Sure games have progressed really far these days and there is no more need for a button mashing game that is based how quickly you can bash two buttons in succession. After all there are 8 buttons on the Playstation controller allowing for more complexity and skill. Well forget all of that crap because button mashing is back from the people that started it all: Konami.
If you remember the first Track and Field in the arcade, there were three buttons: two for mashing to create a running effect and one for the jump or throw at the end of the line. With this simple configuration they could but in a bunch of events and effectively create a track and field meet that would leave you just as breathless and in pain as if you were actually doing the real events. Well Konami has revamped that old system keeping the spirit still in it. Button mashing still plays a big part in the game, but there is a lot more reliance on timing than in the original.
The game consists 12 events that you can play in two different modes. In the arcade mode you must complete all of the events, or else you will be disqualified. The challenge mode is more like a practice mode wherein you pick one event and do it over and over again until you are well-trained. There are basic track and field events like, running, sprint bicycling, the javelin throw, and the long jump. And then there are events like weightlifting, diving, and canoeing that are summer events but have nothing to do with a track or a field. Nevertheless it is nice to have a little variety.
Like I have already mentioned, the play consists of smashing the "run" buttons up to a certain point and then hitting the other "action" buttons. The actions range from jumping off of the top of the pole jump, throwing the hammer, or hitting the horse on the vault. I highly recommend getting a fighting controller if you plan on playing this game since it does not use the analog and requires repetitive button smashing.
This game has the potential to become an instant party game since 4 players can play simultaneously without the annoyance of a split screen. On events such as canoeing and track, the camera pulls out to accommodate all of the players just like a TV camera would. In the other events, players take turns, but it still moves along pretty quickly. There are very few games that are simple to pick up and play and yet fun for four players at once. If you have a multi-tap and are a fan of party games then this one is a must have.
There are few problems with the games outside of the limitations of the games options. First of all there is no kind of career mode where you can train a team or take them through different tournaments. There is also no format to the competitions. You can enter any event at any time and once you pass it you cannot do it anymore. You beat the game by passing all of the events, but there are no medals awarded and little incentive to do better than qualifying.
It seems that Konami is getting people psyched about their games so that they can get the Olympics' license and make a 2000 Olympics game with the same feel. I am telling you, if Konami has that in the works (and they might since they released the Nagano Winter Games) and if Track and Field 2000 is any indication of the quality of the next game, then there may finally be an Olympic game worth playing.
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