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Virgin Games Ltd
1990
Arcade: Race 'n' Chase
£9.99
£3.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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58
Stuart Campbell
Chris Bourne

Off-road racing, eh? What a dumb idea. Not only do you mess up some perfectly nice fields by driving massive juggernauts all over them at dangerously high speeds, but you also get your truck all manky into the bargain. What's wrong with good old ON-road racing, that's what I want to know.

Anyway, stupid conceptual niggles aside, Super Off-Road is actually a completely spiffy little game. For any of you out there who've spent the last year asleep under a wildebeest, it's a racing game in the Super Sprint style. You view the action from overhead and drive around a selection of eight bumpy, hilly tracks littered with craters and big puddles against three computer-controlled opponents (or two computer-controlled opponents and one human competitor), one of which is always 'Ironman' Ivan himself. Beat Ivan in the race and you get to move onto the next track, as well as winning pots of dosh which you can spend on improving your truck to make it even more of a mad turbo nutter-death machine. Finish behind him and it's all over.

Luckily, this is something you won't have to worry about too much, because the game is really easy to beat. Perhaps a bit too easy, in fact, as even the most average player will almost certainly complete all eight tracks by their second or third game. (And this despite the fact that you don't just get them all in a row, you have to do some of the earlier ones several times in both directions before you get to the eighth.)

This puts a bit of a question mark over it lasting appeal. Even if you don't come first in a race, you'll probably still qualify cos 'Ironman' is so pathetic that more often than not he finishes last. Even if you give him a lap-and-a-half start. But then again, maybe I'm being a bit too picky here. If you're battling against a chum it doesn't really matter about seeing the different tracks. If you're not, the game is such a lot of fun to play that you probably won't mind too much that it never seems to end. But just for the hell of it, let's finish on another whinge. The tiny graphics, extreme speed and largely monochrome nature of things mean that it's sometimes hard to tell which truck you're actually controlling. Although ti's not as hard a you might think, so, er, forget I mentioned it. Just remember this instead: Super Off-Road is the best Super Sprint-type game ever seen on the Speccy, and you'd have to be several candy shrimps short of a pic'n'mix not to rush out and buy it at once. What are you waiting for?

89%

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BLIM!

Before becoming a top truck-racing dude, Ivan 'Ironman' Stewart used to advertise Hotpoint electrical products on various American local radio stations, hence the nickname.

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Making sandcastles on the track was not considered a good idea. But Nicky did it anyway. So they ran him over.

At this point Patricia put the car into third. But it wasn't enough, and the examiner failed her.