RELEASED: September 1988
AVAILABLE ON: NES
Track & Field II was actually the fourth game in the Track & Field series, and it came out exclusively on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1988. The game boasted with some of the most enhanced graphics seen at those times, and with a cavalcade of 15, somewhat unorthodox events, of which only two were part of the original arcade version of the first game. The game was one of my favourite NES games back in the day the old box was in the spotlight, but after all these years, I think it was the untypical nature of the events and the graphics that hit the right spot. I know there are people out there who consider this button mashfest a milestone in the history of sports games, and it does have its shiny spots, but in general, Track & Field II has seemingly outlived its usefulness on my account, whereas the first game still manages to satisfy every time I take it for a spin.
Harder, faster, and with deadly precision
|The iconic arrival sequence.|
The game looks great, for the fourth and final time. The music is also quite inspirational stuff, with a genuine atmosphere. It's funny that now that the game looks and sounds better, it plays out worse. In the case of some specific events, a lot, lot worse.
|Fencing. Not as tactical as it would first seem.|
There are surprisingly few events that consist of raping the A button, and even in those events, it's not enough: you have to MURDER it. Gaining anything near to maximum speed is almost impossible with a regular controller, or without the Speedboard (there's actually a game that makes that piece of junk useful?!), and an event like Triple Jump demands ultra-high precision with the jumps for you to just qualify that simply isn't fun anymore. Finally, the track for you to run in that specific event is way too long. Pole Vault is another nightmare of an event in the same vein.
|I used to break world records at Triple Jump. Now |
simply qualifying is a pain. What gives?
Although there's a feeling of accomplishment every time you pass a day at the races with flying colours, the game is just way too hard and strange to enjoy. It certainly left its mark on me back in the day, and I still have that mark, but I wished that a couple of decades later, it would've left a couple of new ones besides wounds. I'll always silently nod to Track & Field II as one of the best-looking 8-bit presentations, but it's not the classic game I remembered it to be.
+ It looks and sounds great
+ There are a few events from all sides of the cube I honestly enjoy
+ The feeling of accomplishment
+ The very welcome, albeit limited, password system
- It's strange; the choices for events are mostly very odd
- It's unforgiving; succeeding demands perfect precision and maximum speed, which is all but unobtainable
- The events are not only strange, but there are a lot of simply unplayable ones such as the age-old scourge called Hammer Throw
< 6.4 >