Tommy Nash mounts his funky moped and takes it for a spin round DI's TT Racer. Now he wants to be the leader of the Pack...
"On yer bike," the Ed said. And I was just about to get my you-know-what into gear and go you-know-where when he gave me TT Racer. "That bike!" Oh!
Now the closest I've ever come to 500cc is a carton of orange juice, so I wasn't going to pass up the chance to race round the Nurburgring with a juggernaut between my knees. I'd soon polish off that Mr Sheene.
Right, rev up, release the clutch, whoa a wheelie... and we're off. Right off. Still, if this had been for real I'd have gone A over TT and ended up in hospital with more metal plates in me than a works canteen. But perhaps it was a little ambitious to start off with the big boys at Grand Prix level. Let's have a go on the 80cc phut-phut at club standard. And sure enough, within half an hour I'd won my first race. I don't know how because I still hadn't mastered the little things like gear changing but the Ed wasn't arguing when I sprayed champagne in his direction.
But that's the beauty of TT Racer, it provides enough options to keep you burnin' rubber till your Dunlops drop So, you can pootle off on a noddy bike with all the trappings like fuel indicator, speedo and wing mirrors - everything (barring the fluffy dice) that real racers have to dispense with to keep down wind resistance. You can even choose the automatic gear change - just don't let anyone see you 'cos that's for the real wimps! Then, once you've sussed out the technicalities of the throttle and the rev counter (no, it's not a device for adding up vicars), you can work your way up to the megamachines and win a place on the Grand Prix circuit.
The big test of any simulation, though, is just how realistic it is. It doesn't matter how many permutations of the original scenario it offers if none of them give you so much as an inkling of what it really feels like to be flying a plane, burning round Brands Hatch or becoming a Back Street Hero. TT Racer certainly convinced me. It convinced me that it's as close as I ever want to come to spreading myself like strawberry jam round the Silverstone circuit. Nothing can ever hope to capture the exhilaration and raw fear of trying to keep your tyres touching the tarmac while you're attempting to take a corner at 110 mph but this'll do for me.
And just take a look at how far over this baby tilts. If this was for real it's a wonder your ears don't catch fire in the friction. Swinging from side to side to take the S-bends on the Salzburgring can almost make you feel sea-sick. But you must master the corners if you're ever going to make it. You have to put yourself in a position to take the most direct line through them, brake, lean and then accelerate out again. One hint as well - don't use a sloppy joystick or you'll be wobbling all over the road and probably get done for being drunk in charge.
A couple of minor quibbles. The sense of speed doesn't seem to alter whether you're on an 80cc donkey or a 500cc mean machine. But then I'm still spending most of my time trying to stay on board and not really noticing the scenery as it whizzes past. And when you're racing against other bikes they all get out of your way when it comes to overtake - not as realistic as all that bobbing and weaving but a darn sight less dangerous.
If you're keen to take the chequered flag without getting spattered and only want your bike made by Yamaha not your organs as well, you'd be well advised to take the Ed's advice. On yer TT Racer!
The Right Track...
Welcome to the New Nurburgring in Germany. If you can get around this track in one piece you should be ready to tackle just about anything. And since the game includes elven more tracks for you to rev your way round, you should have plenty of opportunity. When you've reached Grand Prix standard, you can choose the Season option that takes you through all twelve tracks, monitoring your progress as you go. If you're just starting out, I found that Silverstone was about the best to cut your teeth on without knocking them all out on the tarmac. It's got some good long straights and the bends aren't too hair-raising. At least no-one can accuse Digital Integration of having a one track mind!
What are Phil, T'zer and Martin playing at? TT Racer actually. The same game on the same track with just a computer, telly and joystick each. It's all done by using the Spectrum's networking facility through the Interface 1. The games gives you the net option to connect up to eight separate Speccies and race against your mates so yo can really throttle each other. Helmets are purely optional. (And very silly! Ed)
The games completely menu driven so you can easily change the degree of difficulty you're prepared to take before each race. Warning: don't go for the Grand Prix level after a night on the tiles.The twelve tracks are the ones that make up the 1986 Grand Prix season - now you see how you'd have done if Suzuki had given you the chance you deserved.The Season option takes you through the 1986 Grand Pix circuit in the order that the real riders follow. But if you need to practice first, choose this option and it'll let you equip your bike with road instruments and wing mirrors if you want.Would you believe it? You can choose up to 99 laps to race round but beware, you'll be a darn sight more than just saddle sore if you go the whole way.These two options are only relevant if you're on the net. Remember that each of you must ave an Interface 1 and networking leads.If you don't want to cram a complete Grand Prix season into an afternoon's joystick bashing, you can save the game and resume your riding later.The pitboard with all the details of the race you're in, is displayed along the top. Here you can see your time, the lap number, the track record and your position compared to the other riders. Fortunately for your self-esteem ut doesn't come up with the word, "last."Over the handlebars - that's the view the game gives you and the direction you'll be travelling if you don't understand the dashboard.When the heat's on, watch the temperature gauge. If it goes into the red, you're getting all steamed up and there's every chance that the engine will seize if you exceed maximum revs.A quick click in the clutch can do wonders for your racing. You can disconnect the clutch to increase revs by holding the fire button down and then a quick press changes gear.Now L-E-E-E-E-A-A-A-A-N! It's at times like this that TT Racer start to look more like a flight simulator.When you choose the road instrument option, these spaces are taken up with your wing mirrors. You can then see if there's another bike on your tail as soon as it's within 64 feet of you.Keep both eyes on the road at all times - and the other eye on the rev counter. As soon as you reach 2500 RPM away from max revs you can change up a gear - if you're less than that you'll change down.Here's the only bit of the dashboard that you won't see on a real bike - it tells you which of the six gears you're in. If you crash, not that you will of course, you must remember to get the bike back to a horizontal position and put it into first gear again.When approaching corners it's an idea to apply the brakes - if you want to live. Pull back on the joystick and then change down by hitting the fire button.