Likened more to a comedy film such as The Cannonball Run than a simulation, this game features a load of total idiots taking part in a race across the States. You can choose from three races (LA to New York, Seattle to Miami or San Francisco to Washington) and then try to get from one to the other using the fastest possible route. There is a fourth option which requries you to drive through every city marked on the US map, and that needs a hell of a lot of planning!
Once you start racing, it suddenly strikes you that the race doesn't just involve passing all the cars in the competition but also avoiding Police radar traps and adverse weather conditions.
Each race involves passing through several cities and these form sections of the race. There is a city-to-city time limit allowed and failure to comply with it disqualifies you from tackling the next section.
When you complete a section then your current position in the race is shown and you automatically go through to the next one with extra time added to your current total.
As everyone knows, cars tend to eat fuel when zooming along, and the one in this game is no exception. There are fuel pumps at 100 mile internals, but if your fuel runs out then you are forced to push the vehicle to the next station by pressing the Fire button rapidly. When this happens, you waste valuable time since you can only reach a speed of 40mph - know anyone who can push a car at that speed?!
The roads are busy with cars, lorries and bikes - hit any of them then you are slowed right down causing a time delay.
A really novel feature of this game is the realistic use of the gears. The Fire button acts as an accelerator/clutch and gears are increased or decreased by pushing or pulling the joystick. Gear changes aren't that easy as you must first build up enough revs to allow the gear change. Gauging the gears correctly for optimum acceleration is vital, over-rev the engine and it might blow, making you push it to the next garage.
The Great American Cross Country Road Race isn't much to look at but offers some really challenging and addictive racing and with the load/save option on the high score table it's definitely one of the top three race games.