Had you told a gamer in the early 1990s that Mario and Sonic would team up and star in a videogame together you'd probably get a sharp slap in the jaw. Yet here they are, competing against each other in an Olympic setting. But is the game worthy enough to commemorate this historic meeting of the mascots? The answer is yes. Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games, against many fan's expectations, is worthy of a gold.
Mario & Sonic offers some of the most enjoyable multiplayer action you'll find on the Wii with 24 unique events designed to test all your gaming abilities, from hand speed to accuracy. The amazing this is how the game uses the Wii controllers so well, creating a series of unique events that never get boring.
It would have been easy for Sega to slap Mario and Sonic in a button bashing track and field game but the amount of thought that has gone into each of the 24 events is commendable and even though the events are different it all feels so natural because the controls fit each discipline. It all works as you'd expect so for the 100m you'll be moving the controllers up and down as fast as possible, the skeet shooting has you pointing your Remote at the targets, while players pull back on the controllers as if they were oars in the rowing event.
There are some surprises though. In trampolining you have to flick the Remote up as you land and then tap buttons while your character is in the air to pull off tricks. Then there are the Dream events which take Olympic events and throw in the sort of things we've come to expect from videogames such as power-ups, special moves and obstacles.
Many retro-heads might reminisce about the glory days of Track & Field yet it has become an increasingly tired genre as the archaic controls have completely overshadowed any visual improvements. It's taken the Wii and two of the biggest stars in gaming to shake things up a bit.
The line-up of athletes may feature portly plumber, a hedgehog and a fox but although Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games appears a bit silly it deserves to be taken seriously because it is one of the best athletics games ever. Not only is it ideal as a family game (there are handicap options in case your nan wants a go) but it's great post-pub fun.