Crazy Cars

by Not Known
Crash Issue 52, May 1988   (1988-04-28)   page(s) 21

The American Cross Country Prestige Cars Race, the craziest contest of them all, is about to take place. It covers three of the continent's toughest tracks and crosses the rugged and punishing terrain of Florida, Arizona and the NASA (sic).

The race comprises five levels, each divided into several stages which run over a time limit. The player can choose from a selection of five high performance cars, and successful completion of a race within the time limit rewards the driver with a more powerful vehicle. Beginning with something like the relatively humble Porsche 911 Turbo the player can progress via the Lamborghini Countach to the ultimate in racing cars, the Ferrari GTO.

Contestants line up on the starting grid, and a flick of the fire button sees the player's mean machine hurtle along a black tarmac track which twists and turns through rugged, ' sandy terrain.

Dips and bumps in the road make control of each turbo charged monster more precarious. High speed contact with either hurls the car momentarily into the air and out of control. More experienced drivers can exploit these uneven conditions and take the opportunity of soaring gracefully over obstructing opponents before landing with calculated panache on the other side.

Cornering requires extra care; racing off the track or plunging headlong into road markers severely slows down progress. Explosions never occur however; each car bears a charmed life and collision with other racers results in nothing worse than crippling deceleration and crucial loss of time.

Tracks become progressively more difficult with more twists, more bumps and more determined opponents. A status display at the head of the screen shows current speed and units of time remaining.

Joysticks: Sinclair
Graphics: the three main cars are recognisable, with a simple road perspective
Sound: only a realistic revving sound
Options: five levels of difficulty and a choice of three makes of car

'The fastest, craziest, meanest cross country race turns out to be one of the greyest, severest and most sober, run-of-the-mill grand prix simulations. The graphics are disappointingly basic; the scruffy grey background never changes and the tarmac is so black that the outline of the bumps merges into the raggedy edge of the road. It's not a crucial drawback, though, since for most of the time, despite all talk of opponents, the only crazy car on the track is your own. Having said that, a lonesome race is better than no race at all and this one is more than just competently portrayed. Controls and scrolling are smooth; graded difficulty and increasingly tight time limits ensure compulsive gameplay, although the scoring system is ridiculously generous. One final quibble regards the congratulatory high score message which declares the player 'One of the fastest men in the world'. As girls play computer games as well would have been more appropriate and just as easy to substitute 'drivers' for 'men'.'

'While some lucky people can afford to buy the cars featured here, the rest of us have to either carry on dreaming, or alternatively play Crazy Cars. Graphically the game is good, with the nicely drawn cars zipping around the often tortuous racetracks, jostling and barging each other out of the way in an attempt to be the first across the finishing line. My only niggle is that the road would have benefitted from either road markings or road signs, since on many occasions I was caught unawares by a sudden hairpin bend. Initial interest is high as your car careers around bends, and flies into the air on hitting the many bumps that adorn the track. Although early stages are fairly easy to complete, later tracks almost need the player to possess the skills of a rally driver to survive. I enjoyed playing Crazy Cars; if you're a budding boy - or girl - racer, take a good look.'

'If Out Run and Crazy Cars had a head on collision the result would be one of the best games on the Spectrum. Crazy Cars has all the playability and addictive qualities that Out Run lacked. Sadly, this first game from Titus lacks any graphical flamboyance; the game is attractive without being impressive - unlike Out Run whose speed suffered due to the amount of detailed graphics crammed onscreen. Crazy Cars certainly has some aesthetic appeal - the distant city is very smart - but its main attraction is the speed at which you fly around the track. All Crazy Cars needs to make it an Out Run-beater is a white line down the middle of the road and a few signs and bushes on the side of the track. As it is, though, things are going to be very close between the two. A great game for a new company trying to break into the market.'

Presentation: 58%
Graphics: 55%
Playability: 70%
Addictive Qualities: 68%
Overall: 65%

Summary: General Rating: A faster Out Run, without the graphical appeal.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 30, June 1988   page(s) 67

'Listen carefully, I will say ziz only once. I 'ave 'ere a petit game from ze French software maison Titus, and I want a quick review, or else', said T'zer, chucking Crazy Cars in my general direction. So, putting on my reviewing head, I set to.

The object of this game is to zoom across America at top speed in the Prestige Car Race, not even stopping to get a Little Chef or collect your Tiger tokens. There are five levels of difficulty and on each there's a track made up of ten sections. Each track also has three locations - Arizona, NASA and Florida. Yes, I know this sounds confusing, but all it means is that the buildings on the horizon change every time you complete three sections of a track.

Although it isn't made clear in the inlay, you can choose your level of difficulty, and your car, before you race. The choice of car is between a Porsche, a Lamborghini (wooh!) and a Ferrari (even bigger WOOH!). And as you progress across America, you must avoid bumping into other cars, or driving off the road, as these will slow you down loads, as well as ruining your chance of a no claims bonus.

This game has some really neat touches - the car sprites are excellent and the way you whiz down dale and up hill, flying into the air if you hit a bump, is excellently done. However, the good points are far out-numbered by the bad. When I first saw a screenshot from this game I expected to be playing an Out Run type racing game, but on playing I discovered it has more in common with Pole Position, and even lacks some of the features found in that golden oldie.

There is no sense of achievement on completing one track, as you just go on to the next level of difficulty, beginning the same track again. It is also difficult to learn a track, as they just swing from left to right, and go on, and on, and on... There are no trackside landmarks such as signs, trees or advertisements scrolling by either, just the standard poles to give an indication of speed. On the earlier levels of difficulty it is also a rarity to see any other cars at all. You just go on whizzing left to right, left to right ad infinitum (it felt like it anyway).

There are also many annoying little things which mar this game, the major one of these being the 'Game Over' message. If you do not finish a section in the allotted time limit, then the 'Game Over' message flashes up on the screen - ten seconds before your time runs out! If you then complete the section within the ten seconds, the message disappears, and you carry on racing. This is annoying at best, and downright sloppy at worst. Also the way that cars hit you from behind, having suddenly appeared from nowhere and leaving you no time to avoid them, is very annoying and frustrating.

The only thing crazy about this game is the price, as it offers nothing new, and that which it does offer is available elsewhere, better and cheaper. Definitely one to try before you buy.

Graphics: 7/10
Playability: 5/10
Value For Money: 4/10
Addictiveness: 4/10
Overall: 5/10

Summary: Run of the mill racing game adding nothing new to the genre.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE Issue 9, June 1988   page(s) 68

Titus £9.95cs

This car driving game was quite a looker on the Amiga, but unfortunately the game was far too easy to hold your interest for any great length of time. The Spectrum version has some good graphics too and the scrolling is fine, but again this game's just too easy to beat, which means the game just doesn't hold your interest for anything like long enough.

Ace Rating: 690/1000

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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