I'd never played Badlands before, but Rod gave me an idea of what to expect. "When it loads up, you'll think the CPC has crashed," he warned, "but it hasn't. The graphics are supposed to look like that." No matter how crap it looks, the graphics are probably the least of this game's worries.
You'd think it wouldn't be possible to mess up a game based on the super addictive gameplay classic Super Sprint. But if anyone can manage it, you'll have to place your money on Domark, who seem to specialise in crap games (cf Pit-Fighter, Hydra, Super Space Invaders, Skull & Crossbones, S.T.U.N. Runner and just about everything else they've ever produced).
And indeed, manage it they have. (Good work!) So what's wrong with Badlands? Most things really. Removing the reverse function and replacing Up with Fire (as the control for moving forward) hacks to pieces the intricate control method that made Super Sprint and Supercars such delights. What you're left with, when the chiselling is over and the dust clears, is one of the easiest and most pointless games ever.
Your car hasn't got the expected handling problems (control method and slip factor), the opposition cars are precious little opposition, and the tracks are very small and very simple. What can be done then to present some sort of challenge for the competitor? Don't worry, the people behind Badlands knew what to do about that. They thought it would be a good idea to put mines and walls of fire on the track. Prats.
It's all about crashing into walls, turning round and then continuing on your journey. And that's it, Badlands. With just eight small tracks to snore round it's a bit lacking in 'lands', but as for the 'bad', well it's got that by the bucketload. One for the bin, methinks.
Original release: December 1990
Original publisher: Domark
Original score: 40% (AA65)
A good game is a good game is a good game. Badlands is a crap game laughingly adapted from a brilliant one.