Code Masters Plus
1988
Arcade: Race 'n' Chase
£4.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
None

92
Phil King, Mark Caswell, Nick Roberts
Chris Bourne

AS NORMAN TEBBIT WOULD SAY: 'ON YER BIKE!''

Reviewed way back in issue 37 (and attaining a score of 63%), BMX Simulator has been revamped, given a trendy midi-price, and renamed Professional BMX Simulator.

What are these differences I hear you ask? Well those kind people at Code Masters have added two new data tapes, Quarry Racing, and Desert Riding, each with five death-defying courses. Coupled with the main game tape, this gives you a staggering 15 courses to challenge even the best bikers among you.

The objective remains the same though, to complete the current course in the quickest possible time, whilst avoiding pitfalls and your fellow riders. You have a choice of either playing the standard version, or flip the cassette over and play the expert game.

Here you can choose your tyre and chainwheel size - the wrong choice means that your fellow competitors have the advantage (but I personally found the bike so difficult to control on any level, that this made little difference to me).

Having chosen which game, it's on with the wheels. Another improvement the Olivers have made to this version is that you can have four players on the dirt track at once. So choose between Spike, Tom, Larissa, or Bud (four zany kids who love a challenge... they sound rather like CRASH reviewers). Press that fire button and prepare for some fast and furious action, and when you get tired of whizzing around the same old courses, well why not load up one of the data tapes.

These place you in a desert or a quarry (although the inlay doesn't say which one), for some 'tad racing' (doncha just love jargon?).

Professional BMX Simulator's appearance is better than its predecessor, which was bland and a little crude in the sprite department. Here, all three racing locations are nicely coloured, with well-drawn sprites pedalling around each course.

The only thing to spoil my enjoyment was the rider control. Try as I might, I never really gained full control, but perhaps that was schedule pressure, which meant I didn't get enough time to master it - you may do much better.

MARK … 75%

THE ESSENTIALS
Joysticks: Kempston, Cursor, Sinclair (port one or two)
Graphics: overhead view of small bikes on a detailed background
Sound: different David Whittaker 128K tune for each venue
Options: definable keys. Up to four players can compete simultaneously in normal or expert version

CRITICISM

'Well, well, fancy seeing this little number reappearing with extra options and courses. Yes, now two players can cramp round the keyboard while the other lucky two get to use joysticks. And you really do need at least two players for an enjoyable game - racing against the infallible computer riders isn't much fun. Control is awkward when your rider goes careering down ramps and up banks. The overhead-view graphics aren't exactly outstanding, but the title screen for each course is graced with a different, catchy David Whittaker 128K tune. For pedalophiles, Professional BMX Simulator represents a fairly cheap multi-player game, with plenty of different courses to test your pedalling power' PHIL ... 72%

'Professional BMX Simulator is typically Code Masters ... I mean the aerial views, small graphics and the detailed and colourful backgrounds. It's just a pity the game is so frustrating. If you accelerate too hard, or just touch another player, you go flying off your bike and the stupid computer puts you back facing the wrong way (fume!). The different courses you can load in are even more frustrating than the one you start with. It had me tearing out my hair, and will appeal only to those with great patience. Stop calling me 'Baldy', Phil...' NICK ... 48%

General Rating: A definite improvement over its predecessor, but still frustrating.

72%
67%
66%
58%
73%

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POWER TO THE PEDALS

Don't hold accelerate downward all the time - you will hardly stay on the bike.

Make sure you have enough speed to make it over a ramp.

If you crash (more than likely), make sure the bike is facing the right way before setting off again.

Select a large chainwheel for the easier tracks, but on ones where you're likely to crash a lot, the smaller chainwheel should be more useful.

Screenshot Text

One of the many tortuous tracks.

Four prospective pedallers line up for the race.

Going round the bend