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Code Masters Ltd
Arcade: Race 'n' Chase
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K

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Jack Daniel
Chris Bourne

Just Like The Real Thing! Well, the real thing must be crap if Codemasters' dire Rallycross Simulator is anything to go by.

I've always fancied myself (too true - The Team) as a bit of a driver. Straightening the curves, flattening the hills. Someday the mountain might get me but the law never will.

And so it was with not a little excitement I put Rallycross into my own reviewing "pile".

What a mistake. Ahead lay a foggy, twisty and decidedly skiddy affair.

Rallycross isn't as much fun as rallying, for one thing. Instead of hairing through Welsh forests scaring the sheep and tearing up the fields, everything takes place on a selection of circuits. It's like a cross between rallying and motor racing, and so far as I can tell, you get the bad bits of each. There's no variety to speak of. Each race is simply a blast around a circuit. And the nature of the circuits means that you can never get up enough speed to make the ride exciting.

Still, these points are inherent in rallycross and by no means the fault of Codemasters.

It certainly is their fault, however, that the game is unreasonably difficult and rubbish.

Oh, yes. It's fair to say that driving a high-powered car around a circuit in competition is a tricky affair and shouldn't be the sort of thing you can master first time.

Quite right. Rallycross, on the other hand is a Nemesis of impossibility.

On the starting grid, you're hopelessly underequipped and so you have no option but to let your computer controlled opponent power away while you plod towards the pits to trade some points for machinery. A turbo charger will set you back 600 points and a decent set of grippy tyres a further 500. You can trade fuel, water and oil in order to buy more expensive tune-ups, but will you last the distance with depleted supplies?

The biggest flaw Rallycross has to overcome is the wonky steering. Instead of a sensible steer right/left, accelerate, decelerate set up, you're crippled by up, down, left and right. Any thoughts of gliding round corners by applying the correct amount of oversteer are sadly unfulfilled.

It seems totally impossible to successfully complete, let alone win a race. There's a timer which counts down from two minutes down to another "simulator" for the Codemasters. Doesn't the standard seem to be slipping from the BMX days? Too bloody true.

Label: Codemasters
Author: WASP
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Jack Daniel

Dire skiddy driving effort. Many, many better elsewhere. Anywhere.