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Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (42138)
Written on  :  Jul 27, 2012
Platform  :  Commodore 64
Rating  :  1 Stars1 Stars1 Stars1 Stars1 Stars

5 out of 7 people found this review helpful

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Let's go, Mr. Driver, to the bin

The Good

The game was a hit in the arcades. This was no ordinary racing game. Catching up to the criminal and smashing his car until he pulls over was a joy for me. Ocean decided that they would be behind the home versions, so they had to be good. Right? Not really, for the Commodore 64 version anyway.

The Bad

Let's start with the one thing that is noticeable in the game: the sound. The only pieces of music are poor and doesn't take full advantage of the C-64's SID chip. The theme still plays even when you start a new game, so you would think that this would continue to the end of whatever stage you're on, but no. It just cuts out whenever you speed up or use a turbo boost.

As for the sound effects, the only noticeable things are the engine which actually sounds like a vacuum cleaner, and the skidding tires sound like a burglar alarm. Why didn't Ocean just add an option to toggle between music and effect, like they did for Total Recall? Finally, the Amstrad and Speccy versions share one thing in common with the original coin-op. There is speech in the game, as well as the coin deposit sound. Too bad the C-64 version has none of this.

Then there is the graphics, which look nothing like those depicted on the back of the game box. What Ocean did was port the monochrome graphics from the Speccy version into the C-64's, but chuck in some colored sprites that are already blocky by default. There are five stages in the game, but the layout of all of them is is the same, so unless you took notice of the stage number before you play it, you will hardly notice a difference. The scrolling is very weak as well.

The Bottom Line

Ocean established itself as a software company in the Eighties, and went on to create titles such as Head Over Heels, Batman, and Wizball - all of them popular hits. They also handled conversions of successful coin-op titles, like Chase H.Q. Having said that, it is surprising to see they released this abysmal Commodore 64 version. Apart from the tape loading theme, which is the highlight, the graphics and sound are pathetic. I recently read in Retro Gamer #5 that Ocean fired most of its C-64 programmers over this and produced a far superior version of the sequel. If you are looking for a best racing game for the C-64 that involves you doing something other than racing, this is not it.