the screen, and the 100metres is pressing the 'X' and 'O' alternately as fast as possible!

          To my knowledge all pre-set data in the game is true to life, eg World and Olympic Records etc and the graphics are excellent with a lot of detail to the background. The game is addictive to play and I found myself playing for hours to try and set my favourite World Records.

          Some events are harder than others and take a little longer to master, such as the Horse Jumping, but I wasn't too interested in this event anyhow... honest!

          One thing about the game that I am disappointed with is the swimming events. You can attempt all 4 strokes over a 100m distance but that is it. When competing it becomes apparent that all 4 are pretty much the same and it doesn't matter which stroke you attempt. I mite have preferred a range of distances or even a relay event in here.

          Ooh and while I'm picking fault I noticed the game is suitable for ages 3+! Having played the game I don't know any 3 year old that could realistically compete in these events, they are far to hard!

          There is event commentary throughout, but after hearing each phrase a few times it gets a bit repetitive, but I tend not to pay too much attention.

          This game has one major thing going for it, to my knowledge it is the only game of its kind on the market (at least for the PS2) and it gets a big thumbs up from me. It is a refreshing alternative type of game to have in any game lovers collection and I would definitely get this game if you have a competitive group of friends or family. It has certainly produced the odd tense moment in this house!

          FULL EVENT LIST: 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 100m or 110m hurdles, long jump, triple jump, high jump, pole vault, discus, javelin, shot put, 100m breaststroke, 100m butterfly, 100m backstroke, 100m freestyle, (no doggy paddle I'm afraid!), gymnastic floor exercise (differs for men or women), vault, rings, show jumping, archery and skeet shooting.

          FULL COUNTRY LIST: Kidding! I just know you can pick some countries from all continents.

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