Ocean Software Ltd
1986
Arcade: Race 'n' Chase
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

22
Chris Bourne

The engines roar and the crowd cheers. The rally is on. But it isn't until you've maneuvered around the first obstacles that you realise that this is no ordinary rally, but rather the stuff of dreams bad dreams.

The idea is to drive through each stage of the rally as rapidly as possible while scoring points. Driving over some objects on the course, such as bushes and shrubs, reduces speed and eventually leads to a blowout making the car harder to handle. Other objects conceal bonus points. Hills are high-scorers too, especially if you manage to fly over them!

Each stage consists of a slalom course of marker flags and 100 points are awarded for each flag correctly negotiated. Fuel dumps may look as though they pose an awkward problem, but driving at them full tilt sends you soaring over the top to safety and adds points to the score.

This Escort is far removed from the XR3s beloved of Yuppies - it handles in a rather surreal manner... Driving very fast at a standing stone does not result in the disaster you'd expect. Instead of bits of broken rally car all over the place you take to the air and can glide over anything in your path. Very handy. If you hit a tree or other largish object the car suffers no damage but time is wasted in backing away from the obstacle and driving round it.

Driving through a pi symbol causes one of three things to happen. Turbo powers might be added to the engine, increasing top speed and acceleration, or Superturbo could cut in, improving Performance with the bonus of immunity to collisions. Alternatively, the car might pass through a hyperspace gate and arrive at a random destination in another stage or at the start of the current course. Another magical object to look out for is a pulsating iris which has a very peculiar effect...

At the beginning of each stage, the target time and target score are flashed on screen, along with the braking and skid factors that apply. Failing to meet time and score targets costs one of the four lives available. Hitting objects or failing to negotiate the flags successfully makes the little life icon on the dashboard change colour. When the icon is red, the next collision costs a life.

The weather itself is a nightmare fog, ice, snow, rain and sun all have to be coped with in this gruelling test of rallying skills. Not one for Sunday drivers!

CRITICISM

'At first play, Nightmare Rally seemed to be a very bad game. After a while, though. I found it surprisingly playable. The graphics aren't really stunning, but the trees look pretty when they get close, and the car animation is excellent when you fly off the top of a big mound of earth. It's not the best game I've ever played on the Spectrum, and I doubt very much whether it would rank in my Top 30, but it is a fair game. The main criticism is really the price, as is so often the case with OCEAN games. Although many games nowadays are priced around that mark, I feel that games of this quality would be far better value at a budget price. But then again, all games under the sun would be better at a budget price. Ho hum'

'I must admit to being a fan of Rally sport and so when Nightmare Rally appeared I couldn't wait to see if OCEAN had captured all the thrills and spills of the motor sport without the queueing and waiting at special stages. They seem to have got all the right ingredients in Nightmare Rally - superb graphics, excellent animation and addictive playability. The Escort is finely detailed, even down to the alloy wheels. Presentation is smart and there is lots of colour and smooth scrolling to add to the appealing layout. Everything is geared towards enjoyment - there's none of this co-driver stuff on boring motorways. The program actually encourages you to mow down cones, fly over trees and somersault over hills - all of these get you extra points and are great fun. Anyone who has fancied him or herself as Jimmy McRea or Louise Walker will love Nightmare Rally - although I must admit I didn't get scared once!'

'Nightmare Rally is one of those games which doesn't appear to offer very much until you really begin to play, and then you'll find it has a lot going for it - superb animation, jolly graphics and an abundance of playability. The controls are simple enough to get to grips with in automatic mode, and when you think you can handle a real car, with real gears, you can then embark on manual control, which responds quite well. One feature which really caught my attention was the neat little pause mode, which freezes the screen and then rotates it very smoothly. This game has a lot to offer both fans of racing car games and arcade players. It is one of the better products to emerge from the OCEAN stable recently.'

COMMENTS
Control keys
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: good
Use of colour: monochromatic motor on coloured landscape
Graphics: fast, effective 3D
Sound: engine sounds, and spot effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: scrolling courses
General Rating: An unusual and compelling 3D car racing game.

78%
80%
82%
81%
83%
76%
80%

Screenshot Text

Cameron's certainly a wacky driver! Not the sort of fellow to accept a lift from unless you fancy a quick spin in his motor...

At the beginning of a stage - the panel of lights at the top left of the screen gives the countdown to the off.