YOU can't help but admire Daley Thompson. Injured by bad luck and a faulty pole, he lost his bid to be proven the world's finest Olympic athlete.
Now, somewhat prematurely perhaps and with the aid of Pete Johnson and the team at Ocean, we can all have a crack reliving dishy Daley's victories past, and perhaps set a few new records into the bargain.
And so to the gymnasium. This is where the game begins to flex its and Mr Thompson's muscle. Training is a simple matter of doing some jerks and squats - that's sporty lingo for lifting a few weights - but to add to the difficulty you have to keep up the exercise a full four minutes. This means a lot of joystick waggling, making the simulation painfully realistic. During the session the main portion of the screen depicts an animated digitised image of Daley doing his stuff, while smaller peripheral windows show your current energy level and time remaining. The energy meter is a bottle of Daley's favourite thirst quencher, and as the bottle fills it's replaced by a can of - yes the very same.
Cans are used to provide extra energy in your weaker events, so a full complement is useful.
Finally you're ready to enter the competition. This is split over two days, with five events each day. An intermediate screen depicts a computerised scoreboard showing the next event. It's here that Olympic Challenge falls flat on its face because you can't choose which event to compete in next. This means if you get knocked out in say, the ninth event for whatever reason, you'll have to start again from scratch.
The games consist of four running events plus all the field trials like discus, javelin and long jump - so there's plenty of variety.
There are some fantastic animated sequences of a digitised Daley doing his stuff, and intermediate digitised stills while each event loads. In fact all of this is quite breathtaking. At the expense of all the prettiness is screen ergonomics. A typical case is the 100 metre sprint, which has no less than seven sections all displaying information at once. Fine up to a point. But the real action, down on the track is shown from a viewpoint you might get from a blimp floating hundreds of feet above the stadium.
At the end of the day I concede defeat. I tried to get to like Olympic Challenge, but failed. It's just too hard to be credible. That, coupled with needless comments about being disqualified and sent home in disgrace for choosing the wrong shoes, leads me reluctantly to suggest you avoid this one. Sorry Daley.