Once more, crush your mate's ego with...

Indy Heat logo

STORM * £24.99 * 1/2 meg * Joystick * Out now

There's nothing quite like beating your friends to a pulp, is there? Not in the real sense, of course. Not in the real sense, of course. Not in the "getting a big stick and hitting your friends repeatedly about the head with it" sense. That isn't clever at all. In fact, it's illegal.
What is fun is beating your friends to a pulp in "being really, really good at computer games and embarrassing everyone by winning every time" sense. Now that is fun.

And, lo, the Software Houses did recognise this need to triumph over one's peers in the course of digitised entertainment. And, yea, they did create the Multi Player Option and it was good, and it did allow all and sundry to goat and jeer at their friends who could not get the hang of the controls.

And, verily, everyone had a really good laugh with the exception of the kid that nobody really liked who had been lumbered with the dodgy joystick with the Fire button that didn't work.

And so we find yet another multi-player extravaganza plopping into our collective laps. It's Indy Heat, in case you make a point of never reading the title at the top of the pace, and it's quite good indeed.

But, and this is the big question that hangs over eery multi- player game, is it any fun on your own? What if you've got no friends, or you live in the Australian outback? Is it worth shelling out for a game that's really only worth playing with other people?
Thankfully, in the case of Indy Heat, this problem doesn't occur. Even on your own, it's a rollicking little fella.

The basic idea is fairly simple. You take part in a series of races against three other cars of which of races against three other cars, of which two can be controlled by other players. So, you've got four little cars hurtling round various tracks, each with its own torturous bends and niggly bits. And the idea is to complete a set number of laps before the others. Obvious really.

Mind you, you'll have to take into account the technical specifications of your car. If you don't keep improving it by spending your prize money, then you'll find yourself running out of fuel or breaking down every two laps while everyone else keeps zooming past you.

And those aren't the only tactics you'll have to employ. If you really want to win, you'll have to play dirty. Smashing your opponents off the track isn't just fun, it's downright essential.

Another clear trick is to ram them up the bum while they're in the pits and send them flying back into the race with hardly any fuel. Arf arf arf. There's also the added bonus that you might kill a few members of the pit crew. And while we're on the subject of silly little features, you can make it that bit more challenging by reversing all your controls. For masochists only...

The graphics are tiny, but this gives them a bit of extra zip, and means that the tracks can be more fiendishly designed due to the smaller sprites.

There are some nice "touches", as we say in the trade. For one thing, you can choose what your driver looks like, and you also get to see the little men in the pits running about and getting run over. Not graphically brilliant but they do their job and look "groovy", as advertising person Simon Lees put it.

The sound is actually quite "groovy" too. As well as the little vroom noises you also get some some speech telling you when to pit for more fuel. Just when you're in the lead, you're guaranteed to ear a voice say "Red Pit". Typical. There's also a fairly rockin' tune with guitars and stuff. Very pleasant on the shell-likes.

All in all, Indy Heat is a "nice" little game. Not outstanding by any means, but the sort of game that you'll come back to.
"Oh, I'm a bit bored. I know, I'll have a quick game of Indy Heat". That sort of thing. With only 11 tracks to get used to it might not have much of a long term challenge, but it's a laugh all the same. Worth having, methinks.

Dabei sein ist alles?

Indy Heat logo

Sei das jetzt Gremlin ("Super Cars"), Domark ("Badlands"), Virgin ("Super Off Road"), UBI Soft ("Jupiter's Masterdrive") oder Psygnosis ("Nitro") - eine Company, die auf sich hält hat ein Autorennen aus der Vogelperspektive im Programm!

Da wollte auch Storm nicht länger nachstehen, hat in der Spielhalle einen Automaten namens Indy Heat entdeckt und kurzerhand umgesetzt. Viel Originalität ist hier also nicht zu erwarten, seit dem 64er-Urvater "Super Sprint" sehen diese Games ja alle mehr oder weniger gleich aus. Das Zauberwort heißt eher "Spielbarkeit"...

Zehn Strecken wollen bewältigt sein, von New Jersey über Kentucky bis Indianapolis sind sie allesamt in den USA angesiedelt. Um an der jeweils nächsten Veranstaltung teilnehmen zu dürfen, muß man sämtliche Konkurrenten schlagen; es winken auch Prämien, die in Tuning investiert werden: Für mehr Beschleunigung gibt es Turbos, für eine höhere Endgeschwindigkeit bessere Motoren, und wer sich eine umfangreichere Crew leisten kann, vertrödelt weniger Zeit bei seinen Boxenstops.

Neben Geschwindigkeit ist aber auch eine gesunde Portion Härte entscheidend, kann man doch seine Kollegen von der Straße rempeln und sogar deren Mechaniker überfahren!

Grafisch hat Indy Heat eher wenig zu bieten, akustisch gibt es immerhin Samples vom Automaten und ein bißchen Sprachausgabe. Bei zwei Spielern geht die (Stick-) Steuerung durchaus in Ordnung, ein dritter Mann am Keyboard ist zwar möglich, wird aber nicht oft gewinnen. Alles in allem eine sehr solide, aber kaum spektakuläre Angelegenheit - Leute, die wirklich noch kein soches Game besitzen, können ja mal probefahren. (L. Bunder)

Indy Heat logo

Those Super Sprint variants just keep on coming. This one's not the pits, but...

Storm's Indy Heat is a conversion of the Super Sprint-type coin-op from the same people (arcade-wise) who brought you Ivan 'Ironman' Stewart's Super Off-Road Racer. It's, er, alright.

Okay, I suppose you want to know a bit more than that. Which means I'm going to start making things up. Right, here we go. Indy Heat is the little publicised fourth game in the Indiana Jones series, and in it you control a little Harrison Ford sprite who, uh, runs around with his whip trying to retrieve the Great Lost Corduroys Of The Incas, but finds his progress hampered by giant aubergines with anti-tank rocket launchers. (Cease this utter drivel at once or you're fired - Ed).

Okay, so I'm a crap liar, but it just goes to illustrate the fact that there's almost nothing to say about this game that you can't work out for yourself by looking at the screenshots. What they don't show is that it's a speedy and playable racer, catering for up to three players at once with a choice of two control methods, both of which work pretty well. It's almost identical to the earlier game except there're no bumps and hills to worry about and no bonus icons lying around to provide you with tricky decisions whether to go for them or concentrate on getting round the course.

It has a less convoluted track sequence too, the 10 courses coming one after the other and not really offering any increased difficulty as they progress (in fact, the last one is the easiest of the lot). This (coupled with the minimal difficulty setting) means that you'll see every track by halfway through your third game, and with no points system to keep you playing your interest will probably cease at that stage.

With more players adding a competitive element (especially when you sabotage the others' refuelling pitstops by crashing into their cars) it'll last a bit longer, but this lacks even the fairly limited depth of Super Off-Road, and what does remain of it (the chance to customise your car) is negated anyway by the option which allows the computer to automatically make the selections for you.

This is a competent enough conversion, but it's a bit limited as a full-price game.

Indy Heat logo

Simplicity is often the best policy in the games world and you can't get much simpler than Indy Heat. The heir-apparent to Off Road Racer, Indy Heat is an exact replica of its coin-op cousin, the only difference being the reduction in participating cars from five to four and the omission of a five-foot six hardwood cabinet.

Although four cars can compete in each race, there's only a couple of joystick ports on the Amiga so some poor soul's going to have to use the keyboard while the fourth car is computer-controlled. The controls are easy, and that's no mean feat considering the transition from foot-pedalled coin-op to home computer. Once you've grown accustomed to the joystick controls replacing the natural curve of the steering wheel and the fire button replacing the foot pedal, you'll be racing like a real pro in no time.

Ten tracks are on offer and, as these can be raced both clockwise and anti-clockwise, you've essentially got 20 tracks on which to burn rubber. Each competitor is awarded prize money depending on their placing and this is used up in an extras screen that would put Halfords to shame. Extra brakes, super grip tyres, quicker pit crews, souped-up engines and life-saving turbos can all be bought in the shop after every race.

Races take place all over America, from Illinois to Kentucky, and with each location comes an ever-increasing number of laps to complete. Things start off gently enough with a mere five, but by the time you've reached the top of the table there's a gruelling 12 to be raced over.

You might think that the tiny sprites don't do the racing justice, but they move smoothly enough and, when they've taken too many hits, they actually burst into flames leaving bits of bodywork all over the track. It's here that the driver's cunning comes into play, as the cars can only stand a few hits before they need the pits.

First you are warned by your mechanic holding up the pit card. If you ignore him your pit will shout for you to come in for repairs. Choose to ignore them at your peril, as without the vital repairs you'll be reduced to a shuffling wreck. All drivers are susceptible to damage and, if you choose your stop at the right time, you can ram them off their lne squashing the pit crew with a gratifying crunch!

The music and sound effects that accompany the game add considerably to the proceedings. Considering the unplayability of most racing-track games this one is an absolute gem. If you haven't got a friend to race against, it will lose its charm in the end, but until then you'll have a blast.


Each player gets three credits and three coins. If you lose a race you lose a coin and, when all the coins are gone, you lose a credit. When the coins run out all those fancy add-on turbos wil return to normal and you'll have to start from scratch.

Indy Heat logo

Indy Heat has just been released on the ST and Amiga, so we sent Martin Pond down to Battersea to take Sales Curve's new baby for a spin. As he clambered behind the wheel of his mum's Fiesta, he turned and said: "Sorry, what does this pedal do again?" Oh dear...

Indy Heat is a multi-player, top down racing game which began packing gangs of boy racers into the arcades a few years back. The Sales Curve's conversion allows three players to drive at once - you'll have to draw straws though, 'cos only two of them can use joysticks, player three being lumbered with the keyboard. The fourth car is computer-controlled, and tears around setting the pace.

Each player has a budget to spend on upgrading their car. There are boosters to be had for six different components: Tyres, Engine, Brakes, MPG (which improves fuel-efficiency), Pit-Crew (which speeds up your pit-stops), and Turbo's (which give you an extra temporary boost of speed).

There are ten different circuits, each one based on a real American race t\rack. Before each race you're shown a map of the layout, which you can study to decide how your money would be best spent. A ridiculously simple track like Indianapolis will need a different combination of extras than one of the twisty, turny circuits. Don't worry if you can't decide what to buy, though - you can get the computer to choose for you.

When you're racing, the controls are dead simple - left and right to steer, fire to go, and forward for a quick turbo boost. Your fuel supply and the number of remaining turbo boosts are shown on screen. Before your fuel runs out, a digitized voice and a little chappie holding up a placard lets you know it's pit-stop time.

When you enter the pits, the crew rush around filling up the tank, replacing your turbo's and emptying the ash-trays. After a few seconds, the jacks come away and, pausing only to stash your free wine glasses, you can wheel-spin off again.

The overall winner is decided at the end of the tournament, when you're each told your average speed. Did you travel at a constant fuel-efficient 55mph, or did you manage to clock up the sort of speeds that even Viscount Linley would be arrested for? Only the computer knows for sure.

Amiga reviewAtari ST reviewMartin: The world of Formula One car racing - the roar of engines, the smell of burning rubber, the glamour, the speed, the dolly birds and the burns injuries. Is it possible to capture this atmosphere using five-millimetre long sprites, rushing around a one-screen circuit? 'Course not, dopey. But Sales Curve has produced the next best thing - an immensely playable racing game which is easy to pick up and allows you to get all bolshie and competitive with a couple of pals.

My only niggle concerns the shortness of the races. I'd happily play a real-time Le Mans 24 hr endurance stage, but sadly it always feels like my fender-bending antics have only just begun when the computer car's taking the chequered flag. Usually it's the only car on the track that gets on with the matter in hand, and doesn't get involved in gratuitous argy-bargy. Shame it doesn't emulate the bully boy driving style of Mad Max, it'd be a lot more fun.

Cutting up your opponents anf forcing them off the road is a real laugh. If you're feeling really Dick Dastardly, you can nobble another player by deliberately shunting their car off the jacks when it's in the pits. This slows them up and squashes one of their pit crew. Now you couldn't do that for real in the world of Formula One racing. Well, not more than a couple of times...Stop