Sydney 2000 is good enough to compete at the Olympic level as far as video games go - but it'll be hard-pressed to earn anything above a bronze medal. The gameplay holds up for the most part despite an inherent lack of variety, but there's plenty of room for improvement.
As the only "official" video game of the Olympic Games, this title features 12 events, nine of which rely on pure button mashing combined with an action button to execute tasks. The 100-meter sprint, 110-meter hurdles, javelin throw, hammer throw, triple jump, high jump, 100-meter freestyle swimming, super heavyweight weight lifting, and sprint cycling fall into this category. For veterans of track and field titles, events such as the 100-meter sprint will prove to be rather easy. Others such as heavyweight weight lifting will probably cause a few of you to break a sweat. Except for the hammer throw and 100-meter freestyle events (more on them later), the control feels very responsive and in sync with the graphics.
The final three events offer a little gameplay variety, although their enjoyment potential is a mixed bag at best. In the surprisingly fun 10-meter platform diving event, you must execute a specific series of button presses during each dive, which become more intricate with difficult dives. In the highly challenging skeet shooting event, you use the controller stick to aim at targets. And you use both the stick and buttons to navigate a kayaker through a gate-filled obstacle course in the kayak K1 slalom. Thanks to the analog control, the skeet shooting event offers decent (if a bit touchy) control. Unfortunately, in the kayak K1 slalom, the analog control seems sluggish at times.
Oddly enough, the Dreamcast version of the game is superior to the PlayStation version in some departments, yet inferior in others - a discrepancy that hurts this game's final score. This version cuts down on the loading times between events, which makes gameplay a bit more bearable. It also supports analog control, while the PlayStation version didn't. Yet the PlayStation version pulls off graphical tricks that the technologically superior Dreamcast fails to include. For instance, all the big-screen stadium video monitors are missing in this version and have been replaced by a plain blue screen. Worst of all, there's a glaring bug (found in the retail version) in the hammer throw event: The meter used to show the proper release of the hammer doesn't work at all. It's still possible to play the event without using the meter, but deficiencies such as these give the game a "beta in progress" feel.