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1988
Arcade: Race 'n' Chase
£7.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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18,19
Paul Sumner, Mike Dunn, Bym Welthy
Chris Bourne

Across the continents of the world you flash your bicycle made for one. Bum in the air, head down, you pedal over a variety of courses, competing against the clock and ten other competitors in your race.

But this cycling extravaganza is not just a simple matter of athletic prowess and saddle soreness - the course is full of obstructions and unsportsmanlike people who want you and your bike upended and temporarily out of the race.

From the road s surface pop barriers and obtrusive posts; coiled snakes strike; squat sumo wrestlers block the highway and groups of thugs shuffle from roadside to roadside.

Ramps also obstruct the way ahead, but these can be used to leap over obstacles and ahead of the competition.

If you have three crashes (each is indicated by a nifty piece of advertising for a well-known national computer magazine) you're out of the race for good.

Your position is shown on a map below the main, horizontally-scrolling course screen. And your placing is vital, for only by winning a stage of the race can you move onto the next, held in a far distant country.

So you must concentrate on speed, avoid the obstacles - and abandon the few moral scruples that you have by taking other riders off with some choice jostling.

But bike racing is hot and thirsty work. To finish the race on a bike rather than a stretcher you'll have to take on drinks by the bike through the bottles, glasses and casks that stand on the tarmac.

A countdown at the bottom of the screen shows how you're doing for time.

CRITICISM

'This makes a pleasant change from the usual arcade adventures and beat/shoot-'em-ups that have appeared on the Spectrum lately - and it's a good game. Though it's not a direct tie-in with the Tour De France, Tour De Force has all the features of the real-life race (apart from the dulcet tones of Channel 4 commentator Phil Ligget): people all over the road, Coke bottles and even maniac cyclists who try and kick you off your bike. The realism gets confusing when your rider is lost among the crowd of other bikes, though. Sound is used well - the different countries where you race are identified by national tunes - and it's good to see Gremlin Graphics diversifying from the usual genres with this delightfully playable game.' PAUL ... 78%

'Tour De Force is like a jazzed-up full-price version of Mastertronic's Milk Race, but the jazzing up hasn't added to the playability. The first level of Tour De Force is difficult, and the start is confusing; it takes quite a few seconds to work out which of the 11 riders is you. There's not much gameplay to keep you going beyond the start line, either.' MIKE ... 53%

'Tour De Force uses portrait graphics where plan-view splodges could have been expected - but there still isn't enough displayed on each screen for you to avoid certain objects. You have to memorise the course, or go too slowly to get a reasonable finishing position. Still, there's something about collision with stationary obstacles that just boosts the addictiveness.' BYM ... 68%

COMMENTS
Joysticks: Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: humorous and detailed monochrome graphics (avoiding clash) on a fast-scrolling road
Sound: national tunes for each country, with crash'n'bang in-game effects
General Rating: Original and addictive gameplay.

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Screenshot Text

Pedal power: Tour De Force.

'Humorous and detailed graphics on a fast-scrolling road'.