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-
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.