The One

Crazy Cars III

Author: Gary Whitta
Publisher: Titus
Machine: Amiga 500

Published in The One #47

Can the third game in Titus' "popular" racing trilogy finally make amends for the awfulness of the first two? Gary Whitta hopes so...

Crazy Cars 3 (Titus)

Those bloody Lotus games have got a lot to answer for. The resurgence of arcade-style racing games for one thing. Don't get me wrong, I'm as much a boy racer as the next man - but enough is enough, and it does get very tedious and depressing when you're continually swamped by umpteen unoriginal and generally sub-standard "tributes" to the Gremlin classic. At least, this latest effort from Titus has a slightly better excuse than most, what with it being the third instalment in the Crazy Cars series - one that dates right back to the dawn of the Amiga as a games machine, and one that has been surprisingly popular, given that the games were, not to put too fine a point on it, rubbish.

In Crazy Cars 3, the player takes part in a series of Illegal Cannonball Run-style races around the USA. Encased inside a gleaming Lamborghini Diablo sports turbo, your object is to pick up the whopping cash prizes on offer for crossing the finish lines first and advance through the league of drivers to the top of the first division. Standing in your way are a motley crew of other drivers also vying for the top spot and the fine men and women of the United States Highway Patrol. The question you've got to ask yourself is... do you feel lucky? Well, do you?

The Verdict

Let's make no bones about it - Crazy Cars and Crazy Cars II were both pitiful. Slow, unresponsive, ugly and generally just godawful all round. Which is why it's all the more surprising to see that the third game, coming from the same producers as the previous two, is so good.

Crazy Cars 3

Yes, we kid you not. It's patently clear, after the first few minutes of play, that our friends across the Channel have learned a few things from games like Lotus and Jaguar over the last year or so - and, after a couple more hours, it becomes apparent that they've got a few to teach them in return.

The basic racing action, so far as speed, control and feel is concerned, is very similar to the Gremlin and Core classics - it's very fast, very responsive and, when things get tense, deeply involving. But what really makes Crazy Cars 3 shine is twofold - firstly, the "racing for cash" system of using prize money to customise the car and advance through the divisions works superbly - it adds an extra dimension to the game's progressive element and allows you to make your own decisions about what races you run and why. Secondly, the police are excellent - far from being just a graphical frill, they genuinely make the racing a hell of a lot more exciting.

It's like playing Chase HQ in reverse, with you as the pursuee. There are plenty of other nice bits that I could spin on about, so I will. I like it when you get echoes on the sounds inside tunnels. I like it when you can see the background graphics getting closer as you near your destination. I like it that you're not punished too much for going off the road. In short, I like it.

Crazy Cars 3 is quite simply very, very good indeed. As good as Lotus. Better than Jaguar. Any race fan should not hesitate to buy it. Got it?

Gary Whitta

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