The Micro User's Review Of E-Type (The 4th Dimension) for the BBC/Electron - Everygamegoing

Who dared to say that the days of the good old BBC Micro were numbered?

Less than a year after the original release for the Archimedes series comes the 8-bit version of Gordon Key's excellent E-Type racing game, proving that our trusty friend is capable of reproducing equally high class games.

If you are unfamiliar with the scenario here's a quick resume: You and your passenger have been left in control of a gleaming Jaguar E-Type worth £70,000. All you have to do is complete the various tracks presented to reach the coveted first place in the Hall of Fame.

As you will have come to expect, a number of hazards are lying in wait for your every mistake. To begin with there are the other cars in the race - run into the back of them and your speed is reduced. Do it once too often and the game ends.

Other obstacles include boulders, trees, electricity pylons and roadside bushes - plus roadworks, of course. Colliding with them increases damage to your car until it finally falls to pieces.

Also, beware oil spills which send you slipping around for a short - and possibly crucial - period.

The display shows a view of the track from behind your vehicle, with a cardashboard including a rev counter and speedometer. Several different tracks are available, as are skill levels.

Selection is simple - just press the appropriate toggle key.

Gameplay is very similar to the Archimedes version. The tracks appear to be identical and only a few features are missing.

Obviously the colour on this version is much inferior to that of the 32-bit version, although a good attempt has been made to compensate by using sucessful colour mixing techniques.

Missing features are the road cones, the time bonus messages and the automatic gearbox feature.

You may rightly question how the tracks can be completed if the time bonus messages have been removed. The truth is that they have been substituted slightly - the once-innocent policemen now have to be knocked down for you to qualify for your quota of extra time.

I missed the automatic gearbox at first - I always use it when playing the Archimedes version for simplicity's sake - but after a few attempts I learned to cope with manual gear-changing.

Anyone expecting a pure copy of the Archimedes version can forget it. Although the gameplay is very similar, the graphics are for obvious reasons of an inferior calibre, but by 8-bit micro standards are still very impressive.

I found E-Type enjoyable and addictive and recommend it to all racing game addicts.

Graphics 9
Playability 9
Sound 6
Value for Money 9
Overall 8