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Rod J. Swift
1986
Sport: Action
£9.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

Other Links


26
Chris Bourne

After a very long wait, TT Racer has finally arrived. DIGITAL INTEGRATION' S latest simulation puts you in the saddle of a Grand Prix bike. Riding in one of the four solo Grand Prix classes, the ultimate aim is to gain enough points to win the TT Championship. Sixteen riders compete in each race, and up to eight of them can be controlled by humans if the appropriate number of Spectrums are connected using the Interface 1 network.

Twelve circuits are included and four skill levels determine the strength of the opposition and how forgiving the game is when riding errors are made. It is possible to race on a specified track or you can embark on full a Grand Prix season, when the program automatically determines which tracks are used for the class of bike being ridden and sets the appropriate number of laps for each race. Rider information can be saved to tape, so a championship can be raced over several sessions. Practice allows you to get used to a circuit, improving your tap time to determine your starting position on the grid.

The track is viewed over the handlebars, which are shown in the bottom part of the screen. The clutch and brake levers move when used, and the racing dashboard contains a rev counter, temperature gauge and gear number indicator. The road racing dash includes mirrors, a speedometer, fuel gauge and tyre wear indicator riders coming up from behind appear in your handlebar mirrors.

The main screen gives a view of the track, track side markers and riders in front. This view dips or bucks as the bike accelerates, and tilts as the bike goes round corners. The bike can be leaned to the left and right for cornering, while a dab of the clutch when the engine revs are at the right level changes gear up or down.

After every lap, the pitboard at the top of the screen is updated. This gives position, time from the driver ahead of you, and the one behind, laps, your best lap time and the course record. At the end of a lap, you can drive into the pits, and tyres may be changed, fuel added, or the gear ratios tinkered with.

The bikes controlled by the computer do their best to avoid a collision, and crashes tend to happen when you mess up cornering. The effect of a mistake largely depends on the skill level that has been set at the lowest level fatal crashes are rare. A minor error causes the border to flash and the bike to slow down a bit. If you come off, the engine must be stopped, the bike picked up, and started up again. A fatal crash ends the race for you...

CRITICISM

'Well, I thought this game was excellent. But then I'm a fan of flight simulators. And that's what this game reminds you of - it has the sort of complexity and detail normally associated with a flight aim. The adaptation of the tracks is very nice, with every slight wrinkle and turn nicely shown. My main criticism is that it's not tough enough. Even on the European level, if you hurtle into a corner, you'll just end up on the side of the track. It is usually faster to do this than brake and take the corner property. But apart from this it was great. All the avid biker could want from a simulation'

'Despite my initial shock at the slightly weird screen display and the controls, I was fairly impressed at first although I don't think I could play TT Racer for more than a few goes. The graphics resemble those in a flight simulator, which makes the game hard to get used to and rather off-putting to begin with. The other bikes and the scenery are not at all detailed and there is a lot of colour clash- which you can turn off at the expense of the colour on the road. The sound is dire: there are no tunes and the effects used are poor. Generally, if you are really into simulators you may get on with this, but if not there are a few other motorbike racing games around, all of which I reckon are more playable and compelling'

'This is much more than an arcade motorbike game - as you might expect from flight simulator experts DIGITAL INTEGRATION, this is a very accurate and thoroughly researched piece of programming. A fair bit of effort is required before you get to grips with the game - the mark of any competent simulation - and you may be put off at first. It's well worth persevering, however, and the scope for 'real' championships between friends with Interface 1's adds a whole new dimension to the TT Racer. Not a game for the casual arcadester, though...'

COMMENTS
Control keys
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: okay, but much better with a joystick
Use of colour: toggles between two colour track, or three colour track (with attribute problems)
Graphics: very much flight simulator style
Sound: not amazingly realistic
Skill levels: four
Screens: twelve scrolling tracks
General Rating: A very competent simulation, developed in association with experts - the Suzuki team. Should entertain any biker/simulation player for a long time.

85%
72%
74%
69%
72%
79%
78%

Screenshot Text

In fifth gear, zooming along the track in pursuit of another rider's machine. The three colour mode is on here, so there's attribute clash on the horizon where the track meets the sky.

On the starting grif, behind the handlebars of your bike. Tension mounts as the start lights count down...