Your Sinclair1st March 1993
Published in Your Sinclair #87
Nigel Mansell's World Championship
I've just got a car from my brother. She's a beautiful twenty-one-year old orange Beetle called Gigi, so I can sing songs from the film to her. The only thing is, I can't actually drive yet so I thought that Nigel Mansell's World Championship would give me a push in the right direction before the driving lessons proper start. I sat down ready to take the wheel and find out how its really done, oblivious to Andy O's observation that "real driving's a bit more difficult than sitting down in front of a computer." Pah! if I want to learn how to drive, who better to teach me the basics than Nigel Mansell? The problem was that Nigel Mansell doesn't really deal with basics. Ho hummmity hum!
Although Nigel Mansell (the man) has taken part in one hundred and seventy-six Grand Prix, you only have to deal with the one. There are sixteen different tracks in sixteen countries so you've got the weather element to cope with too, as well as the other eleven drivers. As with most other driving games you've got options such as souping-up your car a bit and choosing your driver and nationality. Then, of course, there are all the different gaming options. Do you want to play the whole Grand Prix, or just a lap? Or maybe you fancy a spot of training with our Nige? What a choice!
One Of Our Nigels Is Missing
I was remarkably sensible and opted for the training session. At no point did Nigel Mansell appear and give me instructions. He didn't even pop up on screen when I drove my new car off the road. Call that instructive? Pah! I was quite disappointed, I can tell you. All I did was drive around the circuit on my own for hours getting better and better. (So it was help then? Jonathan) Well, yes but it wasn't quite what I expected.
However, I did enjoy racing round the track. It's a cockpit-view racer and you can get a good look at your hands on the wheel. So, as you turn left you can see the wheel turning which helps when you start worrying about what direction you're going in. (Linda are you sure you want to learn how to drive? Andy O) The graphics are nice and simple, a bit like the game itself. There's nothing amazingly special here, the main races are naturally more entertaining than the training sessions due to the presence of (da-da-da-daaa!) other cars. Hurrah!
Baby, You Can Drive My Car
Before you can really start racing, you have to qualify. The first couple of times I tried to do this, I found myself a full two laps behind some of the other drivers 'cos I couldn't work out how to start. And it wasn't 'cos I'm stupid, as Stuart Campbell had the same problem, so there. Actually, he didn't get started at all whereas I managed to qualify, despite my initial, erm, 'disadvantage'. (The trick is to press forward and fire together before accelerating.)
If you're really keen on winning then you might want to take a peek at the control section. Here's where you can soup up your car by fiddling with the tyres and the aerofoils. Such fiddlings can prove very useful if you've got to deal with inclement weather.
Each circuit comes complete with a weather report along the lines of 'overcome the effects of thin air. The reduction of air pressure means less drag... the oxygen means that the engines produce less power.' If you're up on your racing cars no doubt you'll read such a description and immediately think, "Ooh, I'd better take a look at those tyres. Hmmm. And the aerofoil could be tilted slightly more..." Unfortunately. such subtle points are a bit lost on me. But no matter, I can still see that they're a good thing!
Slipping And Sliding
And now we come to the part of the programme where you get told about the not-so-good things. We were given Nigel Mansell's World Championship on disk and it took a helluva lot of turning over and waiting in between the game bits. Jonathan and I shuddered when we thought of the tape version. If this is what you have to do with the disk, just imagine the loading times and tape-turnings. Agh! Street Fighter II revisited.
Despite being called Nigel Mansell's World Championship, this game has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the moustachioed one. Oh yeah, his name appears now and then but never his face. Or even his moustache. I mean, it's not as if we're asking Gremlin to do the impossible. I would have been satisfied with just Nigel's grinning visage on the loading screen. After all, Bob Monkhouse appeared in digitised form in Bob's Full House, as did Bob Holness in Blockbusters. Hang on, maybe it only works with people called Bob. [No, Huxley Pig did it too, and Max Headroom - Jonathan] They're not exactly people though, are they? No, Nige has definitely fallen foul of the Curse of the Not-Bobs.
Sorry about that little tirade, but I was kinda banking on Nigel making an appearance so it was all very disappointing indeed. But I shouldn't be too harsh 'cos overall the game is actually very good. Well, it is if sitting glued to a screen for hours following a track is your a idea of fun. Me? I could do it for ages - even if I don't get to meet Nige at the end!
Uppers: There's loads to do before you start racing, oodles of drivers to race against and plenty of tracks to race along. What's more - it' fun. Yeah!
Downers: There's no Nigel and I strongly suspect that it would be very frustrating and time-consuming to load in tape form. Little wrong with it, but nothing that makes you think this is something to be treasured for ever. Good clean competent fun.