Triple Running Sports
WiiWare | The Code Monkeys | 1-
2 Players (local multiplayer) | Out Now (North America) | 500 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote and Nunchuk
The interface isn't any different from what was seen in the other releases. Players can choose to participate in a single-player championship, enlist a friend for a multiplayer competition, or view records under the Award Cabinet option. All of the events in Triple Running Sports are track-based in nature, consisting of the 100m Sprint, 110m Hurdles, and a slow-paced 1500m run. Each of these can be played on three difficulty settings that affect the strength of your competition. Once you earn a Gold Medal on all three events in a specific category of difficulty, you'll unlock a fourth event for play: the 400m Sprint.
Now before I go any further, there's something important to note about the Menu setup. In the reviews for previous releases, I've commented on the lack of female characters and how odd it is that each game is entirely male dominated. If you look closely at the image for the 1500m event, you'll notice it shows a female participant! Talk about inconsistent! Whatever the reason they had for omitting female characters, the fact that they were too lazy to even change this graphic doesn't help their case any bit.
That aside, the first thing you'll observe in all 4 of the events is the fact that this is the only game in the series to feature visible competition. All other times, the CPU rivals have been little more than leaderboard data. Just seeing whom you're racing against helps with the competitive feel that the developers were going for in each release, and it definitely adds more realism. With this in mind, let's discuss each of the events that make up the entire package.
As touched on at the outset, the 100m Sprint is a quick, straight-forward race to the finish line. Players simply shake the Wii Remote and Nunchuk in an alternating fashion to run, and you can press the A Button to lean your head forward ever so slightly as you approach the finish line. This is one of the few events in the entire Triple Sports series that actually work! The controls operate the way they should, the action feels fast-paced and true to the nature of the real-life event, plus the ability to lean forward is a nice touch. This is one event where you may actually have some fun racing against a friend. Unfortunately, you don't have the ability to play with a full roster of racers when engaging in a multiplayer session, but I suppose you need to take the good with the bad. All of these rules extend to the unlockable 400m Sprint event as well.
110m Hurdles is pretty much the same as the last, with the obvious exception that the game places hurdles for you to jump over as you make your way to the finish line. Controls work pretty much the same here. You shake the two controls one after the other to run, press the A Button to jump over hurdles, and press A to lean forward as you reach the end. The jumping animations are quicker than you might expect, so you'll need to judge the timing according and try to follow a consistent pattern. Once again, this event works the way it should with almost nothing getting in the way of its execution. Sure the visuals are still just as bland as they were in Triple Shot Sports, and the lack of audio in certain places makes the game feel empty. But when you consider how other events in previous games have been riddled with poor control schemes, this was a sight for sore eyes.
Moving from the good to the bad, the 1500m event is easily the worst event in the entire collection. Controls resemble the High Jump event from Triple Jumping Sports, where you need to shake the controls in time with falling shoeprint icons. Stamina plays a key factor in your success here, so from time to time, you may need to rest up simply by not reacting to the falling indicators. Your character will still run of course, but they won't exert themselves more than necessary so they can still make some progress. As the Stamina gauge reaches the 1/4 mark, you'll hear your character gasp for air, making it harder to recover from that point.
Now I think it's worth repeating that this game has been positioned as an accurate and realistic simulation of the real-life Olympic events. To that end, I found the stamina meter in this game would decrease at an unrealistically slow rate. So that's one problem there. But a more pressing issue is the fact that this event is just so incredibly boring to play! It lasts way too long to be enjoyable even with a second player. And to add insult to injury, the game expects you to wait for the other computers to cross the finish line before you can advance to the results screen. That's a bit much.
Looking at the entire package, I think Triple Running Sports turned out to be the strongest release in the series, but that's not exactly saying much, especially since I still don't think it's a worthwhile investment. As with all the other releases, there's just not a lot of bang for your buck, and the average person would surely lose interest in it very easily. Multiplayer does provide a degree of fun in the first two events, but you need to ask yourself if it's really worth paying $5 for two slightly-enjoyable activities. You're much better off getting a full retail collection than any of these small-sized releases. Not even just for the value, but the experience you'd have would surely trump what's on offer here.
You know, the developers were onto something in bringing this over to WiiWare. A good quality, budget release to satisfy fans of the Olympic Games does sound appealing to a certain extent. But we've seen that every single release in the Triple Sports series is far from being good or even decent quality. Time and time again, each game has been severely hampered by poor design choices, with the root of the problem stemming from a lack of care for technical execution. At least here, you don't have to worry about needlessly complicated controls, but there's still an overwhelming sense of passionless involvement from the persons responsible for the Triple Sports packages. Triple Running Sports may not be as terrible as Triple Throwing Sports was in that it does manage to provide super-brief enjoyment with a second person, but especially in light of what you could be playing instead, it's still simply too underwhelming to recommend.
15/30 - Below Average
Gameplay 7/10 - Controls actually work this time, minor nuances to be had, more realistic than the other titles, 1500m is incredibly boring
Presentation 4/10 - Visuals are bland to look at, feeling of passionless care and execution, definitely not one of the game's strengths
Enjoyment 2/5 - The first two events provide some very brief enjoyment with a friend, very short-lived, lack of care carries over to feelings of emptiness
Extra Content 2/5 - Three different events to start with plus one unlockable, medals are worthless, not a worthwhile investment by any means
Equivalent to a score of 50% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)