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No Second Prize logo  Gamer Gold

No Second Prize
One of the biggest disappointments of my life came when I was about seven or eight years old. I think it was Halloween, but it might have been Christmas, and occurred at a fancy dress party held at our local parish church. Now my mum is dead good at sewing and had spent days working on what turned out to be an absolutely top wizard's outfit – pointy hat, moon-and-stars jacket, magic wand – the lot. I was a bit shy as a lad and didn't really want to go, but after a little persuasion and the threat of a spanked bottom, along I toddled in all my regalia.

On arriving my mood improved almost instantly, not only because I spied the Grandstand "Pong" video game and numerous chocolate treats that constituted the prizes, but because all the other kids' outfits were completely cack. Well I was laughing, I can tell you, as that sorry bunch of misfits traipsed hopelessly around the parish hall in dress that looked about as fancy as a Michael Foot overcoat. Pong was mine for the taking!

When it was time for the prize giving I sat between my parents with a smug grin on my greedy little face – a grin that would soon turn to utter disbelief as some girl or other from my class at school was ushered towards the makeshift stage and presented with the fabled Pong as a reward for her pathetic-looking fairy outfit.
"But well done to everybody, especially Paul Roundell – and his mum!" boomed our compere jovially. All was not lost – at least I'd won the sweets. "And now ladies and gentlemen, please give a big round of applause to our infants for last week's smashing play." He continued, whereupon a dozen or so five-year-olds trooped towards the front to be dutifully furnished with spangles and Texan Chew Bars. Scandal! The sweets were for the kiddies and I would go home empty handed for there was… No… Second… Prize.

No Second Prize Video games have come a long way since the days of Pong – now renamed the Sega Master System – and Thalion are taking a bit of a risk in thrusting yet another racing game into a market already overcrowded with mediocre offerings. If No Second Prize is to have a hope in hell of raking in a decent chunk of the Christmas loot it will have to provide us with substantially more entertainment than the vast majority of its predecessors. It does – in fact I think it's safe to say it's one of the very best racing sims around, and it even has a story. The most completely fabulous one-of-a-kind biketastic dreamcycle in the world is up for grabs – the owner is unknown but has offered his machine as a prize to whoever proves themselves as the best motorcycle racer in the cosmos.

Competition has been narrowed down to just six riders who must now race head to head for the ultimate supremacy. You can choose whichever rider you want to be – some are particularly good on bends, or may be very fast, while others have a high hit point count, meaning they can sustain all manner of damage and continue racing unabashed.
After making this momentous decision you will then need to decide how to set up your bike. Basically this involves choosing a sensitivity setting for the mouse – no joystick option at all, which is a bit of a shame – and locking the gears onto either manual or automatic. Having done this, you're ready to race.

No Second Prize There are 20 tracks in all, and you must chug bravely round them all for points – coming last actually results in a deduction from your overall score.
Chug really wasn't the right word to use at all, as the game is incredibly fast. Viewed from a 3D driver's eye perspective, it will have you and anyone watching swaying from side to side as you swing around bends, under bridges and into surprised bystanders.
Changing gear manually involves toggling a couple of the keys, and is a bit tricky at first considering control is by mouse. The game has a replay mode, and you can watch your hopelessness from four separate angles including from a chopper – I enjoyed playing the replay backwards as it gave me the impression that I was actually overtaking someone.

Graphics and sound are pretty much what you would expect from this kind of game, but how could I complain when it's as fast as this?
Since my last encounter with a real motorbike resulted in treatment for abrasions in a Greek hospital, I might not be the best person to advise you about the difficulty, but it does seem very hard. In the races I did manage to finish I came sixth out of six every single time – there's nothing at all wrong with the control, once mastered – it's just hard.

Hard it may be – but I played it sold for many hours without becoming ever slightly frustrated and I'm dying for another go right now. Well done Thalion of producing one of the best racers I've seen.

Amiga Computing, Issue 56, January 1993, p.14 (Gamer)

G G G* *
Scenery is OK, but it whizzes too fast to matter anyway.
G G G * *
Music, bike noise, and the obligatory crash sounds.
Tricky at first, the mouse makes it a much better challenge
Challenging and fun into the wee small hours.

Der Zieger kriegt alles?

No Second Prize logo

Hochkonjunktur für Vektor-Raser: Erst in der letzten Ausgabe schrammte der Psygnosis-Feuerstuhl „Red Zone" knapp am Hit vorbei – und Thalions Motorrad-spektakel ist glatt noch ein Eck rasanter unterwegs...

No Second Prize Daß die Jungs aus Gütersloh ein Händchen für schnelle 3D-Grafik haben, konnte man bereits an ihrem furiosen Ballerspektakel „Trex Warrior" erkennen – aber hier werden Geschwindigkeiten erreicht, die selbst einem hochgezüchteten 486er-PC zur Ehre gereichen würden! Doch selbst der flotteste Biker muß sich zunächst Zeit für die Auswahlscreens nehmen: Hier entscheidet man sich zwischen manuellem und automatischem Getriebe und darf sich eines von sechs Pilotenportraits aussuchen. In der Praxis kommt das einer Wahl Motorrads gleich, denn die Typen unterscheiden sich durch technische Qualitäten wie Kurvenhandlung, Beschleunigung oder Endgeschwindigkeit.

No Second Prize Zudem können noch allerlei Statistik-Tabellen, Rundenrekorde und Strecken-Infos abgerufen werden, ehe man entweder ein paar Trainingsrunden zieht oder gleich in den Positionskampf einsteigt. Insgesamt 20 Strecken gilt es zu absolvieren, von Hockenheim über Brands Hatch bis hin zu Imola ist alles vertreten, was Rang und Namen hat. Das Fahrerfeld umfaßt dabei stets dieselben fünf Computergegner, allesamt wahre Cracks. Sicher, auf den ersten Pisten sind die Kontrahenten mit etwas Übung noch relativ einfach zu beschwingen, aber wenn später Ölpfützen und Felsen den Asphalt verunzieren, wird's echt hart! Für Abwechslung im Renngeschehen sorgen Straßensenken und 90 Grad Kurven, auf Boxenstops und Detailschmankerl wie Rückspiegel oder Zuschauer auf den Tribünen muß man jedoch verzichten.

No Second Prize Das fällt umso leichter, als sich No Second Prize einfach fantastisch spielt: Die Maussteuerung (deren Sensitivität einstellbar ist) hat man fast augenblicklich im Griff, bald können Kurven elegant geschnitten und Gegner gekonnt von der Bahn gerempelt werden. Allerdings führen zu exzessive Kollisionen zum Totalausfall der Maschine und damit zum Verlust des Rennens. Tröstlich immerhin, daß eine Rekorder-Funktion stets die letzten Momente des Geschehens aufzeichnet, so daß man seine Fahrfehler jederzeit nachprüfen kann – wahlweise aus der Fahrerperspektive oder von einem Begleithubschrauber aus. Ein prima Gelegenheit, die pfeilschnelle Grafik gefahrlos zu bewundern, denn hier wird das Tempo nicht bloß am Tacho angezeigt, hier huscht die 3D-Landschaft wirklich mit einem Affenzahn vorbei! Das erstaunliche dabei ist, daß es an grafischem Beiwerk wie Häusern, Bäumen oder Bergen im Hintergrund trotzdem nicht mangelt...

Während der Fahrt müssen sich die Ohren zwar mit dem Gedröhn der Motoren gebgnügen, ansonsten werden sie jedoch mit feiner Musik verwöhnt. Hätte Thalion noch Boxenstops, unterschiedliche Witterungsbedingungen und einen Zwei-Spieler-Modus untergebracht, hätten wir No Second Prize die Hit-Trophäe gewiß nicht verwehren können – so reicht es halt „nur" zu einem astreiner Rennspiel! (rl)

Amiga Joker, November 1992, p.45



Amiga Joker
1 MB

No Second Prize logo  CU Amiga Screen Star

Since we asked him if he wanted something hot and throbbing between his legs, Mark Patterson jumped at the chance. You can imagine his disappointment when he found out it was only a motorbike sim.

No Second Prize MOTORBIKIN'
Living in central London like I do gives you ample opportunity to play such wondrous games as dodge the motorbike dispatch rider, most of whom go around thinking they're at Silverstone and that 70mph is an acceptable speed in a built up area. Naturally, having to check eight-inch gaps between vehicles for on-coming bikes does get a little tedious, breeding a slight contempt for anything on two-wheels with a Japanese name.

Recently my disrespect for these bastions of hand-delivery has waned, with the discovery of this excellent, and extremely challenging motorbike race game. There's none of the leather and, more importantly, none of the danger, which makes this my cup of tea.
As you can guess from the title, No Second Prize is a game about winning. There's you, your mean machine, five opponents and 20 tracks. All you have to do is get past the line in first place and one piece.

One surprising feature is that it doesn't use a conventional joystick, instead it requires an analogue device such as a mouse. This is presumably because a normal digital joystick wouldn't be responsive enough. The left and right buttons are used as brake and accelerator, which is fair enough, but to change gears you need to keep a finger or two poised near the Shift and Alt keys to change up and down. In theory, using the mouse in conjunction with the keyboard in this manner should be easy, but I preferred not to play this way as it felt awkward and detracted from the action. Using the mouse to control the game is very uncomfortable at fist, but surprisingly it doesn't require much room as the game responds to the slightest movement. The mouse sensitivity can be adjusted, but I found the default setting fine, with anything above that making the game uncontrollable.

No Second Prize There are a total of 20 tracks set around Europe, although most are in Britain. To begin with they have lots of nice straight bits and easy to handle corners, but as you progress they become far more twisted (in the literal sense) with less opportunity to open the throttle. As if that wasn't enough there are also hazards like bollards and concrete blocks which are placed in inconvenient positions to block off lanes and force errors.

Because each race is six laps long the programmers have included a save-game option. It comes in very handy indeed as one race can last well in excess of eight minutes. All the lap records are stored when you save your positions, so when you've completed each track there's the added attraction of going back to beat your old times. Points are awarded for coming in the first five, and as there are only six riders (including you) it means that the field doesn't separate until mid-way through the season, so only the most disastrous performance warrants re-starting the game after only a few races.

No Second Prize BARRY SHEEN
Accidents do happen, so it's fortunate that you and your bike are a little more resilient than Barry Sheen's legs (am I showing my age?). Obviously smacking into a bridge at 200mph doesn't leave much behind, but simply sliding off into a road-side object or another bike adds to the two damage gauges, and it's when they're full that you'll be forced to retire from the race. There's a practice mode which allows you to ride on any track in the game against one or more riders, and it's well worth making use of this option as you won't stand a chance on the later tracks if you're not familiar with their layout.

The graphics are really something special. Because everything is vector based, there are no problems with the scaling of road-side objects, so they really add to the feeling of speed. To prevent the tracks looking the same there are a variety of grandstands and bridges for you to look at, as well as a helicopter which follows the progress of the race by buzzing over every track. The other bikers look a bit something from Tron, i.e. not very convincing. But they're often going so fast you don't see much of them.

There aren't many displays to distract you from the action. The dashboard consists of a speedometer, revs counter and gear indicator, and a map in the corner of the screen shows the positions of the other riders. You're forwarned about corners by signs which appear a few seconds by signs which appear a few seconds before the turn. These indicate which direction it goes and how sharp it is, which is handy as some corners can be taken very fast so it pays to know how much you have to slow down.

Most of the sound effects are made up from the rumblings of your bike's engine and the occasional screech of tyres when you take a corner too fast. There are also some smart stereo effects when you pass another bike. The way the track moves is fantastic. Whereas the road in most race games just runs left or right, in NSP the whole horizon tilts when you steer, giving an excellent sense of realism.

This is to motorbikes what Microprose's Formula One Grand Prix is to motor racing. It has all the essential features, which tend to be speed and realism in this type of game, and there is even a little intro. If I had one little criticism it is that when you hit another bike, or another bike hits you, it's only your bike that spins off the track, which is a bit unfair. That aside the sheer speed of the game means you don't have to be a real-life biker to enjoy it. Without a doubt the best motorbike sim on the Amiga.

CU Amiga, December 1992, p.p.65-66

There are two types of bike available in No Second Prize, one with manual gears the other automatic. Naturally the automatic is easiest to ride as you don't have to worry about bothersome things like revs. The disadvantage from this bike is that it doesn't accelerate as fast as the other, which is a crucial factor as many of the later tracks have many turns which you have to slow down for.
Before you race you have to select your character. There are six to choose from and they, along with their bikes, have different strengths and weaknesses. Although there are many other bikes on the track, it's only the remaining five riders you have to worry about.

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THALION £29.99
The best motorbike sim on the Amiga.