Approximate Release Date: January 1, 1993
Genre: Sports simulation
Developer: Silicon Sorcery
If there’s any enjoyment to be gained from California Games II, it will depend on one’s ability to stomach repetition.
There are five minigames in California Games II: hang gliding, jet surfing, snowboarding, bodyboarding, and skateboarding. If that doesn’t sound like a lot of stuff, you’re right. If you hop into the “Play Solo” mode you’ll fly through the available games in less than ten minutes. There’s a practice mode and a multiplayer mode, too, but there’s just not a lot of stuff to do here.
The game makes two assumptions. First, that you care about getting the high score and will want to topple your own high scores. Second, that you’ll find the minigames fun and worth playing multiple times. Assumption number one doesn’t apply to me, but c’est la vie. Assumption number two is a swing and a miss. Of the five games only jet surfing and skateboarding even approach “okay,” and I can’t tell if it’s a quality thing or just because they’re easy to do well. Snowboarding and bodyboarding both require absurdly quick reflexes and therefore only last thirty seconds each. I have no idea how to properly do hang gliding. That’s not a great batting average, California Games II.
My feelings about California Games II reflect the fact that it’s a by-the-numbers follow-up to California Games. I never liked the predecessor so it makes sense I dislike the sequel. But many people do like the series, and if you’re the type of person who can put up with bad early ’90s attitude, the never-ending quest for the highest high score, and simple sports-based minigames. To me, that’s about as fun as hitting myself in the big toe with a hammer.
Tomorrow: For various reasons, I’m not looking forward to Populous II: Trials of the Olympian Gods.
UPDATE: Whew, Populous II is a European-only release so I get to dodge that bullet! The Hunt for Red October begins tomorrow instead.