OOLD computer games never die. They just fade away into obscurity for a few years and then come back bigger, better and faster when you least expect them. If there are only six plots for "Whondunit?" novels, then there are even less for computer games.
Take this offering from the man with the big nose, Mr Gonzo. The object is to fly your hoverboard around a track, leaving a trail for your opponent to crash into. Sounds familiar? You remember Tron don't you? Of course you do - it was the Walt Disney film about a bloke trapped inside a computer who spent his time playing with baddies on light cycles. It has been calculated that the film generated more computer games based on the "surround your enemy" principle than the number of people who saw it at the cinema.
As smash hit written in Basic for every micro ever made, it's been a while, but now it's back. And this time it's in code with simultaneous split-
Racing your hoverboard requires all the old tactical skills - designing bottlenecks, forcing loops and packing as much wall into as small a space as possible. If your timing is good you can attempt to ump a wall, but don't get too cocky, for it's not easy. One tiny error of judgement and you're history.
There is plenty to do in the background while waiting for the next competition. You can upgrade your hoverboard by adding brakes (your big pansy) and better engines with turbo boosters and go-faster stripes. Or you can bet on and watch the outcome of other races, thereby earning yourself more cash.
Then when you're really getting the hang of things, you can move to a new planet and challenge the racers there. If you do well, you can skip to a new solar system. And if you do really well, you may be called upon to take part in the All Time Greats Inter-
When it comes down to the technicalities of the game, the graphics might be a bit naïve. The sounds might even be a bit simplistic. Does this worry me?Naw, not a lot. And the reason for is that the game is fun. F, U, N, fun. The two player version is terrific. Look upon the single player version as a way of practising until your mate agrees to play again.
Of course, no gameplay is perfect. Wipe Out has several flaws, the most major of which is a completely incomprehensible front-end. Lots of little meaningless icons lead to numerous incomprehensible screens. You end up frantically clicking here and there on the little metallic grey shapes until the game gets around to starting.
By making the program a touch more user friendly, the considerable manual could have been halved in size. But when I'm heading at break