Ferrari have built some rather nippy motors down the years, but without a doubt the F40, a hunk of metal that travels from 0-60 in 3.9 seconds, produces 478 bhp and is yours for a mere £350,000 (plus VAT and P&P, plates and delivery extra), is the most awesome of them all. And now's your chance to drive, crash or thrash one for as long as you like in Crazy Cars II.
The plot: a stolen car racket is plaguing America. Problem is: the perpetrators are police officers. To stop them, you must cross four states without being caught. You do have the advantage, however, of a brand spanking new Ferrari F40, all fitted out with go faster extras (as if it needs them!) such as radar detection devices.
Your car squeals away in a cloud of tyre smoke and the speedo busts through the magical 100kph (60mph) mark in even fewer seconds than the real thing. It bucks from side to side to gain traction, and despite its huge tyres, if you get things wrong you spin out, Mansell style. As the car picks up speed, it starts to misbehave, becoming harder and harder to line up for corners - and, more importantly, to overtake bent coppers you come across on the road.
Speed is enhanced with some neat sound sonics: approaching and then passing a jam-jar, you hear his siren change tone (so you know when to hurl abuse safely!), and the engine tone varies with revs rather than the boring monotone growl often associated with car sims. The visuals are great too, with panoramic sweeps to take you back on the road after a smash, grass spewing from your wheel arches when a short cut is taken and very neat explosions when all has failed and you've managed to target a lamppost. [Listen buddy, if you want to learn to drive I won't stand in your way, but when you crash that car of yours don't come crawling to me! - Ed]
Gameplay is inevitably strictly limited but with a dream car to drive, a solid chase scenario and realistic routes to chase across, any CPC driver is bound to have his/her hands full. Crashing is far too easy, and this interrupts the flow of the game, but it doesn't cost you a life (Who are they trying to kid, a head to head with a lamppost at 170mph and it doesn't even cost you a life?) only time, the Big Enemy.
Sometimes you feel more as if you're driving in London than the Arizona desert, especially if you crash behind a police vehicle. They want to arrest you (but I thought they were the bad guys!), and if they get in front of you at low speed, you're nicked mate! But often after a crash, the police just wait up the road ready to pounce, and then there's no way out.
Oddly, crashing on a slip road sometimes results in a similar no win situation, where your shiny new motor just repeatedly explodes for no apparent reason. This has to be put down as a bug, however, rather than a feature.
Crazy Cars II is an excellent car chase game, with graphics that leave many sims standing (such as Codemasters' Twin Turbo V8, which stars the same car). It's not stunningly fast but it's fast enough. Play it at your peril, for while it's fun and is instantly appealing it is also annoyingly hard to beat. Hours will be sent crashing into trees, bollards and law enforcers. It ain't that crazy, but the car is something else.
It's not often fights break out in the AA office, but we came pretty close this time. I tried telling Trent that, as editor, I should get a go at Crazy Cars II whenever I wanted. I can't repeat his reply. I didn't understand most of it.
So I told him to go off and work on his joystick survey...
Get into another state.
Looks fine, but Ferraris should always be red!
P. A really smooth ride.
N. Just, a teeny weeny bit slow, perhaps?
P. Great title music.
N. Smashing doppler effect sirens.
Grab Factor 79%
P. Simple to pick up and play.
Staying Power 67%
P. Whole lot of road to ride.
N. Too many police, and too narrow roads.
P. Test drive the F40 today!