US Gold Ltd
1991
Arcade: Race 'n' Chase
£10.99
£3.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

40
Mark Caswell, Nick Roberts
Chris Bourne

That's an odd pace, isn't it viewers? £11.23? Eurgh! Y'see. Super Monaco was supposed to be £10.99 but then the Budget happened and stuck the VAT up, so it's ended up at that price Phrtrt! Anyway, are you going to get your £11.23's worth? Let's have a look, shall we?

Super Monaco GP is taken from the Sega coin-op of the same name and it's a racing game, set in French Riviera. In one of the most important races of the year you start by choosing your transmission: Beginner has a completely automatic gearbox, Amateur has four gears and Professional has seven. As common sense dictates, it's best to start in Beginner mode (but what the hell, I thought, started in Pro mode and soon ended up buried in a stack of hay on the side of the track!).

The game starts in France where you have to complete a qualifying lap to determine your grid placing for the race itself, there are 19 computer controlled drivers to compete against.

The starting lights flash red, then green and the game begins. Weather conditions can make all the difference. The car is easier to handle in the dry than the wet, so keep an eye on the forecast at the start. Also watch out for the checkpoints throughout the three laps that make up each race: at each one you need to achieve a certain position - fail to do so and it's Game Over.

You also have to complete each track in a dictated position to quality for the next. In France, it's seventh place or higher, but as you go through Brazil, Spain and finally Monaco the limit closes to third or higher.

Finally, watch out for the obstacles at the side of the road - and other cars, of course. Your car's fairly robust but if you hit too many obstacles you're disqualified.

Racing games are gelling like footy sims. if you've see one you've see a hundred. Super Monaco GPs advantage is that it's based on a hugely successful coin-op and if you're a fan of that, you'll be chuffed with the Speccy rendition - it's very playable.

The players view is from the driver's seat rather than from the rear of the car, and the graphical detail is very impressive, especially on the driver's hands as he throws the steering wheel left and right, battling to keep the car on the track. Background graphics are very colourful, and there's even a bit of colour on the roadside objects to brighten things up. Control of the car is difficult to master, but practice makes perfect.

The thing that prevents Super Monaco GP being a real corker is it doesn't quite capture the sensation of speed but, overall, it's a very playable racing game that does US Gold proud.

MARK ... 80%

CRITICISM

'Yet another racing game to thrill to. I'm getting a bit tired of them all now, one doesn't really improve over another. Continental Circus set the standard and its all been a bit downhill (excuse the pun) since then. Super Monaco GP is a coin-op conversion and a good one but, because it does come from an arcade machine, the gameplay isn't particularly innovative. The usual shaded track graphics and semi-colourful backgrounds are here again and the car always looks like it's going around 5mph when it's really doing over a hundred! I just about managed to get all the way around the track once, but you have be so careful as the slightest prang will bring up a 'fatal crash' sign and it's back to the beginning for you. And that's about it. Fine piece of coding, but unless you adored the coin-op, the action isn't gripping.' NICK ... 69%

No vast improvements over other race games, but a good conversion of the arcade machine.

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Screenshot Text

Prepare to qualify! No other cars on the track here - just make a decent time to enter the Monaco Grand Prix.

This is the race where all the action happens! Whack it up to seventh gear to cruise past your opponents.