Commodore User

Wec Le Mans
By Imagine
Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #65

WEC Le Mans

What's the best way I can describe WEC Le Mans? There are so many things I could say. I could tell you that it's one of the worst racing games ever to hit the C64. I could also tell you that it's a worse conversion than Out Run. Whatever else, it's one of the worst full price releases I've seen on the C64 in a while.

Opinion aside, WEC Le Mans is a 24-hour motor race around the famous Le Mans circuit. This takes you through night driving, early hours driving, the 'what bus am I on?' stage of consciousness and, of course, the 'oh good, it's finished' stage. The coin-op featured large, sharp, colourful graphics that beat even Out Run, plus sampled speech, a sit-down cabinet that rotated you through 360 degrees when you turned and stacks of playability. The C64 contains a sprite at the bottom of the screen, a confusing road, some poor sound effects and lack of any form of realistic control.

The best way I can describe the control of the game is to describe the road. It follows the same lines as all the other current race games, i.e. it features some two-tone grey stripes which scroll down the screen and get wider at the bottom. As you 'accelerate', the stripes scroll faster. The funny thing is, when you reach top speed the stripes are scrolling downward at such a speed that they don't move at all. What this means is that a lot of the time you are left looking at a very still screen.

Wec Le Mans

The way the lines at the side of the road are displayed doesn't help either. Instead of the car being in the middle of the screen and the lines moving accordingly, the lines hold their position and you move the sprite at the bottom of the screen. This does not best give the impression that you are in control. To simplify, it's like watching a scrolling demo of a road while moving a sprite around at the bottom of the screen! You never actually feel like you're driving, and that is one of the game's big faults.

The appearance is one of great blandness. Now and again, some trees might make an appearance; but they are few and far between. The only other things you see are the opposing drivers. They stay in the centre of the road, which makes them hard to steer around, and then - just as you think you're going to get past - one of them slides in front of you and slams on the brakes.

The sprite graphics are true to the original; but that's about as far as it goes. Past that, there's little or nothing in this the game to make you sit up and say, 'Oh this is WEC Le Mans converted, isn't it? Out Run was bad. Come on guys, let's have a little bit of progression, instead of regression.

Tony Dillon

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