Thursday 16 July 2015

Stadium Events / World Class Track Meet (NES review)

Developer: Bandai
Publisher: Bandai
Released: 1986

Stadium Events is a fitness game that uses the NES Power Pad and it was eventually re-branded as World Class Track Meet.

There are four events which are the 100M, Long Jump, 110M Hurdles and the Triple Jump. In each one you need to rapidly press two buttons on the mat to make your athlete run. In all events apart from 100M there are points where you must jump up (so no part of you touches the mat) so your character leaps into the air. I was really impressed by how responsive everything is and it reacts to your movements accurately. You can choose to play each event solo but there's also a Tournament mode where you participate against six opponents in the 100M Dash and 110M Hurdles. Beat all CPU athletes and you're declared the champion. It's a decent mode but repetitive with just the two events. The final mode is Olympics and it allows several human players to compete in each event with the winner being the one with the most points at the end. It's fun with a group but in single player you can only play against yourself for points rather than CPU opponents. There's nothing really special about the game and if it used a normal controller it would be rather mundane. However, the Power Pad really does add to the experience in an indescribable way and it's a lot of fun with multiple people struggling with their stamina! The difficulty of the game obvious relies on your reactions but more importantly your fitness level. The action is high intensity so it can get tiring even after a few minutes of play. The graphics are excellent and although they don't have any scaling effects they do a nice job of conveying depth in the scenery and track.

Stadium Events is unlikely to be listed in anyone's list of top NES games but the Power Pad is a key feature in making the experience fun. The single player mode is shallow but it really comes alive with a group of people huddling around the mat until they collapse in a heap!

Random trivia: The game was originally released as Stadium Events and it only had a limited production run before Nintendo purchased the rights and re-released it as World Class Track Meet. As a result, the NTSC version of Stadium Events is one of the rarest games of all-time.

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