Alternative World Games
Copyright/Publisher: Gremlin/Novotrade, Game Concept: Ian Stewart & Tamas Revbiro,
Programmed By: Gyula Hodi, Attila Korisanszki, Gabor Pongyor & Antal Zolnai,
Graphics By: Attila Horvath & Janos Zana, Music/Effects by: Ben Dalglish,
Release Year: 1988, Genre: Multi Events, Number Of Players: 1 to 4
A new multi-event sports simulation from Gremlin is Alternative World Games, a
parody of the Epyx Games series. There are eight national pastimes featured from
around the world.
The action starts when up to six players input their names and nationalities.
Each country has an 'alternate' anthem - Rule Brittania, for the UK, and the Can-Can
for France, for example. Next, up to eight events are selected, and the players
choose whether to practice or compete. The first event is a sack race set in Naples in which two players race a manhole-
Next is a plate-balancing act where the player attempts to take
the most number of plates down a fixed course in the shortest possible time. Accelerating
too quickly, or moving around too much sends a wave of disturbance through the
plates, causing some to fall off. At the end, a score is awarded on both time and
Third on the agenda is boot throwing. The player swings either an empty of full welly
around himself as fast as possible and hurls it as fas as he can. Distance is more
dependent on the timing and angle of release, than the boot's speed.
The fourth event is river jumping. The player sprints towards the water's edge
carrying a long pole, plants it firmly in the middle of the river, and vaults as
far as he can onto the other side. Speed varies according to the angle the pole is
carried during the approach, but the jumper tires rapidly if the pole is held low
for too long.
The somewhat tricky art of pole climbing is next. Two people race head-to-head to
reach the top of their respective poles, and retrieve the champagne bottle there.
When the top is reached, the bottle is brought down gently.
Running up a wall is the next task facing the player. It's not quite as gravity-
defying as it sounds, and involves running at a wall, grabbing a small cap on the
way, and trying to pin it as high as possible.
The penultimate event is a pillow fight on board a gondola. Two antagonists face
each other, and bash away with a variety of moves until one falls in the water.
The last event is a bounce round an obstacle course aboard a pogo stick, bursting
balloons along the way. Points are earned fur bursting all the balloons in the
Gremlin set out to produce a parody on the Epyx Games series - and have succeeded
in style! Alternative World Games is very humorous, but the gameplay hasn't been
sacrificed for laughs, and the eight events are all very playable. The animation
is superb throughout, with smooth, cartoonesque movement on the participants, and
some lovely touches, such as the dog that chases the sack racers.
The events are played over some very impressive backgrounds, and the pillow
fight on the gondola is absolutely stunning - the canal looks almost real! The
events very from good to very good, with my favourites being the pole climbing
and river jumping.
The only problem I can see is the multiload system, which holds up the action
and gets a little frustrating. Apart from this, Alternative World Games is superb,
and sports fans should find it both challenging and fun.
Although Alternative World Games echoes the classic Games series, the control
methods certainly aren't as smooth as Epyx' efforts, and the gameplay suffers slightly
because of it.
The level of difficulty between games is also a bit varied, some
events being terribly fiddly to operate, such as the pogo-stick event, and others
quite simple, such as the sack race.
The graphics and animation are outstadning, and the sprites have a definite style
to them which as reminiscent of those 'cute' Hungarian cartoons. Not an essential
purchase, but if it's multi-event simulation you're after, this is certainly the one
to go for this month.
In a month of multi-events, from Combat School to Track'n'Field, this must be
vying for Oddest Collection award. It makes a pleasant change to have someone making
a game tongue-in-cheek, as far too many games take themselves seriously, forgetting
that they're supposed to be fun.
This one features some lovely graphics, not only the picturesque backgrounds,
but also the humorously animated characters. The sound is good on the title screen,
where a selection of horribly accurate alternative national anthems are played, but
is rather samey in many of the events.
The big drawback, and one which has made me hold back on further praise, is that
some of the events have 'all or nothing' results - once you've worked out the control,
you always finish with the same time or points. This tends to make them very
short-lived, as opposed to easier events in which scores are increased as skill is attained.