If you walk into an arcade now, you'll probably see arcade machines with bits of car sticking out of them. Although it may look like someone is very bad at parking, it is in fact supposed to be like that, so you can feel all the movement of the car as you hurtle around bends and speed over hills. Fortunately you don't get splattered all over the game screen when you crash. The question is: did the game convert well to the home micro?
You are sitting in the driving seat of a Ferrari Testarossa with five stages of race to complete. There's a time limit to each stage and failing to reach the checkpoint before time runs out ends the game. At the top of the screen is a status display which shows your score, lap time, speed and time remaining. The rest of the display is taken up with a rear view of your car and a 3D scrolling representation of the stage through which you are travelling.
Before the race begins, you can change the amount of traffic that will be on the roads from easy to very hard. Put your foot on the accelerator and you're off, nothing can catch you now, with the exception of a small tortoise out for a stroll. The impression of speed in this game is so great that at first you think you're travelling at about 30km/h but a quick glance at the speedometer will confirm that you are in fact travelling at 180km/h.
There are other cars on the road, and if you hit them you come to a dead stop and slide across the road. I have no idea why you slide across the road; you just do. Hitting any other obstacle has the same effect. As the end of each stage approaches, you are given a choice of which route to take, the right or the left. This decision determines which data is loaded next out of the fifteen files on the cassette or disk.
Graphically, it's very disappointing with slow scrolling and poor animation. The screen is colourful, but the objects are badly drawn. The sound is unbelievable. Your engine must be one of the quietest in existence because it doesn't make a sound at all. The only sound is the beep of your tyres as you go round tight corners. The sound for the game is supplied in the form of an audio tape of the arcade soundtrack supplied in the box!
As far as arcade conversions go, this is probably one of the worst ever. Every good point that it had in the arcades has been destroyed by bad programming. Eight bit computers just can't handle this type of game in the same way that the arcade machines can and anyone expecting the excitement of the arcades will be sorely disappointed.
Complete three stages.
This really is dreadful. There are better racing games that are two years old. There's no feeling of speed at all and no chance of getting the adrenalin rush that the arcade provides. The sound is awful - the tape soundtrack is good but it's a poor excuse for shoddy programming. The multi-load is annoying because it interrupts the flow of the action. My only hope is that the profits from this one get ploughed back into producing some decent software.
There are no problems seeing the game in green.
Graphics 58% P. The car looks good. N. Lousy scrolling, badly drawn obstacles.
Sonics 05% N. Absolutely terrible (tape soundtracks don't count)
Grab Factor 36% N. No sensation of speed at all. N. Not even a decent crash.
Staying Power 42% P. There are many combinations of routes. N. There isn't enough variety to keep you going.
Overall 37% A very disappointing conversion indeed.