The player of Top Fuel Challenge is responsible for all aspects of a drag racing season.
First the number, name, location, class and field size of the event are revealed. Then comes the pre-qualifying selection screen where the track condition, maintenance unit, event details or race qualification options are chosen.
Racing involves burn-outs, a qualifying run and the competition itself. A 3D viewpoint shows the track with oil, rev and horsepower gauges plus side and overhead views of the racer. When the qualifying run is successfully completed, the speed and time achieved are displayed, followed by performance details. Racing involves five rounds against increasingly difficult opponents. The drag racer is customised or repaired at any time during the season, and the player's drag-racing career ends when the money runs out.
The technical detail incorporated into Top Fuel Challenge is extensive; unfortunately, any shred of enjoyment is missing. So many involved, confusing and tedious stages are endured before the race sequence itself. Only when you reach the racing stage do you realise that the effort wasn't worth it.
The 3D effect is appalling and the dismal backdrops are remarkable only for their uselessness, and the sound is limited to very feeble engine effects. Even the instructins are poor: most of the game's unspectacular secrets are discovered by trial and error - and the constant tape access is intrusive.
If you want to sample racing without any of the thrills, take a look at this.
Attempting to combine strategy and driving skills is a laudable idea, but in Top Fuel Challenge both are incredibly badly implemented. The driving section consists of three badly-drawn views of the dragster as it chugs down the track for a few secons before the inevitable over-revving causes the engine to blow up.
Then it's back to the ropey selection system to fix the engine and onto the driving section again. The same thing happens, and it's back to the ropey selection system...
Confusing instructions, intrusive multi-load, bland screen display and awkward joystick control.
A feeble 3D effect is complemented by dull colours and little overall variety.
Weak engine noises; otherwise silent.
Because of the baffling presentation the game too often ends in immediate disqualification or defeat.
Plenty of events, all of which are too similar and too tedious to deserve practice.
A slow, uninteresting and appallingly presented racing simulation.