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Mastertronic Ltd
Sport: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Tamara Howard
Chris Bourne

There's nothing like a refreshing bike ride across the country to leave you feeling really knackered.

So Mastertronic has gone completely over the top and given you one that lasts for a thousand miles and takes you to places of interest such as Lincoln, Peterborough and London.

It's the Milk Race, that internationally famous and exceedingly popular sporting event that takes place across England every May. And you're in it, about halfway down the list of 84 entrants.

It's a left to right scrolly affair in thirteen stages, and you've got to win all of them to end up first at the finish and get to wear the cute little yellow vest.

For a budget game, this is pretty hot stuff. There are lots of twiddly bits to be considered, like speed, energy, gear and the slope of the road. It's certainly not just a question of riding around very fast and dodging the other riders.

One of the most important things to consider (as well as pedalling about like a bat out of hell) is your energy level. This being the Milk Race, your sources of energy are the milk churns lying by the roadside. Once your energy level starts to drop, you're in trouble, so keep those churns coming, folks. Whilst picking up the churns it's important to watch the curves in the road, since some of them come together, and if you catch your wheel, you're down and in trouble.

And a word about coming off yer bike. It's necessary to be picked up by a friendly person who'll give you a bit of a push. And that person is a schizophrenic in an Escort Cabriolet.

Why is he a schizo you ask. Well, it's either that, or he's got serious clutch trouble with the Escort. As well as picking you up, he also knocks you over again, by bouncing all over the road in a frenzied attempt to mash you into the ground. But then he always comes back to send you on your way again.

While the graphics aren't brilliant (what do you want for £1.99 blood? And no, there isn't any in this one), they are quite nice: pedalling, coasting along and falling over are all realistically handled.

My one big gripe is that all the riders are the same colour, which makes identification tricky. It's OK when you're plodding along in second at the back, but when you get into the pack, it's too easy to get knocked over because you can't tell which bike is you. And that means the Cabriolet gets to come back again.

With spot time trials to win, pot holes to dodge, gears to change, milk to drink and many Escort drivers to escape, Milk Race has an awful lot going for it. It'll really shake you up. (I don't know any other milk jokes, you'll be glad to know!

Label: Mastertronic
Author: Icon
Price: £1.99
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Tamara Howard

A nice spoof on the real race. Entertaining with a touch of suspense, when's that next milk churn coming along?