Computer Gamer


Publisher: Leisure Genius
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

Published in Computer Gamer #27


Leisure Genius produces reasonable games based on well known non-computer games. The latest for the Amstrad, is based on Scalextric.

The original game pitted two or four cars against each other on a race circuit that you could build yourself from sections of track. These sections came in various lengths, bends and straights.

The computer version of this game is a combination of Pitstop II and Racing Destruction Set, the track designer. The game includes all the sections of track you would expect as well as a few chicanes. There are also seventeen pre-defined tracks - the ones used in the Formula One Grand Prix series. But using a pre-defined track can be very laborious as you must cycle through each track in turn. If you want to race on Brands Hatch, for instance - probably the most popular circuit - you have to watch sixteen other tracks being drawn slowly on the screen before you first. As each track takes a few seconds to draw, the wait is just about as irritating as it could possibly be. And if you choose another track after a race, you have to go through the whole rigmarole again if you want a different one as you always start with the first one.


The tracks are also extremely inaccurate - most of them go around the wrong way! F1 circuits, indeed nearly all circuits, are driven around in a clockwise manner, with the first bend being on the right. This is why pole position is at the front on the right. There is also no provision for changing pole position, car one gets it all the time - it would be car two, but the circuits are backwards!

And, when the start straight is positioned, the cars will always drive of to the right if it is a horizontal straight. Think back to the last time you saw the start of an F1 race on TV. Right to left, wasn't it?

The designer is the same as any other designer of this type; a blank piece of screen; icons representing the different track sections and a joystick moved cursor to pick them up and put them down. The main problem here is that the save track option doesn't work with the remote lead of the tape deck connected, so if you've got a 464 hard luck! The reason for this is because the save routine is a turbo save and does not write out a lead tone, so the write head of the deck starts writing before the erase head can clear that section of tape.

The game itself also has a few serious flaws, the most serious being that it is so unrealistic it is a complete joke. You don't expect that much accuracy with a game like this, but in this one you can beat the hardest computer opponent without ever using the brake! When you hit a bend, you just skid until your speed drops to that permissible for that section of track and carry on. It is also extremely difficult to overtake as the track is not very wide - whoever starts first wins the race.

This could have been a very good game. The program is actually well written and looks good too. The only problem is that it looks like it was written by someone who had never seen a car before!