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

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Chris Jenkins
Chris Bourne

Only when a game like this comes along that the efforts of top notch programming houses are properly rewarded. Compared to American Turbo King, virtually every other game on the market seems superb.

It's one of those top-view vertically-scrolling driving games which went out of fashion with Spy Hunter. In this one you're taking part in five-stage race across America; through the California Beaches, Rocky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Great Lakes and New York City. The backgrounds are fairly dreadful; for instance, the natural splendour of the Great Lakes appears as a series of blue puddles. In the California Beaches level, spectators three times their scale size stand around the raceway like something from a Letraset catalogue. Now and again you get a boulder or a bridge, and if you see a series of vertical arrows, this indicates a ramp which you must drive up. If you do, you take a leap through the air which gets you over an obstacle such as a line of boulders or a chasm; if you miss the jump, you have to reverse and lose valuable time.

Now and again hostile cars or helicopters appear; you can shoot the cars, but unless you have a Magnum light-gun you just have to dodge the helicopters' bombs, because if you're hit enough you lose a life. If you have the Magnum, you can shoot the choppers, and you steer the car by shooting the left and right bars on either side of the screen. To reverse you shoot the car itself. I leave you to imagine how accurate this method of steering is.

The biggest problem with the game is that when you use a joystick, the control of the car is so sluggish that you can yank the joystick to the left, go out of the room, make a cup of tea, ring a pervy phone line, kick the cat around the garden, and come back, and your car is just starting to think about turning to the left.

Not a winner by any standards you could possibly support.

Label: Mastertronic
Price: £2.99
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

A prime stinker of a race game, no better for the Light Gun option.


Screenshot Text

Gaudy graphics and a ropey lightgun option make American Turbo a Sunday meeting in a calendar of Formula 1 events. (Eh-Ed)