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Atarisoft
Graeme Devine
1984
Arcade: Race 'n' Chase
£7.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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32
Colette McDermott
Chris Bourne

OH NO! Not another racing car game! Despite Pole Position being a direct descendent of the famous arcade game it is still hard not to be cynical.

The game begins with a qualifying lap to determine which one of the eight grid positions you take for the race. Score, time left, speed, gears and laps completed, are displayed throughout the trial and race.

You have a view of the race from the rear of your car and control the steering, gears and brakes. What about speed? That increases at a set pace only as long as you remain on the track.

Racing through the straights and chicanes, you must qualify within a set time. Your car will be replaced following each crash until your time runs out.

It always seems that you reach a respectable speed - 200 mph plus - when approaching a bend. Attempting to brake and pass a car usually sends you careering off the track towards a lurking roadsign. Crash! Ugh! Fun?

Having qualified you now compete in the main race. The same obstacles appear, although there are more of them.

Points are scored in both events for remaining on the track and passing rival cars. Upon successful completion of the race you are awarded extended play. To make the game more challenging, your time limit drops each time you finish a race, your car speeds up and more cars and roadsigns appear.

Generally the graphics are good; your car does look like a formula racing machine. Flickering red and white lines mark the edge of the circuit and give a realistic illusion of movement to the game. There again, that also makes for uncomfortable viewing.

What lets the graphics down is the untidy sequence following a crash. On impact, the car explodes and is slowly replaced by a new one. Vital seconds are lost.

Be warned. If you like to play games where 10 fingers are never enough you won't enjoy this one. So steer clear.

Colette McDermott

Publisher: Datasoft
Memory: 48K
Price: £7.95
Joystick: Sinclair, Kempston, Cursor

***

3/5