Daley Thompson's
Olympic Challenge
Copyright/Publisher: Ocean, Programming: Richard Palmer & David Collier, Graphics: John
Palmer,Sound: Jonathan Dunn, Release Year: 1988, Genre: Atletics, Number Of Players: 1

In preparation for the XXIVth Olympic Games in Seoul, Ocean have taken their ageing Daley Thompsons licence, given it a good dusting down and come up with yet more joystick-breaking action.

Based around ten Olympic decathlon events, Daley has to prove his worth at the 100m sprint, pole vault, javelin, discus, high jump, long jump, shot put, 110m hurdles plus the 400 and 1500 metres.

More or less a re-vamping of the original Daley Thompson´s Decathlon which appeared in 1984, the latest Daley goings-on have a similar style of play, much improved graphics and one or two extra touches, including an initial workout session in the gym.

Before the serious competition begins, Daley is put through his paces doing bicep curls with free weights, together with sit-ups and leg-raises on a multigym. Each repetition adds a small amount of Lucozade to a bottle at the side. If the bottle is filled before the time limit expires it can then be drunk before one of the main events to instill Daley with extra energy, making that particular event slightly easier. However, if he flunks the workout, Daley recieves little more than a good telling off from his manager.

Having successfully advanced to the great outdoors, Daley begins the contest in earnest. He starts by selecting some suitable footwear from a scrolling catalogue of 11 pairs of Adidas trainers. Only once a selection has been made is the trainer's correct purpose revealed.

Each event has it's own appropriate footwear, and if the correct shoes are chosen, for the current event, Daley´s efforts are increased (right tools for the right job and all that).

All of the events require a degree of effort on Daley's behalf, which manifests itself in some pretty ferocious joystick waggling. If you're unfamiliar with this mode of play (ie, you live under a rock or haven't been born yet), you simply move the joystick rapidly from side to side to boost a constantly falling 'power meter'.

Once Daley's energy is up to the required level this is either sustained for the duration of the race, or the fire button pressed to initiate the necessary action and held down to increase the angle of attack of the jump or throw.

As Daley competes in each event, he scores points according to the decathlon points system. Unlike previous games which halted your efforts as soon as you failed to qualify on one event, DTOC keeps a check on your score and only sends you back to the first discipline once it feels that you don't stand a chance of winning a medal (clever, eh?). In this way, you can make a total cock-up of one event yet still progress to the final standings by doing well in the remaining events.

The whole competition takes place against a stadium backdrop, complete with spectators doing 'The Wave' and some effective parallax scrolling. It is Daley himself who steals the show, through, being beautifully drawn (he´s even te right colour this time!) and extremely well animated as he goes through a variety of different manoeuvres.

Having said that, DTOC is very similar to its four-year-old predecessor. If you've missed out on games of this sort, then this latest case of the DT's should fit the bill nicely. Those of you who already own a sporty waggler (such as Decathlon on the Firebird budget label, one of the Epyx range or even Daley's earlier offering) should have a good look before shelling out.