Pedal power is all you've got to beat the burms, bumps and ramps of Code Master's BMX Simulator - a budget game that recently reached the top of the Commodore top ten chart.
If you're not into the jargon of this biking cult the BMX is a racing machine with lightweight frames, thick rubber wheels and powerful suspension.
Each course looks like a bomb shelter, scattered bits of old tyre, ramps, large or deep puddles and - on the most complex courses - arrows raked into the dirt which point directions. Hills around the course slow speeding bikes down and allow riders to change direction quickly.
At the start of each race you can alter the number of course tracks you go around and the number of players. It's a true two-player game - so you and a friend can whizz around the course simultaneously - but you can't change the control configuration.
The bikes glide off the ramps and each accelerates just as long as you hold down the Fire buttons. Left and right on the joysticks turn the bikes anti- clockwise and clockwise. The best course of action is to stay on the narrow but less straight path.
When you're a beginner avoid the hills. They'll slow you up and cause the bike to wobble off in all sorts of directions. Equally, avoid the tyres in the centre of most courses. They'll send your biker flying in the air.
Anything goes as far as you and your opponent are concerned - after all, this is a simulation. You can force your friend's bike into trouble or knock him off with your front or back wheels - more likely you'll be the one that comes unstuck.
Talking of front and back wheels, you can't tell which is which. When you're starting off after a crash the bike is likely to be facing in the wrong direction. If you accelerate you'll crash again. So, make sure you turn 360 degrees before making a move.
The winner of each course is first past the post (surprise). You can, however, clock up a time even if you lose, as long as you pass the finishing line within the qualifying limit.
In the tradition of all the great simulators BMX allows you to learn by your mistakes. There's an action replay available if you came within a wheel's breadth of winning. It's in real time but you can slow the action down by pressing 'S'.
Richard Darling has done it again. This simulator is a full priced game in budget clothing and a classy conversion of the Commodore original.
Label: Code Masters
Author: Richard Darling
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair
Reviewer: Jim Douglas
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