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US Gold Ltd
1987
Arcade: Race 'n' Chase
£7.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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33
Ben Stone, Paul Sumner, Mike Dunn
Chris Bourne

Super Cycle is the game which gives you the chance to control a finely-tuned 750cc racing machine. In fact you can have your own race track in your front room, as Era finally give Spectrum owners the opportunity to compete in the dangerous sport of open road racing without danger to life and limb.

Choose which of the three levels you want to compete at and wait with bated breath for the flag to go down ... and you're off. Change up through the gears until you reach top speed. Don't be misled by the apparent ease of the first straight - bends appear out of nowhere.

The objective of the game is to race the course and complete it within a specified time limit. Falling off, crashing or having a blow-out wastes time. If the course is completed within the time limit, then it's on to the next track. Fail, and the game is over and it 's time to start again.

The screen is split between a view of the race track and the Instrument panel of the bike. The track shows the road, bits of scenery and the other competitors. The lower half of the display shows the speedometer, rev counter and gears. Three lights in the centre of the display show which gear you're currently in. Pushing forward on the joystick and pressing fire changes up a gear - reverse the process to change down.

As in a real open road race, natural hazards have to be contended with. Other riders sometimes get in your way - they must be avoided or gently bumped out of the way. In the later levels, ice, water, oil-slicks and even lamp posts provide obstacles which must be negotiated if you're to get back to the pits in one piece. Look out for bonus flags which appear on the track, fluttering happily in the wind - hitting one bumps up the score.

The courses don't follow a straight line: tortuous bends can take a rider by surprise, but to help out, road signs indicate which way the road is to turn next and it's then up to the rider to react in time to compensate for the bend.

A high-score table records the good scores of the day. Your rider's score is also displayed on the dashboard throughout the game, along with the time remaining until the end of the race.

If you complete all the courses on a skill level then a chequered flag appears against your score - no-one opens the champagne in your honour though...

CRITICISM

'I was expecting a really good game from US GOLD here, as Super Cycle on the C64 was absolutely brilliant. Unfortunately it has been badly converted and has lost out considerably. In normal racing games you can see the corners and bends coming up - in this there's an arrow on the side of the road so you know when to turn (tacky isn't it?). The collision detection is abysmal - you can't go anywhere near the barriers without crashing and if you time it right you can zoom straight through the other riders on the track without even wobbling. I couldn't recommend this when there are old bike racing games around at the moment for three quid that put it to shame.' BEN

'Although at first sight this might seem a well designed game, it isn't. The collision routines are a bit iffy, as are the controls: you can crash into an obstacle when you are nowhere new it, (and drive through other motorbikes) and the bike stops dead sometimes at the start of each race. Most of the races are too easy by far, and the only way that you get killed is by falling asleep while playing- which could quite easily happen. This is not the best racing game that I've played, and definitely not the most realistic. It will sell well, but I don't think it is worth the money.' PAUL

'Oh, wow. The Commodore version (oops, I was told not to mention that) is probably the best race game ever written. The Spectrum version is bad by comparison. In its own right it is reasonable, but it's spoilt by lots of bugs (no gear change round comers, being able to wrap around the screen when cornering, and so on) and the fact that it is far too easy to play. On the OTHER version, you could get a very challenging game on the first level, and run the risk of getting knocked off. On the Spectrum version, I made it easily (ahh, modesty!) through the first half dozen levels (and more) without falling off once. As far as being sufficiently realistic to warrant insurance, as the advert claims, then that is plainly ridiculous. Overall, Super Cycle comes a long way behind the best Spectrum racer, and is not a game I would recommend.' MIKE

COMMENTS
Control keys: Z left, X right, D decelerate, R accelerate, 5 Fire
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Use of colour: only two colours on main part of screen, but good nevertheless
Graphics: good, well-defined characters and some good backgrounds
Sound: little more than engine noise
Skill levels: three
Screens: 8 scrolling tracks
General Rating: A disappointingly poor racing game.

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Screenshot Text

Vrrrooooooom! Round the corner at breakneck speed - but Cam's going to have to go faster still to catch the two leaders.

Ready for the off, the three bikers line up alongside each other.