As the saying goes, Tis better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. Unfortunately, this adage proves appropriate in the case of Bruce Jenner's World Class Decathlon. Avoiding the button-pounding of past decathlon games, WCD uses a combination of mouse clicks to control each event. The good news is this makes each event easier to master; the bad news is that it makes each event far too easy. More harmful to the multi-player elements of the game, it also makes your results far too arbitrarybarring a total screw-up on your part, there's little connection between how you control your competitor and the results on the field. Once you have mastered an event's basic elements, any further success is a total fluke. You find yourself begging for results, rather than feeling that you've done something to deserve them.
This game has some redeeming qualities, however. The first is the presence of Jenner himself. While not actually a competitor (unless you program one with his characteristics), he does pop up throughout the game, offering advice and insights on the various events. In fact, the included interview may be the highlight of the entire title. Jenner has also been able to convince the makers of WCD that the decathlon is one event, not 10 separate ones. Your endurance is strictly monitored over all 10 events; effort spent on the discus, for example, impacts your performance in the 1500-meter race at the end of the decathlon. You must approach each event with the overall picture in mind (which is good because each event is so little fun to play independently).
While WCD should be applauded for breathing new life into decathlon titles, it is ultimately undermined by shortcomings in gameplay and challenge. Let's hope they use the next four years, train hard, and come back strong in 2000.