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Game Over Online ~ Athens 2004 (c) Sony Computer Entertainment

Athens 2004 (c) Sony Computer Entertainment

Published: Friday, June 11th, 2004 at 04:50 PM
Written By: Jeff 'Linkphreak' Haynes

In a little more than two months, the 2004 Olympic Games will kick off where it all began so many centuries ago in Athens. For many sports fans, this will provide the pinnacle of athletic achievement on an international stage, highlighting the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Those of us unlucky to be able to attend the games will be stuck tracking down our favorite events on TV, switching channels to catch highlights half a world away. However, gamers eager to go for the gold a little early can get their hands on Athens 2004 from SCEA and Eurocom.

Featuring 25 events from the Olympics, gamers have a number of modes they can explore the games with. They can practice an event to get the hang of the controls, try out one event in Single Event, test your skills against actual world records in Challenge mode or organize your own games in Competition mode. Thereís even a Party mode that allows up to four players to play using dance mats to control some of the athletes. This will actually come into play in a bit, so keep this in mindÖ

Competition mode is where the meat of this game lies, because youíll have the option to organize up to 5 days worth of competition covering all 25 events in the game. These will include a healthy dose of track and field, swimming events and other sports, such as equestrian and weight lifting. But unlike previous track and field games (including Konamiís now legendary eponymous title), Athens 2004 implements a number of control options to break the monotony of the game. Sure, the infamous blister producing button mashing to increase a runnerís (or swimmerís) speed remains, but youíll also have to get used to timed, accurate movements of the analog sticks (for things like skeet shooting or menís rings) and the aforementioned dance pads (for things like womenís floor gymnastics). In fact, Athens 2004 melds some of these controls together, giving your wrists and sore fingers a rest when you need it most in the midst of a 5 day match.

Athens 2004 features very specific color commentary by the international in-game announcers. Thereís a greater depth included than the typical good or bad calls, evaluating how your athlete is doing in the event on the whole. This is bolstered by a responsive crowd, which is probably the most realistic crowd seen in a Sony game to date. For fans of sports, and the Olympics in particular, this could be a must buy title when it comes out next month. Check back soon for a full review!

Questions or comments about the upcoming release of Athens 2004 for the PlayStation 2? Talk to us!

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