Written by  :  Wurtzly (1072)
Written on  :  Mar 16, 2012
Platform  :  Atari 8-bit
Rating  :  4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars
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Summary

Fasten your seat belt and get ready for rocket-speed!

The Good

The vehicle controls really smoothly and the animation is very fluid. It really gives a sense of speed. The graphics is outstanding. The resolution is a little bit low, but this enables to use more colors, and this game is indeed colorful. We can only see the instrument panel of the vehicle we are driving, but it looks cool.

It excels in the sound department! The music and sound effects play simultaneously. There are even such little details, like when going through tunnels, the engine noise gets louder as it is supposed to reverberate on the walls. The music is a neat beepy tune. It stops if you collide with an obstacle and restarts. This is sort of punishing, but I say think it motivates to play good if want to hear the full loop. In case playing bad, the game over sound is awesome.

The Bad

Sometimes puts obstacles into sharp curves, these are almost impossible to dodge.

It still irks me a little to see that the road animation is not synced with the sprites on/beside the road. And the parallax effect works a bit different that it should be.

There may be two versions of this game. One version ends after the third road section with a strange noise and the game over tune, the other version just loops endlessly.

Why is this game promoted by Mastertronic as a motorcycle game, when the vehicle is nothing like it?

The Bottom Line

It's fun and playable if you adapt to it, and it demonstrates some great capabilities of the Atari 8-bit computer.

Now I write a little about how to play. It's a driving and reaction game. At the start of the game it is possible to change the steering sensitivity (this is sort of a difficulty selection). By default, the sensitivity is low. That makes harder to dodge obstacles, but handles well in tunnels. I usually pick medium sensitivity: easier to dodge, harder to go in tunnels. With high sensitivity it is ridiculously easy to avoid stuff, and nearly impossible to go in tunnels.

We can also select a road course. There is a track in England, USA, and Australia. Each track stands from three road sections, and each track has a road fork where you can choose path.

The point is to drive the vehicle (whatever it is supposed to be) and reach the next checkpoint within the allotted time.

Understanding the behaviour of the obstacles is important in order to play well. First there are these cubes that are floating in one lane of the road, these are easy to avoid. Next there are these annoying bouncing balls, which are a lot harder to deal with. These bastards are impossible to avoid if you just go straight and are following you if you change lanes. My tactic is to determine the lane in which they bounce up, then turning immediately to the opposite lane if they are in yours.

The jet planes show up twice on a road section at a defined point, and are littering a random number of poles on the road. At these it is advisable to slow down, go to the middle of the road, and to make careful turns to dodge them.

Then there are water ponds, which can make you slipping if you're not careful. That is dangerous only if other obstacles are nearby.