In the April 1988 issue of Acorn User, Beeb gamesters' hopes were raised at the prospect of a BBC version of Zarch - then dashed in May when the most trusting of them discovered it was an April Fool joke (and I, of all people, fell for it!). Well, BBC E-Type isn't a joke, and I'd like to take this opportunity to grin at all those who laughed at me in 1988 and who also thought this latest one was a farce too!
Eight-bit E-Type is actually a very commendable piece of work. Perhaps the blurb on the inlay card does go slightly over the top by indicating that it's better than the Arc version, but author Gordon Key has certainly done justice to the game, not least with the graphics.
There's not much to describe. You ought to be fully aware that driving games involve little else but driving, and the most proficient of you will have realised that the name implies little else but reckless driving. But where the Arc version stops here, BBC E-Type cruises on, for the job of collecting time bonuses, boring menial task, has been 'enhanced'! In order to slam brakes on that clock now you must sort-of-accidentally 'slip' and 'bump' into innocent bobbies.
Try to forget that they may have families, sniff, kids, sniff, a small dog, sniff, a killer Alsatian (Whoops!) and hear them squeal as you smash your 5.3 litre 12-cylinder V12 beauty right where it hurts the most (Ouch!). As they buckle and die, your sadistic computer awards a healthy time bonus as reward. Who's entertaining who? I found E-Type's semi-automatic gearbox better than the Archimedes', which is only manual or automatic. It introduces skill without compelling the average player to have six fingers on each hand.
On the down side, the five backdrops are remarkably similar, ranging from the green coloured hills of the Broads to the yellow coloured hills of the desert - there isn't much variety.
Also, the longer tracks begin to repeat themselves every few miles, and damiliarity breeds contempt rather quickly.
The screen can become cluttered sometimes, making it difficult to drive, but on the whole E-Type gets the thumbs up from me. Nice one Gordon.