Atlantic Challenge

Publisher: Virgin Games
Machine: Spectrum 48K

Published in Crash #32

Virgin Atlantic Challenge

On 29th June this year, Richard Branson and the Virgin Atlantic Challenge Team broke the record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic by sea. Now there's a game based on the trip, so you can have a go at setting a new record and even win the Blue Riband for yourself.

The game stars Richard Branson but in this case he's going solo as there's no crew to assist him. Richard must scamper wound the ship whenever the onboard computer alerts him to a hazard in his path, a fault in the ship's engines and so on. But before Mr Branson can even contemplate any potential problems during his voyage he must make sure that everything is ship shape so that he can begin his trip.

Scamper up to the cockpit and start the engines. Not too stow or your fuel will run out before you can rendezvous with the refuelling tanker, and not too fast or else Atlantic Challenger will break up. The voyage is split into three stages as the Challenger cannot carry enough fuel to get across the Atlantic in one go. The position of each refuelling tanker is shown in the radar room, along with the bearing and number of miles between you and the fuel. Once you have the bearing of the next tanker, you can scamper back up to the cockpit and set the Challenger on course. Once Atlantic Challenger is within 100 miles of the tanker, it shows up on the radar screen, and you drive by sight rather than autopilot. Aim the boat at the tanker and re-fuelling takes place automatically.

Virgin Atlantic Challenge

The screen shows a cut away section of the Interior of Atlantic Challenger covering two screens. The rooms in the boat contain equipment which is used via a window system. To use a facility, stand Richard in front of it and press the fire button. This opens the window option onto the screen. When you've finished with say, the Telex machine, another press of fire returns control to the main game.

Mr Branson is a very busy man who makes a lot of money. Just because he 's battling across the Atlantic, doesn't mean he can ignore his business empire. The telex machine continually informs him about various deals in progress, and you must decide whether or not to accept them. Huge amounts of money can either be won or lost this way.

Apart from the boat, Mr Branson must be refuelled Richard must eat quite large amounts of food to keep his stamina up for the gruelling voyage. If you neglect to keep him fed, his performance begins to suffer and he can't scamper around so quickly. To put some food in Mr Branson's tummy, he must be positioned by the galley window: a press of fire delivers the grub.

In the map room the ideal course which Atlantic Challenger should be taking is shown, along with the three re-fuelling tankers. The engine room shows the stress factors, temperature and the speed in knots. If the engine gets overheated or any of the levels get too high then the boat breaks up and sinks.

Mr Branson can fail in his bid to break the Blue Riband record in several ways: he can starve to death, crash the boat or rupture the engines. If the boat sinks, its time to 'Bring out the Branson' - he always escapes intact and is rescued by a waiting helicopter.


Control keys: I left, P right, 1 up, A down, SPACE to fire
Joystick: Kempston
Keyboard play: no problems
Graphics: neat caricature, and some good details
Sound: none to speak of!
Skill levels: one
Screens: 3 main screens

Other Spectrum 48K Game Reviews By

  • Satan's Pendulum Front Cover
    Satan's Pendulum
  • Invasion of The Body Snatchas! Front Cover
    Invasion of The Body Snatchas!
  • Close-In Front Cover
  • Sam Stoat - Safebreaker Front Cover
    Sam Stoat - Safebreaker
  • Wilfred The Hairy, Olaf The Hungry Front Cover
    Wilfred The Hairy, Olaf The Hungry
  • Plummet Front Cover
  • Microbot Front Cover
  • Codename Mat 2 Front Cover
    Codename Mat 2
  • BMX Simulator 2 Front Cover
    BMX Simulator 2
  • Les Flics Front Cover
    Les Flics