Description official descriptions
Screamer is a traditional arcade racing game. The player can drive many different cars such as a Corvette, a Porsche 911, and others. The game has varied tracks, all of which are available in backwards mode. Players can take on the Bullet car for the ultimate championship race.
Credits (DOS version)
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Average score: 82% (based on 20 ratings)
Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 37 ratings with 2 reviews)
Screamer is an arcade style racer offering a few road cars and tracks from the outset with extra cars and tracks available after completing the Championship leagues, including playing all tracks in reverse (the track names are also spelt backwards).
The cars are rated by top speed, grip and acceleration, there's no tuning or upgrading options available. It pays to pick the right car for the right track though, a car with a high top speed but lower acceleration and grip probably won't be as suitable as a car with a lower top speed but good acceleration and grip, on a course with a lot of bends and few long straights, for example. There is a choice of manual and automatic gears for each car, the versions with manual gears having a slightly higher top speed.
The courses are colourful, detailed and play very well, with plenty of hills, dips, S-bends, long straights, tunnels etc. Extra touches such as passing trams, hovering helicopters and overhead aeroplanes add to the atmosphere. There are options for a Normal Game (Single Race), Championship and three Special Modes which consist of Time Attack (one lap time trial with ghost car for best time), Cone Carnage (run over cones for extra time) and Slalom (pass through pairs of markers for extra time).
After learning the courses it's great to power-slide by the other cars at speed maybe with a well placed clip to send them off into the side of the track, although they are just as likely to swerve into you sending you into the barrier. In the later stages of the Championship mode there is less time between checkpoints and the opponents are faster, more careful driving is recommended as there is much less margin for error. The biggest challenge is perhaps getting safely past the pack as one or two crashes can be enough to put you in last position.
While the sound effects do the job fine special mention should go the commentator who offers various quips including the odd handy warning of an upcoming corner. The music is perhaps standard fare but suits a game of this type well.
The handling of the cars can take a bit of getting used to, sometimes it's not easy to know quite how the car will respond. Although after a while it'll become easier to judge the right speed and time to turn into a corner and to throw the car around a bit.
The game supports 320x200 VGA or 640x480 SVGA graphics modes. Although looking quite a bit better I found the SVGA mode to be unstable.
The game frequently crashed, sometimes the game would always crash at exactly the same point and lap in a certain race. This would happen when running the game in DOS on an older computer as well as in DOSBox on a Windows 7 system. Following some advice and increasing the memsize setting to 64 in the configuration file for DOSBox helped but did not eliminate the problem. The standard 320x200 mode ran fine in both cases.
The Bottom Line
Screamer is a fun game. Power-sliding and barging the opponents out of the way is the order of the day and a good challenge is provided in the Pro Championship mode. The game spawned a few sequels.
DOS · by Jack Lightbeard (2685) · 2014
Screamer is an appropriate title for this arcade racer, which relies on physics-defying maneuvers like power-sliding to beat the computer opponents (or the clock). Many a race have I completed sliding through the finish line sideways because it was at the end of a curve.
The announcer is hilarious. I don't know who he's supposed to represent but he talks--no, yells--directly to you with things like "What happened out there?", "Go! GO! GO!!", and "LOSER!"
The graphics engine is very fast; 15fps and higher gameplay is guaranteed on 486 machines at 320x200, and this is a full textured world we're talking about. There's even the reflection of the current environment in the cars' windshields thanks to some quick environment mapping. There are some quality tradeoffs (there is no perspective-correction to speak of), but they're unnoticable when racing at high speeds.
The sound effects are great, but the music was not as impressive as it should have been for a title with this much energy. Just my humble opinion... Also, the sound card support was a bit buggy; it took some wrangling in the setup to find a card/setting that worked with a standard Sound Blaster 16.
The VESA 640x400 mode is so rediculously slow on all systems that one wonders why it was ever included as an option. (Carmageddon's 640x480 VESA support brings back similar unpleasant memories.)
The Bottom Line
Screamer is a great game to play when you don't want to waste quarters at the arcade but do want to increase the flow of adrenaline throughout your body.
DOS · by Trixter (8962) · 1999
- Power Play
- Issue 02/1996 – Best Racing Game in 1995
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Game added by robotriot.
Game added December 27, 1999. Last modified February 12, 2024.