TT TRAIL BLAZER
Joystick: Kempston, Protek, Interface 2
Grand Prix motorcycling has increased in popularity tremendously over the past few years, so it was probably inevitable that someone would attempt to simulate the sport on a computer. Following the path blazed by Psion with the Formula One simulation, Chequered Flag, Micromega have produced Full Throttle, a hair-raising version of the Grand Prix 500cc TT races.
The game involves a race against forty bikers around any one of ten carefully simulated tracks. The controls are simple - accelerate, declerate, left and right. There is also a practice mode to give you a chance to familiarise yourself with the track.
The simulation is not as accurate as Chequered Flag, with 0-175mph in under three seconds, but the controls are extremely sensitive, and the bobbing and weaving of the riders lends considerable atmosphere. You should aim to take the lefthanders fast and the righthanders slow - if you hit the edge of the track you lose speed, and if you collide with another rider your speed drops to zero.
Graphics are not of the best quality, but on the whole match Chequered Flag, with a similar mountainous horizon and smoothly shifting track. The bikes themselves flicker, but with at least three or four in view at a time that is not surprising.
Beware; Full Throttle is maddeningly difficult. It took us many hours to achieve 39th out of 40 on the easiest circuit; the best attempt was 25th in Yugoslavia. Despite that the game is as addictive as any race game on the market.
One of the ways software publishers have breathed new life into old titles ie. more than six months since release, is to shove a few of them together on a tape for ten quid or so and call it something like 'Now that's what I call Software Solid Gold Hits II'. The truth about compilation tapes is that there are usually one or two goodish old games on them and a lot of dross.
Elite has launched a new range called Classics which gets around this problem by rereleasing the old games, singly, at a budget price - £2.99.
Elite is releasing one title a week, beginning on July 21, for the foreseeable future. Mostly they are old titles but there are a few new games thrown in here and there. Elite says the Classics label will feature only those of 'top quality'.
Looking at the first titles on Elite's release schedule I'd say they weren't entirely defined by the term but there are no absolute dodos and quite a few real bargains. The first four titles due between now and mid-August are all winners and well worth picking up if you missed them the first time round, or, as with Valhalla found them too pricey.
One of M J Estcourt's games for Micromega. It is a motorcycle racing game - the two-wheeled equivalent of Pole Position.
Looking at it now the single-colour graphics for the motorcycles look pretty simple but certain things remain constant. It is very fast and very addictive. In its simple way the 3D effect of the other motorcycles on the track is most effective - the way they zoom into the distance, mere specks in the horizon, is depressingly realistic, and it happens time and time again.
Well worth a fresh look.
Racing car simulations, following the blaze by Chequered Flag, have tended towards the disappointing. Micromega decided on Grand Prix motorcycles racing instead, and Full Throttle is a fine version of the sport.
Essentially very similar to the earlier game, with its curving track and sparsely detailed background, the game has one major advantage in that it is a real race, with forty other bikers to beat. Were the graphics not so flickery the game could be rated even more highly. A choice of genuine circuits with information on the lap records is a spur to the players achievement.
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