Turbo Esprit


by Mike A. Richardson
Durell Software Ltd
1986
Crash Issue 28, May 1986   (1986-04-24)   page(s) 114,115

You're an intrepid special agent with your very own Lotus Turbo Esprit. Your task - to smash an international ring of drug smugglers who are about to make a huge delivery of heroin.

An armoured car is supplying the drugs to the centre of a city and four delivery cars collect the narcotics from the supply vehicle as it tours the streets. Your mission is to stop the delivery cars, preferably after they have made their pick-ups and before they scuttle off to the drug gang's hideaways. Extra points are available if you can stop the armoured car before it leaves the city once all the drops have been made.

After the game has loaded, you are presented with a choice of four cities in which to combat the peddlers of evil substances - once the choice has been made the only way to change cities is to reload the game. A menu screen follows which allows you to view, save or load in high score tables, practise driving or play the game for real.

The action is viewed from the driving seat. The instruments on the dashboard, seen through the spokes of the steering wheel, include a speedometer, rev counter, fuel gauge and a temperature gauge. Don't worry about gear changes - the computer takes care of that. Keep an eye on the fuel gauge, though. When it looks a bit low simply pull onto the pavement (make sure it is pedestrian free first!) and if you're near a garage the tank re-fills.

The view out of the windscreen includes a black car - your Turbo Esprit - which dodges and weaves through the traffic as you spin the wheel and accelerate and decelerate. The city streets scroll towards you as you motor along and the display is full of detail: pedestrians stump around the sidewalks, traffic lights and car indicators flash, petrol stations tout for custom and little men repair the roads. Driving into vehicles driven by innocent citizens, as well as shooting them up and running over pedestrians add to your tally of penalty points shown in the status area on the dashboard. Some mean driving is needed to stay on the tail of the perpetrators of evil while avoiding crashes. Don't despair if you write the car off - there are four available.

You are not entirely alone in your mission to quash the evil drug barons: messages from H.Q. occasionally pop up at the bottom of your screen with information on the smugglers' whereabouts, and the same text area is used for status messages during the game.

The smugglers in ordinary cars can be stopped with a hail of bullets from you Turbo cannon. The baddies are easily identifiable - the delivery cars are blue and the armoured supply car is red. Don't be too trigger happy though, more points are won by ramming the smugglers' vehicles from behind while they are moving. Once a gangster car has taken a battering, the baddies surrender, and you can continue the mission. It's possible to intercept the armoured supply car at any time, but once the main vehicle has been disabled the supply cars cease operation and there are no more points to be collected.

The smugglers have a number of hit cars, with nifty magenta or purple paintjobs to aid recognition, and their gun-toting passengers are hot on your trail. They roar past you at great speed with guns blazing. If they hit the Lotus, a message flashes onto your console and the car may well go out of control. Alternatively, a stray bullet might be lodged in the engine, which leads to overheating and eventual seizure if you don't visit a garage and get the engine repaired in time.

The Turbo Esprit, apart from being a very fast motor indeed, has a pull-down map of the city which can be scrolled over the city, and highlights the position of your car as well as the drug baron's vehicles. Like they say: it's mean on the streets - be careful out there!

COMMENTS
Control keys: definable
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2, Cursor
Keyboard play: positive
Use of colour: attribute clash on the roadway
Graphics: very clever scrolling cityscape
Sound: bashes, crashes and a catchy tune
Skill levels: four
Screens: four scrolling cities to drive around


'A great game from Durell. Turbo Esprit is certainly addictive. It allows you to zoom round the back streets and alleyways, which I enjoyed particularly, but you have to be careful not to bump into other cars or pedestrians. To begin with, turning the car into side roads can be a bit tricky, because you have to judge the angle, and the control takes some getting used to, but it comes quite naturally after a while. Once you've located the drug barons the action gets fast and furious with high speed chases around the area. It's great fun - look out for it!'

'This game is great fun, put simply. Even if you don't bother knocking out drug cars, just driving around picking up penalty points is fun. The graphics aren't immediately astounding, but the detail soon becomes apparent, and once it does it's pretty surprising: pedestrians walk about, cars stop at lights and swerve to avoid roadworks, their indicators work and little men even work on roadlamps! This game is very playable and addictive, but it needs to be played for a good half an hour before all the subtleties become apparent. Congratulations, Durell, you've made me happy again.'

'Durell Software seem set to continue their long line of very well polished off software - with another food program, Turbo Esprit. Turbo Esprit is a very easy game to get into because of the simple plot, and I was very soon addicted. As on all Durell games the graphics are very sharp and yet very detailed due to the limited colour in parts. Again we have a few too channel simulated tunes at the important points of the game. Turbo Esprit gives you a good feel of what it's like to manoeuvre a sports car around the streets of cities and lets you try your hand at three point turns up one way streets, which I can assure you gives exciting driving. This is a superb game for all shoot em up and car freaks, and is reasonably priced at £8.95.'

Use of Computer: 90%
Graphics: 90%
Playability: 89%
Getting Started: 87%
Addictive Qualities: 90%
Value For Money: 86%
Overall: 88%

Summary: General Rating: A driving game with a fair bit of gameplay behind it.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 58, November 1988   (1988-10-20)   page(s) 112

Mike Richardson (who later created the amazing Thanatos) brought us this unusual driving game in May 1986.

You are a secret agent equipped with a very fast and extremely sleek Lotus Turbo Esprit. You are not out for a relaxing Sunday afternoon drive however, nor are you competing in some sort of race. No, you have been assigned the dangerous task of smashing an evil drugs ring.

An armoured car tours the city streets, awaiting the arrival of four delivery cars to collect the drugs. You must carefully follow the armoured car till it makes contact with a delivery car which you must then either arrest, by ramming it, or destroy by using your machine guns. Care must always be taken not to alert the armoured car to your presence or it will leave the city immediately. Get too successful, however, and the smugglers will send a hit car to get you.

The 3-D view of the action is rather strange, as just above the dashboard you can see your own black car on the road ahead. But the scrolling cityscape provides an atmospheric environment for some intriguing, innovative action. High speed chases are common but care must always be taken not to knock down any innocent pedestrians, run out of fuel or cross intersections when the lights are on stop!

Turbo Esprit contains many intricacies which cannot be adequately explained in such a small space, but suffice to say it is no ordinary driving game. A genuinely great arcade/adventure simulation.


Overall: 90%

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 06, June 1986   page(s) 20,21

I was cruising North View looking for trouble when the message came - "Armoured car seen on E 17". I gLanced at the map and saw that a right turn would take me one street south of the drop. I glided across the lanes and prepared for the turn. The lights changed - I rowed the engine and let go, hurled back by the acceleration of my Lotus Turbo Esprit...!

This sort of amiably silly plot makes good movie and TV thrillers and now it's made a great computer game. Let's face it, if you're tailing drug dealers through crowded city streets, a flashy sports car hardly helps you fade into the background. But as a hero you have an image to maintain and your boss has agreed to let you have four of the expensive autos in case you crash one. He's also given you a useful map which unlike the average A to Z indicates both your position and that of the drug barons too.

Your mission is this: the drugs are brought into the city in an armoured vehicle and soon after, four smugglers' cars drive in to rendezvous at the drop (dontcha love all this criminal slang? I've seen French Connection too, you know!). At this stage you have to keep out of sight or you'll scare them off. Then the drugs are handed over to one dealer after another and that's where you leap into action, intercepting them before they reach their secret hideaways. After that it's time to pick up Mr Big in his armoured jalopy and win the eternal thanks of all good citizens. But be warned, there are hit cars riding shotgun who will try to ram you off the road.

Jamming all this into a standard size Spectrum has led Durell to a novel solution. The lower part of the screen shows your dashboard and vital instruments but the windscreen doesn't provide a true Pit Stop view because your car actually appears in front of you. This means that turns into new streets are achieved with a flipping of screens rather than a continuous perspective view. It all works well though and the 3D graphics are reasonably smooth and fairly crowded with pedestrians, other road users, zebra crossings and the like.

The controls are admirably simple too, Joystick or keys accelerate and decelerate with a maximum speed of 150 mph and an automatic gearbox. Left and right alone shift lane in the direction chosen but with fire they actually turn the car for changing streets. This calls for a little skill, particularly at high speeds. If you don't want to drive into a wall, but there's a Learner mode for everybody who thinks BSM stands for Be-like Steve McOueen!

Pressing fire alone activates your gun and you can always blast away at the enemy though you'll gain more points for ramming them or driving them into a cul-de-sac and forcing them to surrender. This is the only way to stop the delivery car anyhow because of its armour plating. The only other control is M to call up the map, which shows the city chosen from the four initially offered (choosing a new one unfortunately calls for a reload) and can be scrolled to locate the position of the dealers in relation to you. Further help is from messages which appear at the bottom of the screen to keep you in touch with pursuing hit cars and the like. These hired assassins are great fun, suddenly zooming up from behind and delivering a broadside - real car chase stuff. They are purple while the supply car is red and the delivery cars are blue. All other vehicles are black, yourself included, which can cause slight problems if you round a corner into a crowded street - just which one are you?

The only other thing to watch out for is fuel consumption. Nothing makes a hero look less heroic than grinding to a halt with an empty tank. There are various garages around town to provide refills assuming you can reach the pavement next to one in time. The great thing about Turbo Esprit is that it plays so smoothly that you're never left searching for the key to do something vital. In fact, it should become as effortless as driving a real car. The plot is classic chase stuff too and quickly becomes involving. It's a novel game which works well and anybody who has ever thrilled to Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman or our very own T'zer McQueen's driving will want a go.


Graphics: 8/10
Playability: 8/10
Value For Money: 9/10
Addictiveness: 9/10
Overall: 9/10

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash - Run It Again Issue 47, December 1987   (1987-11-26)   page(s) 103

88% Issue 28

MIKE: In Turbo Esprit, you get a view out of your car window onto the road directly in front of you; your task is to crush the drug barons who are corrupting the city's young. Take on the world Miami Vice style (ie big fast posy car) in this fabulously detailed, enjoyable car game.
71%

DOMINIC: When Turbo Esprit hit the streets it turned more than a few heads - it turned out to be how Ocean's Miami Vice should have been. The street scenes are so innovative and accurate that most people forgot about the object of the game and just cruised the streets doing three-point turns and smashing into roadworks. Hardly dated at all. All you drivers pop out and buy a copy now!
91%


Overall (Mike Dunn): 71%
Overall (Dominic Handy): 91%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 50, May 1986   page(s) 32

THERE MAY BE traffic lights at the busy junctions in town but it's difficult to spot them, let alone react to them, when you're having 100 mph fun in a turbo-charged Esprit.

The Turbo Esprit is one of the most dynamic cars in the world - as well as one of the most expensive - so it's good to see that Durell Software has given it the simulation treatment which will give you the pleasure of driving one.

While the software provides a fairly realistic simulation, it also gives games players something to get their teeth into. Your job is to patrol the streets of Wellington, Gamesborough, Romford or Minster in search of drug traffickers.

The car contains the very latest technology - the simulator screen displays its interior with flashing indicator lights, and a steering wheel which really turns when you're at the controls.

The town streets are displayed in 3D and viewed through the windscreen. As you change lanes, swerve and turn can also see your on the road, mingling with the other traffic.

Drug trafficking is rife in all the towns, and your job is to stop or destroy four types of smuggling vehicle before a deal is made and drugs exchanged. The first, and most common, vehicle is the blue delivery car - there are four of those involved in each stage of the game. Drugs are delivered to seedy rendezvous using red coloured armoured supply cars.

To stop the armoured cars you must bump into them - you cannot shoot them with the machine guns your bosses have installed on the Esprit. My advice, where these are concerned, is to leave them alone. If you stop an armoured car before it's made a pick-up you will gain only a few points, and no more armoured vehicles will come into the town. Go, instead, for the delivery cars but make sure you catch their drivers red-handed.

Hit cars are the vehicles to avoid at all costs. They are coloured magenta and will sneak up behind you. The mob has a permanent contract out on the Esprit and won't fight shy of turning you into lots of little twisted pieces.

The first you will know of a drugs exchange will be a flashing message on the Esprit's computer console. You should then switch to the map which shows your car and the position of any villains in the sector. The next step is one of action - chase the mob and, if possible, eliminate them.

You can shoot down villains with your machine guns, but a more civilised 4 way, and one which earns you more points, is to bump into them. Their car will be disabled and you can book them for drug and speed offences.

The simulation does not encourage bad driving habits. As well as containing a high score table it also has a table for traffic offences. It's very easy to score there. Just ride up on the pavement and let rip with your machine guns, or turn some poor innocent's Cadillac into a Mini. When you start playing with this simulation you are more likely to figure at the top of the penalties table.

Turbo Esprit is a spectacular simulation which handles like a sophisticated 3D arcade game. The author has put a lot of effort into the smooth and realistic three-dimensional effects which make it one of the best simulations on the market.

The game is what Juggernaut, from CRL, should have been and what Knight Rider, from Ocean, will need to beat when it comes out. Buy this game even if you hate simulations.

John Gilbert

Publisher: Durell
Programmer: Mick Richardson
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair, Protek, Downsway

*****


Overall: 5/5

Award: Sinclair User Classic

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 86, May 1989   page(s) 56

I can remember when this was released. What a product it was! And for its time! A masterpiece! What? What do you mean, some of you only got a Spectrum recently and have no idea what it's about? You want me to tell you as well, oh the cheek of it! Still, I like you face, so here goes.

You are an undercover cop. and you have been informed of a drug delivery that's going to take place in your town (one of four, you get to choose at the start!). The story is, an armoured car is going to pop in, make four deliveries to four drug cars, and then scarper. You have to intercept the drug cars AFTER they have collected the deliveries, and then get the armoured car. The trick is, don't be seen, because once you do, all the cars will do a runner and you'll be left with egg on your face.

The graphics are fast and smooth. All the cars are well drawn, and the little people that walk around the streets are sweet and cute. Sound is limited to a beep and a squeak, though the title tune is great.

One of the best games ever released, in my opinion, and if you don't buy it, then you're one hell of a mug.

Label: Elite
Author: Durell
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: Various
Reviewer: Tony Dillon


Overall: 93%

Summary: One of the fabbiest ever Spectrum car racing, drug busting, crime fighting games, and it doesn't even scroll round corners!

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 55, May 1986   page(s) 26,27

MACHINE: Spectrum
SUPPLIER: Durell
PRICE: £8.95

If you've ever watched a TV or movie car chase with a gleam of envy in your eye then you're going to mad over Turbo Esprit because that's what this game is all about. It's one long, fast, action packed car chase. OK, the graphics aren't brilliant, and the sound - well you'll soon be wishing the Spectrum could make noises like a real turbocharged supercar.

However, the game is gripping, packed with atmosphere and genuinely addictive. And after all, it's probably the only chance most of us will get to get behind the wheel of a Lotus - so you could say it's worth it just for that!

But meanwhile, back at the plot. Here's what you have to do.

An armoured supply car is carrying drugs to the centre of the city. One after the other, four delivery cars will drive in to meet it, and then drive off to their hideaways. After the fourth pick-up the armoured supply will leave the city.

Your mission is to stop the delivery cars after they have made their pick-ups and before they disappear and to stop the armoured supply car before it leaves the city.

You'll score extra points for catching the drug smugglers alive, rather than shooting them.

Your pursuit vehicle is a Lotus Turbo Esprit, capable of speeds up to 150 mph.

You lose points for injuring the general public. There are traffic lights at junctions which should be obeyed - the smugglers will probably ignore them - there are pedestrian crossings and road-works that you should avoid.

On your screen you will see the top of your steering wheel, a speedometer, rev counter, fuel gauge and temperature gauge. Gear changing is done automatically by the computer.

Your car is displayed in the screen in front of you. At the beginning of the game it is in the centre left lane.

At the bottom left of the screen you will see penalty points which you get if you crash into innocent cars or kill pedestrians. Next to this is your score which you get for catching drug-smuggling cars and beneath this you will see the occasional message from HQ control.

The "cockpit" view is quite realistic spoilt a bit when you realise than you can see your car on the road ahead anyway. The moving steering wheel, a la Revs, is a nice touch.

All cars in the game are black, except those used by the drug smugglers. These are blue delivery cars, the red armoured supply car and the magenta "hit" cars that will try to shoot you.

You can call a map of the city by pressing the M key. Flashing circles indicate your own car, and those of the smugglers. Small petrol-pumps indicate the positions of garages. Four dots at crossroads indicate traffic lights. Arrows along side roads indicate that these are one-way streets.

Be warned-this isn't an easy game to get into. But it's definitely worth the time and effort.


Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 6/10
Value: 8/10
Playability: 8/10

Award: C+VG Hit

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 96, November 1989   page(s) 79

Byteback
Spectrum/C64 £1.99

Imagine Miami Vice in Milton Keynes and you've got the idea of Turbo Esprit. As a drugs cop, you've got to race through the 3D streets to intercept the cars of drug peddlers which are converging on an armoured truck. Shoot the crims' hit cars for points but be careful not to injure innocent bystanders, or you incur hefty penalties.

On the Spectrum, the control you have over the car (you can even do three-point turns) and the dark city streets give this game a very realistic atmosphere, and its really very addictive. Unfortunately the C64 is of nowhere near the same standard - slow, jerky and graphically awful - so best give that one a miss.


Overall: 87%

Summary: Brilliant 3D driving game. Very atmospheric and addictive.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Computer Issue May 1986   page(s) 47

Spectrum
Durell Software
Car Driving
£8.95

Mix a little Death Race 2000 with a large pinch of French Connection and add a little Cannonball Run to taste. They are the ingredients of the Durell game which is destined to rise to the top of the charts.

If, like me, your annual salary would not even make a down payment on one of those sleek machines, this is about the nearest you are likely to get to driving a Lotus Esprit. Better than that, it has reinforced bumpers and, naturally, a machine gun. On the mean streets, in one of the four towns provided, your job is to break up the local drug racket. It is no simple shoot-'em-up but a beautiful blend of driving simulator and strategy game with an arcade element included.

Car games have always been notorious - they opted either for simplicity or reality at the cost of all playability. Author Mike Richardson has found a compromise. All the controls are on the joystick. Accelerate, brake, fire, turn left and right. All the street intersections are right angles; if you move the joystick left and right, you change lane on the multi-lane highways; if you do that with the fire button down, you initiate a 90-degree turn. If you do it at a junction, the view snaps round instantly to show you the new street along which you are driving.

The graphics obviously owe much to Richardson's previous game, Combat Lynx. All the buildings on the street move past you in true perspective. Other graphic detail includes traffic lights, pedestrian crossings - with pedestrians - window cleaners and, of course, other cars.

Once you have become accustomed to the car and finished admiring the scenery in the practice mode, it is time to tackle the game proper. Select from one of the four skill levels and away you go. A message indicates where the drug van is. You call up the map and determine a route. It is best to stay on the main roads if possible, as overtaking is easier. Once you are near the drug van, you wait for the pushers to make their pick-up. Once that happens, the race is on. In true Gene Hackman style, you tear after the pick-up car. Eventually, with a little luck, you will catch him before he reaches his hideout - but mistakes are easy. It is all too simple to be delayed in the traffic while the baddies get away.

Getting the most from your car is an art. The faster you take a corner, the wider the car turns, and precise timing of a turn is essential. It is often difficult to resist taking your like in your hands and trying to overtake in another lane and seconds later a car bears down on you from nowhere. It is fortunate you have four lives.

Perhaps the only gripe is the way when you switch to map mode you cannot see the road; a split-screen approach would have been far better. That is particularly frustrating when in pursuit. You lose sight of the enemy, who turns off as you go hurtling past; realistic but annoying.

Amongst the slough of martial arts and arcade adventures, this kind of game is like a breath of fresh air. Original, well-thought-out and absorbing, it is great fun. You can even play the maverick, machine-gunning innocents and running-down pedestrians piling up the penalties.


Graphics: 5/5
Sound: 3/5
Playability: 4/5
Value For Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 3/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ZX Computing Issue May 1986   page(s) 13

Durell
£8.95

Despite the name, Turbo Esprit is not a game for the speed merchant. Instead you are faced with the task of preventing urban drug smugglers from delivering their consignments.

An armoured supply car is transporting the drugs to the city centre where it will be met by four cars that will take the narcotics to secret locations. You have been equipped with a Lotus Turbo Esprit and must round them up.

Even though your car is capable of a simulated speed of 150mph this is no joyride and even in hot pursuit you must stop at pedestrian crossings if someone is on them. Points are knocked off for mowing down innocent pedestrians.

Information on the smugglers' location is given via a map which can be called up at any time and marks your position and that of the smugglers with flashing circles. Messages from HQ also flash up on screen to keep you up to date, such as "Drugs exchanged". Stopping the smugglers can be done in two ways. Firstly shoot at them or secondly 'bump' them which requires a little more subtlety but gets you extra points. Bumping into the smugglers' car at high speeds seems to have a demoralising effect on the occupants and eventually they stop and surrender.

The smugglers of course are not just cruising around waiting to be picked up and they have 'hit cars' which can speed past you at any time and blast you which may mean curtains or a brief visit to the garage if they hit the car. There are four skill levels and you are allocated four cars per game.

Turbo Esprit is best enjoyed using a joystick as the keyboard controls are cumbersome at best. The gameplay is not immediately addictive but does grow on you with time. And the graphics of the urban landscape make a fittingly stark scenario for your mission.


Overall: Good

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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