Producer: Code Masters
Retail Price: £4.99
Author: The Oliver Twins
In September, The Race Against Time, a 10km fun run, will take place simultaneously all over the globe. As he did for Sport Aid '86, the Sudanese athlete, Omar Khalifa, will be carrying a symbolic torch from an African Relief camp fire to the United Nations in New York. Code Masters' The Race Against Time, profits from the sale of which go to Sport Aid '88, simulates his proposed journey around the world.
To gain as much support as possible, Omar's aim is to raise a flag and light a flame in a bowl on each of six continents within a time limit of five hours. Beginning in Sudan, he moves around the world using an intercontinental network of airports. Guiding an aeroplane cursor over a world map automatically takes Omar to the appropriate country.
Each of the six continents is divided into a series of horizontally scrolling national scenes. Trees and scrub melt into well-known national landmarks such as Mount Rushmore, the Kremlin, the Sydney Opera House and Buckingham Palace. A series of transporter arrows allows freedom of movement between more distant areas.
Each continent has its own particular hazards, such as collapsing bridges, falling bricks and moving rafts. Water and rain must be avoided at all costs; if the torch is extinguished or the allotted time runs out, the mission prematurely aborts.
Certain obstacles can only be countered using objects found along the way. Ranging from spanner to sandbag, these prove very useful when dropped in the appropriate place. Collecting hourglass icons also boosts the amount of time available.
Status displays show score, objects currently being carried and the countdown timer. As a flag is raised or a flame ignited, an icon at the top of the screen lights up - one further step towards the United Nations building and the culmination of Sport Aid '88.
Joysticks: Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: a wide range of colour, but strongly 2-D backgrounds. Colour is liberal, but doesn't create too many clashes.
Sound: usual raspy effects, with a good translation of Peter Gabriel's Games Without Frontiers as the (rarely heard) title tune
Omar Khalifa runs his epic race against an extremely attractive background of colourful, detailed landmarks. Apart from a ubiquitous type of leafy tree, which has the ability to survive in every type of global climate, each nation has its own distinctive characteristics. Negotiating the world successfully depends on a combination of adept footwork and systematic thought. The puzzles themselves aren't overwhelmingly difficult - just hard enough to keep you going back for more. Exploration and analysis must be carried out with care; dither too long in one place, get lost in one of the more labyrinthine systems of arrows and before you know it, time has run out. Presentation is polished and scrolling smooth. Even the computerised version of Games Without Frontiers sounds something like the original. On the whole, an original, playable and compelling game. Considering where the money goes, a very worthy purchase.
I have never seen such self promotion in all my life. It's no wonder Code Masters were the first software house to jump on to the Sport Aid bandwagon - there's so much self gratification and it's almost impossible to find out how to play the game. But it's all for a good cause, as they say. Most of the claims made on the inlay are a bit over the top (are all of the 100 screens really 'amazing'?), but the game does claim to be appealing to non-computer experts, and I would have to agree. The Race Against Time is a very simple memory game - just remember where all the objects are and where to use them and you've reached the objective. Getting from one location to the other present no difficulty whatsoever, so once the game is completed your £5 is all used up. After playing it for a few hours I reckon that situation could occur pretty quickly. Simple fun for a good cause though.
This game makes a welcome change from the usual Code Masters products. The word simulator is nowhere to be seen, just the many wonderful sights of the world all packed into one cassette box. Each screen is full of detail, with places such as Buckingham Palace and the Sydney Opera House around every corner. Colour has been used well with the minimum amount of clash, but the sound is just the usual raspy Code Masters sound effects and a Peter Gabriel tune. I really enjoyed running around the world discovering what to do with the various objects. The Race Against Time is just good clean fun with the added bonus of your money going towards a good charity.
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