Commodore User1st February 1989
Published in Commodore User #65
Lombard RAC Rally
The Lombard RAC Rally is probably the biggest, and most famous motor rally held by Lombard with the letter RAC held in the title. As you can probably tell from the intro, I don't know a whole lot about rallies, other than they involve you driving a car, plastered with stickers, around a very muddy course, skidding left, right and centre and continually coming within an inch of killing reckless spectators or overturning.
The particular rally that this game is based on is a five leg heat from Harrogate to Harrogate, stopping off at Carlisle and Telford on the way. Before you are allowed entry to the rally itself, you have to prove your merit by racing all five legs separately, and this is the important bit, you have to win a prize in at least one. To win a price, you have to complete the course in any of three time ranges, earning you first, second and third prizes.
As well as racing, there are lots of other exciting aspects of a rally that have to be taken into consideration. Firstly, and probably most importantly, you have to keep your car in shape. This is done at the workshop. You are shown the four main aspects of your car (engine, tyres, suspension and bodywork) and a percentage to represent the amount of damage for that area. Repairing it is no problem, but the cost is. Each percent costs one pound to fix. On top of that, there are numerous extras that need to be bought, such as fog lights, four-wheel drive (to help you get up hills), optional saucy lady (in case you get bored) and fluffy dice. The only real problem here is getting money.
There are two ways to get money. The first, though by no means the easiest is by winning a race. The second is by protecting your public image and going for a TV interview. To qualify for an interview a quick-fire trivia quiz based on information in the back of the accompanying manual and more besides.
So once you've done all that you do the actual race. The game is viewed from a slightly unusual angle, from the back seat, looking between the driver and the co-driver. In effect, you're driving a remote control, and the driver is fully animated. See him turn the wheel, and change up and down the gears.
Control is fairly standard. Left/right to steer, up/down to accelerate and decelerate and fire held down activates the gearbox, with up and down then changing gears up and down.
The road is smooth and the update of the stripes on the road and the roadside objects convincing and jerk free. The other cars, when you find any, are presented very badly however. They come towards you in around three updates, which is more than just a little jerky. This doesn't spoil what is essentially a fun driving game.