Friday, 25 March 2016

Konami 88


It's Konami, in 1988... No really, it is.


Following from the success of Track and Field and Hyper Olympics, Konami came back in 1988 with the originally named, Konami '88. 88 minutes of pure Konami goodness... No it's just Track and Field with a graphical overhaul and was released in 1988. Having said that however, it's quite the overhaul and makes for an entertaining game.

So many toys!

For those in the know, you can skip this paragraph. For those that don't, Konami '88 hails from the world of "Wiggle Joystick" controls. You wiggle the joystick (or tap buttons) to build up speed and then hit an action button to determine a function whether it's the angle of jump in Long Jump, or the angle of throw in Javelin, or passing on the baton in the relay. As such, there's a multitude of various events including 100m Dash, Long Jump, 400m Relay, Skeet Shooting, Archery, 110m Hurdles, Javelin, and a replay of the 400m Relay as a final event of the round.

I prefer the original Track N Field

Each round in Konami '88 has a qualifying quota, in that you must get at least that time/distance/score in order to progress to the next event. Getting further/faster/higher gives you more points in case you're in competition with other players or playing for the big score. As such, the game gets harder if you beat every round by starting over and raising the bar (sometimes literally) and having the player require a higher amount of points, faster time, long distance etc.

Celebrate, with your multi-ethinic rainbow of groupies!

Timing is key in Konami '88, whether it's hitting the takeoff and getting the angle for the jumps, or the throws, or the hand over in the relay, or even the loosening off a bow from the string, timing is essential to getting a good score but even consistent timing will not guarantee things. There's more than a few niggling issues with the game.

Similar events to earlier games, just boosted up the graphics a bit

In particular, the run up and take off for the high jump isn't clear because of the game's insistence on using sprite transformation in a pseudo-3D manner, which results in over complicating issues. Archery is a bitch if only because your very first shot will be a range finder as you'll have no idea when to time the shot based upon the almost utter random cross wind and while the game also forces that 45 degrees is optimum for most events, around 25 degrees is your best shot in Archery for Konami '88. The worst is that the controls for the Skeet Shooting do not match up with any other control in the game and the buttons will force you to quickly forget and form new muscle memories just for this one event.

Regardless, it's wiggle joystick and hit buttons.

The game is certainly a huge improvement over Track 'n' Field and Hyper Sports though, the game is a lot more friendly to users, it has clearer objectives and uses of controls (except in Skeet Shooting...) and while it showcases a higher bit level of graphics, makes use of the potential with clear, colourful and clever use of sprites. What it falls short on, is that the game doesn't really convey distance and speed all that well with the rate of change in sizes during the additional scenes. It's a minor point really but the game does stand well as a competitive game assuming both players have a rudimentary grasp of control and timing.

It's like Darts, you're not really an athlete.

Sounds within Konami '88 are quite crisp, while the synthesised voices are a little easier to understand compared to the original and are a markedly nice nod back to the original/source of the series. The music however is few and far between and little of value to really comment upon, it serves its purpose and moves onto the next event with little to no issue or memorable composition while actual events are silent save for the effects and to be honest, it needs to be in order to prevent players reacting to the rhythm of the music rather than the pace of the game.

....oops

With all said and done on Konami '88, I find that it's a worthy game for a play around but there's something missing in its delivery that the original has, whether the pace or the overall presentation is up for debate but on its own it is an OK game but nothing truly wonderful that sets it aside within its own series.