500cc Grand Prix (Loriciels/Activision) Review | Computer Gamer - Everygamegoing

Computer Gamer

500cc Grand Prix
By Microids
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Computer Gamer #24

500cc Grand Prix

Split-screen games are not new. Motorbike racing games are not new either. But, a full colour, *vertically* split screen motorbike racing game is something to look out for.

To my knowledge, this is the only motorbike racing game ever to have a split screen, and is probably the only racing game to have a vertically split screen. The idea behind splitting the screen is that two players can play the game at the same time on the same screen. Each player watching his own particular section of the screen. Up to now, splitting the screen has been done horizontally with a very wide and short window for each player to look through. This can work quite well as roads tend to be wide and flat and racing cars tend to be short and squat. However, motorbikes are relatively tall.

Other considerations also come into play, a taller screen allows the programmer to put status areas at the top or bottom of the screen without making the aspect too extreme. In this case, the bottom of each player's window is reserved for the instruments and the top of the screen has the general status information. This leaves the playing area of the screen rather small but almost square, whch works out quite well.

The game features twelve selectable tracks - the major Grand Prix circuits from twelve countries and four or five computer-controlled opponent bikes. The graphics are in the Amstrad's sixteen colour low-resolution mode which works very well. The graphics and movement on the screen are very good, with colour used to good effect. The track moves very well and is of the dead flat 'Pole Position' type of surface, complete with the red and white stripes running down the side of the road.

Control is handled properly and when you make a manoeuvre your bike will stick to it, so when you hit a corner at a particular angle your biker will stick to it rather than having to lean on your joystick all the time. You also have a manual gearbox with four gears.

Playing the game is very easy and enjoyable. Your view is hovering above and behind the bike a la Pole Position. Realism is sacrificed in the game, but this makes the game better and easier to play than otherwise. Games like TT Racer are so difficult and complex to play that it reduces the amount of enjoyment that you get from them.

500cc Grand Prix is definitely a second generation racing game with all the trappings of the original bunch and with a lot more besides. Now that the racing 'boom' is over, it is good to see an original and enjoyable racing game out once more and with a few twists on an old idea as well!