Whoever would have thought they would see the day that both Mario and Sonic would team up in a game? Weren’t these two competing against each other back in the glory days (Genesis vs. SNES?)
And now, with Sega becoming a software only company (yes, I’m still bitter over the way they treated Dreamcast owners,) having Sonic games on multiple consoles is a reality, although the quality has decreased. But now with all that happened, we come to the joining of both Mario and Sonic, but did anyone expect it to be in a game that would coincide with the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games?
That’s right, Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games features both platform legends as well as all of their friends and enemies. Sixteen characters are available and are separated by four attribute levels (power, speed, skill, and all-around.) In addition players can use their own Miis as in game characters if they choose.
The game features twenty varying Olympic events ranging from the standard track and field (100 meter dash, hurdles, and triple jump,) and moving on to gymnastics, swimming and even fencing. Each event has its own unique control scheme based on the Wiimote and the Nunchuk. However for some events, such as swimming, different characters might have alternate control methods, adding a unique challenge for a single event.
A lot of people will probably see the connection to the excellent classic Atari 2600 Track and Field game, a title that ate up a ton of time for players back in the day. Like that game, the events are easy to comprehend, fun to play, and highly addictive. And here, there are some truly wacky games that could only occur in a computer game, like the 10,000 foot diving event.
The control using the Wiimote is very responsive, and yes it will truly give you a workout. Relay based events can easily turn into a hand killer. The only issue I have had with using the Wiimote and Nunchuk attachment at the same time is that the cords end up tangling with each other. I ended up having to wrap the Nunchuk cable around my arm a few times to remedy this.
While the control for most of the events is simple and easy to get into, there are some events that can be challenging. Archery alone can get a little complicated when it comes to aiming and releasing. It takes a little while to get used to.
And then there is Table Tennis. While not as innovative as Wii Sports Tennis, it is very simple and easy to get into, everything that Rockstar Table Tennis on the Wii should have been.
The variety of the Olympic events is quite good, and with the addition of special "dream events" such as the aforementioned 10,000 meter dive – one of the true stars of the entire series — so there is plenty of replay value to go around.
Nintendo’s Wi-Fi Connection is used in the game, but only for keeping track of records. It would have been nice to compete against others online, but sadly that’s not the case.
Visually the game looks like a typical Mario or Sonic game. All the characters look the way they do in their respective games. Everything is nice and smooth, as in 60 frames per second without any signs of slowdown as well.
As for the sound, it too is standard Mario and Sonic fare, mixed with the usual dramatic Olympic material.
While it’s an interesting way for both Mario and Sonic to team up in a game, Olympic Games is also a fun collection of sporting event minigames for anyone to get involved with. While it will give you a strenuous workout, especially in the relay events, it’s still an enjoyable title to play by yourself or with a group of friends.