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Hill MacGibbon
1987
Simulation
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

68
Rick Robson
Chris Bourne

Well, shiver me timbers, me hearties, here's a rum game from Alternative. Play it in the bath for added atmosphere, 'cos Ocean Racer is a sailing simulation that brings the thrills and spills of Cowes Week onto your Speccy.

You're given five courses of varying difficulty to sail around. There's a simple circuit where you sail round in a circle, going up to wiggly woggly courses of the most incredible difficulty that you almost end up sailing up your own stern! The cassette inlay has a map of your course, with all the hazards that you have to sail round clearly marked, and this may give you some help, but don't count on it.


Each course shares the same basic elements. You're the purple boat, and the computer oppo is the black one - called, funnily enough, the Black Streak. However, you don't have to compete against each other - it's tough enough just learning how to sail your yacht properly, let alone having to cope with racing. As you sail round the course, following the chart either on screen or on the inlay card, you must sail round red buoys clockwise and round blue buoys t'other way, avoiding the hazards in your path.

On screen, in simple but clear graphics, are your actual and optimum speeds, wind direction and strength, and the view from the front of the boat. Helpful messages like 'You have run aground' flash up occasionally.

All of this is enough to make even the most seaworthy old tar seasick, but there's more. You've got to master the rudder, sails and the balance the boat too, combining the all so that you get optimum travel out of your tub. The game menus let you mix up any combination of the three, in or out of competition, giving you six levels to operate on.

All good, clean fun, but a smidgin too involved for me. There's quite a lot to get your head round, and you may find you'd rather just get on-board and sail away, which you can't do with this game. Not bad for the price, though, so splice the mainbrace Jim-lad, we're off on the ocean wave.

Not a bad little seaside sailing simulation, especially at the price.

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