Revs Review | Computer Gamer - Everygamegoing

Computer Gamer


Revs
By Acornsoft
BBC Model B

 
Published in Computer Gamer #4

Revs is Acornsoft's excellent racing car simulation, Mike Roberts shows computer gamers how to play it

Revs

Revs is one of those odd games that cannot really be called a game. It bears a much closer relation with the flight simulator games that have flooded the market since the year dot. In fact, it was written by the author of one of the best flight simulators ever, Aviator.

The game itself was reviewed last month, so this month I am taking a closer look at some of the odder points about the game. The manuals and instructions are copious and very informative. However, they do have a very marked racing slant and could be very confusing to the normal run of the mill computer user.

When you first get it out of the box, take a look at your joysticks. If they are the standard Acorn-type, then either throw them away or attempt to wrap them in rubber bands. Your controllers need to be self-centering; that is when you release the stick it will spring back to the center line - very useful!

I am of the opinion that Revs cannot be played except via the joystick; you can try to use the keyboard, but the game was obviously designed to be used with sticks and, if you haven't got any, then why not?

One problem occurs with the switch-type of joystick; it makes the game very hard to play. Imagine trying to drive around using maximum wheel lock on a car - it would make it nearly impossible and certainly very dangerous; the same happens with Revs.

Starting

Starting the engine can either be simple or a pain in the neck. When you first start a practice lap or the race then it is very easy. The directions in the manual recommend revving up the engine whilst the car is in gear, but with the clutch in operation.

When the desired amount of wellie is achieved, you let out the clutch and roar off. However, when you smash yourself up, the engine may be a bit hard to start. In this case the recommended action is to put the car in first gear (instead of neutral) for starting. Turn the engine on and rev it up a bit, then flick it into neutral. When it goes into neutral it will start up normally.

Straights

These are quite simple, you just go straight. However, it is a good idea to take stock of your status, get your revs and gears right, and position yourself for the next bend. It is also a good time to overtake.

Overtaking on the straights is simple in as much as the enemy car is totally predictable in its actions and if you challenge it, it will not try to block you or otherwise oppose your actions. It will just carry on as normal. However, it will not try to hit you; this can be used to your advantage.

Wings

A lot has been made of the adjustable wing settings on the game. They affect the handling of the car quite dramatically. High settings on them mean that the steering will be that much more sensitive. A low number on the front will make the steering a bit more sluggish, good for people who are used to throwing about the joystick. It is impractical to use switch joysticks except on setting zero for the front.

The rear must always be high, otherwise it's like driving on ice. I tend to use 35/15 because I am used to throwing about the stick. David Hunt, who had a hand in the technical aspects of the game usually uses 32/28 for lighter controls and a more responsive car. However if you're anything like me, using this setting will make you run off the road at corners.

Spins

A quick word about spins. When you go off the track, you have almost certainly had it. If you are still moving and in the right direction then keep on going, but do not make any sudden moves with the steering. You should then get back on the track.

If you go off the track and start rotating then you can recover in some circumstances. If your velocity in a perpendicular axis away from the track is high then you might only spin once before you hit the fencing. However, if it is low then you may spin four or five times. You should be able to recover from this.

What you do is to reduce your throttle to low, but do not violently brake Then, when you see the track go past, push it forward to maximum. When the track has passed, reduce it to low again. After two or so of these manoeuvres you should be in a better position, or even on the track, fully recovered.

Chicane

If you ever try 'jumping' the chicane then a small tip is to turn the steering to a full left lock, just as you take off. Then, when you land, you will have a better chance of ending up pointing the right way. Happy racing.

On the bend before the straight or about a third of the way through one of the longer straights, make sure you are in third or fourth gear at about 6,000-6,500rpm. Then you zip up next to the opposing car. Position yourself on the inside of the other car relative to the next coming bend.

Then whack your revs right up and change gear up as fast as possible. Due to your high revs, you will have an increased acceleration and be able to zip past the car. This should be timed just before the up and coming bend. If you are on the inside of the other car and it is on the outside, then it will not be able to take the corner so fast as it is nearer to the outside kerb. So it must slow down and pull in behind you. On the next straight you can compound this by roaring off into the distance.

Corners

Corners can be a real pain. The line that you take can be extremely critical, not only to keep you on the track, but the wrong line on a corner can drop your revs, making you change down even to get them back up again, and generally lose many seconds of lap time.

As far as speed is concerned there are three very wide corners with long straights on either side of them (Maggots, Chapel and Abbey), these can be taken in fifth, at full whack by taking the inside line on the approach. One bend that you can take at full whack, but the positioning is very crucial (Club corner), and three really awkward corners where positioning is very crucial and your speed must be reduced to a low level to get around at all (Copse, Stowe, and Becketts). On these corners if you find yourself slipping, pull back on the joystick. This reduces your turning circle and stops you skidding.

When you hit a position crucial bend the best idea is to push your joystick through half of its throw. Then, if you start to lose it, you can use the rest of the possible joystick movement to correct yourself. All bends should be taken on the inside. To see perfect or near-perfect positioning have a look at the opposing cars.

On a practice lap, instead of overtaking the slower cars follow them around the track. The lines around corners they draw are always very good. Remember, they only go off the track if you hit them so they have to be good.

Mike Roberts