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Graham Wisdom
1983
Arcade: Race 'n' Chase
£6.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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30
Chris Bourne

Five brand new games from the Thorn EMI giants, their first venture into Spectrum territory, is obviously a big event. Road Racer, as its name suggests, is a go at that elusive Spectrum copy of the famous and wonderful arcade game. This is the most detailed version yet. In addition to left/right, brake/ accelerate there is also a high and low speed gear selection. The lower third of the screen shows you your tachometer and speedometer and the gear you are in.

Unusually, keeping your finger down on the accelerator key doesn't just take you to maximum speed, but puts you over the top and into the red on the tacho. If you stay there too long you'll blow your engine. Changing into the low gear while in the red will also cause damage. There are several other cars to overtake before the finish line appears.

CRITICISM

This is a very good attempt to create the perspective feel of the arcade original. The road narrows as it approaches the horizon, which is a landscape of mountains. Sadly the road ahead is not curved as it is in the arcade version but you soon realize that it does bend because the landscape swings around. Unfortunately, because the road doesn't actually bend, it means that the car stays on line and you aren't forced to steer round both bends. The graphics are very brightly coloured and smooth, and the game is extremely playable.'

'Very good packaging and instructions, but the one thing they don't tell you is how to start up. On pressing the start key you must instantly accelerate and get into top gear, otherwise you will never find out that you're the white car and the green one behind you (which l thought was 'me') crashes into you. Once that's sorted out, it really takes off and, if you are using the keyboard which is well laid out, there's some skill to be mastered in using the brakes and gears sensibly. time is the real enemy to beat in this very good version.'

'I've got the feeling that there' s still a better road racing game for the Spectrum than we've yet seen, but this is the best one yet in my opinion. It's exciting and if you like the game idea, very compelling to play.'

COMMENTS
Keyboard positions: good, 1/2 to/hi gear. 6/7 left/right, 8/9 brake accelerate
Joystick options: Kempston, Sinclair
Keyboard play: very responsive
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: good, slightly jerky character movement on other cars
Sound: poor, why no motor noise?
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 5

General Rating: Good.

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