International Athletics

International Athletics is an arcade track & field game by the Spanish developer True Emotions. It was initially published by Opera Soft in Spain in 1992 under the title Olympic Games ’92, then licensed by Zeppelin in 1993 for their “International” series of sports simulations.

International Athletics consists of eight events, grouped in three basic categories:

  • Running – 100m, 110m hurdles
  • Jumping – Long Jump, High Jump, Triple Jump
  • Throwing – Javelin, Shot Putt, Discus

Rather than the traditional rhythmic key tapping or joystick rattling of the Decathlon offspring, International Athletics requires only timing, with most events mastered with only two key presses. To run the 100 meters for instance, you hit the action key once to get your athlete started, then adjust his target speed on a slider. Once that’s done, you lean back and watch him race to the finishing line. Events such as triple jump and 110m hurdles require several accurately times keystrokes in order to succeed. In general, mastering the events and even setting new world records is a matter of only one or two repeats.

Practice mode lets you exercise your timing, competition mode plays through all eight events in set order. If you fail to meet the qualification requirement on one event, you are out instantly. Up to four players can compete on one PC in split-screen mode.

The game’s presentation is thin, with digitized photos of the eight events as the main eye-candy and a complete lack of atmospheric stadium sequences, ceremonies or national anthems; in this respect, International Athletics doesn’t even meet the standards set by Summer Games and Epyx’ other late-80s sports classics.

Options include three difficulty levels, changing wind and different weather conditions, which are not visually represented but affect the achievable event result. Likely one of the most esoteric options seen in a track & field game so far is the possibility to activate doping. This doesn’t mean that players can actively dope their athletes, but they may fail random doping checks after each event, which results in immediate disqualification – essentially a form of Russian Roulette.

Game Info

  • Genre: Sports
  • Publisher: Opera Soft S.A.
  • Developer: True Emotions Software
  • Year: 1992

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