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Mastertronic Ltd
1988
Arcade: Race 'n' Chase
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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54,55
Chris Jenkins
Chris Bourne

Strap on your leather gear, stick your helmet on your head and get ready to burn some rubber. Motorbike Madness makes Kikstart look like Noddy's Scooter Ride, and if you can master it you're just about ready for the Barry Sheene Tin Leg Award.

The 10 levels of obstacle-avoiding zaniness are loaded separately from the tape. The landscape is in many ways similar to that of the classic Glider Rider; about half the screen, scrolling in all four directions, shown in glorious monochrome and consisting of various slopes, planes and ramps. Your task is simply to steer your motorbike around each course, avoiding all the obstacles and heading for the gate to the next stage before time runs out.

But it isn't that simple, is it Barry? No, because the landscape is littered with things which are likely to turn your bike into a little heap of scrap, not to mention you. The first challenge is a ramp. Steering carefully around the trees, simply pushing the joystick in the direction you want your front wheel to turn, you must line up with the ramp, build up speed (shown on the bar graph to the right of the screen) and zoom over the ramp, veering sharply to the right to avoid a pile of tyres. Too slow, or inaccurately lined up, and you'll end in a crumpled mess, probably sustaining a punctured tyre or leaking petrol tank in the process. Damage to your bike is shown on the display at the bottom of the screen, and each bit of damage impairs your performance more.

Other hazards to contend with include patches of cinders. water, spiked blocks and skiddy patches. It's pretty blinking difficult to control the bike, though; it tends to jump suddenly from left to right, rather than coming around smoothly. I don't know if this is deliberate, but it makes it remarkably difficult to concentrate on finding your way around the course. Fortunately, if you get knocked off, you're returned to the last ramp you jumped, rather than right back to the start of the level.

The 10 levels are ridges, floodlands, parapets, slopes, maze, origin, hillside, speedway, mud trouble and final. Goodness knows what the later levels look like, because I'm having enough trouble slogging my way through level one. Sound is OK, but for some reason you have to reload each level after losing all your lives.

Great fun, then, but too difficult for my feeble brain.

Label: Mastertronic
Author: Binary Design
Price: £1.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

Graphically peachy but over-hard scrambling spoof.

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