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SummaryA rush against time and... boulders
The GoodThis game is a conversion from an arcade hit featuring a stunning three-screen cab, a great innovation given the year. Obviously, Commodore 64 couldn't handle such a feature, but somehow Elite managed to keep the spirit of original game, making a great racing game in the process.
The graphic is really sharp to boot. You can find a variety of obstacles and side elements, changing from track to track, always appropriated and quite well drawn. Screen action doesn't slow down even if the screen is filled with flags, boulders, walls and fences. There are five stages in total, and each one has its own theme (except Offroad, a rip-off of the West stage), changing from snowy trees in North to sunny beaches in south.
Sound is quite enjoyable too, with various sound effects and short jingles during the race, plus a nice high score screen music. Engine noise isn't so tedious as it may seem first, that's because it's often covered by the sound of a flag or jump.
Gameplay is really simple, yet really funny: you must reach every check point before the time runs out, and in order to do this you have to dance between obstacles, trying to collect Time flags (there are three in each section, and they give two seconds each) and making the highest score in the process. Controls are simple: you accelerate/break/steer with control stick, and change from low to high gear (and vice-versa, when you crash into something) with the fire button.
Points are gained by simply racing, but you can raise them collecting 50, 100, 250 and 500 points flags, and hitting soccer balls (yeah, that's weird). 50 points flag are in various colors, and collecting them in a given color order (displayed on the right) gives you a bonus. If you manage to complete all stages in every track, your get some extra point according to your performance, and you're taken to the high score screen, where you can write your initials and eventually compare the result with friends or past games.
This is a difficult game. Every track, even the easiest of the lot (Offroad), gives a nice challenge, but time and patience (and some memory for certain sections) can let you go through all 5 locations without frustration.
The BadThe game is almost flawless, but has one problem: you just race against time and score table, without a different challenge. You can't record your best time, and tracks are meant to be played once per time, as the game was not finished. Luckily, it's the only downside.