Dirt Track Racer

by CAT, Michael A. Sanderson, Moose
Zeppelin Games Ltd
Sinclair User Issue 114, Aug 1991   page(s) 36,37

Label: Zeppelin
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £2.99 Tape, N/A Disk
Reviewer: Alan Dykes

Stay clear of the "dirt track devil" I said to Steve the mag metal maniac, as I scrambled forth to review this wheelie Spectrum budget from Zeppelin. Sad to say it wasn't really worth it. I soon took off my skid lid because I didn't really mind if Dirt Track Racer did actually crash.

Something tells me we've seen it all before maties, yes it's the old bird's eye view of a small, simple sprite meandering around a maze with vertical scrolling and dodgy control. Hold on now, surely five different race courses and ten repair/upgrading options manage to set Dirt Track Racer apart? Well possibly, but that's it though. I mean let's face it, you can give the poodle a haircut but you can't bring it out to dinner.

As your all terrain vehicle potters around the course, hopefully ahead or behind the main bunch (if you get caught in the middle of that lot you'll be seriously damaged and find it difficult to get out) there are credits to pick up which enable you, between races, to upgrade the machine and repair damage. The upgrade options include modifications to the engine, brakes and suspension as well as a set of "bull bars" with which to run your competitors off the road.

The concept of the all terrain vehicle is a little difficult to visualise because of the lack of 3D perspective, the small size of the main sprite and the general vagueness of the graphics. Although this is helped somewhat by a nice drawing of the real vehicle above the damage meter and fuel/speed gauges on the right hand side of the action screen, I found keyboard control much more reliable than joystick, though overall it is a bit shaky and there's no reverse!

Dirt Track isn't a particularly bad game, more a well worn theme, one which I consider flawed these days when Spectrum software, even on budget labels, can reach higher standards of graphics and gameplay.

Graphics: 57%
Sound: 53%
Playability: 59%
Lastability: 60%
Overall: 56%

Summary: A tame, mildly entertaining game that we've all seen before, but good graphics and animation make it a worthwhile choice for fans for the genre, and certainly the thing to do when it's raining outside.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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