Sinclair User

Super Scramble Simulator

Author: Tony Dillon
Publisher: Gremlin
Machine: Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Sinclair User #88

Super Scramble Simulator

Something tells me I'm going to have a hit of trouble starting this review. What incredible piece of journalism can I use to grab the reader's attention? How can I begin this page with something amusing, yet captivating? Ah, I know! Did you notice that all the words in the title Super Scramble Simulator begin with the letter S?

I think that did the job, now on with the review. SSS (see?) is a brilliant product from Gremlin that lets you experience all the thrills and spills riding an off-road bike through nine levels of increasing difficulty against the clock. That'll keep even the most ardent rap fan busy.

The word for today is detail. Detail. SSS is full of it (so are you, Tone!), in both controls and graphics. I think for the younger Spectrum owners, the controls might just cause a bit of a problem. Up and down move you left and right on the overhead view (more later) while left and right make you accelerate and brake. Fire with the joystick centred makes you duck. Fire and right lift your front wheel and fire and left lift your back wheel. Fire and up changes up a gear gear and down changes down. Simple.

Super Scramble Simulator

So, why all these controls? Well, lifting the front and back wheel comes into use when mounting obstacles like logs and things. Speed is used in the same way as Kickstart. You have to move slowly on some obstacles. Gears are used to keep the revs as high as possible when climbing steep slopes and on the later tracks there are poles you have to duck under.

The graphics are pretty darn fab. The star point of the visual side is the animation of the main sprite. It's big and realistic. A lot of work has gone into sticking as many frames as possible into the bike animation, which probably explains why there's little else in the way of actually moving things in the game. Apart from the scrolling. The scrolling is pretty impressive, even though it does lack the parallax that made me sit up and go cor, the first time I saw it (on another machine).

Now, the left and right bit of which I spoke earlier. Just below the main screen is a plan view of the track of which you are currently racing on. Unlike Kickstart, not only do you now have to worry about getting onto and over the obstacles, you have to line yourself up and that can be tricky sometimes when an obstacle follows another closely and they're on opposite sides of the track.

Still, difficulty is a game's strongest point (are you sure about this one Tony? - JD) and SSS is fairly difficult at first. Still, once you've mastered the controls, it becomes a little more playable. I was surprised at how quickly I finished the game. You see, the problem comes when you mess up an obstacle three times. The computer quite nicely gives you a helping hand and moves you along an obstacle.

Super Scramble is a corker. It's got fab graphics, there's precise control over the bike and you can continually develop tactics and tricks to get through the course more quickly.

Overall Summary

Playable, fun and it's got a motorbike in it. A Classic.

Tony Dillon

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