Deathchase


by Mervyn J. Estcourt
Micromega
1983
Crash Issue 01, February 1984   page(s) 8

Here's a new game which really does deserve the 3D prefix! Considering that it's packed into 16K, this has to be the best yet road race type game for the Spectrum.

The story line goes: It is 2501, one hundred years after the Great War and the North American continent is ruled by mighty warlords in constant conflict over forest territory. You are one of the elite mercenaries, Riders of the Big Bikes...

And so on...

But who cares about the story line? All our reviewers were stunned by the game and that's what counts! What you get is a view over the Big Bike's handlebars, with a pair of black leather clad hands gripping them. Before you is what appears to be a reasonably empty landscape with a couple of small trees in the distance. But as soon as you accelerate the picture changes. The trees suddenly seem to multiply - and they're big!


Steering your bike between the trees, you chase after two other riders, firing photon bolts at them. A helicopter hovers around, occasionally landing. This too can be shot if you're good.

And that's about it. Except for the night patrol...

COMMENTS
Keyboard positions: very good, 1 for left, zero for right, 8/9 brake/accelerate, and any bottom row key to fire
Joystick option: Kempston
Keyboard play: very responsive
Use of colour: good
Graphics: superb
Sound: very good
Skill levels: each sector gets harder
Lives: 3


'This is an extremely simple idea for a game, and utterly compelling to play. Once you shoot up two riders the game automatically switches to night patrol. It's a little harder to see the trees, and if you get through that, sector two day patrol adds a tank as well as the helicopters. The main problem is braking, not that you can't, just that somehow you forget to in the excitement. Great graphics!'

'There is a range indicator to let you know how close to the other bikes you are, but I never even noticed it because the 3D effect is so good you can fire by instinct as you would in real life. The graphics of the bolts firing away are very good and so is the explosion when you hit something, so realistic that the bits seem to fly up over your shoulders. Slamming into a tree at full tilt is quite an experience. This game is dangerously addictive to play.'

'Return of the Jedi has nothing on this. The chase through the trees is breathtaking - quite literally. Fantastic graphics, exceptionally smooth movement, the bike handles really well (you can see the rider's hands turning the handlebars). Buy it!'

Use of Computer: 90%
Graphics: 92%
Playability: 95%
Getting Started: 85%
Addictive Qualities: 98%
Value For Money: 92%
Overall: 92%

Summary: General rating: Excellent.

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 09, September 1986   page(s) 38

What a shock! When this first came out it was regarded as a fine example of programming. A speedy race through the trees against the big bikers, it was reminiscent of the Star Wars forest chase.

Plus ça change... The copyright date for this is 1983 (so long ago?) and it is 'For any Spectrum'. Yes, in those days people still owned 16K midget machines. And yesterday's state of the art is... well, read on!

Not that Deathchase is actually bad. In fact, if you sit close enough to the screen you're sure to be swaying with the motion and wincing as you crash headlong into the mighty oaks.

It's quite addictive, trying to keep up the revs, because you can only blast the enemy with your front firing cannon when you're at top speed, and going for the bonus helicopters and tanks. But underlying this is a sense that it all looks very primitive nowadays.

Maybe some classics would be best left in human memory rather than revived in the micros. Certainly Deathchase would be better priced as a 1.99 classic.


Graphics: 6/10
Playability: 7/10
Value For Money: 6/10
Addictiveness: 8/10
Overall: 6/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 43, July 1989   page(s) 51

Have you noticed how in the past few months cheapie games have edged up, ever so subtly, from £1.99 to £2.99 - a rise of 50%? Zeppelin is one of the few houses to keep its prices down, but if Death Chase is anything to go by, I can t say I'm too surprised. Certainly the legend '© 1983' that appears after the game has loaded is enough to give you the screaming heeby jeebies. Shouldn't software houses have to print the original publication date of the game in a nice visible place for the potential punter? Record companies and book publishers have to. Nonetheless, Death Chase is actually a bit of a surprise. Based without shame, or acknowledgement, on the forest chase in the third Star Wars film, Return of the Jedi, it has you chasing a couple of geezers on motorbikes through some extremely thin trees and trying to zap 'em before they can escape (they're convicts, see). Graphics are rubbish, gameplay is jerky, but... but... but... well, actually I quite enjoyed it. The basic idea is, after all, pretty good although I'm sure I've seen something similar, and much slicker, quite recently (Let me know if I'm right.) But to my amazement I found myself quite unable to tear myself away from this odd little game - which is probably not much of a recommendation, as many rueful YS readers will testify. Just don't expect much - you might be pleasantly surprised.


Overall: 69%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Living Guide Issue 02, March 1984   page(s) 60,61

Producer: Micromega, 16K £6.95 (1)
Author: Mervyn Escourt
Selected as Game Of The Month in issue 1, this is just a fabulous game. The idea is simple; at the base of the screen is the front of you motorbike with two gloved hands gripping the handlebars. Ahead is a flat landscape with a few trees and two other bikers circling around. As soon as you accelerate to give chase they ride hell for leather. When you're in range you can start firing. When they're both blown away the scene changes to night time and repeats, then back to day 2 and so on. Occasionally a helicopter and a tank cross the horizon and gain more points for you if hit. But what makes this game one of the most compelling to play are the trees you must weave through in pursuit of the enemy bikers. With each screen they get more numerous, and the effect of whipping through them is truly alarming! Return of The Jedi has nothing on this! Excellent graphics (marvellous explosions), superb sound, sensible control keys, joystick: Kemptson. Excellent. Overall CRASH rating 92% M/C.


Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Living Guide Issue 03, April 1984   (1984-03-16)   page(s) 80

Producer: Micromega, 16K £6.95 (1)
Author: Mervyn Escourt
Selected as Game Of The Month in issue 1, this is just a fabulous game. The idea is simple; at the base of the screen is the front of you motorbike with two gloved hands gripping the handlebars. Ahead is a flat landscape with a few trees and two other bikers circling around. As soon as you accelerate to give chase they ride hell for leather. When you're in range you can start firing. When they're both blown away the scene changes to night time and repeats, then back to day 2 and so on. Occasionally a helicopter and a tank cross the horizon and gain more points for you if hit. But what makes this game one of the most compelling to play are the trees you must weave through in pursuit of the enemy bikers. With each screen they get more numerous, and the effect of whipping through them is truly alarming! Return of The Jedi has nothing on this! Excellent graphics (marvellous explosions), superb sound, sensible control keys, joystick: Kemptson. Excellent. Overall CRASH rating 92% M/C.


Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 24, March 1984   page(s) 5 (Supplement)

ANIMATED graphics are making an appearance in more and more computer games, giving them a realism which would not have seemed possible a few years ago. Death Chase uses animated graphics to simulate the view from a motor-cycle. The player moves on it through trees, chasing other riders and occasionally spotting tanks or helicopters. Speed and direction are both realistically simulated, so much so that the inevitable crash comes as a worrying shock.

Other riders cross the player's field of vision, weaving back and forth, but never out of sight for long. It is impossible to overtake those riders; they cannot fire at you they cannot escape unless you crash. It is at those harmless, realistically-drawn characters that the player must shoot to kill. No longer is it angular-looking invaders which are being killed. They are convincingly-drawn humans who must be killed just as ruthlessly and just as pointlessly. Their deaths are neat; no mangled remains are shown to trouble the player's conscience. The player is practically immortal, with three lives per game, and an indefinite number of games to be played.

After shooting a few riders it is tempting to dismount and talk to them. Of course that it is not possible - this is - an if-it-moves-shoot-it type game, not an adventure. Still, it is to be hoped that there will be a time when realism does not consist solely of creating more convincing victims, but in creating an environment where players face the consequences of their actions and killing people is not the only option.

Death Chase is produced by Micromega, 230-236 Lavender Hill, London SW11 1LE.

Memory: 16K
Price: £6.95
Joystick: Kempston


Gilbert Factor: 6/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 53, August 1986   page(s) 53

Another Estcourt/Micromega game and perhaps his best ever.

3D Death Chase is only marginally dated looking in terms of its graphics. The excitement though remains - a sweaty-palmed, fever- pitched challenge.

The idea is to steer your missile equipped motorcycle through an ever denser forest. Between the trees you glimpse other bikes, swerving to and fro and maybe, for a second, crossing your sights. You chase the enemy bikes - and occasionally helicopters - swerving through the ever smaller gaps between the densely-packed trees. The 3D effects are excellent.

Simple ideas, chasing and shooting, but a highly original presentation - I've still never seen anything quite like it. Definitely one to pick up on now if you missed it originally.


Overall: Not Rated

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 92, June 1989   page(s) 75

Spectrum
Zeppelin

Here's a game that comes from the Spectrum's cobweb-strewn past. Death Chase was an earl Digital Integration game and appeared way back in 1983. It's got primitive graphics, but still 'manages to get the adrenalin pumping!

You race a hoverbike through a forest and have to chase after and blow up two renegade bikers who ride similar vehicles to your own. And that's it, it's simple, but the going is fast and furious, with the trees getting increasingly dense, and later levels shifting between night a day scene.

Limited, but still highly addictive and exhilarating.


Overall: 78%

Summary: It was a classic in its time, and the simple and addictive game still holds up today. Definitely worth the dosh.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Big K Issue 3, June 1984   page(s) 29

VROOM!

MAKER: Micromega
MACHINE: Spectrum
FORMAT: cassette
PRICE: £6.95

This is that rarity, an excellent and simple idea brilliantly executed. It seems to have grown out of the jetbike chase in Return Of The Jedi and summons a similarly pulverising rush Of excitement.

The player controls a mean machine of which only a pair of gripped handlebars are visible onscreen.

The mission is to pursue and destroy a couple of renegade bikers who come into view on acceleration. The chase is conducted over terrain that becomes progressively more densely wooded until, by screen five (of eight), it's as hard dodging the trees as it is blasting the quarry.

On the early screens a distant chopper takes off and lands to provide a difficult extra target; on later ones a tank lumbers ponderously along the horizon. Darkness sometimes provides a further hazard.

The pace is so fast, the addiction so poisonous, that one scarcely notices how well animated the bikes are and the shower of shrapnel that follows every explosion. Hitting a tree yourself provides a red out of proportions that make you flinch with pain.

Easily picked up the game gets ferociously demanding at its top levels, but no complaints on any score. This is one of the few programs to translate arcade fury directly to the Spectrum. Absolutely outstanding.


Overall: 3/3

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Personal Computer Games Issue 4, March 1984   page(s) 82, 83

MACHINE: Spectrum 16/48K
JOYSTICK: Optional
CATEGORY: Arcade
SUPPLIER: Micromega
PRICE: £6.95

For those of you who prefer life in the fast lane, 3D Deathchase from Micromega is an essential purchase.

The game is fast, simple, and addictive. The year is 2501, and you find yourself riding a powerful motorcycle through the forests of North America.

Steering left with the 1 key and right with the 0 key your task is to open the throttle, hunt down enemy riders at high speed and destroy them with your guided photon bolts.

Sounds exciting? it is, and it all takes place against some of the best three-dimensional graphics I've yet seen on the Spectrum.

There are eight sectors to be patrolled both by day and night. The trees loom up on the horizon and fly past as you roar in pursuit of the opposition, blasting away with any of the bottom row keys. The key layout is well thought out and enables you to concentrate on the game instead of your fingers.

As you progress through the different sectors the trees grow more numerous. Dodging them isn't easy and you only have three lives. You lose a life after each collision.

Decathchase is a 100% action game, and this is perhaps my only criticism. There are no tactics involved and only two speed controls: accelerate or brake.

You can only fire when going as fast as possible. In any other game this lack of variety would soon see the cassette gathering dust in a dark corner, but the impressive realism of the display is enough to tempt you back for another go. Put it this way, every time I hit a tree it brought tears to my eyes.


Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 4/10
Ease Of Use: 8/10
Originality: 8/10
Lasting Interest: 7/10
Overall: 8/10

Award: PCG Hit

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair Programs Issue 17, March 1984   page(s) 9

In the program, crash sequences are very graphic and tend towards the tasteless, while in Deathchase from Micromega - 16K Spectrum - the view from a motorcycle is shown in realistic detail but the death of another rider is not depicted at all.


Overall: Not Rated

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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