Everybody, but everybody, thinks that Outrun will be the Christmas biggy. They are probably right. But if there is any justice and common sense Super Hang On is the game that ought to be at the top of everyone's Dear Santa list.
There have been a fair few attempts at racing games on the Spectrum, both cars and bikes, and the best have been tolerably good.
Super Hang On wipes the floor with all those previous games - it goes beyond even Enduro Racer in its achievements.
Almost all racing games work the same way. The bike or car sits in the middle of the road which disappears into the mid-horizon. The illusion of speed is achieved by road-side objects which scroll past and the way the road twists and turns.
The technique remains the same here but it's realised better than ever before. The bike is big and not just single coloured. The sense of movement is achieved with some of the smoothest moving graphics yet seen.
The detail is superb - watch the way the bike exhaust flames red when you engage the turbo boost (a bit like the Batmobile actually).
Even the great graphics don't fully explain the sheer wonderfulness of the game. That's down to something more subtle - the bike response - the way you can control the bike precisely through each curve. Like Revs on the Beeb, the game really 'feels' authentic.
Super Hang-On is also vast. Around six stages on each of four continents. Each continent requires a separate Load and each features distinctive graphics.
You can play the game and finish the first stage of the first continent fairly easily. This is encouraging for those who give up easily, like me. The problem is that it soon becomes extremely difficult to get any further - you are always under a very tight time limit to reach each gate and it was ages before I managed to get as far as the second one.
The faster you hit each gate point the bigger your time bonus. And to keep going and to get through all the gates in a country you'll have to drive like the clappers, never hit another bike (a serious slow-up) and never come off the track which at the very least loses you a few seconds.
Electric Dreams has pulled out all the stops on this one. You can even adjust the sensitivity of the joystick response - more is good for weaving in between other bikes but less is generally safer and easier for beginners.
There's a lot of track to get around and the feel is very true to the original game. It feels fab, it's exciting to play and is easily the best road race game on the Spectrum bar none - and that includes Outrun and Enduro Race.
Label: Electric Dreams
Author: Chris Wood, ZZKJ
Reviewer: Graham Taylor
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