Sinclair User15th March 1988
Published in Sinclair User #75
Gee Bee Air Rally
Ah, the good ol' days. We had real men then, you know. We had real excitement. We had real Air Rallies. Ah yes, I remember them well. I remember the greatest one of all, the GB. Yes, I remember that. That was where I met your mother, right after I won. Now, there's a game that's ripe for conversion. (Tony, what is this twaddle? is the pressure getting to you or what? - GT).
A great voice booms across the desolate plain. "Do not worry. Old Man. I have heard your prayers and they have been answered." No, it's not the voice of our publisher known to all as 'God', it is the voice of Activision, the fabbo software house that has seen the light and sensibly decided to convert GB Air Rally from the Amiga, to the Spectrum. Surprisingly it's made a very good conversion.
GBAR is a race game, or rather, a series of races. 15 in all, plus 5 special events. You are given a limited amount of time to complete each course in your small light aircraft. Other contestants fly in your way, and you have to fly over, under or around them without going outside the markers that mark the course. If you go off course, ie outside the barriers, time accelerates to four times the normal time and, well, you take less time this time to do twice as much as you did last time. You see.
The illusion of movement has been well realised, the ground effect being composed of horizontal strips of light and dark colour. These are scrolled towards the bottom of the screen and widened to give the effect of coming close to the screen. The sprites, few that they are, are also enlarged to give the same illusion and it works remarkably well.
Your plane is very large, fully 8 character blocks wide, and handles very well. It slips realistically when cornering, and it slows and accelerates, as would be expected, when going up and down.
The special events give a welcome break from the hectic races. There are 2 types of special event, and they are balloon popping and the slalom. In the balloon popping, you have to burst a set number of balloons within the time limit to qualify, though you have to be careful. Hidden amongst the scores of balloons are telegraph poles. Hit these too many times and you will stall, and get to see one of the game's many pictures.
These are a real treat. There are various predicaments you can end up in when you crash You could end up in a pigsty, or out in the desert. You could find yourself hanging from a tree or, if you're lucky, you'll find yourself looking up between a young lady's legs. (Dillon! Don't be repulsive - TH).
The other special event is the slalom. Fly on the outside of the set number of markers to complete the course. This is not very easy. Fly on the wrong side of a marker and you lose a lot of time. Very nasty.
Do I have any gripes? Only one. The game is multi-load. A great shame, and as far as I can tell, a waste of time. There is no great difference between each load, but still, I suppose Activision had their reasons. Generally though, a real treat, and a jolly good conversion.
Race for the sky in one of the straightest conversions from a 16 bit machine I've seen yet on the Spectrum.