Track & Field II (NES)

Track & Field II Box Art

Track & Field 2

System: NES

Release Date: June 1989

Developer: Konami

Publisher: Konami

Genre: Sports

Here’s a follow up to the original from 1987, it’s Track & Field II! You’ve got 15 more events of action packed button mashing this time around. You can play 12 of the events in Training Mode, 14 of the events in Olympic (Championship) Mode, and 3 events in Versus Mode. The qualifying threshold is easier in Training Mode and you have to qualify to move to the next. Olympic mode is split into 8 days, four preliminary days and four Medal days. There are three events each day and you need to qualify in each one or else it’s game over.

Days 1 and 5 kick off with Fencing. You battle your opponent in a first to five affair. You can block with the B Button and thrust with the A Button. Coupled with the d-pad, you can attack high, low, or mid. I found the low thrust to be the most successful. Up next is the Triple Jump. You mash the A Button to build up speed and then press and hold the B Button to jump the angle you’re shooting for. I’m going to level with you right away, I tried playing honestly, but I couldn’t mash the button fast enough to get above 75% power. You can’t qualify if you can’t get to full power, so I opted to use turbo for these button mashing events that demand full power. I think it makes the most sense to aim for 45 degrees on each jump, but a helpful commenter on my stream, Link_7777, said optimal is 49, 49, and 62. I couldn’t quite get that, but close enough. The final event of the day is Freestyle Swimming. This is a mash both the A and B Buttons event. You have to wait for the starting gun to jump into the water and can either swim the Crawl or the Butterfly. I don’t think this one is possible without turbo.

Days 2 and 6 start with the High Diving event. You choose the style of dive you want to do by pressing the A Button to cycle through from forward, backward, reverse, twist, and hand stand. Then while you’re in mid air, you press the B Button with left to tuck, with right to jackknife, or with down to swan. As you enter the water, you want to be as vertical as possible for the highest score. Up next is Clay Pigeon Shooting. Here, you aim the sights and shoot with the A Button. You have two shots per pigeon to blast them out of the sky. Event number six is the Hammer Throw. In this game you rotate the d-pad counter-clockwise until you start to glow, then you hold the A Button to release. The longer you hold it, the higher your angle of throw. I had difficulty getting this to behave as I wanted it to all the time, but was able to get a good score.

Days 3 and 7 begin with Taekwondo and there’s a shout out to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the manual, which foreshadows an upcoming game this month. You punch with the A Button and throw kicks with the B Button. If you press down and kick, you throw a spinning roundhouse. Up jumps you into the air, where you can punch or kick. If you keep holding up, you release a head kick. The goal is to keep your opponent down for a 10 count, which means drain their health. If you get knocked down, mash those buttons to get up. The Pole Vault is another one of the button mashing events. You need to build up power and then press the B Button as you reach the plant spot. Hold the button until you clear the bar and try a higher vault. The last event is Canoeing. Here you paddle forward with the A Button and backward with the B Button. You need to go through 16 gates forward, in reverse, or from behind. You need to be fast and accurate to score high enough to win.

Days 4 and 8 conclude the rounds with Archery. You have to press the A Button to gather power and then release. The wind can push you forward, back, or to the sides. You can compensate left or right, set the degrees about half of what the wind is. You’ll want to vary the power based on distance, as the target moves back over the attempts. Bullseyes are the highest point getter and can be hit regularly. The Hurdles are another button masher. You jump with the B Button and want to make sure you spend the least amount of time in the water as possible. I always jump to land on the hurdle and then jump again to clear the water. The last event is the Horizontal Bar. As you’re probably used to, jam on the A Button and press the B Button as the meter maxes out. There’s nothing else to this game, just hope you get a good dismount and pray for a high score.

There are three other events in the game. Two of them happen between days if you pass all the events. The first is Hang Gliding. You need to mash the A Button to gain speed before taking off the end of the platform with the B Button. The goal is to fly high and straight and land on a target after flying the distance. The A Button will put your feet down and help you land. The other choice is Pistol Shooting. You can choose to use the Zapper or the Controller. You aim the sights and have to shoot the enemies as they appear. I remember this is pretty easy with the Zapper, but it’s kind of difficult with the controller. The final event you can play is in Versus Mode and is Arm Wrestling. This is probably the least played event, but I think it has one of the best presentations in the game. The face animations are hilarious and the music is really enjoyable.

Graphics: 2.5

The graphics are pretty good and the animations are also pretty cool.

Sound: 2.5

The different music tracks are good and the sounds are necessary to gameplay.

Gameplay: 2.0

Most of the games are button mash tests. Most people will resort to turbo controllers and I certainly don’t blame them.

Difficulty: 1.0

Can you press the button fast? Not so hard if you can. The non-button mashing events are easy after a couple practice rounds.

Fun Factor: 2.0

I thought I liked this better than the original and I did. It’s a better game, but it isn’t the best thing in the world.

Overall Grade: 2.0

Track & Field 2 on NES earns a C. It’s a better game than its predecessor, and a decent minigame compilation. The button mashing levels are going to be impossible without a turbo controller. Trust me.

Track & Field II Video Review on YouTube