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Arcade: Race 'n' Chase
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes

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Gwyn Hughes
Chris Bourne

Here's the racing game that's strictly over the top - as in bird's eye view (and I don't mean fish fingers). There are eight circuits as one or two players take part in the wackiest races ever.

I was never really taken with the coin-op original, which replaces all those super-sophisticated perspective views and the fast action which gets you spinning in your seat, with the relative simplicity of a plan view of the track and four cars. It always seemed more Scalextric than real motor racing to me.

Still, at least the original boasted some natty graphics, which livened things up no end. Not so the Spectrum, which substitutes those grassy banks with a block of green, onto which is dumped a plain black tarmacadam strip. In order to fit a complete track onto the screen, the cars themselves are tiny, and suffer from rather bad attribute clash.

Even these squidgy graphics would be excusable if the gameplay was great but it ain't. Learning to steer the car when the only controls are left, right and accelerate proves tiresome. You have to keep the latter pressed to maintain speed, while the turn controls aim to simulate a steering wheel - but they're too sensitive and your on-screen racer tends to pirouette on the spot unless you jab at the keys.

That said, there's a certain amount of fun to be had if you persevere with learning to drive. You get to choose your circuit, and while some are fairly straightforward relying on traditional terrors like hairpin bends, others introduce such unorthodox features as bridges, roundabouts, opening and shutting gates and even leaps! The Brands Hatch boggles.

I doubt this will hold any but the most committed coin-op fan's attention for all that long, and with the spartan graphics I can't help thinking it's budget quality dressed up in licensing clothing.

In terms of racing games this is an old banger. For addicts of the original only.