Hill MacGibbon
1985
Sport: Action
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

10
Chris Bourne

Described as the ultimate challenge for middle distance runners, a chance to win the Olympic Gold against the world's top athletes in the 400m, 800m and 1500m, this Hill MacGibbon sports simulation is decidedly unusual because it resembles none of the other similar 'Track and Field' type games. The main reason for this is that the display takes a 3D perspective view as you might see in a Road Racer game, that is at ground level, just behind the runners.

The screen shows the red running track marked by the white lines, the green of the surrounding grass and beyond that, the crowded stadium which scrolls along as the runners round the bends at either end, A race starts with the runners taking part at their marks. Once off and going, the action is followed rather as though the player was looking through a camera tracking along immediately behind the runners. You control one runner, the computer controls the others. The similarity to a road racer is heightened in the instructions, which tell you how to 'steer' your runner. On level 1 of play, the runner will always stay centrally in his lane, and you can change lanes by steering him. On level 2 of play you will have to steer him constantly as he will not automatically stay in the lane. A further complication is introduced in as much as the other runners will not try and collide, but as they change lanes for advantage a collision is possible, in which case you may fall over, or be awarded a foul.

There is an element of strategy since a pacemaker may well be in the race, and he should be well watched. Throughout the race the two columns on the right record your runner's pace in metres per second and his energy revel. You will be disqualified for making 2 false starts in the same race, steering off the track, moving out of your lane in the 400m or moving out of your lane before the 700m mark in the 800m.

CRITICISM

'Software houses don't seem to want to let us forget the 84 Olympics yet. Here's another athletics type prog. But wait, it's totally different in style to anything else yet seen. It's a 3D running game, with some impressive, almost life-like runners. There are only three events to attempt, all running, but don't let this make you think that there's not much to the game. You must qualify for better competitions, pace your runner and keep him in his lane. I found the steering quite difficult, but there is an option to eliminate this up to a point. Run for Gold is a good simulation, but it could have been a little more addictive (perhaps it would have felt better in the summery?'

'After such a large rush of athletic games and at such a late date, I'm surprised to see another sports game. Late or not this game does qualify as having some of the best animation and large graphics around. Believe me, it's exceptionally detailed in its animation. Not only is there animation, but the animation is in 3D perspective - the first to be done in the sports scene. Of course in comes Catch 22, because the animation is so good and realistic just a few items have been sacrificed, or should l say only one thing has been given. Yes, it's running - there are no other events in this game, just plain old running. This is a pity because with animation like this and a few different events, it would be unbeatable. Another niggle I might add is that because the graphics characters are so large and well animated they move quite slowly. It's a shame that Hill MacGibbon could not have added a few more features to this game which, together with the great graphics would sell the game. Unfortunately, as it stands, and at such a high price, it will not see the light of day for many sports games players.'

'This definitely has to be the most realistic looking running game ever for the Spectrum, and probably for any computer yet. The graphics are huge, beautifully animated, and the background 'effect works very well. The pace at which they move is rather slow however, and gives the impression of watching a slowed down action replay. Unlike all the other 'Track and Field ' type games, Run for Gold does not require the ultimate destruction of either keyboard or joystick, and is much more a game of judgement and skill. It is rather steeply priced, though, which may not appeal to many who would otherwise love it.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: O/N increase/decrease pace, I/P left/right, Q to start
Joystick: Sinclair 2, Kempston
Keyboard play: quite responsive
Use of colour: sensible, with few attribute problems
Graphics: excellent, with very effective 3D
Sound: not much, just beeps for footsteps
Skill levels: 2
Lives: N/A
Screens: scrolling
General Rating: An excellent simulation, limited in scope and a bit pricey.

78%
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Screenshot Text

The Olympic running program with a difference. RUN FOR GOLD's unusual 3D graphics are seen to good advantage in this screen shot.