Aqua Racer (Bubble Bus) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing

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Aqua Racer
By Bubble Bus
Commodore 64

 
Published in Zzap #1

Pole Position at sea

Aqua Racer

This is a water-born version of Pole Position, with speedboats instead of cars and a lake in place of the racetrack.

You have to guide your boat around 20 courses, firstly in a qualifying round and then in a main round, beating a set time on each run in order to continue. The courses are marked out by a series of poles, occasionally marked with a direction arrow to indicate the curve of the bend ahead.

Other boats are also on the course and will do their best to get in your way and cause you to crash or force you into the poles or off the course.

Your boat has two gears and a top speed of 110. You accelerate by pushing the joystick forward and decelerate by pulling back. The fire button changes the gear.

Once on the course, your boat responds very sharply to left and right movements and this will take a while to get used to. The corners provide the biggest hazard and you will have to hug the edge of the course to avoid the oncoming traffic.

The 20 courses increase in difficulty, getting narrower and more twisty as you progress. You can practice on any of the routes without other boats to hinder you or let the game go into demo mode where it crashes frequently.

The sound is just the roar of the engine and a crash when you sink. The other boats are the same as yours and the far horizon shows a shoreline which moves left and right as you do.

BW

With all the duff versions of Pole Position around, it's nice to see this one with a new slant to it and lots of difficulty. There are one or two things that could be improved, though. The course wants to be more clearly defined and some of the graphics and sound effects at crashes could be enhanced. The movement of the boat also needs to be made a little less sensitive to stop you careering all over the place.

GP

Well, well, well, what does this turn out to be but another Pole Position derivative, albeit an above average one. This time the race is set on a lake with appropriate graphics and unimaginative sound (it sounded a bit too much like a racing car to me). I wasn't exactly overawed at first, but I have to confess I found myself coming back to this one. A credible rip-off.

JR

A Pole Position with a rip-roaring burn around a power boat track. Rather unconvincing graphics and no real feel to the steering don't give much realism to the game, although the 3D effects are quite reasonable. Twenty courses add variety but they are all pretty similar with thinner and more twisting tracks increasing the difficulty levels. Still, the game rises above most in its class.

Learning The Courses

The real value of the game is in the increasing difficulty of the courses. They present a strong long term challenge, since you have to first familiarize yourself with the bends and then improve your technique till you can beat the time.

This means that just another Pole Position rip-off justifies itself by being tough enough to threaten any driving experts, particularly since the other boats home in on you by appearing in your path and swinging slowly after you if you move.

Verdict

Presentation 64%
The instructions are sparse but adequate.

Originality 42%
Pole Position in water.

Graphics 65%
Fast 3D action, but the boat movement is jerky.

Hookability 58%
Control is touchy and off-putting at first.

Sound 58%
Just engine noise and crashes, but a nice starting tune.

Lastability 68%
20 courses, the later ones almost impossible.

Value For Money 66%
Enjoyable action for water sport fans.

BW