Every four years, an event interrupts the doldrums of summer. No, not the All-Star Game or PGA Tour. What we're interested in here is the summer Olympics, an event that features a worldwide cast of amateur athletes striving to do their best. From track-and-field to swimming and gymnastics, few can help but be enraptured by the gold-medal efforts of these athletes. Thanks to an agreement with International Sports Multimedia, Eidos Interactive is set to release a multi-event title based on the summer 2000 games, Sydney 2000.
Sydney 2000 will feature twelve Olympic events: 100 meter sprint, 100 meter hurdles, hammer throw, javelin throw, triple jump, high jump, 100 meter freestyle swim, sprint cycling, skeet shooting, weight lifting, 10-meter platform diving, and the kayak slalom. Oddly, the game offers none of the gymnastics events that have tickled viewers' fancies in recent years. Considering the number of events, coupled with the fact that the game contains 32 athletes and actual real-world venues, this omission probably won't amount to much.
Sydney 2000 will offer three main play modes: arcade, Olympic, and coaching. In arcade mode, you and up to three friends can compete in any single event, attempting to best the current top score or time. Olympic mode requires you to raise a team of 12 athletes from modest beginnings all the way to gold medal proficiency. Starting at the local level, you'll compete in each of the game's main competitions, honing your team's skills until finally you're allowed entrance into the summer games. Take note, the major emphasis in this mode will be on team success. Rounding things out, Sydney 2000's coaching feature lets you sit back and let the computer compete while you build up an athlete's weight, fitness, stamina, strength, skill, and morale statistics. Do your job right, and you might garner respect as a world-class coach.
Visually, Sydney 2000 is reminiscent of Sega's Decathlete on the Saturn, in that it has a notably television-style appearance. For eye-candy buffs out there, instant replays and variable camera angles will serve to pull you into the Olympic experience. Stadium models are rife with detail, right down to Olympic banners, scoreboards, and the famed Olympic torch. Giddy optimism aside, the game looks as if it's going to deliver a winner.
Barring unforeseen delays, Sydney 2000 should be out for the PC, the PlayStation, and the Dreamcast this August. Those interested in four-player support or network gaming will want to pick up the PC or Dreamcast releases, but PlayStation owners will find the same deep gameplay and top-of-the-line visuals.