Just A Gal
Spectrum 48K/128K/+2/+3

Published in Crash Annual 2021

Just A Gal

Placing a female in the hot seat of competitive motorbike racing and taking on the big boys is the core theme of this Hang-On-inspired racer. It's tough at the top and there is no price for second place. Maureen Miles, our lady in leather, must endure in what is predominantly a male world, and come in first place.

Starting near the back, it's easy to be too quick off the mark and get penalised for a heavy foot. Once the light is green, the lightning lass must pierce through the wall of competitors, lean into every corner and make haste on the straights.

There are various modes offering a choice of: Single Race; Championship; Arcade. The first two modes allow you to complete in global challenges which feature tracks based in Slovakia, Norway and Mozambique. The arcade mode is self-explanatory, and one of three lives is lost for each collision with a rival racer. All the tracks featured are made unique with a different colour change to the main screen's predominant colour, and feature various landmarks on the horizon.

Just A Gal

Just A Gal is then reminiscent of the racers in vogue in the 1980s, never more so than 1984's Full Throttle. Clearly the Sega influence is there too, but the game is less busy with no trees or signs on the roadside.


It's not that this game isn't enjoyable, but it feels like an incomplete tech demo. Apart from the various colour changes between the levels and the odd mountain in the distance, there is very little to entertain the player. If it was going to complete with Hang On or Enduro Racer, then it needs roadside features like trees, signs and other items that can be collided with. It handles well and gives a good sensation of speed, but frankly, it's bland and leaves no lingering tingle as any good racing game should.

It's good to see females getting lead roles in these modern games, but it seems like mixed messages when you have sexualised bitmap pictures of Maureen waking up in bed.


Just A Gal

The nature of the game surprised me after seeing the loading screen above. Turns out the lady stretching in bed was her warming herself up to go motorbike racing rather than just getting ready for a day at the office. This is good as I imagine that would make for a terrible game. That this racer is reminiscent of Super Hang On in appearance is no bad thing, but unfortunately it somewhat lacks in other areas. The bike and road animations are slick and I do like the little dancing lead character on the menu screen bopping away to some beeper music; but the game could be more.

The backgrounds lack any real detail and there's a distinct lack of definition which makes all the characters look the same. The options of game type to select from are a bonus, but in final analysis this lacks those little extras to make it stand out. The tracks are bland looking with no trackside decoration and sound is a simple engine noise, all of which makes for a pretty uninspiring game. A shame.


Control Keys: Q, A, O, P
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair; Cursor
Use Of Colour: Monochrome track and landscape
Graphics: Bikes are well defined and track graphics give a pretty good sense of speed
Sound: Pretty good 48K tune on the menu page and within results and end credits - bike effects fairly basic
General rating: Running on both wheels but low on fuel

Paul Davies

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