Roadkill logo AGA

It sneaked in on the CD32 last Christmas and now you floppy people can get your hands on Vision's violent racing game. Steve Bradley investigates.

It was a busy period when the CD32 version of Roadkill arrived last Christmas and tall Scotsman Steve McGill reviewed it and... mumble, mumble... I didn't actually play it at all, though I did see the fantastic rendered 3D opening sequence. But I won't talk about that because it isn't on this version. By Jove I'm excited now, though. I've just ploughed through the first courses and already I'm hooked. Back in a minute...

Roadkill, as you can see from a quick glance at the pictures, is an overhead racer. All the best ones are, these days. Overhead, I mean. If Speedball 2 was a car racing game it would be Roadkill - there truly is a splendid helping of violence packed into the three disks.

The box bears the Acid Software logo but it's actually written by Kiwi brothers-in-arms Vision. Coded in Blitz Basic, Roadkill is a graphical treat, with smartly animated cars and even bits of the track that are translucent so you can see hits of a city below - it feels like you're driving ridiculously high up.

You can choose from six cars, which admittedly all seem rather similar, and drive against eight different computer opponents. Along the way you can collect missiles and rockets to blow the other cars off the road. It's all terribly thrilling.

The homing missiles are enormously satisfying because you don't need to bother aiming at anyone, just let 'em go and watch the nearest car perish horribly. Take out a few and a voice shouts, "Jackpot!" before imploring you to blast one more to "Get the super jackpot!", which means you receive potloads of cash, though you can't spend it on anything. But a gratifying achievement, it has to be said.

Not that this is the only way to take out opponents. Each track has a Kill Zone which consists of a short section with spikes either side, so you bump your rivals to the side and it's goodnight, friend.

Even the rumbling rock music inspires you to greater effort - to get more, bigger, better missiles

Tactically the game's a minefield. Do you concentrate on collecting missiles - which means taking a certain line - and blow away as many of the rabble as you can, or just go for victory by driving like the wind and keeping your nose clean? Go on, kill them - it's a lot more fun.

You don't get to see much of the track in front of you so it's best to keep one eye on the scanner, which shows you as a microdot. This helps when anticipating the corners but often means you can miss out on some of the oh-so-important power-ups.

Some of the tracks are a little weird, with strange, pointless loops that drivers of a sneaky disposition will soon realise can be missed out for a quick short cut. Lose three points, Vision, and do not pass go. Mind, don't try it later on, though, because your lap won't count.

Gain two points, Vision, for the practice lap is a neat touch, allowing you to pootle around checking out where the pick-ups are and which bends you have to slow down for.

Roadkill has three difficulty levels and options for three to five laps, and those with a joypad will find it easier than those without. The old joystick and keyboard scenario - a tad tricky.

Roadkill is a racer with tons of atmosphere. The invisible chap who growls instructions, the music (even the rock music) inspires you to strive, regardless of how low your armour is.

And sure, though it's a fairly standard top-down racer, with no link option or two-player mode, and it costs thirty quid, the attention to detail ensures that you forgive the sins.



Roadkill logo AGA

Seit einigen Monaten tobt der von Vision/Acid Software inszenierte Autokrieg nun schon auf den Silberpisten des CD32, jetzt schlägt der bombige Straßenkiller auch von Diskette zu - allerdings nur mit AGA-Waffen.

Dabei müssen Floppy-Raser tatsächlich bloß auf das fetzige Intro der Schillerscheibe verzichten, bei Gameplay, Sound und Grafik sind keinerlei Abstriche zu machen. Zunächst geht es also wie gehabt an die Box, sprich ins Optionsmenü: Neben Schwierigkeitsgrad, Rundenzahl und manueller bzw. automatischer Schaltung ist hier auch eine Probefahrt anwählbar.

Zu den Fein- und Gemeinheiten der Strecken gehören nämlich u.a. Abkürzungen, Sprungschanzen, Minenfelder und die "Killzones" - wer einen Konkurrenten in deren dornengespickte Banden abdrängen kann, hat erst mal Ruhe am Steuer.

Eine nicht minder effiziente FeinverschröttungsMEthode bieten Raketen, allerdings erst, sobald das entsprechende Symbol durch Überfahren eingesackt wurde. Andere Sammel-Extras sorgen z.B. für zeitlich begrenztes Tuning oder eine verbesserte Panzerung.

Die beschädigte Karre läßt sich zudem bei einem kurzen Boxenstopp reparieren, und den sollte man sich wenn nötig auch gönnen. Denn während die CPU-Boliden schon kurz nach dem Exitus erneut über den Asphalt brettern, wird der Spieler so lange wieder an den Start des Kurses zurückgeschickt, bis er auf einem der ersten drei Plätze landet oder die drei Continues verbraten hat.

Der Kampf ums Überleben erstreckt sich auf insgesamt vier Wettbewerbe mit so bezeichnenden Namen wie z.B. "Maximum Overkill Grand Prix". Stets sind dabei je drei Rennen zu absolvieren, wobei das Streckendesign immer anspruchsvoller und ausgefuchster wird - für jedes bestandene Pistentrio winkt ein Paßwort.

Wer fleißig Kohle durch Abschußprämien, Geldboni und diverse Jackpots für Massenexekutionen scheffelt, trägt sich schließlich in der leider nicht speicherbaren Highscoreliste ein.

Die Flitzer rasen wie gehabt flott über aus der Vogelperspektive dargestellte Rennbahnen, die durch softes Parallaxscrolling und Abwechslunsgreichtum bestechen. Der coole Kommentator, aufpeitschende Gitarrenriffs und stimmige Sound-FX blieben ebenfalls erhalten.

Wer selbst schalten will, sollte das übrigens unbedingt per CD32-Pad tun, fürs Automatikgetriebe genügt ein Zwei-Button-Joystick, während mit billigeren Modellen oder gar der Tastatur viel vom ansonsten reichlich vorhandenen Spielspaß auf der Strecke bleibt.

Ansonsten herrscht aber eitel Sonnenschein für Pistenrowdies, denn trotz fehlender HD-Installation gestaltet sich das Handling dank erträglicher Ladezeiten kaum schlechter als einst von der CD.

Fazit: Prima, daß man für die Killerkisten nun keine Silbermine mehr braucht - wem "Super Skidmarks" zu friedlich ist, der sollte unbedingt hier an den Start gehen! (st)



Roadkill logo AGA

Missile, signal, manoeuvre.

I hate cars. Were you to give me a small black box with a big red button on it that, when depressed, would case every car in the world to disintegrate fizzily like things hit by the ray gun in Valiant's 1953 strip 'Ray Gun' Roberts ('Ho ho! That's shaken Pedro up a bit!'). I'd be stirred even to buy a large chair and borrow a cat so I could turn around sinisterly while activating it. The idea, therefore, of a game whose goal is to destroy as many cars as possible (despite having to drive one yourself) interested me greatly.

Roadkill A1200 is, of course, the non-CD version of that venerable game, awarded 84% in AP45 by the tr("Ustworthy" - Ed) double-("Breasted suit-wearing - Ed) black ("Gammon-playing" - Ed) un ("Shakeably polite" - Ed) E("X-EDITOR" - Ed) OF THE PEOPLE J. Davies.

Obviously, to fit it on three disks, it has been shorn of the truly fantastic intro. A shame, but casualties are to be accepted in conversions to a less-mighty format.

THE ROAD WARRIOR
Seven months on, Roadkill remains one of the most exciting games we've played. It's Super Sprint really, but the emphasis is on blowing up your rivals. (Although, oddly to win you need still to finish in the top three - your foes appear to be replenished by a higher power, for no matter how many you vanquish, there are always nine in the race).

Each new track fills in a few more tantalizingly opaque weapons boxes, also dispensing tips like "Ram enemy cars into mines" and "Kill! Kill! Kill!". Your opponents are alarmingly good, increasing in competence as the match progresses until they too, are side-swiping cars into laser walls and rocketing those impudent enough to pass.

First-class use of sampled speech creates a credible game show atmosphere as you are spurred on to deeds of appalling violence by a gravelly announcer bellowing "TAKE HIS LIFE" or "DESTROY HIM" or (of course) "GET THE SUPER JACKPOT".

Even the most willful of players cannot ignore such compelling orders. In a blizzard of missiles and rockets you've taken out the pack, but pay the price for you impetuosity, ploughing into the burning wreckage and spinning uncontrollably towards a spiked wall. Curses.

But all this was said about the CD version. What of this conversion? Here I consult some notes I made earlier with my red pen. "Can't use keyboard" clearly refers to having to use the joystick to enter the ridiculous passwords, for there is a keyboard control option with the game, as well as support for CD32 and two-button joypads. (Playing only with joystick involves awkwardly using space to fire missiles).

"Doesn't save high scores" is self-explanatory and foolish for a points-led game. "Recognizes only two drives" bemoans the game's coming on three disks, so swapping is unavoidable. "Silly last password" is, I'll be bound, a dig at the way you always start on level one unless you specifically select 'Enter Password', at which point the last one you received magically appears - though you still have to keep pressing fire to accept the letters.

And "Can't turn off auto-reverse" undoubtedly addresses the way your car is automatically reversed after hitting a wall, a seemingly laudable feature that quickly becomes infuriating. But you do "Get to change cars" when restarting with a password (there are six vehicles to choose from), can "Kill the pit crew" and will appreciate "Intelligent missile handling", so you can't fire a valuable homing rocket until there's a car visible to hit.

A pity about "No serial link option, so still superficial overhead racer, albeit repeatedly playable one", really.



Roadkill logo AGA

Price: £25.99 Publisher: Acid Software 0302 890000

Hedgehogs, rabbits, pheasants, the odd sheep or two. All tarmac and tyre fodder. Alan Dykes hits the road...

If the CD32 ate Hovis leaves then Roadkill would be the next best thing, or so we reckoned last month, but just in case you A1200 types don't believe us, here's your version. Three disks' worth of racing madness without the violent rendered intro, but with just as much fun and great sound.

Somewhere, somehow a race called the Roadkill Challenge has been set up and there's lots of cash at stake. You choose one of six drivers, with names like Hammer, Slam and Cannon (They probably work part-time for Gladiators) and participate in four races, each of which has four individual tracks.

The tracks are viewed from an overhead perspective and are littered with icons like money bonuses, extra armour, tyre traction and missiles.

The aim of the game isn't just to be first around the track - although that is still the general idea and you need to get into the top three places to qualify for the next race - you get maximum cash and bonuses by killing as many opponents as possible. This can be done by forcing them into walls and spikes or shooting them with guided and unguided missiles.

Along the way you have to look out for mines, cannons and other cars which in early levels will try to knock you off the road and in later levels will start shooting missiles too. The tracks are not too cluttered but can be difficult to negotiate, even though the presence of a positioning radar makes things a bit easier.

And as each level brings in new perils and weapons it all starts adding up to a busy and satisfying game, while the sound is just superb too. Metal music introduces the game and continues throughout, while killing opponents, scoring points and picking up power-ups invite wild maniacal shouts which really get the adrenaline pumping.

If you want a brilliant cross between a racing game and a shoot 'em up then buy Roadkill.



Roadkill CD32 logo CD32 Amiga Computing Gold Award

Fancy a racing game so violent it makes Mad Max look like a considerate driver? Gareth Lofthouse discovers the meaning of the words 'Crash and Burn'.

INTRODUCTION

Has no one told Acid Software that good original software doesn't get targetted at the CD32? Only a few months ago it gave us the Star Wars antics of Guardian. This time it's more like car wars with a game that's once again set to surprise the cynics.

No bogus storyline here: The only background you need to know is that it's a car race with no rules, a futuristic challenge where even winning fistfuls of cash takes second place to destroying opponents. Forget good, clean fun - play dirty!

FLASHBACK

This type of racing game has a long history, with Acid's Skidmarks being another fine example of how well it can work. This nifty mover received high acclaim when it reached our office last year.

The general consensus is that Skidmarks looked better, thanks to its isometric view, as opposed to Roadkill's flat 2D approach. But on the other hand, you couldn't kill anything in Skidmarks.

All those missiles and power-ups take Roadkill down a new avenue and make for a different brand of arcade fun. Somehow your priorities change and you find yourself more concerned about wiping the opposition out than you are about winning.


 

GAMEPLAY

The idea behind this game and the way it has been presented is not particularly original. That's why it's such a surprise to find yourself getting increasingly hooked to the point where you realise Roadkill is an addiction.

The primitive thrills of speed or violence have alays been popular in the action game genre, and a title that combines the two will always have some promise.

Controlling the car is simple as far as using the control pad is concerned, with nothing more than left, right, acceleration and fire to cope with. Mastering the timing for corners, however, takes considerable practice to perfect.

From the start of the race when Freddy shouts "Showtime!" the proceedings are a lot more aggressive than in the standard racer. There you are moving through the field in a sportsman-like manner, and suddenly everyone's trying to slam you into the spikes of the kill-zone.

Players soon get into the spirit of things, however, and whether they like it or not they set off round the track careering like ping-pong balls between enemy cars.
Crashes are part and parcel of this game. If you come off the road in some races even once you'll be hard pushed to qualify, but here, everybody's in the same boat. Use your weaponry and drive well and you can move from last to first in the space of one lap.

There's lots of features and power-ups to collect as the game develops, the best of which are the rockets and missiles. These can put opponents out of action for a while, but their use must be well timed to gain jackpots and super jackpots.

Unfortunately, your rivals have the nasty habit of returning the favour, so you'll find your armour gauge going down as you crash and scape along. On longer courses, you'll have to nip into the pits for repairs, which in practice turns out to be a task made unnecessarily tricky.

Other items to aim for include speed-ups, temporary traction improvements and deflector shields, which provide protection against incoming missiles. Bonuses and money can also be picked up.

They way the courses are designed is instrumental in creating a lot of the chaos. Later tracks have alternative routes, where time considerations are traded off against the amount of power-ups you can find. Sometimes the road is so tortuous it's almost impossible to anticipate where you're going until the dangers become fixed in your memory.

If you think you can handle that without too much difficulty, you also have to cope with roadside cannons, ramps, minefields and skidtraps. Shortcuts allow you to race for record lap times but they are even tougher to negotiate.

The game has three skill levels (you'll be glad of the easy option at first) and a choice of automatic or manual gears, though the latter is not very satisfying in use.

It's a tough and occasionally frustrating game, so it's as well that Acid Software has not forgotten to include a password saver, a problem which marred Guardian. As it is, a lot of varied action and the need for the odd tactical decision make Roadkill an adrenaline burner.


 

SOUND

The most important sound in the game is the sampled speech. A Freddy Krueger sound-a-like eggs you on throughout the race, urging you to "destroy" an opponent or "take his life".

You can seriously increase your earnings in the game by making enough roadkills, and sound effects blare triumphantly when you destroy enough to get the jackpot.

Otherwise, it's the usual racer stuff. You know, revved engines, gear changes, skids and bumps - plus rocket launches, tracking missiles and lethal explosions at every turning.

82%

 

GRAPHICS

It's true that flash introductory sequences are no reflection on the quality of the game itself, but the animation that opens this game is so stunning it can't pass without mention.

Ravishing ray-traced graphics are used in a 3D-animation, depiciting fast racetrack action, carnage and death. It's impressively put together, although some may find its black humour offensive.

With a hard act like that to follow, it's not surprising that the game itself is visually more humble. We're basically given a 2D view of the track, so anyone hoping for a virtual racing game for the CD32 is going to be disappointed.

That said, it's not a bad looking game by any standards. The cars all look different and the racetrack scrolls by a fast, smooth pace with transparent sections revealing a metropolis below the course. After a few goes you begin to notice little details that are simple but effective. As cars collide off each other into walls, chunks of track become progressively more damaged.

Watch heat-seeking missiles snake around the screen as they lock on target, then see the victim car burst into flames and pile into concrete. The frantic pace makes simple touches like this exciting.

Given the violent nature of the game, this visual approach is arguably for the best. With its old-fashioned arcade style, all that destruction is in the same fun vein you'd come expect from a cartoon.

75%

 

OPINION87%

Acid might deserve some criticism for not coming up with original concepts that make a classic game. On the other hand, its recent games have had a healthy lack of pretention and they fulfill they're modes aims very successfully.

A sore thumb and a foul temper were sure signs that the game had me gripped. It may not look that much, but it has all the elements that a thoroughbred arcade game should have.

The odd-tweaking here and there would have been nice. Earning all that cash is fine, but it would be better if you had something to do with it - like the option to buy better cars for example. And of course, a two-player option would make it outstanding.

This is just me finding fault, however, because the developer deserves full credit for balancing to many appealing features in one game. Our jaded reviewers just keep sneaking back for one more go.

The developer has done the CD32 proud with a game that sets the Acid test for arcade action in 1995. Roadkill is yet another triumph for a software house that can take a simple idea and make it shine.



Roadkill CD32 logo CD32

Overhead racing games are nothing new in the world of computer games. Roadkill (Acid Soft via Guildhall Leisure 01302 890000, £29.99) follows on in the tradition of great games such as Super Sprint, Super Cars 2 and Micro Machines.

It features one of ht best intros to a game that you'll ever see - a fantastic 3D-rendered real-time race featuring professional zooms, tracks, pans, motion blurs and lens flares. It's gruesome in parts - drivers get cut in half after spilling on to the track.

But anyway, that's enough about intros that have absolutely no bearing on a game. Following the traditional course of overheads, the steering system is rotational. The make or break of the playabiity in this case is the amount of traction, steerability and control given to the car.

Many overheads have been ruined by being too slippy slidey so that the player feels if they're driving on an ice rink with bald tyres.
Not so with Roadkill, which was written in Blitz Basic. The traction is just about perfect. There are many combinations f 90 degree and hairpin corners and by taking the correct approach and getting throttle control right you can achieve perfect cornering almost every time.

Of course, driving about on a track, no matter how exciting that track is, by yourself is a bore. So there are eight computer-controlled opponents to race against. And to add spice to the racing, there are various pick-ups and power-ups which let you implement nefarious actions such as wasting opponents with missiles, speedbursting to higher top end velocities, mending damaged armour and others that we'll leave you to find out about.

But it's not only the pick-ups that enhance the racing: there are built-in obstacles and aids on the courses as well. Speed ramps send your car helplessly out of control, kill zones let you bash other cars to death and mined shortcuts give you the extra edge which means the difference for qualifying or failing.

In all, it's an excellent little package to play. But it does suffer from some major shortcomings. It only features four levels with three courses to each level. More than a bit stingy considering that there's an incredible amount of storage space on a CD and that many of these courses could just as easily have been randomly generated using a tiling system,

So a considerable amount of marks are lost for that. And to compound the problem, there's no two-player option, no serial-link, no split screen or two players on screen at the same time. Which, when you're asking the punter for 30 quid for a game, is nigh on unforgivable.

Sadly that means what should have been a high eighties game can only be given a seventies mark.

The game, its presentation, technical implementation and gameplay execution is so polished that it doesn't so much shine as radiate. But the price, small number of courses and lack of a two-player option cast a shadow so dark that it blights the complete package.



Roadkill CD32 logo CD32

Daß der Rennsport nicht ganz ungefährlich ist, weiß spätestens seit Ayrton Sennas tragischem Tod jedes Kind - auf vorliegende Pisten sollten sich aber wirklich nur Piloten wagen, die ihr Testament stets im Handschuhfach mit sich führen!

Die (selbst-) mörderische Raserei ist das Ergebnis der Zusammenarbeit von Acid Software mit den "Seek & Destroy"-Machern von Vision, und die hat ja schon einmal benzingetränkte Früchte getragen: Nicht ohne Grund habt Ihr das phantastische Iso-rennen "Skidmarks" bei der Wahl des Amiga-Spiels 1994 zum Vizemeister im Sportgenre gekürt. Und während der Nachfolger dieses Knallers gerade an die Startposition fährt, senkt sich nun erst mal die Flagge für eine starke Mischung aus "Micro machines, "Overdrive" und einem Mordversuch auf Rädern.

Daß die todesverachtenden Konkurrenten hier beim Kampf um die Pole Position alles andere als zimperlich vorgehen, zeigt nämlich bereits das Intro: Mögen die 3D-Strecken auf Anhieb auch an eine harmlose Carrera-Bahn erinnern; wenn man in beeindruckenden Animationen vor Augen geführt bekommt, wie sich ein Fahrer nach einem Crash mühsam aus dem Wrack seiner Kiste befreit, nur um bei einer weiteren Kollision wortwörtlich den Kopf zu verlieren, dann weiß man, was Sache ist!

Und wenn Raketen oder Minen die Boliden in Feuerbälle verwandeln, was eine Stimme aus dem Off lakonisch mit den Worten "It's Showtime!" kommentiert, wünscht man sich fast schon einen Airbag in den Compi...

Ehe der Spieler selbst zur Tour de Schrott startet, darf er sich aber in einem reichhaltigen Optionsmenü austoben. So ist zum Kennenlernen der Strecken erst mal eine Proberunde angesagt, bei der man in aller Ruhe die Abkürzungen, Sprungschanzen zum überwinden von Minenfeldern, Haarnadelkurven und anderen Spezialitäten dieses Spiels auskundschaftet.

Zudem liegen die Anzahl der zu absolvierenden Runden, der Schwierigkeitsgrad und die Wahl zwischen Automatik und Schaltgetriebe im Ermessen des Bildschirm-Piloten. Hat man sich dann noch aus den sechs wild und windschnittig gestylten Modellen seinen fahrbaren Untersatz herausgepickt, wird man von einem Info-Screen mit dem genauen Streckenverlauf und ein paar nützlichen Tips versorgt.

Hier findet man auch Beschreibungen der bis zu 13 auf der Fahrbahn liegenden Sammelextras, die nach dem Darüberfahren entweder sofort für vorübergehende Megabeschleunigung, Unverwundbarkeit etc. sorgen oder im Fall von normalen und zielsuchenden Raketen für den passenden Moment aufgespart werden können.

Heißt es endlich "Start frei!", jagt man im Pulk mit den acht Konkurrenten los und schielt dabei stets mit einem Auge auf die eingeblendeten Angaben zu Position, Rundenzeit und -zahl, Geschwindigkeit, Gang, aktiven Extras, dem Zustand der Karosse und den verbliebenen Raketen. Begleitet vom Gegröle des Republikums, auspeitschenden Gitarrenriffs, der hetzenden Stimme des Moderators und dem Dröhnen der Motoren, entspinnt sich nun eine aus der Vogelperspektive gezeigte Jagd auf Geld und Gegner.

Neben lukrativen Rundenrekorden, Plazierungs- und Abschußprämien locken nämlich noch diverse Jackpots, etwa für das Pulverisieren von fünf Gegnern per Rakete- mit den richtigen Sammelsymbolen kann der Preis sogar noch verdoppelt werden. Eine vielversprechende Sache ist es auch, wenn man seine Opfer in bestimmten Streckenabschnitten, den sogenannten "Kill Zones", an die mit Metalldornen gespickten Banden drängen kann oder sie miet Hilfe spezieller Boni allein durch Berührung vom Asphalt fegt.

An Wegen zum Sieg fehlt es somit nicht, doch während der Feind auch bei brutalster Behandlung nach einer kurzen Erholungspause wieder im Rennen ist, muß der Spieler nach dem Exitus auf eines der drei Continues zurückgreifen. Er sollte bei Beschädigungen also tunlichst rechtzeitig die Box ansteuern bzw. das Fahrzeug durch überfahren entsprechender Extras wieder auf Vordermann bringen.

Hat man ein Szenario, bestehend aus drei immer anspruchsvolleren Strecken, überlebt und ist dabei jeweils zumindest auf dem dritten Platz gelandet, ermöglicht ein Passwort den späteren Wiedereinstieg an dieser Stelle. Die erfolgreichsten Road-Rambos dürfen sich auch in einer Highscoreliste eintragen, die jedoch leider nicht gespeichert wird.

Technisch gibt es an Roadkill wenig auszusetzen, denn die schmucken Racer brausen butterweich animiert über soft und parallax scrollende Pisten, deren Design in Sachen Abwechslung keine Wünsche offenläßt: Der Schwierigkeitsgrad steigt langsam, aber sicher von Lauf zu Lauf, und selbst der Easy-Modus fordert bereits den ganzen Killer im Schumi - wer das verdächtig an "Mörtel Kombat" erinnernde "Cannon wins!" mit schöner Regelmäßigkeit zu hören bekommt, darf mit Recht stolz auf sich sein.

Auch der übrige Sound aus Metal-Klängen, Effekten und cooler Sprachausgabe trägt viel zur packenden Atmosphäre bei. Die Steuerung mit dem Pad funktioniert tadellos; vor allem "Skidmarks"-gestählte Motorsportler werden die elegant durch die Kurven schlitternden Autos ruckzuck im Griff haben. Außer natürlich nach Kollisionen oder Treffern, die mit einem kurzfristigen Kontrollverlust geahndet werden.

Wenn es für den Hit doch nicht ganz gereicht hat, dann weil ein Zwei-Spieler-Modus fehlt und man sich hier für die verdiente Kohle nichts kaufen kann, was zusammen mit den nicht speicherbaren Highscores etwas auf die Motivation drückt. Eine mordsgaudi ist Roadkill freilich trotzdem, neben dem CD32 übrigens auch auf AGA-Amigas mit CD-ROM. (st)



Roadkill CD32 logo CD32

I am the Night Rider. Remember me when you look at the night sky.

We are disturbed at AMIGA POWER when review copies of games appear on our doorstep unannounced, without us having had a chance to tell you about them in advance. It means they have somehow managed to evade our network of international espionage and deceit, slipping past our fleet of unmarked Transit vans to lie temptingly on the shelves of computer game shops, their origins unknown. It doesn't happen often, but you can be assured that when it does, our strict internal disciplinary procedures are rigorously applied.

Roadkill, then, comes from New Zealand, and from the people who brought us Guardian (The Game of Champions). It wasn't actually programmed by Acid, instead being created by their fellow countrymen Vision Software, but it's just as slick and just as exciting.

It follows the current vogue for overhead-view racing games, and will therefore be up against Team 17's All Terrain Racer, Kompart's Turbo Trax, Acid's Super Skidmarks, US Gold's Power Drive, Terramarque's PID and possibly even the original , which has recently been bobbing about near the bottom of the charts again. And at first, in the face of stiff competition, it's hard to see what it offers.

BURN
That's until you've put the CD in and the intro sequence has begun. Unlike most tool-of-the-devil intros, you'll want to watch it several times. Possibly as many as five. It shows superbly-rendered cars zooming smoothly around a racetrack, crashing into each other and flipping up into the air before erupting in flames, making frustrated cinematrographer Cam rave about the camera angles and how it's got motion blur and everything.

It also features perhaps the most delightfully unpleasant moment in computer game history, but I'd ruin it if I told you what it involves. And, in fact, that's enough about the intro, because if you're playing the floppy disk version you don't get to see it anyway.

And on into the game, which is probably the one we've been playing most during idle moments at AP this month. After you've selected your car form the eight available, you find yourself sitting alone on the track. This is your chance to do a practice lap, and familiarise yourself with the course - where the power-ups are, which are the tricky corners, that sort of thing.

Then the screen clears. You're on the starting grid, in eight position out of nine. The crowd roars, Sinister rock music begins to play.
"GOOD LUCK," hisses a sinister-sounding unseen commentator.
"You'll need it."

The music starts to play faster, and louder.
Engines rev.
"Three."
Faster and louder.
"Two."
Faster. Louder.
"One."
Hnnngh...
"SHOWTIME."

You squeal off the mark, and straight away a computer-controlled car cuts across in front of you. Pulse racing, you edge forward to draw level with him.
"DESTROY HIM."
You're in the kill zone, an area of the track flanked with spiked walls. Before he gets the same idea, you throw the joystick to the left and sideslam the computer car, sending him spinning into the wall.


Rave about the camera

SMASH
Although the spikes don't kill him outright, he looks pretty shaken up. You're into the first corner, and manage to turn inside a couple of other cars.
"MISSILES."
You've managed to pick up some homing missiles, one of the weapons you can blow up other cars with.
"KILL OR DIE."
You press fire, and a missile streaks towards the car in front.
"TWO MILLION."
Fire again, and a missile swoops off circles around the car to your left, and then blows it up.
"FIVE MILLION."
Another car erupts into flame.
"TEN MILLION."
An exciting tune starts to play.
"JACKPOT."

The music starts to play faster and faster. One more kill and $50,000,000 is yours. Fire. Hurrah. There's a rising screaming sound, a huge explosion and...
"JACKPOT."
Some more music plays.
"GET THE SUPER JACKPOT."

And so on. The scrolling is supersmooth, and a parallax effect gives the impression that you're driving hundreds of miles above a huge city. Bits of the road are translucent, too, which is neat. There are four stages, with three main courses in each, and they start off very easy and soon get terribly hard, as you get shot at from wall-mounted gun turrets and have to go wiggling through complicated twisty bits.

Ultimately, though, underneath all the gloss, it's a very basic overhead-view driving game. The computer-controlled cars behave very convincingly, with each different sort having its own characteristics, but a two-player option would have been even nicer.

The car handles realistically, but it all goes to pieces when you crash into a wall and are automatically turned around to face in the right direction - which usually helps you, but often gets really annoying and silly. Most of the skill is in reacting quickly to hazards as they scroll onto the screen, which is challenging enough, but also rather contrived, because the only reason they're so hard to anticipate is because the tightly-cropped view gives you such an artificially limited view of the road ahead.

Why doesn't it supplement the damage indicator, which is far ttoo mall to look at regularly, by saying "SHIELDS LOW", or making your car start to flash, so you don't keep driving blissfully past the pits only to die instantly on contact with the next wall because you hadn't noticed you were nearly dead?

And Steve complains that, although you can win huge piles of cash, you can't actually spend it on anything, although I secretly find all that ' upgrading your car' business slightly tedious.

"TAKE HIS LIFE"
But it is tremendously exciting, especially when it goes "GET THE SUPER JACKPOT". And we have been playing it a lot.


WAYS TO KILL A MAN
Roadkil couldn't be more appropriately named. For not only does it take place on a road, but you kill people. When this happens, it is called a 'roadkill' - a kill, on a road. You see? It all makes complete sense. This game is a marvel indeed.

Roadkill CD32
Here we are attempting to kill a rival by ramming him into the walls which line the road. An erratic method.

Roadkill CD32
This approach is similar, but this time we are taking advantage of the spikes in the 'kill zone' to kill him.

Roadkill CD32
And here as well, by the looks of it. Mines are fun, unless you drive into one yourself, when they are swines.

Roadkill CD32
And here as well, by the looks of it. Mines are fun, unless you drive into one yourself, when they are swines.

Roadkill CD32
Rockets are useful for killing people, but are difficult to aim, as we see here. It's best to fire them from behind.

Roadkill CD32
The ultimate method of dispatch is the homing missile. Here we have struck downa car that was actually behind us.



Roadkill CD32 logo CD32

Price: £29.99 Publisher: Acid Software 0302 890000

It's just another day in the office. Nothing new, nothing special... but wait! What's that game Ernest Lee's got in his hands?

One dreary winter day I opened a padded envelope and out dropped a CD box. It hit the floor, cracked and the disk fell out along with the sleeve. Picking it up and putting it back together I saw that it was apparently by Vision Software (who?) and published by Acid - those loony New Zealand creators of Blitz Basic, Skidmarks and Guardian.
But only published by Acid - not programmed by them. The CD cover didn't look up to much with a couple of fresh cracks in the casing and the sleeve didn't really tell me much about it.

Two days later I found it again, under a pile of empty crisp bags and coffee stained press releases, and, sensing a chance to get out of tidying up my desk again, I told Alan that I: "just wanted to have a look at this new game, you'd never know it might be good." And it was.

Roadkill may sound rather sadistic, bringing to mind images of country A roads littered with barely recognisable squashed animals and blood stained white lines, but it's got nothing to do with murdered furry things. It's got a lot to do with murdering your fellow human beings; more like Mad Max on a race track than Mr Bean in his Mini, a strange mix of Micro Machines with rockets, machine guns and pinball.

Not Skidmarks
Those who notice the Acid badge will automatically think of Skidmarks, but this is nothing remotely like it. The cars and tracks are viewed from a top-down perspective and are quite large in scale.

There is a choice of six cars and drivers, though it's not immediately obvious what the difference between them is, apart from vehicle colour and the degree of ugliness of the driver.

Presentation is very simple but effective - this game lacks the frills and gilded logos of product from larger software houses, but doesn't suffer much because of it.

There are fur races to participate in: Turbo Death Challenge, Maximum Overkill Grand Prix, Badlands Mega Smash and Roadkill Eliminator. Each of these has four tracks and there are four difficulty levels. As the name of the game might indicate it's not all about track skill though, it's also about how accurate you are with a rocket launcher. You can become No. 1 by screeching to the front or by shooting your way there.

Cannon and ball
Beginning on easy level the competition is a bit slick: they'll knock you off the road but won't shoot at you. The only things you need to watch out for are indiscriminate roadside cannons and mines, and, of course, treacherous corners.

On later levels and increased difficulty the opposing drivers won't give shooting you a second thought so you've got to get them first. According to the manual 'It's not the money but the adrenaline of murdering your opponents in cold blood that will see you through to become Roadkill champion'. Er, Quite.

You begin with a certain amour level and can repair or increase this by picking up armour icons on the track. You can also pick up homing and non-homing missile icons, first aid, traction icons, missile deflection and bonus icons situated on ramps.

The tracks get progressively more difficult with tight bends and sections which cross other parts of the track, resulting in multiple crash mayhem. You can go around the track the wrong way, but take your finger off the accelerator button the car will default to the right direction.

The tracks don't look as exciting as they might be, but the scrolling is ultra smooth and the cars' tyres look as though they're really in motion. The most lively bit is the sound which is very pinballish with daunting antipodean voices shouting out 'Roadkill' whenever you murder a competitor and other similarly cold touches.

On the surface it would seem that Commodore have brainwashed the entire programming population of New Zealand into publishing all of their new games on CD32 so, like Guardian, I really hope that Roadkill becomes available for all Amigas.

I'm sorry to roll out that knobbly old saying "you can't judge a book by its cover" yet again - but it fits Roadkill like a driving glove. Don't be put off by the lack of a flashy cover or by the simple presentation, this is a top original game for the CD32.