Indianapolis 500 logo Amiga Format Gold

ELECTRONIC ARTS £24.99 * Joystick, Keyboard and Mouse

South of the Great Lakes and Kalamazoo, a few miles west of Cincinatti, lies one of the world's most famous gladiatorial arenas. BUt the chariots here are a far cry from El Cid: this is the home of the Indianapolis 500, America's less brutal but far more dangerous sport. For a back-breaking 500 miles, with the roar of engines constantly in their ears, America's car-crazy combatants hammer it out till death - or mere retirement - overtakes them.

There's nothing manifestly different about Indy 500 when compared to Formula One or any other motor race, although every hot-blooded American will tell you that Indy is The Most, The Biggest, The Toughest... and all the usual superlatives. As you'd expect, this is an exaggeration. But not totally.

From the moment you take your place in the cockpit, you know you have a powerful, barely controllable machine of death at your command. You appear in the pits faced with innumerable options to alter, check and generally fiddle about with. You most likely course of action is to forget the array of wing tweaks, tyre swaps and suspension mods, and just put the hammer down.

With automatic gear-changing as standard, you accelerate up to 150 mph just in time to smash into the wall at the end of the pit lane. A quick change of underwear later and you're ready to give it another go, this time saving the power until you're actually on the track.

It's then that you can begin to appreciate the real excitement of racing. Flying around the circuit, clipping bends and bouncing off the walls Donnelly-fashion, you gradually muster the skills needed to tame the beast. Mouse control, with its analogue input, is far more responsive than other methods and provides true car feel.

Screeching tyres and a sideways look at the world outside mean you're over-cooking the bends. Don't hit the brakes or you'll spin uncontrollably. Instead, ease yourself back onto the track by easing off the throttle and steering into skids and wait until the car has settled down before blasting the turbo-boosted engine back into life. If you're lucky, you'll make it back to the pits!

To enter a race, you must first qualify for a position on the start grid. This means much practising, to find the perfect balance for your car, followed by a stab at four lightning-fast laps to get a high average lap time. Once you're happy with your start position, it's time for the real thing.

As with the rest of the game there are options: you can choose a short race without fear of car damage, or go for a full-length epic battle, complete with yellow-flag rules and the risk of engine failure or burst tyres.

Whichever race you choose, you can be sure that there'll be trouble. Cars litter the track, lurking behind corners just when you power into them with quite spectacular results, and leaders plough into your tail as they attempt to lap you. Chaos reigns supreme: unless you keep a cool head, a watchful eye and, most importantly, in front.

GRAPHICS AND SOUND

Indy features some of the fastest, most detailed 3D graphics ever seen anywhere and you have plenty of opportunity to check them out using the vast range of camera views supplied - if you have a 1 Meg machine. The level of detail can be offset against speed, but even at its most colourful, Indy is gaspingly fast.

Combine the superb vector-generated racing cars with the throaty roar of their engines and you have all the atmosphere you need. You can sense the presence of faster cars by the increasing pitch of their engines. If a check in your mirror shows one there, overtaking, you hear the full doppler-effekt as it whistles by. Not for the faint-hearted!

LASTING INTEREST

Prepare to end up like Dick Dastardly more times than is healthy, for the first few hundred laps. You'll spin, bounce, fish-tail and get punched all the way round the track before you master the technique and set the car up correctly. But frustration gives way to a need for revenge just as soon as you've got the hang of it. And from that moment on, there's no turning back. You've just got to win, to show those rednecks that you're the best on the circuit, and this could be the race that clinches it... maybe.

JUDGEMENT

Car-racing games have been around since the earliest days of computers and, until now, have been predictable, derivative and less exciting with each iteration. But Indianapolis 500 captures the speed, excitement and seat-grabbing realism of racing far better than any of its predecessors. Fast 3D vector coding and awesome sounds make your stomach heave and have you leaning into bends holding your breath in anticipation.

Without doubt, Indy 500 is the best race game money can buy. A realistic, totally believable example of an old idea given new life, it comes as a breath of fresh air in what was a stagnant genre. If you've ever been remotely into real racing you'll not be disappointed. If, up to now, you've been happy with the multitude of tacky Out Run clones, now's your chance to get behind the wheel of a large automobile and have your pants scared off! Hikers, ramblers and couch-potatoes will hate it, but you're not one of those... are you?


Indianapolis 500 logo

Es gibt wieder einen Grund mehr, sich einen Amiga zu kaufen: Electronic Arts' Rennspektakel ist eine PC-Umsetzung der Formel I-Klasse geworden!

Wie unschwer zu erraten, geht es hier um die berühmten 500 Meilen von Indianapolis. Auf der amerikanischen Renommierstrecke kann man mit drei verschiedenen Flitzern (die sich auch wirklich unterscheiden) üben, sich qualifizieren und natürlich Rennen fahren, bis die Auspuffrohre glühen. Bei den Rennen stehen vier Alternativen zur Wahl, angefangen von der Einsteigervariante mit zehn Runden (= 25 Meilen) und vereinfachten Bedingungen (z.B. keine Kollisionsschäden) bis hin zur vollen Distanz über 500 Meilen.

Man muß sich um Dingen wie Reifendruck, Turbolader und mitgeführte Spritmenge kümmern, bei längeren Rennen ist ab und zu auch ein Boxenstop zum Nachtanken und Reifenwechseln fällig. Dank einer Kamerafunktion kann man sich das Geschehen der letzten 20 Sekunden noch einmal in Ruhe aus sechs verschiedenen Betrachtungswinkeln ansehen - besonders bei spektakulären Unfällen eine Wucht!

Die Vektorgrafik ist detailreich und ultraschnell, auf der Stufe mit den wenigsten Details fliegt die Strecke richtig an einem vorbei, Soundtechnisch sind eine brauchbare Musik und Effekte vom Feinsten geboten. Am meisten hat sich die Steuerung verbessert, außer Joystich und Tastatur darf jetzt auch die Maus gequält werden. Ein wahres Superspiel also! Einzige Einschränkung: Es gibt nur eine (unkomplizierte) Strecke, die Freude dürfte also nicht ewig währen - aber was währt schon ewig? (mm)


Indianapolis 500 logo CU Amiga Screen Star

Second in grueling intensity only to the 24 hour Le Mans, the Indianapolis annual 500 mile super race is one of the toughest tests of driver/machine harmony there is. Electronic Arts, following the snowballing success of the PC version, have thankfully decided to release their latest racing sim on the Amiga, and aren't we glad they did?

You race in a field of 33 cars, although that number decreases as the race progresses. All other cars are computer controlled and drive much the way: on the right, through the straights and cutting corners as closely as possible Unfortunately, when it comes to silly little things, like avoiding a five car pile up, they're not so hot.

You have a a choice of three basic cars to race with, ranging from slow and easy to drive (March Cosworth) to the very fast but virtually uncontrollable (Penske Chevrolet). During practise mode you can alter certain variables, as with Ferrari Formula One, such as the position of your wings, different tyres and tyre pressures and gear ratios.
The key to a successful race is finding the right balance to make the car comfortable for you to drive, while still getting optimum performance.

As a race game, I have to say Indy 500 is pretty basic. As it only contains one small looping track, the race soon becomes repetitive, and the difficulty really comes from avoiding the wreckages of other cars that tend to pile up in the middle of the road.

Where this game really shines out is the amazing polygon graphics. Easily the most detailed yet seen in a racing game and, depending on which of the three levels of background detail you choose, the fastest. The impression of movement couldn't be much stronger if you were actually racing around the brickyard at 200 miles an hour.

Possibly the most entertaining thing about the game is the instant replay facility, where you can view that impressive crash over and over again from six different angles, including tracking camera - helicopter- and chase-car-views. This adds to the variety of the game somewhat as you can organise "best crash" competitions. One we held in Emap towers was won by a certain member of the ACE team who managed to create a 7-car pile up!

Indy 500 is a lot of fun to play, and definitely has lasting appeal. But even though it is a game I can see myself playing a year from now, I can't imagine playing it for long stretches. A great product though, and one which truly pushes forward the standard of racing games.


GENERAL HINT: Race preparation is the key to success. Fine tune your car engine and make sure that your machine feels both comfortable and yet still oozes power and winning potential.

Indianapolis 500 logo ZERO Hero

THOUGHT PROCESS: Driving game + 'witty' writer = awful puns. Cor, Indianapolis 500 has been on the tracks for a while. On the PC we lapped it up, playing it 400 times per hour. We wondering if we could really get tyred and exhausted of it? Now it's pulled into the pits and changed formats. Nigel Mansell is still crap at driving and David McCandless is still crap at intros.

Amiga reviewAt last, everyone's favourite game finally made it on everyone's favourite computer. Yes, it's Nude Yoga Simulator on the Spectrum. No, I lied, it's actually Indy 500 on the Amiga. It definitely was a big hit on the office PC. By the time everyone got bored of it, the joystick was a smoldering tendril of plastic, the keyboard was a molten pool of letters, and the screen had gone bright red from being sweared so often.

"So how does it compare to the PC version?" you ask, "which was," you recline on the sofa and take a long, sexy drag on your cigarette, "the bee's knees when it came to race 'em ups. "Well", I reply, gliding slowly over the settee to the slide into the seat next to you, "It compares" - I lick my lips - "favourably. It's very, very... nice. It's not quite as smooth, it's a little jerky here and there. But on the whole", - I lick my lips again - "performs just as well."

All the features of the original - the instant replay angles (1 Meg only), the indestructibility mode, ability to go backwards and destroy all your fellow racers - are here, and all on one disk to boot (geddit), so there's far less hassly disk swopping. One added extra the PC lacked is sound. Instead of the usual IBM sound chip labouring to spit out a car sound, Indy Amiga has sampled vrooms, sampled squeals and sampled tinkling wreckage sounds when you collide with the spectators at Mach 3. It makes a surprising amount of difference. For instance, you can now actually hear cars approaching from behind. The high-pitched schrieks and climb-downs of gear changes enable you to be more 'in tune' and 'as one' with your engine. And as for the exhilaration factor as well...

The way of measuring the exhilaration of a race game is by observing the following factors:

a) the amount of head tilting and dodging in front of the monitor;

b) the collective number of swear words ejaculated during play;

c) the number of times the phrase "Son of a @*!it. The git went into the back of me, Just look at this replay!" is exclaimed;

d) the number of hours after playing the game that the subject is still shaking and making "neeeeowwww" and "vroom vroooooom" noises.

If we were to measure the game by these factors, Indianapolis 500 would score: a) 90; b) 4567.5; c) 1 and d) 36. But as it is we have to rely on the good old fashioned ZERO panel, which reads as follows: Stop


Indianapolis 500 logo

Electronic Arts, Amiga £24.99

The official sim of one of motor racing's greatest races allows you to race around that famous banked oval in one of three types of car (March Cosworth, Penske Chevrolet or Lola Buick), steering via mouse, joystick or keyboard. Colliding with other cars or the track wall can result in a spectacular pile-up - which can be replayed (only on 1Mb machines) from six different camera views.

In the full 200-lap race (you can also compete in shorter sprint races) you'll need to visit the pits several times to refuel and change tyres. Here, you can also make subtle adjustments to your car configuration by altering the settings of wings, gears, shocks etc. The longer races also feature yellow flags which forbid overtaking while wreckage is cleared from the track.

Options allow you to alter mouse sensitivity and choose from three levels of graphic detail - the less detail, the faster the game speed.


Phil King Apart from making minor adjustments to the car, this is a pretty straightforward driving game. Once you have learnt how to corner efficiently on the banked bends there is little else to do other than avoid contact with the numerous computer cars. Hence, with the uniform oval track, the action is on the dull side. Doing this for 200 laps seems unthinkable - although this is where some tactics do come in, using yellow flags to your advantage and making pit stops.
Robin Hogg Well, it's better than Days of Thunder, but other than the fast screen update and the much vaunted Instant Replay feature there's not much else to hold your attention. One track just isn't enough, especially when it involves 200 rather repetitive laps. I couldn't even manage 20 laps in the top-of-the-range Penske/Chevy with its ultra-fragile tyres! It's a challenge, I'll give it that, and it proved quite entertaining inching past rival drivers on the straights and dodging wrecked cars but it's very frustrating to make a simple mistake or shunted from behind and get knocked out of the race. Effects like the debris coming off cars with realistic sonic accompaniment just do not add enough.