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Domark Ltd
Arcade: Race 'n' Chase
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K

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Jon Pillar
Chris Bourne

There are games with tricky controls and there are games with overly tricky controls. And then there's Hard Drivin'.

It's a lead-sled sim with a heck of a lot going for it. After the licence was announced there were widespread murmurings that Domark must have been eight socks short of a laundry to take it on. Then the conversion appeared and smugly quashed the scoffing. There are two distinct parts to the action, the more straightforward of which is the Speed Track. Here the idea is, well, to drive as fast as possible really. If you manage to complete the course you're put up against the Phantom Futon, a mean driver with a grim expression who'll blow you off the road with his jet-propelled mattress. (I think you'll find that's Phantom Photon actually. Ed) As an alternative, if you turn right at the first junction you'll find yourself blazing along the nerve-busting Stunt Track. This offers an unrivalled opportunity to be loudly ill as you scream over an open bridge, thump flatly down steep ramps and zing through a 360 degree loop. All this (and more) whilst swerving past road users who appear to have been hand-picked from the ranks of the Barnstaple Elderly Stick Whittlers' Club. The action is depicted in speedy shaded-3D, the most impressive graphics outside of a Freescape game. Even though they do tend to fall to bits if there's a lot going on. Spookily enough, this actually adds to the game.

So why, for those of you who've impatiently sought out the final score, isn't this a Megagame? For one simple reason - it's completely impossible to play. The controls are preposterously sensitive - one twitch of the joystick and the car reacts like Bambi on ice. To be fair, this is what happened in the arcade version, but there you had mechanical feedback via the chunky steering wheel. Though it pains me to say it, I'm afraid that as a game Hard Drivin' is only good for frightening people into using public transport.


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The last true ninja passed away on October 3rd 1157. After spending 30 years developing his mental and physical powers to the absolute maximum he was struck by lightning and died of embarrassment.

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Righto Susan, if we take the first left, the second right and the first left then we should be at Aunt Poppy's in no time.

Notorious Storage Facilities number 114: Bettersley's Barn, in which seven people were once eaten by a cow.