When I was a wee nipper, ooh, fewer years ago than I care to remember, I used to go to the Eastville Speedway circuit in Bristol every Wednesday night to watch the racing.
i often came away disappointed because the Speedway was only on Friday nights. But just seeing the track was enough - I became a fan for life.
And now the thrill of the dirt, the smell of the crowd and the noise of the hot-dogs has been recreated by the Codies in this budgets. Tremblingly, I loaded it up.
When you start to play, you've got to type in your name. Fair enough, but you must also type in your nationality. Er, okay. You must also type in your continent. Oh, good grief! Once you've done that, though, it's time to a race. This is where things get even more exciting than they were before. That is as long as you thought they were exciting before.
You race three other guys, and you view a 3D display of the track in the top half of the screen. The bottom half is taken up with a picture of your purple helmet and a top-view of the oblong-ish circuit.
On this map there are four large blobs. These are the racers, so it's easy to see where everybody else is if you can't actually view them in the 3D action-packed screen above.
Racing around the circuit is pretty simple in theory. You just twist open the throttle and hope for the best. When a corner comes up, you ease off on the speed a bit and swing the bike's botty out as fast as you can. It's all done using only two keys, or directions on the joystick, if you will.
The idea is to keep on the racing line all the way round. Not only does this keep your speed up, it also stops the other dudes whizzing past (but they'll have a go anyway). One of the other guys is as fast as you, the other two are a bit slower. So if you do everything right, you should be able to beat them all. But this is where the problems start.
I don't know about the copies on the streets, but ours in the Shed had a bit of a dodgy control system. It accelerated, seemed to slow down, went left a bit then decided to go straight for a while, took out a mortgage and set up a cosy cottage near Newmarket with its wife and children. Strange, eh?
This apart, international Speedway is rather quick, smooth and playable. It's repetitive though, with just the one circuit to whizz round. I suppose that this shouldn't be too much of a surprise cos the real thing is exactly the same. If you're a great fan, which I've just decided I'm not, you might want to get hold of this. Before you do, here's a quick warning - it's just a bit boring.
Take it for a spin only if you're a real speedway freak (or your your name is Susanne spelt with an 's').
Oh yes, Mrs Higginbotham! I'd love another helping of cranberry tart.
Come back! Come back! The man hasn't said 'go' yet!
Hmm. The outside of the circuit doesn't seem to be the best place for overtaking. In fact, it's positively useless. We live and learn eh, readers?