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Game Profile
FINAL SCORES
5.4
Visuals
7.5
Audio
7.0
Gameplay
3.5
Features
6.0
Replay
3.0
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
Game Boy
PUBLISHER:
Ubisoft
DEVELOPER:
DC Studios
GENRE: Sports
PLAYERS:   1-2
RELEASE DATE:
February 08, 2002
ESRB RATING:
Everyone
IN THE SERIES
Vancouver 2010

Vancouver 2010

Vancouver 2010

Sled Shred

Beijing 2008

More in this Series
 Written by Matt Swider  on May 20, 2002

Review: Be an athlete for a day, minus the snazzy Olympic Beret


The Winter Olympics took place this past February, and like every other Olympiad in the past decade or so, the events are followed by a couple of videogames that encourage the people at home to go for the gold. So, you, sitting on the couch at 3 am with the potato chip bag on your stomach, it's your turn to achieve excellent fitness. Place yourself in front of a radiant screen with no other surrounding light, and flex those muscles. Flex those finger muscles like never before. Each of these videogames attempts to inspire that Olympic fever in all of us. However, most of these titles remain unsuccessful.

This year, America was able to experience the Olympics at home as we hosted them in Salt Lake City. To capitalize on the events, Eidos took control of each console version of the Winter Olympics, while Ubi Soft decided to bring a single title based off of these Olympics to Game Boy Advance. In it, we are treated to six different winter games, which we can setup to play in a number of ways. Unfortunately, none of them are worth playing singly or in groups, as the challenge to break a bunch of records isn't thrilling enough for the average game player. Among the six events in Salt Lake 2002 are Alpine Skiing Downhill, Ski Jumping K120 Individual, Two-Man Bobsled, Alpine Skiing Slalom, Snowboard Parallel Giant Slalom, and finally Curling. Though the game contains five different modes of play and the same number of difficulty settings, it all basically plays the same, with only the setup being altered.

The real thrill contained, if you feel there's any, has to be the use of multiplayer. Salt Lake 2002 doesn't require players to own a link cable, as it allows gamers to pass the single system back and forth for some fun turn based play. The two events that are more enjoyable throughout the entire title have to be the Ski Jumping and to a lesser extent, the bobsled event. At times, players may see these games as being addictive as they are easy to play. When it comes to the other events however, most remain too similar as each is made up of an athlete barreling down the mountain on either two skis or a snowboard. Curling is the spot where the multiplayer really comes into play and can be somewhat pleasing if that's really your thing.

Despite being graphically adequate for a Game Boy Advance title, gamers who pick up Salt Lake will probably be staring at their radar more than glancing at its visual appeal. Nevertheless, it's the best department the game has to offer. While plain in sight, the Mode 7 style graphics use enough background and a couple of animations. Although this can't drive up the enjoyment rate of Salt Lake 2002, it is subtle in quality.

Like the visual aspects of the game, the audio does a decent job for the game. The sound effects are reasonable and accurate to the actions. While we all would have heard some voice clip from athletes, especially when things went wrong and screams should ensue, the sound effects area will do. Musically, things are loud and clear. The ceremonial scenes seem to give the correct anthems to the winning countries, just like seen on TV.

While much of the review hasn't pertained to compliments, I can't deny the ironic feature that Ubi Soft implanted: a Battery Save System. Many times, with even the games with containing the greatest of quality, publishers opt to cut costs by forgoing the battery in every game pack for a passcode backup method. This results in headaches for players who are forced to write down several different passwords. This is quite a chore frowned upon by most reviewers, let me tell you. So, instead of requiring gamers to do this, the company was nice enough to opt for a battery save method for this decent title. Told you it was ironic. Nonetheless, the feature make it stand out just a bit more.

Bottom Line
It can't be denied that every other year, both the Summer and Winter Olympic games inspire some athleticism in many of us. Along with the events, the videogames that have been coinciding with it all usually rank less than par, and Salt Lake 2002 arrives in no different a position. Though the visual and audio facets that lie within the game are something notable, everything else makes the game less appealing; even less than watching a marathon of Curling.


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