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Aha! This is the driving game that's my barg of the month, if not the year. What else can I say? It's better than Chase HQ
The next 16-bit owner to come up to me and say that the Spectrum is a dying machine, I'm going to kick his teeth in, or I'll do the next best thing. I'll grab him by the lapels and drag him over to a Speccy, and then put on WEC Le Mans, the latest in a long line of racing conversions. Up until now, I always thought of Super Hang On
as the ultimate in Spectrum racing. Le Mans looks at SHO, says "I can do that", makes the graphics bigger, moves more items around, does it faster, makes the tea, puts the kids to sleep and then takes you out for a meal afterwards. Now that's what I call programming.
It's not much fun being a Le Mans 24 hour racing driver. First you get strapped to the front of a giant petrol tank containing a trillion gallons of highly dangerous fluid. Eeek! That's enough to put most people off for a start.
Then they send you off around a twisty, turny, treacherous track at 200 miles an hour, with 30 or more totally mad people to join you. And that's not the worst!
The worst is that they make you do it for 24 (24!!) hours non stop (well, actually, that's a bit of a lie) and feed you full of coffee to keep you awake. All very well, but what they haven't thought of is providing any way to, erm, 'do your business', without stopping and losing the race. Ouch! Maybe a full bladder is an added incentive to winning and getting first in the queue to the little drivers room.
Another coin-op hit, this puts you in control of a Jaguar racing car, screaming around the tamed Le Mans circuit. Well received when it was first released, WEC Le Mans is still a remarkably addictive racer, and for three quid, is a lot better value than some of the full-priced racers about. Well worth a look.
Perhaps no longer the best car racing game - there are many competitors it's hard to pick a best - but WEC Le Mans still qualifies in the front row.
Although only four rather drab colours are used and the sound effects are nothing much, what makes this special is the way the car moves and the smooth, fast scrolling. A thoroughly enjoyable racing game made even more so by the graphics.
It's just as colourful as you'd expect on a Speccy, with sound effects to match. The scrolling is faster on the Spectrum than it is on the Amstrad giving greater impression of speed. You won't find any of the computer cars smashing into each other though, and when you crash the car doesn't go flying dramatically through the air. It's still just as exciting and playable, though, and coin-op racing fans will not be disappointed.
The Spectrum version is of similar high quality and the game doesn't seem to lack anything in spite of the machine's graphical and audio shortcomings. Strange, isn't it, how well driving games translate to the old Speccy? On these two machines at least, this has to be one of the best arcade conversions going. Test drive today.
Being unable to beat the game is no reason for me to bear it a grudge though. Indeed, this is one of the most elegant race games I've seen on any computer lately, and it's certainly the best I've played on the Amstrad.
WEC LE MANS ist ein echt guter Rennsimulator, sozusagen Grand- Prix-verdächtig. Sehr schön auch die Animation des Wagens bei Zusammenstoßen mit Konkurrenten oder anderen Hindernissen - die Kiste fliegt, sich mehrfach um die eigene Achse drehend, durch die Lüfte, um auf der Seite kurzzeitig liegenzubleiben.
Bleibt nur zu sagen: Klasse gemacht, Imagine. Die Amstrad-Version ist schon spitze, was Grafik, Animation, Steuerung. Special Effects und Sound (von John Dunn) angeht.
Le Mans is destined to be a huge arcade smash.
Another tough racing game, but much older, is Full Throttle
. Despite that game's simple visual charms, WEC Le Mans beats it hands-down for looks, with well-defined graphics whizzing past at great speed and - unlike Enduro Racer
- no confusing overlaps. Also like Full Throttle, it remembers the competitor cars, so you can catch up with those two drivers who caused you to crash. But otherwise this is far inferior. For a start there's only only one track which little resembles the map layout, then there's dodgy collision detection and only one (far too tough) skill level, severely limiting lastability. WEC Le Mans is great fun to play for a while, but I suspect it will end up severely gathering dust.
Excellent presentation and superbly detailed graphics fail to disguise the lack of visual variation as you progress. Sad, because it kills long-term playability.
Oh dear! Although the Amstrad and Spectrum versions of this coin-op conversion were great, the C64 version is not. The impression of speed is there, but the car's handling feels all wrong. It is still better than Out Run was, but it is not up to the standard of the others.
Nobody was expecting a pixel perfect conversion, but the 3D on this doesn't even come up the standard of a budget game. The lurching track movement is bug-ridden from beginning to end - at top speed it virtually stops! - and there are sub-standard glitches practically everywhere. Worse still, the other cars make it just too difficult to get round the track (if you're still bothered) 'cos the minute you come anywhere near them, they home in and make you crash. If you're really in love with the coin-op, keep on playing that - this isn't anything like it.
Die C64-Umsetzung bringt nicht ansatzweise das gute Spielgefühl des Automaten rüber, der mit Spitzengrafik und einer schwindelerregenden Hydraulik für Aufregung sorgt. Wer Out Run auf dem C64 toll fand, wird auch WEC Le Mans mögen. Aber dieser jemand muß schon einen sehr eigenen Geschmack haben, denn beide Autorennen spielen sich gräßlich und sind arge Langweiler.
Unlike the completely brill Spectrum and Amstrad versions, this laughable attempt at a conversion is as much fun as shoving your head in a meat grinder. If you enjoy slow, dull racers, take a look, but anyone with any sense will steer clear.
The sprite graphics are true to the original; but that's about as far as it goes. Past that, there's little or nothing in this game to make you sit up and say 'Oh, this is WEC Le Mans converted, isn't it? Out Run was bad. Come on guys, let's have a little bit of progression, instead of regression.
This game is shoddy to say the least. Sense of speed is negligible, roadside objects are blocky and poorly drawn and the sound is awful. It's supposed to simulate the famous 24 hour race- you'll be lucky if you can stand it for 24 seconds.
Vielleicht hätte IMAGINE lieber ein Seifenkistenrennen programmieren sollen, denn WEC LE MANS ist auf dem C-64 nun wirklich mehr recht als schlecht gelungen. Nicht mal der Sound konnte groß zur Anhebung meiner Laune beitragen, denn er besteht aus einer faden Titelmelodie und dem üblichen monotonen Motorgebrumme.Also ehrlich, da finde ich die Raserei mit meinem elf Jahre alten 60-PS-Ascona fetziger, mal ganz abgesehen davon, daß ich für 40 Märker ‘ne ganze Tankfüllung bekomme...
Almost two years on, does all this criticism seem harsh? Nah! Let's face it, this simple driving game is to motor racing what Fatty Phil is to dieting! It looked like a budget game first time around; now it's just plain embarrassing!
It may sound a bit harsh but this really is pretty poor. The graphics are dull and give no feeling of travelling at speed. The control of your car is also poor - it conveys no realism at all. Above all, it's annoying. One touch of an opponent causes you to fly through the air for no particularly good reason. Even at budget price there are far more acceptable offerings than this.
Nothing like the spin-around arcade machine, this chronic conversion suffers from jerky graphics and mind-numbingly boring action. Once again, the computer cars' only tactic is to home in on you as you try to reach checkpoints within the time limit. Flippin' awful.
Unlike the Spectrum version, the Commodore game is awful. The car sprite is nicely detailed, but you can forget everything else. The striped track often staggers backward, roadside graphics are minimal and the sound effects inconsistent. Avoid it.