`Athens 2004' takes aim at Olympic experience

Game Room

August 26, 2004|By Victor Godinez | Victor Godinez,DALLAS MORNING NEWS

`Athens 2004' takes aim at Olympic experienceMost of us will never compete in the Olympics, but Sony's new Athens 2004 game for the PlayStation 2 is a decent consolation prize.

Athens 2004 is a bare-bones title. There are only a handful of competitions, with different events in each competition.

There's track and field, swimming, gymnastics, equestrian events, weightlifting, archery and shooting.

Missing in action are baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, judo, table tennis, fencing and several other events that the real athletes are competing in at Athens.

Still, the events in the game are fairly well-portrayed, and there's some nice variety depending on the type of game play you prefer.

The skeet shooting and archery are fun for practicing your aim, while the sprints and swimming events will test your ability to tap buttons as fast as possible.

Actually, I don't think anyone prefers these insane tests of finger speed, as you're more likely to end up with injured fingers and a lifetime of having to open pickle jars with your teeth than with a gold medal.

The lengthier running events test your stamina and ability to gauge when it's time to hang with the pack and when it's time to sprint, and you don't have to have bionic fingers to win. The field events, such as the long jump, pole vault and discus, require precise button presses. You can even whip out your dance mat to perform the gymnastics floor exercise program, which should be fun for Dance Dance Revolution fans.

The graphics are clean if a little plain, but the animation is generally good. You can even see your gymnast's muscles trembling on the rings if you start to lose control.

You don't get much of a sense of the pageantry of the Olympics; there's no opening ceremony or lighting of the Olympic flame.

Also, all the competitors are anonymous, which means you can't follow individual athletes.

Athens 2004

Cost: $39

Rating: E for everyone

Platforms: PlayStation 2

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