08/08/2012 17:59 | By Stuart Dredge, contributor, MSN Tech & Gadgets

Daley Thompson's Decathlon 2012: app of the day

Athletic game returns from the days when men were men, and moustaches were moustaches.

Daley Thompson's Decathalon 2012 (© Elite Systems)

What is it?
The self-proclaimed "spiritual successor" to the original Daley Thompson's Decathlon, released in 1984 for 8-bit computers like the Spectrum and C64.

Coolest feature
Its developer has junked 1984-style graphics in favour of beefier 3D visuals more befitting an iOS game in 2012. Although that comes with its own pitfalls.

iPhone/iPad - 69p

Many a teenage boy had an aching wrist in 1984, but stop right there: it's not what you think. 8-bit game Daley Thompson's Decathlon was the RSI-cause of choice among gamers that year.

Starring Daley - then in his prime as an athlete - the game involved competing in all 10 of the decathlon events, with the vast majority involving furious waggling of a joystick to post record times or distances.

In an ideal and joyful world, the Daley Thompson's Decathlon computer game would be an Olympic event in itself. As it is, we'll have to make do with an all-new version for iOS devices in 2012.

It's the work of Elite Systems, which has busied itself bringing a host of retro games to iOS in recent times, either standalone (Head Over Heels, Pitstop II, Jet Set Willy etc) or through its officially-licensed ZX Spectrum emulator app.

As you'll have noticed from the screenshot above, Daley Thompson's Decathlon 2012 doesn't look like a Spectrum game. It sports chunky 3D representations of Daley and his fellow athletes going about their sporty business.

All 10 events are included: 100m, discus, 400m, 110m hurdles, 1500m, javelin, shot putt (or "shotput" as it is here), long jump, pole vault and high jump. You can choose to play single events, or the full decathlon, at three difficulty levels.

Daley Thompson's Decathlon 2012 (© Elite Systems)

There's no joystick to waggle on an iOS device, obviously, so most events are controlled by frantically tapping on-screen buttons - although the shot putt mixes it up a bit by getting you to tap the numbers 1 to 6 in order as quickly as possible.

It sounds like a recipe for Olympics-fuelled fun and frolics. In truth, it's a bit disappointing. The graphics look good as static screenshots, but the animation leaves a lot to be desired.

There's no pass-and-play mode to get friends in on the action, nor is there integration of Apple's Game Center for online high-scores or achievements - although Elite says this will be added in a future update if there's enough demand.

In a way, Daley Thompson's Decathlon 2012 is its own enemy: it has the mechanics of a game from 1984, but its spruced-up visuals lead you to expect more. A straight port of the original game would have been more fun for gamers with fond memories of it.

3 stars

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