Speed King (Mastertronic) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action

Speed King
By Mastertronic
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #13

Speed King

One of Mastertronic's all-time best-selling tiles was Formula One Simulator, which these days looks outdated. This new offering takes you out of the car and perches you on a high-performance motorbike, where you can rider against nineteen computer riders on ten different grand-prix circuits.

You begin by choosing which track to race on. Each has different characteristics: Silverstone with its long sweeping turns and straights is a very fast course, while the Spanish track is full of twists and turns to slow you down. You'll naturally want to practise on your chosen track before going into a full race. You can do that for as long as you like, trying to set a fast time and learning all the bends and how fast you can take them.

The bike has six gears and a top speed of 280mph. You won't get up to that on any but the longest straights, but most races will be spent in fourth or fifth gear at between 100 and 175mph if you're going to do well. When taking corners you lean the bike over and try to gauge the speed so that you get round as fast as possible but without falling off. Too fast and you'll skid onto the grass verge and crash.

Speed King

When you feel ready for a race you have to set one of the three difficulty levels and decide whether to have 2, 4 or 6 laps. You begin at the back of the pack, who stay in more or less line-astern formation all round the track. This can make them tough to get past on corners. If you hit them you crash, losing precious time. Certainly on the faster tracks you should quickly be able to beat them, but on the tighter circuits they are much tougher to beat.

When you're good enough the races become more of a time trial than a competition against the nineteen computer riders. A lap record is kept for each circuit. This means players can compete on a time basis even if not at the same time, and seek to set the best total race time for a circuit.

The driving sequence is well done: some good use of colour and a suitably straining engine noise. The opponents aren't very realistic in their behaviour but your bike is great to control and responds well. Not quite enough competitiveness in races but still an excellent game for the price.

Second Opinion

Speed King

It's not the best racing simulator I've ever seen, but it is a lot of fun. The opposition can be very easy to get past, even on champion level, but they still represent quite a challenge on the slower tracks. I wouldn't have minded some sort of rear-view mirror, but what do you expect for £1.99?

First Day Target Score

Under 60 second lap at Silverstone.

Green Screen View

Loses a lot of its appeal, but it's still every bit as playable.

Good News

P. 10 different tracks to blast round.
P. Good graphics and use of colour.
P. Constant challenge against the clock.
P. Miles better than Formula 1 Simulator.

Bad News

N. Computer riders aren't very competitive.
N. Beating the clock may not be enough to keep you hooked.

Bob Wade

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