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Virgin Games Ltd
1984
Arcade: Race 'n' Chase
£5.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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42,43
Chris Bourne

The authors of Virgin's Yomp have again come up with a quasi-military theme. The object of this two-part game is to parachute into enemy territory (you're an agent from M15) and land on a motorbike, then escape on the bike, checking out the enemy's mined roads. You do this by weaving in and out of the mines which fortunately still have their markers on so you can see where they are.

A sensible menu appears, towed on behind a plane which lets you choose between one and five players, and skill levels ranging from 001 to the coveted 007! The game commences with the plane roaring across the screen and you falling out. It then cuts to a second screen where you are seen floating erratically down under your parachute. Along the base riderless motor bikes slowly pass by. These have been provided by the Resistance, although how they get so many riderless bikes to move along and without the enemy seeing them is not explained! The idea is to land neatly on one of the bikes.

This isn't as easy to do as it sounds. At the last moment, just when you think you 've got yourself lined up, the harness is released and you drop. If you miss a bike it's back to the top.

The second part starts immediately you land on one. Here you get a head on view as the bike with 'you' on it races down the heavily mined road. You can swerve left and right, accelerate or brake. If you hit a mine, that's it. On the higher level of difficulty the speeds increase and more of the mines are live. Although the patterns of mines remain much the same from game to game, the mines which are active are never the same.

CRITICISM

'Both sections contain large graphics, although I'm sure a much better job could have been done with the clouds which resemble those you used to get in old Atari combat games. Landing on a bike is less a question of skill than luck and only having one life is extremely irritating as you have to go back through the menu again.'

'Although the rider veers across the road, nicely, banking on the turns and so on, it seems silly having a brake and accelerate key which can't be used while you're pressing left or right. In the end this isn't very playable and I can't see anyone coming back to it after the first time.'

'The graphics are reasonably drawn but overall the colours aren't pleasing. There ' s quite a lot of jerkiness to the movement, and despite all those bytes on the loading one wonders why they had to put a selfdestruct in the program if you try to break in. Would we see more BASIC than code?'

COMMENTS
Keyboard positions: reasonable
Joystick options: none
Keyboard play: responsive but you can't brake or accelerate while veering left or right
Use of colour: average
Graphics: average
Sound: continuous but unadventurous
Skill levels: seven
Lives: one

General Rating: Fair, could have been better.

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Screenshot Text

My Kingdom for a Harley! The riderless bikes await.

Screen 2 - dodging the marked mines, RIDER.