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banner Wednesday, 6 February, 2002, 14:58 GMT
Let's Play: Salt Lake 2002
BBC Sport Online reviewer David Gibbon says this Winter Olympics game is OK, but will not win any gold medals.

Sick of watching the Winter Olympics on TV and desperate to have a go yourself?

Well now you can.

Released to coincide with Salt Lake 2002, this is the official game of the Games.

It can be enjoyed by up to four people (the multi-player option is best) and provides a great deal of fun, with a competitive edge.

Unfortunately it only gives you a choice of six events, with skating and the bobsleigh skeleton two of the glaring omissions.

  Salt Lake 2002
Format: PlayStation 2
Price: 39.99
Publisher: Eidos
Genre: Olympics
Also Available: PC and Gameboy Advance

Of the events that are included, four are based on skiing, with the two-man bobsleigh and men's snowboard giant slalom making up the numbers.

Players are also limited to a choice of just 16 countries - 84 are represented in the real thing - giving you the impression that the game has been rushed on to the shelves.

Everything has been seen before - and the gameplay - I'm afraid to say - is largely based on the usual finger-breaking tapping.

The skiing events in Salt Lake are made up of downhill, slalom, jumping and freestyle, but the bobsleigh is probably the easiest discipline to master.

It requires you to simply press the circle and square buttons in a fast, rhythmic fashion to build up speed.


Once your two-man team reaches a red line, you press X to jump into the bobsleigh and then it's just a case of steering to the finish line by turning into the corners early and as high up the wall as possible.

All of the events are very simple to grasp, with the freestyle skiing aerials slightly more difficult than the rest.

Visually, Salt Lake 2002 offers very realistic snow and competitors whose faces twitch and breathe out cold mositure.

Animation is kept to a minimum and the scenery is fairly bland, but you do get a nice sense of speed when hurtling down the bobsleigh and ski runs.

The camera angles in the game are brilliantly done - and can be altered during play. You also get an excellent two-player split screen option on the snowboard slalom.

  Gibbon's verdict
Graphics: 83%
Playability: 81%
Sound: 68%
Realism: 84%
Overall: 82%

Salt Lake 2002 comes with four game modes, Freeform, Olympic, Classic and Tournament.

Classic is single mode only - setting the player the challenge of controlling the weather effects in a given amount of time.

Freeform is a training mode, tournament a knock-out competition and Olympic the Games themselves.

Commentary comes from the BBC's Stuart Storey and Graham Bell - well done but, as usual, far too repetitive.

In short, this game provides a bit of fun, but the novelty will wear off long before the real thing is over.

BBC Sport Online's dedicated site for the Winter Olympics
Salt Lake City special

BBC Sport Online looks ahead to some of the computer games that will be hitting the streets in the first half of 2002.  New game plan
A look at some of the top computer games for 2002
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