Rodney Matthews has always been one of my favourite artists. There, that's got the packaging out of the way, now we can discuss the game The Fury without getting misled by the tasty artwork.
Set in the year 2050, this is a simulation of a type of motor racing which makes Formula One look like Scalextric. You race not for glory, but for MUNNEY, and the hostile alien races competing aren't averse to ramming you off the track or blowing you to bits with a variety of weapons.
The race takes place on a giant space wheel, which is displayed from side-on. Before you start you can define the joystick or keyboard controls, and get some techy details about your car, the make (Avenger, Hunter, Waster and so on) and the weaponry. Missiles, bombs, mines, forcefields and other death-dealing goodies are added to your car as you invest in bigger and better models.
You start off in something that looks like a 1959 Ford Anglia, but can upgrade to a real monster-machine, bristling with gear.
Fuel and repairs can also be paid for with your winnings. You navigate through the pre-race information screens using a crosshair system which is a pretty tasty bit of programming, but which doesn't necessarily add much to the game.
There are several different types of races; speed trials, survival races and so on. You score according to your lap time and the number of opponents you mangle horrifically.
The race screen lurches into activity, your fuel meter, lap counter and damage alert screens flash into life, the timer counts down, and they're off! The cars race from right to left along the banked track, and as you manoeuvre around the track your view of the cars changes realistically. The impression of speed is pretty good, but the dynamics aren't too convincing; if you bounce off another car, you're quite likely to come to a near halt rather than flying off at a tangent.
The scanner at the top left helps you to avoid the other cars, but only a quick flick of the joystick can get you out from under the gunsights which occasionally materialise on the screen. Fail to move fast enough, and you explode in a puff of flame.
Once you've finished a couple of races in a respectable position, you will have earned enough credits to select a faster car with weapon mountings The game really gets into gear here (huff huff) as you zoom along launching missiles at cars in front of you. and smashing them off the track with less likelihood of exploding into a trillion pieces yourself.
The sound effects in 48K or 128K are only reasonable, and I can't really see The Fury grabbing your attention long enough to make you want to play through all 15 races. The trouble is that it sounds like a simulation, but in fact plays like an arcade game, and there's insufficient variation and excitement in the arcade bits to keep you hooked Still, although the little cars don't look too hot on the screenshots here, once they get moving. The Fury gives you a fair run for your money.
Initially interesting, but ultimately unsatisfying space race.