Reviewer: Phil South
I must say I was a bit worried about this one. (He's a bit worried! The YS Team) I mean, it's something of a concern when one of your fave arcade hits get scrunched onto the Speccy, innit? You think "Good grief, it won't be like Enduro Racer, will it?" and "Oo lumme, it's gonna be all one colour, innit? Green!", don't you? Well, I needn't have worried, 'cos Super Hang On is really good. (Phew! Worry isn't good for you, y'know!
Just like the coin-op version, you are in charge of a powerful motorbike, which you've got to race at top wack across six long and winding race courses around the world. The bike is really hi-tech, with a jet turbo booster which you can kick in when your speed reaches about 270-280 km, and all the usual steering and braking nonsense. You won't be using the brake much, on account of being a bit short on the old time, but when you do apply the brake, the little light comes on on the back of your bike. The way to complete the courses is to make it to the checkpoints in time (a bit like jolly old Outrun, rilly), whereupon you get an extended play and an opportunity to finish the next section. (I only got up to section three with a score of 241,880 before I had to stop playing and start writing.)
Well, I've got to get it out in the open. (Fnark, fwar, gwar!) I like it! It's an utterly wheelspinningly brill bit of arcade fastitude. What I mean is that old Super hard Up must be my fave racing game of the year. (Not difficult as it's the first racing game of the year. Snort! Ed) Far from being the monochrome borefest I had anticipated, it's a fast and colourful game, with all the gut-twisting curves and rubber-burning action of the arcade machine still intact on this version. All the items on the screen have a colour of their own, with some very tricky attribute cheating going on. The graphics really are the best renditions of the Hang On graphics you're likely to get on a wubber keyboard computer. You've even got the same courses to drive around, so arcade Super Hang On experts start with a distinct advantage. The best thing about the game is that it's really hard, (Fnark!) taxing even the most seasoned Hang Abouter, like me. There's nothing worse than a conversion that's too easy.
And so, there we have it. A cut above your average motorcycle race game, but still another one. It's for that reason that it dropped a mark rather than any lack of quality. Skill factor four, Mr Sulu...
THE COMPLETE YS GUIDE TO DRIVING GAMES
It's strange but true - normally courteous YS readers tend to turn into homicidal maniacs once they get behind the wheel of a Spectrum. We sent JONATHAN DAVIES, who still hasn't managed to get that wretched helmet off, to find out why.
It's an expensive business, driving. Not only do you have to hand out piles of dosh to actually get a car, but there are loads of 'hidden costs' thrown into the bargain' too. For a start, you've got to get it insured (in case you crash), which means serious sponds for your average Spectrum owner Then there's road tax, servicing, MOTs, petrol, all sorts of things. And, if you want to keep up with the latest fashions, you'll want to purchase a few 'extras' as well, ranging from simple '-TURBO-' stickers for the back window to alloys, buckets and twin cams. And they all mean spending lots and lots of money.
So wouldn't it be nice if you could get your Spectrum to sort of 'pretend' was a car, allowing you to zoom about to your heart's content for minimal outlay instead? Well, actually you can! Yes, all you need to do is buy a suitable driving game, load it up and you've got yourself a set of wheels.
It'll be almost exactly the same as driving a real car except that you can crash as much as you like without having to worry about your no-claims bonus. And you'll be able to choose from all the latest posh sports cars like Porsches, Ferraris and Lotuses and drive them as far and as fast as you like without having to splash out on a drop of petrol! (In fact, because driving games are so much cheaper and more practical than real cars, it is predicted that by the year 2012 the motorcar will have become obsolete, replaced by the driving game.) The only trouble with all this is that it's a bit hard to pick up birds with a 48K Spectrum.
JUST WHAT, EXACTLY, IS A DRIVING GAME?
Mmm, knew we'd have to get round to this sometime. Well, I've had a think and come up with the following spec...
- It's got to have either a car, a motorbike or a lorry in it.
- That means no bicycles, boats, jet-skis, tanks or anything like that.
- And no skateboards either. They're crap.
Seems simple enough. It means we're including Grand Prix-type games (where you just race against other cars) and shooting ones (where you zap them) but not similar-looking ones that don't have cars, bikes or lorries in (like boat ones). Okay? Phew. I never thought it would be quite so easy.
SO HOW ABOUT THINGS LIKE ARMY MOVES?
Oh cripes. Look, just shurrup. will you, whoever you are. No, Army Moves is out, I'm afraid. It's rubbish anyway.
So let's take a look at a few examples, eh? It's worth noting that, where driving games are concerned, the ratio of crap ones to good ones is a lot higher than with other types of game (apart from football games, of course). So you can't be too careful.
The YS Ratings System? You don't want that old thing. No sir, over here we have the brand-new top-of-the-range 1990 model. It's turbo-charged, fuel-injected, 16-valve, super-cooled and has a full X-pack (with droop snoot). And spots. You'll be doing yourself a favour.
It's no good having a driving game that seems to be simulating an FSO or something. You want real power, a feeling of being at one with the road and all that sort of thing. Control responses, speed etc are all taken into account here.
Assuming you remember to clean all the dead leaves and bird turds off the windscreen before you set out, what's the view like? A thinly-veiled graphics category, in other words, but jolly important all the same.
It may seem to have everything, but once you've set off, and you've been on the road for a while, do you relish every second that you're behind the wheel? Or do you want to keep stopping at the services? Or perhaps you'd rather just take the bus instead, eh?
A competitive edge is most important where driving's concerned, both in real life and on the Speccy. So do the other cars put up a decent fight, or do they just seem to be part of the scenery (if, indeed, there is any)?
This one did rather well when it first came out, I seem to remember. It's a very motorbikey sort of game where you've got to race against lots of other bikes round a series of courses. And it's these courses that are the key to the whole thing - they're brill! There are huge hills which you climb up and then plummet down the other side of, and there are even (I seem to remember) hills combined with corners which are particularly disconcerting. Your bike is nice too. Its multi-coloured and leans over superbly on corners. What else? Your fellow riders are pretty hard to beat, which helps. And that's about it really. All in all, then, a straight-forward but beautifully executed bike game with a really nice 'feel' to it. In fact, it's probably the best racing game around.
WHAT A BARG!
Summertime, summertime, summer, summer, summertime! Hurrah - summer is here! And what better way to celebrate the advent of sunny, carefree days than by locking yourself in your bedroom and playing a load of Speccy games? With the seemingly unstoppable spread of budget software, we here at YS thought it would be quite a wheeze to sort out the brass from the dross. So take your seats and upset your neighbour's popcorn as JON PILLAR whisks you with shameless bias through a roundup of the best £3.99ers around.
1. Super Hang-On
Reviewer: Jon Pillar
No contest. This motorbike game rips the opposition off the road at the first turn. What's it got? It's got the lot - gosh-wow quality, fall-off-your-seat graphics, millions of levels, just-so gameplay and the kind of addictive qualities other racers dream of. Jolly, jolly good.
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