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1987
Arcade: Race 'n' Chase
£9.99
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes

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46,47
Jim Douglas
Chris Bourne

In the wake of Codemasters' budget offering Grand Prix Simulator, Electric Dreams will have an extremely tough time justifying the comparatively enormous £9.99 ticket attached to Supersprint.

The two games are both plan-view racing games, and they do look very similar.

If you want to take value for money as your sole guideline, Supersprint wouldn't even make it on to the starting grid. But it is a better game.

I'm still not quite sure which one I'd go for. Take a look at some of Supersprint's pros and cons and decide for yourself.

Supersprint - unlike Grand Prix, although you wouldn't guess it - has been licensed from the Atari coin-op of the same name, so there's a definite attraction for arcade freaks.

In case you haven't seen it in your local cabinet emporium, I'll expound a bit on the general idea. Supersprint involves eight race-tracks and four race cars. You either take on three computer-generated machines or try your luck against two 'drone' cars and one controlled by a friend. The aim of the game is perfectly simple - you've got to make it around the track four times before anyone else.

The tracks are viewed from above, and when you kick-off, you'll get a diagram of each, allowing you to select any starting layout by hitting whichever key you have defined as the accelerator (Fire on the joystick).

And then you're off! The screen throws up a picture of the track, and numerous items proceed to appear. First up are the four cars (each a different colour), then the chequered section, the flag and other bits around the circuit. A white flag flutters in the breeze, and the race is on.

Using your left and right controls and accelerator - no brakes, oddly enough - you glide around the track, passing through other cars (!) and going under bridges and over ramps etc. Yes, I was a little surprised to discover that you don't come a cropper on collision with anyone else in the race. When you think about it, though, the track is quite narrow and were you to attempt to avoid touching any of the other cars, the entire game would deteriorate into a frightfully tiresome plodding affair.

Graphically, it's true, Supersprint is no great shakes. The track layouts are just green squares with black roads carved into them, and the cars are fairly tiny.

As you scoot around, trying to take the corners faster and faster, bonus objects will pop up. One gives you a few more points. The other, a golden spanner, will entitle you to make improvements to your car, giving it better grip on the road, or faster acceleration.

You'll have to be careful when you make a dive for one of the bonus items that you don't drive into the white tornado which howls across the track every so often. Driving through it is incredibly bad news, as you get thrown into a spin and - usually - into the crash barriers on the side of the track.

The game is actually quite difficult to get the hang of - which is the basis of its interest, it's what makes it worth playing. I was always spinning around and oversteering. Once you get to grips with the controls, it actually becomes quite exciting, and you can start taking risks like sliding corners at gradually higher speeds. It's certainly not Pole Position, but it gives a different angle on the tried and tested formula.

OK, so what's the verdict? Compared to Grand Prix Simulator - without the licence - it's extremely over-priced. Nevertheless, it's actually a bit better and definitely a more entertaining game.

Well worth a look, though definitely to be avoided if you've got Grand Prix Simulator.

And I wouldn't be surprised if Electric Dreams is a tad miffed with Codemasters, having just had to shell out lots of cash for the Supersprint licence.

Label: Electric Dream
Authors:
Price: £9.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

Over-priced and not visually stunning, though entertaining, fast and addictive. Buy if you're feeling rich.

7/10

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PROGRAMMERS

CATALYST converted Supersprint from coin-op to computer for Electric Dreams.

TONY MACK was responsible for the Spectrum version. In the past he worked on Paperboy for Elite. The firm currently working on big-name titles like Rampage for Electric Dreams, Victory Road for Ocean and Flying Shark for Firebird.

SOFTOGRAPHY: Paperboy (Elite, 1986), Tarzan (Martech, 1986) Nemesis The Warlock (Martech, 1987)