WEC Le Mans

by Alick Morrall, Bill Harbison, John Mullins, Jonathan Dunn, Mike Lamb
Imagine Software Ltd
Crash Issue 62, Mar 1989   page(s) 14

Will you want to play this for 24 hours?

Producer: Imagine
Miles per gallon: £8.95 cass, £14.95 disk
Author: Sentient Software, sound by Jonathan Dunn

The 24 hour WEC Le Mans race is one of the toughest in motor racing. Konami attempted to give the thrills, without 24 hour play, in an impressive hydraulic cabinet which just lost out to Out Run. A year after the disappointing Out Run conversion, Imagine hope the arcade runner-up will beat the arcade champion on the Spectrum...

As with the arcade machine, the number of laps seems drastically reduced - just four. Getting you there in style is a turbocharged engine with high and low gears - press fire to change up or down. Forward on the joystick accelerates, backwards applies the brakes vital for tight, hairpin bends and edging past competitor cars.

Each lap is divided into three checkpoints and you start with just 66 seconds to reach the first checkpoint. If you reach it with lots of time in hand, your time limit for the next checkpoint is increased. Fail to reach it and you're out of the race. If you crash along the way the timer kindly stops until you're moved back onto the road, but getting back up to speed takes time you can't afford to lose.

Another tough race game, but much older, is Full Throttle. Despite that game's simple visual charms, WEC Le Mans beats it hands down for looks, with well-defined graphics whizzing past at great speed and - unlike Enduro Racer - no confusing overlaps. Also like Full Throttle it remembers the competitor cars, so you can catch up with those two drivers who caused you to crash. But otherwise this is far inferior. For a start there's only one track which little resembles the map layout, then there's dodgy collision detection and only one (far too tough) skill level, severely limiting lastability. WEC Le Mans is great fun to play for a while, but I suspect it will soon end up gathering dust.

MARK [69%]

Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: smooth-scrolling track but general lack of variety in appearance
Sound: adequate 128K title tune, but poorish ingame engine noises
Options: definable keys

I don't think I've got any relatives called Jonathon (Dunn), so I can safely say his title tune is pretty dull, while ingame FX are almost nonexistent. Sadly, WEC Le Mans has got nothing I haven't seen before; the hills are very effective, but so were Enduro Racers and that's got much more content. The colour clash on the sides of the road is pretty unpleasant, and as for the collision detection - well! I counted four slip-ups (ie, straight up someone else's exhaust pipe!) in one go, and my games aren't remarkably long, believe me! Nine pounds could buy a lot more.MIKE [59%]

The inlay calls it the most gruelling and challenging car race in the world and I definitely agree; I was sure my wrist was going to snap on some of those corners, and completing each sector is really demanding. WEC Le Mans gives you a fast, roller coaster ride around a very plain track with just a few spark plug advertisements to cheer it up. But even though the variety is lacking, I kept coming back for more (psycho?). On the negative side, sound is surprisingly poor and as the race is supposed to be 24 hours long you would have would get darker - like in the arcade game - but the Spectrum programmers seem to have overlooked this (at least in the first 3 laps). WEC Le Mans has nothing particularly outstanding about it, but it's a great way to let off steam.
NICK [69%]

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Presentation: 73%
Graphics: 70%
Sound: 67%
Playability: 70%
Addictive Qualities: 65%
Overall: 66%

Summary: General Rating: Technically competent, but has too little game content.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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