Amstrad Computer User1st August 1988
Published in Amstrad Computer User #45
The flag drops. You've got 60 seconds to finish file first stage. You push the gas pedal to the floor. Precious time is lost braking into and accelerating out of the first bend.
Pretty soon the unmistakable rear wings of a distant Lamborghini appear. In no time you are crawling all over the back of it, foot hard on the brake.
Almost without thinking you find yourself thanking providence for automatic gearboxes. Then disaster strikes - the Lamborghini slams his anchors on and you drive right up his exhaust pipe.
Amazingly you're still in the race. No damage has been done, but you've come to a standstill. More precious seconds tick away as you accelerate to 200mph again. Ignoring a tight left-hand bend, you keep the gas pedal hard down.
Your speed rapidly decreases as you scrape along the iine of little blue posts that border both sides of the road like stationary and silent spectators. Again no damage is sustained, your penalty for taking the bend too fast is just the time lost in getting back to top speed.
Around the bend you can see that Lamborghini. Expertly you let your Mercedes drift and slide by it on the outside. Before you have finished congratulating yourself, however, another of the same ilk appears. But you've got the hang of it now.
With the time remaining down to fifteen seconds, you wonder how you're ever going to finish this race, Suddenly the words "Soon Time Bonus" flash on the screen as you roar past the invisible Stage 1 finish line. Another 30 seconds have been added. Now you can do it. You know you can.
Neeeeowwww... Neeeeowwww... Neeeeowwww... Three more Lamborghinis bite the dust, and before you know it you're on to Stage 7. The road ripples towards you as you enter a bend and - wahayl - you're up in the air and soaring straight for the grass verge. You make a mental note to slow down a little next time you see a bump like that on a bend.
Two stages later your silver Mercedes does a slick metamorphosis into a candy blue Porsche 911 Turbo. Your finger twitches uneasily. Do the controls feel different, or are you just imagining it?
A rapid succession of Lambos and bumpy road surfaces hinder your progression. Time is getting short. Palms perspire as a "Game Over" warning lets you know you've got less than ten seconds to complete the stage.
The clock ticks to zero. But you're still rolling on deceleration, only inches from the stage's finishing line. Three computer cars flash by.
Panic sets in as you put all your weight on the accelerator in a desperate effort to make the line, followed by elation as you pick up another Soon Time Bonus.
With no time to waste you set off in pursuit of the Lambos. Now you're angry, and nothing is going to get in your way. On a long straight you cruise past four of them, two bends later you drift past another. You're making up time fast.
Level 3, and you swap the Porsche for a racing red Ferrari 288 GTO. Things are getting really tough. Every bend seems to have a Lamborghini crawling around it. More seconds tick away as you wait for a chance to slipstream them. You chastise yourself for losing too much time on the previous level,
Halfway through Stage 1 on Level 3 you run out of steam, coming to an awkward halt at the side of the road. Never mind, you've scored well over six million points, and this was only your first race.
New York, here you come again...
If this is an attempt at a serious simulation for each of the cars, then it has failed. For a start, the Porsche and Ferrari have manual gearboxes, and all three cars would have trouble doing 200mph. I suppose it could be 200kph, but that's only about 125mph, which is a trifle on the slow side.
But the name of the game is Crazy Cars, so I suppose the speeds are crazy speeds. But I'm splitting hairs. I'm crazy about this game really.
What Crazy Cars lacks in polish it makes up for in sheer playability. And the more you play, the more you notice and appreciate the large number of brilliant little touches.
After a while you don't even mind that the background is the same on each level. It's the race that's important.
The undulating road surface becomes incredibly realistic. When I caught myself stretching my neck in a futile attempt to see over a hill, I knew I was hooked.
The CPC conversion of this French-coded racing car game arrives at last. But gone are the three tracks, to be replaced with just one; gone is the prestigious Lamborghini, to be replaced with a mere Mercedes; and gone is the famous Game Over screen, to be replaced with a dreary black and grey high score table.
A pity, because this is a very, very good game.