JB Software
Jorgen Bech
1985
Arcade: Action
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

42,43
Jim Douglas
Chris Bourne

Wish fulfilment a go-go! 0-60 in three seconds, 200 mph top speed and the ability to crash straight into the back of any other car (however expensive) at any speed without detrimental effect to your own car, or the loss of your no claims bonus. If you're still a couple of quid short of the minimum deposit on a Porsche, and you're desperate to get out on the highway (yo! with your Springsteen tapes, you could do a lot worse than lash the cash on Crazy Cars from Titus.

Crazy Cars, as is thoroughly apparent from the screenshots, is (yet) another pedal-to-the-metal, punctured exhaust, no red lights, round the 3-D circuit with no care or attention excursion. The obvious comparisons with Outrun just have to be drawn. So I'll draw some.

For a start, the conversion of Outrun was an incredible task to undertake, and so lots of people were very disappointed that it wasn't exactly the same as the coin-op. Indeed, it was in the attempt to copy every single aspect across to the Spectrum that made O.R. a trifle shakey on the playability front; too many graphical 'frills' slowing things down.

Crazy Cars suffers no such problems. All but the barest trimmings have been chopped away; the buildings, signs and shacks in Outrun have been replace by tiny bollards every 100 metres or so. The road is the same width all the way - no chicanes. As a result, the whole thing has very much the feel of a mechanical, efficient program. There are hills and ramps which bounce your car into the air with varying severity, depending on your speed.

The other cars waver around in the middle of the track, getting in your way, and refusing point blank to pull in to make room for you to overtake. Reminds me of the guy in the Porsche who nearly ran into me last night...

The graphics, as I've outlined, are reasonably simple. Each car is just about recognisable as its intended type. The Porsche looks a bit like a 50's space-ship it's true, but the Ferrari and BMW are fine.

The pace is, as far as I can recall, speedier than Outrun. You can get up to some fairly exhilarating speeds, and there's definitely some skill involved in keeping your car on the road.

It's a shame that there's no way you can change gears manually. Everything is done by the computer, and so your control only extends as far as steering and speed.

Should you crash into another car, you'll find that (quite uncharacteristically in my experience) you car will fly up into the air, return to the ground - like a Golf advert - and start driving again.

Although you can supposedly select which car you want to drive, I could find no discernible difference in handling whether I was driving the BMW or the Ferrari. Each car can achieve a ridiculous rate of acceleration (0-60 in three seconds) and has a top speed of 200 mph. Even better than a 3 litre Capri.

Crazy Cars is certainly more entertaining to play than Outrun. The courses seem more interesting, what with the severe hills and oil, and you get the dangerously exciting feeling that you're not really 100% in control of your car at high speeds. The game loses some points for its lack of 'polish', but it's definitely the most successful attempt at automobile-bound 3-D racing game to date on the Speccy.

Label: Entertainment International
Author: Titus
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

Few frills, but it's closer to a fully working Golf GTi than USG's Ferrari with a puncture.

8/10