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Arcade: Race 'n' Chase
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Nick Roberts, Mark Caswell
Chris Bourne

At last, you get to step into Tom Cruise's shoes and play his character from the movie: Cole Trickle, an up-an-coming NASCAR racer who dreams of winning America's toughest race - the Daytona 500. In cars capable of speeds in excess of 200mph life is very dangerous but, fool that you are, you turn up at Daytona for the first race of the season.

There are six races: start at Daytona, then go on to Phoenix, Atlanta, Talladega, Charlotte and return to Daytona for the final race. At the start of each track there's a qualifying lap to determine your grid placing at the start of the sixteen car race.

Game view is from behind Cole's car, with the dials and gauges at the bottom of the screen. Race in any one of the four gears. Also shown is the fuel gauge, the rev counter, the speedometer and perhaps most importantly the damage meter. Repeated the contact with either the sides of the track or other competitors knocks up the damage to tyres and other parts. But a visit to the pits repairs damage and refuels the car.

The game ends when you either hold the elusive gold cup, or you trash too many cars and are slung out (the latter is easier to achieve!).

Graphically the game is sparse, the cars are little more than boxes on wheels and the background scenery is almost non-existent apart from a few trees. Most of the races are at least 12 laps in length and, sadly, it isn't a lot of fun. Sound is a bit more promising (though not much): an okay intro tune gives way to bog-standard vroomy engine effects. The only things I can say is give me a couple of matchsticks and plentiful supply of coffee and I'll play Days of Thunder. Failing that, just give me a poke in the ribs when the race is over.

MARK ... 45%


''Oooo, show me heaven, cover me'. Well I can tell you one thing for sure: this game is not heaven. In fact it looks like a race game from the early days of the Spectrum. We're talking five to six years ago! Racing consists of a badly animated car trundling around a poor vector graphic track. When a corner comes up, the track suddenly jolts to the left (there are no right turns, ever!) then snaps back to the straight again. All this goes on for eighteen laps on some tracks!! Not my idea of fun. Graphics are the pits (no pun intended). They improve on the presentation screens but it's the actual game that counts. Steer well clear (that pun was intended!!).' NICK ... 42%

Tom Cruise fans will be disappointed, as will gamesplayers in general.