Hoversprint logo

CodeMasters £7.99

It's a small step from crossing the Chanel to racing around various tortuous circuits. Rather surprising that nobody has managed to come up with the idea of pitting hovercraft against each other before. Anyway, the Codies are giving you a very special, once-in-a-lifetime chance to compete in a small hover vehicle against several other, er, craft.

It's a pretty quick 3D affair, is Hoversprint, with a very low-down view. The hovering bits are pretty irrelevant; it may as well be in racing cars with very smooth suspension and incredibly skiddy wheels, but the 3D is certainly nicely done, and the computer opponents are no push-overs.

There are 20 circuits, ranging from short and fast to long, bendy and frightening. But you only get three opponents, which doesn't make for much inter-pack jostling, and the game really does lack a gimmick (for want of a better word) which could possibly bring the whole thing alive.

In its favour, though, there is a neat RS232 link option, so you can actually race another human. And I'm sure by now, everyone must know just how much fun modem-linked games are, so this is basically the best thing I can find about Hoversprint.

Hoversprint logo

Vektor-Rasereien sind immer ein Blick wert, besonders, wenn sie zum Dumpingpreis zu haben sind. Was die Codemasters hier abgeliefert haben, ist aber leider nur ein in jeder Beziehung billiger Abklatsch von "Hard Drivin'"...

...und von daher eher was zum Weg- als zum Hinschauen. Die Grafik ist geradezu einschläfernd lahm, Stunts sucht man vergeblich. Die öden Strecken verbreiten nur gepflegte Langeweile, einzig der Ligamodus sorgt für ein bißchen Abwechslung.

Daß hier mal nicht PS-gepolsterte Boliden sondern futuristische Luftkissenfahrzeuge um einen Tabellenplatz kämpfen, ist ein schwacher Trost - selbst wenn sie mit Automatikschaltung, Turboboost, "Sprungmöglichkeit", Radarscanner und einer Steuerung, deren Empfindlichkeit einstellbar ist, ausgestattet sind.

Ins Optionscreen stehen vier dieser Aerogleiter zur Wahl, hier können Tabellen betrachtet und die Anzahl der Runden pro Rennen festgelegt werden, auch Übungsfahrten auf einem der 20 Kurse sind möglich. Aber was soll's, wenn die harmlosen Computergegner ruck-zuck besiegt sind und die lieblos zusammengeschusterten Strecken durch den winzigen Bildschirmausschnitt alle gleich aussehen?

Sicher, die Anleitung will (im Gegensatz zu mir) Boxenstops entdeckt haben, und gelegentlich wechselt die Farbe der Vektorlandschaft, aber dafür ist dem üblen Ruckeln auch auf der niedrigsten Detailstufe nicht beizukommen.

Von der dürftigen Soundkulisse (Titelmusik, ein paar FX) wollen wir gar nicht erst anfangen...

Mag sein, daß jemand zwei Amigas per Nullmodem verkuppelt und dem Game so im Zwei-Spieler-Modus noch etwas abgewinnen kann - vorstellen kann ich's mir nicht. (rl)

Hoversprint logo

Hover Sprint is the latest budget release from the Codies. And, as is often the case with Codies games, what you get is exactly what the title says -a hovercraft race simulation.
It's solid filled 3D too, and comes on a couple of disks - exactly the sort of product that two years ago would have been bound to come with a full price sticker on it.

Sounds interesting, you might think. Well, yes. While it's not up to the likes of Vroom and Formula One Grand Prix of course - you could hardly expect it to be - it does manage to be comparable with the likes of Hard Drivin' or Powerdrome, no mean feat.

In fact, imagine the futuristic setting of Powerdrome added to the basic Hard Drivin' gameplay and you'll have a pretty good idea of what we're talking about here. (We'll leave the fact it's not as good as either aside for the moment).

Despite the sophisticated look, what happens in the game is simple. You select the type of (hover)craft you want to race - and there are a good number of designs to choose from. You pick automatic or manual gears, depending on which racing craft you select. You practice a circuit or go to the race menu and select from a number of different race tracks. You pick how many laps you want to race, or if you want to try out against a chum (through a serial link). And you race.

Unfortunately, this is where all the good intentions become a bit unstuck. Once you're actually playing it the game proves to be tedious, slow and lacking in any real feeling of speed - this is one of those games that looks a lot better in the screenshots than actually moving.

It's also fairly uncontrollable - more a giant dogem event than anything else, but one made all the more frustrating by the waiting around to be allowed to restart every time you get bumped off the track.

All-in-all then, more of an interesting development - solid 3D used for original budget games - than a worthwhile release. It'll be interesting to see if and how the trend for more and more sophisticated budgies develops, but in the mean time you're better off sticking with similar re-releases.