Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
If you fancy a cheap holiday in California and have a taste for daredevil antics, the stylish sports on offer here could well be of interest Yes, you could pull off stunts that would make the average Joe pee his pants, so pack your shades and suntan lotion and prepare to compete in the California Games.
There are a mere four events to practice and compete in: half-pipe skateboarding, bodyboarding, hang-gliding and snow bowl.
If you're ready for some 'wheely good' action (ho ho), hop onto a skateboard and hit the half-pipe. If you mastered the event in the original California Gomes, don't feel diddled: rather than rolling from side to side in an ordinary half-pipe, you skate along a winding concrete gutter. You can perform hand plants, ollies, boardslides and, if you gather enough speed, complete revolutions around the tunnel sections.
If you're a beach bum, you might like to hit the water — and three-storey waves on your bodyboard. Once you've paddled into a big wave, you can perform great aquatic moves including barrels, rolls, 'off the lips' and spins.
To glide like a seagull or swoop like a hawk, strap yourself under hang-glider and throw yourself off a large cliff. Catch the thermals to stay aloft and swoop to collect tokens floating on the sea.
Finally, there's the snow bowl. You first guide a helicopter to-drop your snow-boarder near a mountain peak then work your way to the bottom, avoiding trees, boulders and big gaping crevices (that's enough of that! —Ed). You eventually reach the snow bowl, where half-pipe moves are performed.
This is a one-player, 8 Meg can crammed with action. If you fancy life in the fast lane, just cruise the high ways to California.
What a poor excuse for a Master System game! The thing is, I found myself playing again and again because watching the puny graphics, especially the hang-glider plummeting over the edge of the cliff, is an ace laugh! It shouldn't be — but it is!
I'm quite shocked to discover the programmers behind California Games 2 are Probe. They've produced some corking titles in the past (ie, Alien 3) and are bringing Mortal Kombat to the Master System. They must have rushed California Games through, hoping no one would notice.
For a sports game, there's no sense of speed or competition. The skateboarding's slow and hang-gliding takes ages to get used to. For the bodyboarding, I just pressed down and to score loads of points and the snow bowl's an absolute joke. I appeared to jump over some objects yet still flew ass-over-elbow!
Presentation's pretty poor, with only an options screen and a pic of a bloke stroking his knee every time you fail an event. Sound is incredibly weak, with a half-hearted tinkly tune at the start of the game, a few swooshing noises to indicate waves and board against terra firma in the snow bowl.
There's very little to appeal here. I wouldn't even recommend California Games 2 to sports fans, that's how bad it is.
Poor multi-sport cart. Lousy graphics, poor sound, pathetic playability and only four events
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