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1988
Arcade: Race 'n' Chase
£9.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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43
Andy Smith
Chris Bourne

Ocean shift into top gear.

Outrun may well have been a tremendous success as far as sales went, but we here at ACE, and judging by the amount of mail we received, a good few of you too, were disappointed with the 8-bit versions of that Sega classic. The car moved unconvincingly, was slow and handled appallingly. So can Ocean make a better job of converting another classic car driving coin-op?

The action is viewed from just behind and slightly above the car, and the object of the game is to compete against a number of other cars around a circuit. There are three checkpoints on the course, so to stay in the running the player must reach each checkpoint within a time limit. Make it, and some extra time is added to help you reach the next checkpoint. Once the lap is finished you start all over again until you've completed four laps of the track.

The controls are simple enough, just accelerate, brake, left and right. What's not so simple, of course, is avoiding roadside obstacles and other racing cars. When you get to know the course and where the straights and bends are, staying on the road becomes less of a problem - or would do if the amount of traffic didn't increase as you progressed, making it more and more common to find yourself weaving between bunches of up to four cars.

It's good to see that not all of the computer-controlled cars are expert drivers - indeed one of the major hazards (especially later in the game) is avoiding computer cars that have collided with each other and gone spinning off. Crashing into any of the cars sends you tumbling end over end, losing precious time while you restart and build up speed again.

What Out Run didn't have, and what really makes a coin-op conversion like this playable and addictive, is realistic handling from the car and an impression of speed. Ocean have got both just right, and though there may not be much depth to the game, it remains extremely playable and you're likely to be coming back to it for months.

Reviewer: Andy Smith

RELEASE BOX
Atari ST, Price TBA , Imminent
Amiga, Price TBA , Imminent
SPEC 128 £9.95cs. £14.95dk, Out Now
Amstrad, £9.95cs. £14.95dk, Out Now
C64/128, £9.95cs. £14.95dk, Imminent
IBM PC, To be decided

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 75/100
1 hour: 80/100
1 day: 90/100
1 week: 60/100
1 month: 45/100
1 year: 20/100

Great gameplay that's highly addictive.

8/10
6/10
2/10
9/10
832/1000

Banner Text

SPECTRUM VERSION

It's just as colourful as you'd expect on a Speccy, with sound effects to match. The scrolling is faster on the Spectrum than it is on the Amstrad giving a greater impression of speed. You won't find any of the computer cars smashing into each other though, and when you crash the car doesn't go flying dramatically through the air. It still just as exciting and playable, though, and coin-op racing fans will not be disappointed.

AMSTRAD VERSION

Although only four rather drab colours are used and the sound effects are nothing much, what makes this special is the way the car moves and the smooth, fast scrolling. A thoroughly enjoyable racing game made even more so by the graphics.

Graphics: 8/10

Audio: 6/10

IQ Factor: 2/10

Fun Factor: 9/10

Ace Rating: 841/1000

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 80/100

1 hour: 90/100

1 day: 90/100

1 week: 60/100

1 month: 45/100

1 year: 20/100

ARCADE ACCURACY

As close a conversion as you could reasonably expect. There are a few features missing but the main ingredient, the gameplay, has been captured.

Coin-op Score: 8

Screenshot Text

(Right) Amstrad - Rear-ending one of the computer cars sends you flying spectacularly through the air. It looks good, but wastes lots of valuable time!

(Above) Amstrad - Computer cars often collide and go spinning off, so beware of groups of closely-bunched cars.

(Below) Spectrum - The timer is running out and there's still no sign of the checkpoint. Take a chance and overtake that car on the outside. You'll either clip him and ruin any chance of reaching the checkpoint, or you may just scrape by and make it in time.