In their series 'Games to stretch the mind', Hill MacGibbon have come up with some very detailed and innovative games that hover between being educational and downright exciting.
Rally Driver is a simulation of a car rally which takes place over a very large mapped area of roads. It uses 3D road racer style graphics, with a moving road in perspective set against moving mountains. On the side there are bushes, trees and houses, all of which move in perspective as you pass them by. Because this is a rally and not a race track, there are also numerous side roads down which you may elect to drive, the object being to choose the shortest or quickest route to the stage finish.
Contained in the box along with the program is a large map which shows the roads you will be taking on the three increasingly difficult stages. Depending on weather conditions, some roads may be flooded and diversions will be indicated at the Time Controls. There are four Time Control points on stage 1, for instance. In between are Passage Controls, boards with a set of letters on them. When you reach a Time Control Point, the marshal will ask you to repeat the letters to see whether you stuck to the route properly. If you fail to answer correctly you incur a 20 second time penalty. You also incur time penalties for crashing your car, leaving allowed roads, travelling in the wrong direction up a road or for hitting spectators or farm animals. For the latter, you are equipped with a powerful horn, and using it makes the hazard lope casually off. Your other instruments include a speedo which goes up to 100mph and a handbrake on/off light.
Control keys: 1/0 steer left/right, Q/O turn left/right, 9/2 accelerate/brake, 3 handbrake toggle
Joystick: Sinclair 2, Kempston
Keyboard play: good positions, responsive
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: good 3D effect, fast for this type of game
Sound: not much, good horn
Skill levels: 3 stages
Lives: not applicable
'I wish all educational games were as much fun as Rally Driver. I find this game as compelling as their previous Ballooning game. What struck me with this game was the distinct fact that surely this must be the best racing car type game- better than Psion's Chequered Flag in my opinion. There are more trees, bushes and more realistic hazards such as cows, water and rivers flooding (whoever's seen oil splattered all over the road, as in Chequered Flag)? Mountains and clouds move very well, all adding to the realism of this game. As to the game itself, I would suggest it is a two-player game in the sense that one player needs to drive the damn car, and the other needs to navigate him/her around the huge, scenic and twisting course. Software houses seem to think that racing car games are difficult to reproduce with detail and still keep speed, and here a 'mere' educational package thrashes all others out of sight.'
'Rally Driver is a 3D simulation with quite good graphics. The game has several realistic features such as a handbrake - useful when going into corners too fast! Also, the steering wheel self-straightens if you don't keep it turned in a specific direction. The main thing against this game is that it's difficult to play on your own. The driver cannot concentrate on the road, read messages and navigate from the map all at the same time. I suggest you play this game as any self-respecting rally driver - have a navigator! A point against addiction was the 'beat the clock' challenge can get tiring eventually. Overall a good simulation.'
'This is a bit expensive, but it is a good program, with plenty of content and back up. The map itself is quite entertaining, and the variables thrown into make each Play lively add to the overall flavour. Steering the car is a job for skilful hands - make no mistake, this may be intended as more of an educational type game than other 'road' games around, but it isn't for cissies! Very good indeed, and fun to play.'