A new racing game with a couple of tongue-in-cheek twists has just been released. Andy Smith's just the kind of clown to check it out...
Blimey. I thought with Andrea gone I wouldn't have to put up with such character assassinations in straplines. Some things never change it seems, especially Amiga racing games.
Let's deal with the quirky bits of the game first, starting with the soccer mode. This is just plain bizarre. You play on half a footy pitch (witch can be indoor, outdoor or outdoor covered in ice) and the simple idea is to charge around in your car trying to get possession of the ball from the other drivers (by crashing into them) before racing towards the goal and sticking it in the onion bag. It's bizarre and, frankly, not much fun. Your car moves as it it's in treacle while everyone else seems to be on greased rails. Still, it's something to play when you've exhausted the even less exciting Rumble Mode.
And it shouldn't take very long to exhaust Rumble Mode, even when there are up to four of you playing (with an adapter). You drive around a small circular course in which you go faster at the outside edge than you do at the centre. The idea is simple enough – drive around smacking the other players into the walls on the outside of the course. After a couple of hits, the walls disappear.
The racing then. At the lights, press accelerate and try to come in the top four to qualify for the next track. This is Championship mode, by the way. There's also a Head to Head mode in which just you and another driver are racing each other, er, head to head. Whichever you choose, you're going to have to avoid the roadside obstacles (more on them later) and try to collect the power-ups and avoid the power-downs as you whizz round the tracks.
Power-ups include turbo boosts and power-downs include turbo-boosts and power-downs include sticks of dynamite that, if you don't manage to give to another player by crashing into them, explode and send you into a spin.
When you are mixing it up with the other players a small tap on the joystick forces your character to 'have a pop' at the other drivers. Obviously this does their concentration no good and causes you to go past 'em (or them past you if they manage to get the first slap in). You've also got a couple of special moves that can be invoked and these range from turning your car into a magic carpet or WW tri-plane. Nice, but remember that these effects aren't going to last forever.
This may have been a top SNES game but it seems like they've sacrificed good tracks for some decent speed. You zip around the place all right but you just don't really get a chance to drive the courses. A lot, and I mean A LOT, of the time you'll be stuck at the roadside as you lurch from one side of the track to the other trying to get through a tricky set of corners. Taking your finger off the accelerate button and trying to be sensible about things isn't on because you grind to a halt in under two seconds.
It all looks very nice in the screenshots but the animation is on the jerky side in the actual game and it's curious to see your car going sideways round a relatively gentle corner. The backgrounds are very good though.
Did I get to mention the dreadful music and crap sound effects yet? Oh good, that's worked out nicely because they're a fine sour note to end the review on.
Amiga Format, issue 105, December 1997, pp.40-41