Producer: Code Masters
Retail Price: £1.99
Author: The Oliver Twins
Your stomach' s full of butterflies but now it's too late, you're sitting in a Grand Prix racing car and the green start light is just about to flash. With the strident countdown still rumbling in your ears and the smell of scorched rubber and the tang of hot oil burning in your nostrils, you blast away from the start.
In this simulation, your car must be taken successfully around a series of 14 circuits, shown in bird's-eye view. As you carefully accelerate and decelerate around the track, negotiating bends and avoiding obstacles such as bridges, careful steering is essential - misjudge a corner and you could go spinning off the tarmac.
A clock shows each car's lap time, and after the race you're ranked as a 'fair' driver or a master.
When Grand Prix Simulator was released for the Amstrad CPC this spring, Activision alleged a breach of copyright: the Code Masters game was too similar to the coin-op Super Sprint, Activision said, pointing out that it owned the license to that arcade game.
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: colourful but small and poorly-animated
Sound: good tune, but the car engine sounds like it's about to seize up
Options: two simultaneous players, definable keys
Grand Prix Simulator is terrible. If you can actually find your car - not an easy task, especially on a badly-tuned TV, as it's only about four pixels long - then there's about ten minutes of interest here. There's certainly none of the addictiveness of a good racing game.
Ever wondered what it's like to race in a Grand Prix? If not, this is the game for you because playing Grand Prix Simulator WON'T show you what it's like. The graphics are ultratrash, except for a bit of decent drawing on the borders; colour is badly-used because all the racetracks are mostly green and there's colour clash when you go near a barrier. Between games it sounds as if Donald Sinden has been bribed into doing some digitised speech. This won't be worth buying, even to the car-racing enthusiast.
I'd listened to too much hype about Grand Prix Simulator - now I'm very disappointed. The game is fiddly to control and has little of the addictivity of good arcade racing games. The characters are small - because the 'car window' screen is. But the speech is OK, if not quite up to I, Ball II standard! And I wouldn't be surprised to see this shoot to the top of the budget charts very soon - take your own risks...
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