Review by DrRetro_PhD
Not even worth a bronze medal
I bought this game used around 2004-2005 and must have had exceedingly low expectations because I was agreeably surprised – I gave it a 6 out of 10 in a review published on the Sega-16 web site. Revisiting it fifteen years later, I’m underwhelmed and struggle to find real strengths in it: not only is it not great, it’s not even good enough to be in the second or third tier of 16-bit platformers. There are a bunch of medals to be found in its levels, but the game itself isn’t worth one.
Issues that already bothered me when I moderately enjoyed the game are still annoying, and maybe even more so, especially the constant slowdown. During the hours I’ve spent on it in order to beat it (you can reach the end after a few tries – extra lives are easy to find), I can barely count a few minutes of play at normal speed. Elsewhere, the whole game is played as in quicksand. Izzy’s jump is difficult to understand: you can jump on enemies to kill them, but the collision detection is uneven and can let you down at the most unexpected moments; meanwhile, you can defeat enemies situated higher than you while jumping in their direction, but you sometimes get hit instead of hitting them, for reasons I can’t quite fathom. Even though the game is a breeze overall, it’s a shame the challenge is mainly produced by the deficient coding, and not by carefully thought out puzzles or devices.
Izzy’s transformations are very uneven: some are fun because you can at least use them for a while (the game then becomes a shooter or takes on another genre), but most are short and/or ridiculous, such as those that give you a baseball bat or an archer’s arrows for a few seconds. Why include a transformation if it’s not integral to the gameplay?
In an olympics-themed platform game with a lot of items to collect (mainly medals, diamonds and torches), it would have been nice to include more elaborate statistics after each level. As it is, the game only shows how many gold medals you’ve found on your last life used, which is simply not enough. The huge levels are worthy of some exploration, but the developers don’t give you much incentive to put in the time: in addition to the choppy animation and unimpressive colors, the maze-like layouts can be a chore to get through, especially in the later stages.
A disappointing, unathletic performance.
Product Release: Izzy's Quest for the Olympic Rings (US, 12/31/95)
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