Estimator Racer

Author: Rosetta McLeod
Publisher: Sinclair Research
Machine: Spectrum 16K/48K

Published in Crash #13

Estimator Racer

This is another mathematical game in which the player is expected to be able to recognise whether the answer to a sum is correct or not. It takes place on a 3D race track, where the player drives a small car along the road, which has four lanes. At the bottom of each lane is a figure, and below the figure blocks a question block which contains two figures which are being added, subtracted, multiplied or divided.

The idea is to steer the car into the lane whose figure most nearly approximates the answer to the sum being asked at the bottom. Added excitement comes in the form of oil slicks and rocks, which keep you on your toes. At each half-kilometre a warning beep sounds and if the car is not in the correct lane it will be stalled. If you are in the correct lane the sum will change and require a lane change.

There are four levels of play, which refer more to the game play than the sums, and four cars to choose from. Hazards include oil slicks which might make the car skid and mix up the answers, rocks on the road and a night driving sequence.

Estimator Racer

Before play starts you can select addition, subtraction, both, multiplication, division or both. Scoring is by time taken (an on-screen clock keeps track) and average speed.

CRITICISM The general concept of Estimator Racer is appealing, but in play the game lacks. The range of sums is impressive, and there's no doubt that estimation skills could be honed up fairly well with this program, but possibly the lack of playing content is against it. The 3D race track is interesting at first but will soon become repetitive, as there are really very few features to hold the excitement, beyond trying to match the figures. Children who may have seen their elder kin playing games like Chequered flag will feel cheated that there are no bends to drive around. In short, a good idea that has turned out as a rather boring game.


Control keys: A/Z up and accelerate/down and brake, O/P left right
Joystick: Sinclair 2
Keyboard play: fairly responsive
Use of colour: average
Graphics: average
Sound: continuous, not brilliant
Skill levels: 4

Rosetta McLeod

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