ATR: All Terrain Racing logo Amiga Computing Gold Award

Following on the heels of two top-notch overhead racing game from New Zealand, Team 17 have released a home grown, turbo-charged rival. Gareth Lofthouse heads off track.

INTRODUCTION

Racing games have a long history in computer entertainment. It seems the thrills of the track provide all the necessary elements of a good action game: Adrenaline, destruction, competition and the need for a cool head under pressure.

Originally the basic graphics on computers only allowed for the overhead style of racing, but before long these were abandoned as everybody tried to simulate the sight of bullring scenery from the cockpit view of the car. Some attempts were good, some were bad, but one thing was certain: 2D was out, 3D was in.

Now, however, the old fashioned overhead view is making a come back. Over the past year, down-under developers Acid and Vision brought us the highly acclaimed Skidmarks II and Roadkill, both of which made up for the lack of on-the-track realism with quirky features and challenging gameplay.

For some reason there's always something dirtier about this type of game: Forget Silverstone, these games are about the rough and tumble of racing round dust tracks or annihilating rivals with futuristic weaponry. And true to form, Team 17's ATR is suitably unwholesome.

TWO PLAYER MODE

Players can duel with friends by playing the battle variation of the game, a head-to-head race with a difference. Including a two-player mode was a natural choice for Team 17, but their idea is unusual because they obviously decided to avoid using a split screen.

This means that both players must stay on screen at the same time, so what happens if one person lags too far behind? Well, if the chasing player is about to disappear off-screen the computer automatically makes them catch up. By forcing the opponent into this position, however, the leading player scores a point.

In fact, this is the whole point of the battle mode. Each player struggles to keep ahead so they can score points off the enemy, picking up power-ups on the way to help them along. At the end of a race, the computer counts up the points for a winner.

To give this version of the game an added edge, extra power-ups that are unavailable in arcade mode have been included. Roadkill fans will be pleased to hear that these include missiles and mines that can be used to take the wind out of your mate's sails.


 

STORYLINE

Team 17 games are notorious tricky - often too tricky for me. Everyone raved about Super Stardust, for example, but I felt sad and left out because I couldn't do it. I know, though, that this is because I'm past it, and I can only hope that one day they'll include a zimmerframe mode for people like me.

Mercifully, ATR is very challenging but nowhere near as tough as I thought when I started it. Anticipating the bends is undoubtedly trickier than in the rival games, and as tracks peter out players will find themselves ploughing off into the cones in a moment of misjudgement. This, however, is all part of the fun and eventually players learn from their mistakes.

Winning form the outset is virtually impossible. In the arcade mode players are matched against four computer opponents, two of which instantly zoom off over the horizon from the moment the starting lights turn green.

This gives ATR more of a long-term challenge that its rivals, because the route to success involves more than a large helping of arcade skills. Yes, folks, there's some rudimentary tactics involved.

Players start the game with $4000 to spend on their kit. Their main expense will be the car, with ATR offering a choice of jeep, buggy or formula racer. Each of these motors has its own strengths and weaknesses.

This leaves you with a small amount of money to make customised improvements. Acceleration and traction upgrades are a good choice to start with, but bigger engines can give you higher top speeds while power brakes and steer give better handling.

Of course you can only afford a bit at a time, and ultimately it all comes down to your success on the track. Gain some modest success by coming third in a few races and you will soon start noticing the rewards in your newly souped-up vehicle.

These enhancements are important, but players must also keep their eyes peeled for power-ups during the races. These are tricky to get and opponents compete for them, but the key to success is to keep your priorities on completing the race.

89%

 

SOUND

Racing games only really need two sounds: the noise of the engine and the noise of the crash. Still, titles like Roadkill introduced speech and other effects to show how small extras could help boost the atmosphere.

Unfortunately, ATR does not shine in this area. There's a light-hearted, upbeat tune playing in the background as you race, and snaffling a power-up results in a satisfying twinkly noise. On the whole, however, it's adequate but unexceptional.

65%

 

GRAPHICS

True, ATR is no Daytona USA. The view is form the top, which means you can forget the sensation of burning tarmac because this game's attractions are of a different nature. But this does not deduct form the fact that this is by far the best-looking offering in the genre I've seen on the Amiga.

Though the player looks down on the track, this doesn't mean it's a 2D game. Each car is a 3D model viewed fro a 45 degree angle - similar to Skidmarks but better drawn in my opinion.

The stars of the show, however, are the tracks themselves. Treacherous loops and lethal crossovers are all there to throw you off balance, but you expect these things (at least you should by now). It's the fact that in some terrains the road disappears altogether which makes this a novel experience, both to play and look at.

ATR has three types of terrain to race on, ranging from obstacle ridden race tracks to white knuckle rides down narrow canyons or slide and smash battles in the Alpine snow.

The sports circuits are the closest you'll get to the traditional racing game, but there's still plenty to keep the eye alert. Ramps and cones can help or hinder, and the familiar gleaming oil spill makes a reappearance, sending you spinning into the barriers,. Less predictably, sand and water make a later appearance, as do the Team 17 offices - allegedly.

However, it's only after choosing the canyon or alpine tracks that the game takes on a more distinctive appearance. Racing through the canyons, for example, will have players disappearing through tunnels or splashing through streams. By contrast, the Alpine experience involves icy conditions, evergreen forests, and narrow log tracks.

ATR offers more colour, more detail and more variety in the graphics department than any of its rivals. It may not leave its players gob-smacked but no-one could deny that it looks a lot of fun.

88%

 

OPINION89%

Given that there were a couple of acclaimed games in the same vein released recently, is there room for another overhead racer from Team 17 I was sceptical, but thankfully ATR was done so professionally that it won me round.

On the balance of things it beats its predecessors because of a great long-term incentive. The rewards of winning the money, then spending it to soup up my motor filled me with a boyish flush of satisfaction - and that's the sort of thing to keep a player going.

The two-player mode is different, though I'm not sure it works as well as the designers hoped. Otherwise it's got the looks, the features and the speed to take the chequered flag. Go forth and spend your money.



ATR: All Terrain Racing logo

Stephen Bradley speeds up the brack straight, takes his finger off the accelerator and lets the momentum sweep him round the corner...

We're arguing about this game. Lofty petrol pump attendant and part-time Formula One driver, Steve McGill harbours a certain affection for the younger whippersnapper while your correspondent regards it with some suspicion, proferring the nod towards old rogue Micro Machines as the benchmark for such fare.

Why are we comparing these games? On the face of it, racing along desks and pool tables bear little relation to ATR's 'Grand' Canyon, Forest, Sport and Space tracks, yet the basic premise is remarkably similar.

Motor at such pace as to send your hapless opponent scrolling off the bottom of the screen, gaining points in the process. This process is the only way to produce a two-player racing game without splitting the screen - no problem here, for it works just fine.

Any road up, ATR arrives and professionals as we are, we know the job really could not be done without taking another close look at Micro Machines. And again, Micro Machines is a fantastic game, friends. Fantastic.

But ATR is the subject of the month, so without much ado, on we plough. Team 17 are not known for producing turkeys but their original foray into racing territory produced the monumentally uninspiring Overdrive.

It wasn't a BAD game as such, but there were numerous superior racing games already perched on shelves. Keen to set the record straight, Team 17 got behind the wheel and came up with ATR.

Im at the wheel of the options screen. The difficulty level is set on Easy, the music firmly clicked Off. Jump into Arcade mode, where you race against four computer opponents, then choose one of three sets of tracks on the menu - Forest, Sports and Canyon.

There's a Space track too but you're not allowed to drive on that until you've raced though the others. Nor can you race on the Space track in the two-player head-to-head Battle mode until the Arcade is conquered. Why? Because the Space tracks are the second best, after the Sports.


Only one set of tracks stands the test. Decent circuits would gain ATR 10 per cent more.

In the mode
Anyway, Arcade mode it is. Sports track selected. Go for the novice four-bu-four jeep, bound to be the most tame. Then get to the shop and purchase your add-ons - power steering, acceleration, turbos, and grip. Race on. Promising start, in first place at the bend. Knocked a bit then, second place though.

Damn, why do computer cars never skid on oil patches? Damn, why, when a computer car overtakes you, does it disappear out of sight, never to be seen again until the next race? And that's only if you qualify, of course, and to make the next round you have to get into third spot ate least.

So it's hard. But then that criticism could be levelled at many a racing game, particularly in one-player mode. Micro Machines is no picnic on the breakfast table. No, what really irks with ATR is the dubious quality of the tracks.

Sports levels aside (there are 28 courses in all), the tracks are no fun to ride which is particularly disappointing because the car control is excellent - you can skid happily around corners, less happily on the snowridden courses, but you do get the feeling that you're in charge of a motor vehicle.

But the courses. The Sports tracks are fun, simply because they are the most uncluttered of the four, although Team 17 have insisted that cones annoyingly regenerate, even when you persist with the No Cones option. The Forest tracks are awful. Annoying. Frustrating. Barely visible arrows direct you along the course but when you're moving at pace, cars all around, it's difficult to keep an eye out for them.

The Canyon courses are equally poor, while the Space tracks are quite frolic - particularly in head-to-head mode because there are limited passing places and you have to make your move at just the right times on the circuit.

Power-ups litter the tracks - some reverse your opponents controls, some boost your bank balance enabling the purchase of choice kit at the shop, while others send you into overdrive, shooting you forward at such speed as to make any benefit redundant.

This isn't the game we were hoping for. With a little more care and attention of the courses this could have been jolly. As it is, only one of the four sets of tracks stand the test. Decent circuits would gain ATR 10 per cent more; as it is, it just ain't good enough.



Gameplay pur

ATR: All Terrain Racing logo

Nach dem glücklosen "Overdrive" versucht sich die Boxenmannschaft von Team 17 jetzt erneut an einer Draufsicht-Raserei. Und siehe da, diesmal raucht der Reifen: ATR schrammt nur knapp an der Hit-Medaille vorbei!

Das Programmierteam hat sich Acids grundsätzlich sehr ähnliche Brutalo-Raserei "Roadkill" offenbar recht genau angesehen und die wenigen Kritikpunkte des Konkurrenzprodukts ausgemerzt: Hier gibt es also einen Mehrspieler-Modus genauso wie einen Shop, der feine Auto-Extras feilbietet.

Daß es dennoch nicht zum Spurt in exklusive Hit-Regionen reicht, ist dem verwinkelten und unübersichtlichen Design einiger Rennstrecken zuzuschreiben - und der daraus folgenden Konsequenz, daß man als Fahrer Straße und Pampa zunächst kaum bzw. nur aufgrund eines vorauseilenden Computer-Fahrzeugs auseinanderhalten kann. Deutlichere Hinweisschilder oder ein Radarscanner wären hier eine echte Bereicherung gewesen.

Davon abgesehen besitzt All Terrain Racing aber alle Attribute einer Klasse-Raserei. So darf man aus drei Fahrzeugen wählen, die sich weniger optisch als im Fahrverhalten voneinander unterscheiden und somit für unterschiedliche Straßenverhältnisse auch tatsächlich unterschiedlich gut geeignet sind.

Ob Buggy, Allradracer oder Formel-1-Bolide, alle Karossen gehen in drei verschiedenen Spielmodi an den Start: Solisten tragen sechsrundige Arcade-REnnen gegen vier CPU-Gegner aus, wahlweise im Schnee, Wald oder Canyon mit je drei Parcours.

Qualifikationsgrundlage für Auseinandersetzungen auf den drei sich anschließenden Schauplätzen (wie z.B. dem Weltraum-Bahnhof) ist das stetige Belegen des erstn Platzes - und damit eine Aufgabe für wahre Profilenker, die nur durch ein einziges Gnadencontinue erleichtert wird.

Gesellige Raser fahren statt dessen im Duo-Modus ohne störenden Computergegner auf einem Screen um die Wette; bleibt dabei ein Teilnehmer zurück, erhält er einen automatischen Turboschub und der Vorausfahrende im Gegenzug einen Bonuspunkt. Nette Idee, was?

Sieger ist, wer nach einer variablen Anzahl von Rennen und Runden die meisten Punkte auf sich vereinen kann. Für Rudel-Piloten ist darüber hinaus eine speicherbare Liga integriert, die sich vom Duell-Modus dadurch unterscheidet, daß hier bis zu sechs Spieler paarweise um WM-Punkte und den damit einhergehenden Tabellenaufstieg rangeln.

Allein in den Mehrspieler-Modi besteht die Qual de Wahl zwischen drei Spielgeschwindigkeiten und sieben Strecken im selben Look; inklusive der drei Solopisten. Allein im Mehrspieler-Modus kommen außerdem Minen, Raketen sowie Lenkwaffen zum Einsatz, wenngleich weit weniger häufig als bei "Roadkill".

Diese Sammel-Extras finden sich nämlich so selten, daß Waffen im Arsenal einen richtigen "Joker" darstellen. Häufiger und auch Solospielern zugänglich sind Icons für Turbo-Beschleunigung, satte Straßenlage, gesteigerte Endgeschwindigkeit oder Bargeld, das der Shop nach dem Zieleinlauf in dicke Motoren, kräftige Bremsen, griffige Slicks oder ein neues Fahrwerk ummünzt. Sogar verstärkte Karosserieteil sind im Angebot, doch halten in der Praxis bereits die Standard-Gehäuse jeder Menge Rempeleien stand.

Außerdem werden sie jenseits der Zielgeraden stets gratis instandgesetzt, man kann seine Kohle also besser investieren.

Doch Tuning hin und Waffen her, wie es sich gehört, entscheidet hier letzten Endes das fahrerische Können über den Rennverlauf. Und keine Sorge, beim Hindernislauf um Pylonen und Ölpfützen herum, beim Durchqueren enger Tunnel-Passagen, dem Überhüpfen von Straßenrampen oder dem gekonnten Durchschlittern vereister bzw. matschiger Kurven ist der ganze Schumacher im Michi gefordert!

Unterstützung erfährt er durch eine hervorragende Steuerung, die allerdings noch etwas hervorragender hätte sein können: Zwei Buttons werden leider nicht unterstützt, statt komfortable per Feuerknopf bremsen zu können, muß die Verzögerung daher stets mit dem Stick oder Steuerkreuz herbeigeführt werden. Da ist also noch Raum für eine Verbesserung bei der angekündigten CD-Version.

An der affenscharf schnell scrollenden Optik werden die Programmierer aber nicht mehr unbedingt feilen müssen, ist sie doch bereits hier mit viel Liebe zum Detail in Szene gesetzt. Zwar könnte die Grafik etwas abwechslungsreicher gezeichnet sein, aber hübsch und auch hübsch animiert ist sie allemal - da qualmen beispielsweise die Reifen, und unter den Fahrzeugen fliegen Schatten hinweg, währende die leicht schräge Perspektive einen interessanten 3D-Eindruck auf den Screen zaubert.

Für die Soundkullise hat man sich ebenso ins Zeug gelegt, denn die feinen FX unterscheiden sich wohltuend vom üblichen Akustikbrei, dazu heizen fetzige Musikstücke die Atmosphäre an.

Auf ein Intro oder sonstigen Präsentations-Schnickschnack hat Team 17 diesmal indessen verzichtet, und das war auch eine weise Disk beim Start einmal gewechselt wurden, hat man seine Ruhe. Das gilt auch für langwierige Nachladepausen, mit denen überflüssige Zwischenbildchen anderswo oft genug zu erkaufen sind.

Kurzum, bei All Terrain Racing steht das Gameplay ganz klar im Vordergrund. Und allein das sollte dieses Spiel allen Amigos mit Benzin im Blut schon sympathisch machen! Für Joker-Neuabonnenten sind übrigens Probefahrten möglich... (rl)



ATR: All Terrain Racing logo

Are terrapins retarted? All typos re-worded? Any tea? Reginald? No.

Everyone had something to say when it came to reviewing ATR. "Play Micro Machines." advised Cam. "That's the benchmark for overhead-racing games, and is clearly what ATR is trying to be. "Play Overdrive." offered Steve. "That's Team 17's previous overhead-view racing game, and it'd be interesting to see what they've learnt from it".

"You only write seven pages per month," said Jonathan. "And everyone hates you". "Stop worrying about whether the secret Valentine box you sent got lost in the post." whispered a small inner voice. "Ask the girl, you fool".

And so it was I found myself playing ATR and Micro Machines and Overdrive and looking frightened whenever my telephone rang (which it hardly ever does) and yet being nervously excited in case it was the girl expressing thanks for the Valentine's box having cleverly deduced the identity of the sender (which it never was), while a large pile of frantically looked-for reviews built on my desk and everybody went out with their friends and had a really great time. How has your month been, then? Eh? Eh? EH?

But anyway, All Terrain Racing. It's the dullest, clumsiest, sloppiest overhead racer I've played. Overdrive included. From the menus in which only player one's joystick works (and that includes the bits where everyone has to input their names) to the incredibly poor design of the courses, the game reeks of shoddiness.

It shouldn't of course. After all, Team 17 took note of AMIGA POWER's criticisms of Overdrive to the point of pulling it from their budget release schedules and (more relevantly) ATR is going up directly against Codemasters' fabulous Micro Machines. You might therefore, have thought fairly reasonably that some attempt to, for example, write a game better than the champion of the field would be in order. But no.

All Terrain Racing has three game modes: 'battle', 'league' and arcade. Al, naturally, centre on driving around a variety of courses as quickly as possible, and this is where the game falls down.

There's a choice of three types of course, but only the 'sport' tracks (yet basic racing circuit types) are at all playable. The others - bear with me - don't have the courtesy - no, wait for it - to mark out the track so you know where you're going.

The excuse is that, driving in 'snowy' and 'rocky' conditions as you are, the track will have been obscured by snow or rocks or something and therefore the designers can get away with suddenly fading out the road markings and have you careering across blank countryside to smash into a wall centimeters beyond a small arrow pointing you back in the right direction. Incredible.

You can't even argue that memorising the courses solves the problem, because All Terrain Racing's graphics are so bland and repetitive you haven't a chance of picking out landmarks.


You've flickeringly reappeared

SMALL TUREEN
The other thing about All Terrain Racing's courses is that they appear to have been laid out for the twisted amusement of the designers, rather than, say, with a view to being fun to race on. They're ridiculously over-complicated, riddled with obstacles and surrounded by traps to fatally ensnare anyone coming off a bend.

This is bad in 'arcade' mode (six-lap races against four computer drivers; finish in the top three to qualify; win money to - sigh - upgrade your car) but in the identical-but-for-the-number-of-players 'battle' and 'league' modes it's a joke.

The idea in a 'battle' or 'league' game is that you strive to get so far ahead of the other player that he disappears off the scrolling and you get a point. (Yup, just like in Micro Machines). Unlike that game's stop-start 'feel' with the match halting as the other player is put back on the track, ATR's races are continuous, with the hapless loser replaced in 'real time' just behind the speeding victor. (The overall winner is the player who reaches his point quota and then crosses the finish line first).

ATR's courses delight in the confusing, the misleading and the hairpin so that if you're second, you've had it. Even though to your mind you're comfortably close to the leader, when he goes round one of the many corners the screen scrolls through the sharp angle with him and you're chucked off the screen feeling immensely hard done by.

Then, instantly, you've flickeringly reappeared beside the other player, your timing thrown off as you're momentarily made to follow his 'line' rather unfortunate if he's just skidded off the track. (In one memorable game, I reappeared on top of my opponent's car, causing us both to crash).

Power-ups abound on the tracks, but they're redundant. Not only do the power-ups bounce so you can drive straight through them (there's no chance of turning back to try again, obviously) but they're also entirely useless. Apart from the missile (a single-shot weapon which fires straight ahead and, er, doesn't really do anything when it hits someone) they take effect automatically as you pick them up - great if there's a turbo-boost just before a corner.

Worst of all, even with all this going on, the game manages to feel empty. For the most part you're just driving around at a sensible speed (otherwise you cras with tiresome regularity), zooming through stupidly similar-looking power-ups without any thought to using them strategically and still coming off at indefensibly strict corners.

Some cars go past and off you go again. And when a tussle does occur there's no sense of victory in shouldering your way past your opponents because you know that, thanks to the loathsome design, you're going to crash or lose your way or suddenly drive into a wall because (hhhhhkkk) your controls, have been reversed.
All Terrain Racing is rubbish.


AND HE'S OFF! THE ROAD THAT IS

As you pootle around the track in ATR, you might without quite meaning to drive through a power-up icon. Sometimes you might even notice something happening. Let famous n molesworth explain what goes on.

ATR: All Terrain Racing: 'Arrow up'-icon
n molesworth sa: This makes you go faster. Like so.

ATR: All Terrain Racing: 'G'-icon
n molesworth sa: This makes you go towards other car. Like so.

ATR: All Terrain Racing: 'R'-icon
n molesworth sa: This reverse opponent controls. Like so.

ATR: All Terrain Racing: 'Shield'-icon
n molesworth sa: This apparently do nothing.

ATR: All Terrain Racing: 'Star'-icon
n molesworth sa: And this.

AND HE'S OFF! THE ROAD THAT IS

As the scrolling in ATR follows the ar in the lead, much fun can be had with the new game Driving The Wrong Way Around The Track. In this exciting new twist on ATR, the leading driver annoys the other player by turning and zooming off the other way just as his opponent reache the edge of the screen. Several times.


ATR: All Terrain Racing logo

Price: £29.99 Publisher: Team 17 01924 267776

That's All Terrain Racing to the unitiated. CU Amiga Magazine gets into top gear for Team 17's overhead racer.

A neglected title out around the same time as Stardust was Team 17's Overdrive. An overhead racer, inspired by the likes of classic arcade titles like Super Sprint, Overdrive was a decent game but that wasn't enough and for whatever reason it ended up being, by Team 17's standards at least, a failure.

Undeterred, however, the Yorkshire-based team have developed All Terrain Racing, which thankfully for my creaking fingers has been snappily abbreviated to ATR.

Three racing terrains await initially: Sport, Canyon and Forest. Further terrains like the moon become accessible once the seven levels in each of the first three terrains have been completed, so over forty levels await in total.

Each of the levels has its own hazards and pitfalls, with the snowy forest levels, featuring dangerous patches of ice to watch out for, while the snaky canyons force the player's car through small tunnels where the view is obscured.

All these levels look a treat thanks to the highly-detailed graphics. ATR runs comfortably on a bog standard A500. Sadly the sound FX don't quite match up to the visuals while the tunes are a little weedy for a race game.

In one or two-player mode the player must take on five computer opponents and finish in the top three positions to progress. Each position has a cash reward so it pays to finish as high as possible in each race. Money can be spent in a shop that pops up before each race.

All the usual power-ups can be bought here, like better tyres for a stronger grip and improved gears for faster accelerating. There's also a special power-up available. This varies from race to race but includes delights like power steering ignoring the specials, each power-up has five power levels and obviously the maximum one costs a packet, for example, but they become essential as the game progresses because the courses start to become extremely tortuous. Without the likes of decent tyres finishing in last position is almost a certainty in the later stages of the game.

Thankfully numerous power-ups litter the course but these only last for the duration of that particular race. Nonetheless they can mean the difference between topping the league or ending up in the scrapyard.

Pick your car
At the start of the game the player is given a certain amount of money to spend on power-ups, but first a car is needed. Three types are available; 4X4 Jeep, Hydra Buggy and Formula Special. The 4X4 Jeep is the cheapest and recommended for beginners, but it suffers from being reasonably slow.

Equally the Formula Special is fast, expensive and best suited to experts. The Hydra Buggy is arguably the best all rounder, being cheap enough to allow a decent range of power-ups to be bought at the start of the game and both controllable enough for beginners and fast enough for the more expert player.

As well as the standard one and two-player modes there's also a battle mode which can be played against either the computer or a human opponent. This is similar in concept to Codemasters' multi-player classic Micro Machines.

Like Micro Machines once the lagging player has trailed back off the screen he'll be zipped up to the leader and the leader rewarded with a point. Completing a lap first results in a two point bonus. Optional missiles are also available and making contract with one on an enemy is worth one point.

The overall winner is the person who reaches the allotted number of points. Setting this number is one of the numerous preferences that can be altered before a race commences. Trust me it's a lot simpler than it sounds and while playing points are the last thing on your mind - you're too busy trying to stay on the track, get and keep the lead and ram your opponent.

Essentially ATR is a revamped version of Overdrive with the criticisms which that game attracted ironed out plenty of new features and an excellent two-player mode. ATR feels more like a true racing game than Overdrive ever did, partly because of the speed the cars move at, but more because of the way they handle realistically control-wise and the way they react to background scenery.

Whereas Overdrive's tracks seemed to be made of tarmac no matter where they were set, ATR's are more convincing. Slipping around snowy track is all too real, especially when you lose control on the ice. There are also Skidmarks style obstacles which Overdrive lacked in the main and these add not only to the skill required to play the game but also give it a random element. In Overdrive once someone took the lead it was nearly impossible to loose it as there was little in the way of hazards to knock them off their stride.

ATR has that random element and without complete control and total commitment it's easy to screw up on a bump, total the vehicle and end up in fifth place, in a matter of seconds.

Loving care
This is clearly a game that has been playtested to death, the care and attention within it shines out. I love the way that you don't complete all the levels on a particular terrain at once, only three of them.

This stops boredom caused by repetition, which with something like snow based levels can be a problem no matter how good the graphics are. In ATR's case the graphics are some of the best on the Amiga for some time.

I do have one niggle though. The missiles in the two-player battle mode are plain annoying. Getting ahead is a matter of skill and being rewarded with a projectile up the backside from the vehicle tailing is unfair. It's like a jealous child destroying the toy another child has because they can't have it themselves. The difficulty curve is also a bit off-key, most of the early levels are a breeze but the later ones are difficult and require a vehicle with plenty of upgrades to have any chance of success in navigating the twisty nightmares.

Overall though, ATR is another class Amiga title from Team 17 and offers enough new features (even if the later tracks are like Overdrive's!) and all important playability to be recommended to newcomers as well as original Overdrive purchasers.


Happy Shopper
Welcome to our showroom. I think I have just what you're looking for. Now let me see, ah what about these three lovely little beauties.

The 4X4 Jeep: Cheap but a bit on the slow side, this has plenty of potential to be upgraded. One for the driver who has just passed their test perhaps.

ATR: All Terrain Racing: Select 4X4 Jeep as car to race

Ultra Buggy: An ideal combination if you want my opinion. Good price, good performance and it leaves you with money to upgrade with.

ATR: All Terrain Racing: Select Ultra Buggy as car to race

Formula Special: One for the connoisseurs I believe. High price but what a performance! Needs an expert driver to show it at its best though.

ATR: All Terrain Racing: Select Formula Special as car to race


ATR: All Terrain Racing CD32 logo CD32

Team 17 01924 201846 * £25.99 * Out now

Garnering somewhat mixed reviews in the specialist press when released on floppy, ATR (All Terrain Racing) nevertheless courted a certain favour in the AF office, particularly when pedalling the racing tracks.

The remaining 'terrains' were overly fussy, and somewhat unkind to all but the most skilled behind the wheel; the less pedantic, however, enjoyed the regenerating cones, the ridiculous layout of some courses and the admittedly excellent car movement. The game remains the same; the score, too.



Gameplay pur

ATR: All Terrain Racing CD32 logo CD32

Meist gibt sich Team 17 ja viel Mühe mit Umsetzungen, manchmal auch weniger - doch diesmal gab man sich gar keine: Vier Wochen nach der AGA-Version trägt ein grober Schnitzer den CD-Boliden aus der Kurve...

Welcher Teufel mag die Jungs nur beim Ersinnen der neuen Pad-Steuerung geritten haben? Beschleunigt und Gebremst wird hier nämlich mit dem roten bzw. blauen Button, was soweit ja noch okay ist. Doch jetzt ratet mal, welche zwei Knöpfe, gleichzeitig gedrückt, die sofortige Rückkehr inst Titelbild zur Folge haben? Richtig, auch wieder rot und blau - wodurch Vollgas und plötzlich Verzögern (etwa vor einer Haarnadelkurve) stets mit einem Neustart geahndet wird!

Daß wir den Test an dieser Stelle nicht abbrechen und All Terrain Racing auf CD als unspielbar erklären, liegt allein am Rettungsanker, sprich der optionalen Nutzung von Ein-Button-Sticks.

So befahren, gleichen sich das Schiller-Terrain und die bekannten Floppy-Kurse dann fast aufs Bit: Entweder treten Solisten gegen vier agile CPU-Piloten an, oder zwei Spieler fahren um die Wette und lassen dabei auch mal Waffen und Minen sprechen.

Darüber hinaus ist nach wie vor eine Liga für bis zu sechs Teilnehmer vorgesehen, bloß ist das Speichern der Tabelle selbst auf AGA-Amigas mit CD-ROM nicht mehr möglich; im übrigen läuft das Game dort aber anstandslos.

Im Duo-Modus wird der eventuell zurückbleibende Fahrer #agrave; la "Micro Machines" nachversetzt, erhält einen Strafpunkt, und die Hatz geht augenblicklich weiter.

Am Parcours finden sich Sammelextras für Turbo-Beschleunigung und höhere Endgeschwindigkeit, oder Münzen, die der Shop gegen stärkere Motoren, griffige Slicks oder eine bessere Straßenlage eintauscht. Die vor Rennbeginn angebotenen Fahrzeuge (Buggy, Formel-1- und Allrad-PKW) unterscheiden sich zwar im Fahrverhalten voneinander, aber nicht von ihren Disk-Pendants, was auch für die drei anwählbaren Schauplätze mit im Solomodus drei, ansonsten sieben Strecken gilt.

Wer sie samt und sonders abge(g)rast hat, darf weitere Szenarien wie z.B. einen Space-Port durcheilen.

Ein Manko war und bleibt das oft unübersichtliche Streckendesign, zumal ein Radarscanner oder Hinweisschilder fehlen - die Rennen mit ihren Remplern und Hindernisläufen um Ölpfützen herum werden somit vom fahrerischen Können,einem guten Gedächtnis und etwas Glück entschieden, obwohl nur der jeweils Erstplazierte weiterrasen darf.

Zu sehen gibt's turboschnell scrollende Wälder, Wiesen und Städte aus der Draufsicht, die durch viele Animations-Details und einen gekonnten 3D-Eindruck überzeugen, gleichzeitig ertönen feine Sound-FX und fetzige Musikstücke.

Der Sound kommt allerdings nicht von CD, wie die Präsentation für eine Schillerversion generell zu wünschen übrig läßt.

Das und die fehlende Liga-Speicherung führen zur abgewerteten Gesamtnote - von der Pad-Piloten mangels Spielbarkeit getrost noch mal 50 Prozent abziehen dürfen! (rl)



ATR: All Terrain Racing CD32 logo CD32

Price: £25.99 Publisher: Team 17 01924 267776

Earning itself a respectable 85% last month in its standard Amiga incarnation, ATR is now available for the CD32. It's a direct port from the original floppy version, so even though there's nothing added, there's nothing taken out either.

What we've got is a scrolling top-down racing game, in the vein of Roadkill and Micro Machines. There's a choice of three futuristic cars: the 4x4 Jeep, the Ultra Buggy and the Formula Special, each of which handles slightly differently.

Before you race you can do a bit of shopping, upgrading your car to suit your driving style. Nervous drivers could go for extra grippy tyres, while speed freaks can boost the engine power. Shock absorbers and power steering are also available for generally improved performances.

The races themselves are fast and furious. Tearing round the cleverly designed tracks is thrilling. Sometimes they're so cleverly designed that you get completely lost and end up going round the track backwards due to a lack of clear directions. You really have to know the track before you race it.

Also, some of the obstacles are so small and unobtrusive that they look like bits of the backgrounds, until you crash into them. It really gets the adrenaline going though and in the end, the sheer excitement and playability win through and your forget about the minor faults.

I would have thought they would add CD quality sound during the conversion, but no matter. It's thoroughly addictive and, like a good record, you'll keep coming back to play the best bits.