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Grand national logo

Price: 19.99

Grand national T his is the official licence of the Seagram Grand National 1990, incorporating all of the participating horses and some jolly nice sound effects.
At the start of your career (which can last for 1, 5 or 10 years, if you decide) you have no horses and 10,000. The first things you have to do is buy a horse to ride in the National. Clicking on the appropriate icon gives a list of nags, some are top class fillies that cost too much, the ones you can afford initially are pretty run-of-the-mill.

To make your money back you can place bets on any of the horses running, including your own, and if you have bought a really duff horse, you are going to need all the money you can lay your hands on.

Select which of your horses to ride, and you are under starters orders. The race is represented slightly unusually. There are three windows on screen, all of which you have to watch. The first, and smallest window, has a plan view of the course, with your nag as a little flashing dot. The text below this window also gives your current race details, such as time and your current position.
Window number two has a side-on view of the horse galloping along the track, and gives you a visual representation of your horse approaching fences, allowing you to judge the best moment to jump. Finally window three, the largest, provides you with a top view of the race, showing you on your horse, and any other nearby. It is from this screen that you steer your horse through the race, and it also contains speed and stamina meters. The higher the speed meter, the faster your stamina falls. The key is finding a good balance of speed and energy.

The graphics are not bad, by any standard, but they are little too functional. And for the most part the same applies to the sound. But that said, I like the sampled speech which announces the winners, although the jingly tunes that plays on the options screen grates slightly.
It is fun, there is no doubt about that, but I do feel that it could do with a steroid or two in both gameplay and variety, and probably falters in the lastability stakes.

Tony Dillon

CU Amiga, April 1990, p.60