Elite Systems Ltd
1988
Arcade: Vehicle Combat
£7.99
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

73
Jim Douglas
Chris Bourne

LUCAS LUCAS LUCAS LUCAS! Get those signs out of my way! Bigger, smaller, bigger, smaller (fruk). I can't tell whether they're at the side of the track or half way across it, coming towards me or going away. Worst of all I can't tell how much room I've got to get between the hoardings and the lorry on the edge of the track. Kersmassh! Well, there we are.

Supertrux is based on, in my view, the exceedingly dull and stupid business of racing lorry cabs around racetracks. I can't really get especially enthusiastic about this and so the bonus novelty value of racing taking on the character of a sweaty beardy tattooed drunkard doesn't really appeal (talk about typecasting - AS) was a bit wasted on me. Still, whatever the physical state you're in, the business of racing round a track is the same is the same is the same.

I guess this is where Elite have started to make life tricky for themselves. There hasn't exactly been a shortage of 3D driving games on the market recently, all with all manner of super features. Obviously, features will be compared.

Supertrux doesn't do badly at all in the comparison stakes. It's got bumps and hills and the ground rises and falls and it twists and turns and splits. The problems associated with controlling a three-ton engine with about as many aerodynamic qualities as a fridge at speeds of up to 125 mph (?) are also present. The biggest problem is that you've got very limited control of the truck. You can't steer too sharply and braking is a waste of time. By the time you've hit the anchors, the momentum of the truck will have smashed you into the object you were trying to avoid.

In other areas, though, it does fall down. The update rate and position of the signs along the sides of the road are such that the "coming towards you" effect is not only unconvincing, but positively distracting and detrimental. You can't tell whether you can just squeeze past an obstacle, since it moves so jerkily the edge of the road looks more like something out of the lights sequence in Dark Star than a fair representation of oncoming objects. Since there's so much confusing activity on the side of the road, your attention wanders from what's actually going on. Thankfully the other trucks seem a lot less malicious than in other games. They'll stay out of your way after a crash for a few seconds at least.

The graphics are perfectly fine. The truck rocks from side to side and there are puffs of dust and squealy rubber from the tyres. You graduate to different stages and different sorts of roads.

Most of the elements are fine, but the hateful 3D and the fact that it is definitely too difficult at the start put it below games like Wec Le Mans and Enduro Racer.

Label: Elite
Author: In-house
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

Another 3D race. Above average, but flawed.

78%
67%
60%
70%
76%