“An enormous mash-up of everything altogether that results in a gorgeous motif, even if not very fun.”
– from the full review.
Good Lord. I do not like this game.
The original Track & Field on NES is a glorious triumph of simplicity, a hyper-focused tournament button-masher that aims to show who is the quickest draw in the 8-bit realm. But, this? The second game? We have not seen a sequel on the NES this bloated, artificially puffed-up, convoluted, and unfun since I reviewed Ikari Warriors II. The transition from first game to second is similar, as though the makers said JUST MAKE IT BIGGER!
The original Track & Field was all about pushing the player to their highest maximum optimum efficiency, radically cleansing them of any impurities in their gaming fu and granting a laser-like dedication. The initial qualifying marks were easy to clear, and a half-decent player could cycle through the events a few times, charging ever onward for higher scores, longer jumps, quicker sprints, and more precise accuracy.
But in Track & Field II, the qualifying mark isthe challenge. Do you see that difference? Do you understand what I am saying here? The first game was all about fun, repetition, button-pressing supremacy, and a gradual mastery. Track & Field II is just about punishment, difficulty, and absurdity. If you do not qualify, GAME OVER, you lose, you suck, goodbye. The events are difficult and needlessly add complexity. Yes, challenge on its own is not a bad thing, but in this case, I would say it is not fun to try and beat. Even if you are not familiar with the much more lighthearted and fun original game, Track & Field II still comes across as a clod-hopping mess. Albeit, one with very pretty pixel graphics.
Fun fact: Track & Field II has an amusing instruction manual. The short description for each in-game event tries to use clever references, including one to Popeye (unnamed, just recommends “eat your spinach” to gain strength to be ready for the Hammer Throw) and one to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Konami did all those TMNT title, remember?) as your role model for Taekwondo.
Okay, as much as I hate this game, I do enjoy the events involving a canoe, arm wrestling, hurdles, or firing at targets.
Read The Full Review For: Notes on what sound effects Konami recycles in which games, pointing out a few of the more absurd bits of T&F II, thoughts on basic game theory, a description of a handful of events, and what this game does right.
NES Gameplay Tips For Track & Field II: In deference to my dislike of this game, I refuse to provide any tips. So there.