Turbo Racer 3D logo

Brrrm brrrm! Screech! Paul Cavenagh makes up his own sound effects for this racing game.

Oh how I do love a good 3D racing game! It was Ridge Racer that persuaded me to fork out the folding green stuff for a PlayStation and then the realism of Gran Turismo made my jaw slacken with its stunning visuals.

That’s all very well, but what is there for the Amiga? Not a lot: so I’ve been looking forward to playing this particular game in the hope that it would give those PlayStation titles a run for their money. What a shame then, that not only does it come nowhere neat to even equaling those games, but it’s also considerably worse than some racing games that have been out for ages on the Amiga.

Jaguar XJ 220 is a better game by far, and those Lotus games that were so notably missing from the Gremlin Collection offer more in terms of playability and lasting appeal. Like I said, a real shame.

I hardly know how to start explaining why this is such a disappointment, but I have to start somewhere, so I’ll plump for speed. IT should go without saying that any game with the word turbo in the title should run fairly fast. This game runs like a Robin Reliant going up a very steep hill whilst towing a big caravan.

A game with the word turbo in the title should run fairly fast. This runs like a Robin Reliant going up a very steep hill whilst towing a caravan

The disc contains two versions of the game – Low Res and Hi Res. On the office 1200 the Hi Res version runs but boy is it slow. The Lo Res version runs at a playable rate, but at top speed (230km/h) it feels more like 30mph. So I tried the game on Richard’s A4000 ‘060 which did improve things. However, it was only the rate at which the car oved from left to right that got faster; the forward momentum was barely affected.

Even of the Hi Res version, the graphics are chunky and qite messy, and the obstacles that appear in your path don’t really seem like true 3D objects. The trees, rocks, cones etc. are all heavily pixellated, and I’ve seen better in the classic 2D racing games I named earlier.

Another problem with the game is the lack of options available. The choices that you are given are whether to use a manual or automatic car, whether you are playing against the clock, or are trying to finish within the first three positions, and if you want awful music number one or awful music number two. And that’s it.

You can’t select from a number of traks to race on, you can’t choose from an interesting selection of vehicles, you don’t have a wide rance of camera angles from which to view the race. All of these options are standard for 3D racing games on other platforms wo why are we Amiga owners denied such simple pleasures?

You get to have a red car, with the camera above and behind, race a single lap of each race in a specific order and no arguments please. What really bugs me is that you can’t redefine the controls, so you must use ‘up’ for accelerate, when I always prefer to use the fire-button. This is such an obvious omission as to make it completely unforgivable. Oh yeah, and I wasn’t joking about making up my own sound effects, either. If you want screechy braking sounds you have to do it yourself. Pants, basically.

I’d love to end this review by saying that the gameplay is the saving grace of this title, that if you somehow manage to overlook the glaring omissions and tortoise-like speed there’s an addictive gem to be found, but I’d be lying. To begin with you do want to try that course just one more time so that you can complete it and move onto the next one. But it doesn’t last. You soon realise that without speed, a racing game is simply not worth playing.