Archive for the 'Simulator' Category

Chase H.Q.

Author: admin
October 21, 2010

“Let’s go, Mr.Driver!”. It has to be said, that it ever there was a moaning, spazzy character in any game, your Chase H.Q. co-driver wins the prize. He’s full of useless exclamations like “Bear down!” and “Harder harder!” What with him spoiling his pants every time you hit the turbo button and Nancy at head-quarters moaning and suggesting that you’ve picked the wrong job, no wonder they say a policeman’s lot is not a happy one.

It’s good news, then, to discover that you’ve got one of this year’s best driving games full of action, drama and astounding speed to keep your mind off the down side of the job.

Chase H&Q was an arcade favorite last year, and its transition to the Spectrum was predicted by some as utterly impossible. However, bearing in mind the capabilities of the machines concerned, I reckon that the Speccy version is by far the best, beating Atari ST and Amiga hands down on both graphics and gameplay.

The aim of the game is to track down deadly criminals who are racing from one side of America to the other in an attempt to flee the scenes of their odious crimes. Behind the wheel of a Porsche 928, you hurtle down the highway in hot pursuit of the bad guys up ahead. Once you manage to find them (often with a little help from a following helicopter) you have to barge into them repeatedly and run them off the road. It’s always good to have a big chopper helping you from behind. Ooer.

Once off the road, you can then proceed to nick the driver. Nancy at head quarters will then tell you who’s next for the rubber hose treatment in the back room, and what sort of car they’re driving for easy identification.

As you belt around the countryside, infuriatingly dithery innocents drift around the track – sorry – road, getting in the way. Bloody civilians. Thankfully, there’s absolutely no penalty for crashing into these drivers, except it slows you down a bit. Just like the real thing.

While the chase is in progress, it’s easy to pay scant attention to the fantastic surroundings. It’s really only when someone else is playing, or you’re watching the demo that you notice the astounding undulating hills, the ultra-smooth scrolling and the excellent speech (128K only).

When you look at Chase H&Q moving as quickly as it does, choc-a-black full of gameplay tuned to the finest degree, all the graphics with their excellent animations, other action driving games seem to look pretty silly.

All the allowances you’ve been making for the other car games, things like “Well, there are a lot of objects, so it’s bound to be a bit slow”, or “it doesn’t really matter what it looks like so long at the gameplay is there” seem a little bit daft.

When you see and play Chase H&Q, you realise that there simply aren’t any excuses. It is possible to do everything without compromise.

Finally, a driving game without any flaws. Nail-biting, tyre squealing action right to the very end. If you’re not bowled over by Chase H.Q., you are off your rocker.



Turbo Esprit

Author: admin
October 17, 2010

If you’ve ever watched a TV or movie car chase with a gleam of envy in your eyes then you’re going to mad over Turbo Esprit Spectrum because that’s what this game is all about. It’s one long, fast, action packed car chase. OK, the graphics aren’t brilliant, and the sound – well you’ll soon be wishing the Spectrum could make noises like real turbocharged supercar.

However, the game is gripping, packed with atmosphere and genuinely addictive. And after all, it’s probably the only chance most of us will get to get behind the weel of a Lotus – so you could say it’s worth it just for that!

But meanwhile, back at the plot. Here’s what you have to do.

An armored supply car is carrying drugs to the center of the city. One after the other, four delivery cars will drive in to meet it, and then drive off to their hideaways. After the fourth pick-up the armored supply car will leave the city.

Your mission is to stop the delivery cars after they have made their pick-ups and before they disappear and to stop the armored supply car before it leaves the city.

You’ll score extra points for catching the drug smugglers alive, rather than shooting them.

Your pursuit vehicle is a Lotus Turbo Esprit, capable of speeds up to 150 mph.

You lose points for injuring the general public. There are traffic lights at junctions which should be obeyed – the smugglers will probably ignore them – there are pedestrian crossings and road-works that you should avoid.

On your screen you will see the top of your steering wheel, a spedometer, rev counter, fuel gauge and temperature gauge. Gear changing is done autimatically by the computer.

Your car is displayed in the screen in front of you. At the beginning of the game it is in the center left lane.

At the bottom left of the screen you will see penalty points which you get if you crash into innocent cars or kill pedestrians. Next to this is your score which you get for catching drug-smuggling cars and beneath this you will see the occasional message from HQ control.

The “cockpit” view is quite realistic – but spoilt a bit when you realize that you can see your car ahead anyway. The moving steering whil, a la Revs, is a nice touch.

All cars in the game are black, except those used by the drug smugglers. These are blue delivery cars, the red armored supply car and the magenta “hit” cars that will try to shoot you.

You can call a map of the city by pressing the “M” key. Flashing circles indicate your own car, and those of the smugglers. Small petrol-pumps indicate the positions of garages. Four dots at crossroads indicate traffic lights. Arrows along side roads indicate that these are one-way streets.

Be warned – this isn’t an easy game to get into. But it’s definitely worth the time and effort.



Super Hang-on

Author: admin
October 6, 2010

Many think that Outrun to be the most famous racing game on ZX-Spectrum. They are probably right. But if there is any justice or common sense, Super Hang On online is the game that ought to be in the top of the list.

There have been a fair few attempts at racing games on the Spectrum, both cars and bikes, and the best have been tolerably good.

Super Hang On online wipes the floor with all those previous games -it goes beyond even Enduro Racer in its achievements.

Almost all racing games work the same way. The bike or car sits in the middle of the road which disappears into the mid-horizon. The illusion of speed is achieved by road-side objects which scroll past and the way the road twists and turns.

The technique remains the same here but it’s realized better than ever before. The bike is big and not just single colored. The sense of movement is achieved with some of the smoothest graphics yet seen.

The detail is superb – watch the way the bike exhaust flames red when you engage the turbo boost (a bit like the Batmobile actually).

Even the great graphics don’t fully explain the sheer wonderfulness of the game. That’s down to something more subtle – the bike response – the way you can control the bike precisely through each curve. Like Revs on the Beeb, the game really “feels” autentific.

Super Hang on is also vast. Around six stages on each of four continents. Each continent requires a separate Load and each features distinctive graphics.

You can play the game and finish the first stage of the first continent fairly easily. This is encouraging for those who give up easily, like me. The problem is that soon it becomes extremely difficult to get further – you are always under a very tight time limit to reach each gate and it was ages before I managed to get as far as the second one.

The faster you hit each gate point the bigger your time bonus. And to keep going and to get through all the gates in a country you’ll have to drive like the clappers, never hit another bike (a serious slow-up) and never come off the track which at the very least loses you a few seconds.

Electric Dreams has pulled out of all the stops on this one. You can even adjust the sensivity of the joystick response – more is good for weaving in between other bikes but less is generally safer and easier for begginers.

There’s a lot of track to get around and the feel is very true to the original game. It feels fab, it’s exciting to play and is easity the best road race game on the Spectrum bar non – and that includes Outrun and Enduro Racer.



911 TS

Author: admin
October 5, 2010

The inlay card states that 911 TS has been produced with the cooperation of the Dunlop Tyre Co. However from the information uncovered by some reliable sources it seem that the game was put together for Dunlop to be used in ther spring publicity drive. This may mean that it wad a little difficult to find the game in the shops.

In essence what we have here is a car racing game. You are an ace rally driver on a very tough course being relentlessly pursued by an unsporting for. The opening stage of the game shows he player with $2000 to spend on goodies for the car. The add-ons are selected frm four pages each with a choice of four items which range from tyres (price from $248 up to $644) to steering and suspension systems. You will have to budget carefully in order to buy the optimum range of accessories, the extras are not fitted to your car for the start but must be collected en-route.

The race takes place over 8 stages through four different types of scenery. The main playing screens presents a birds eye view of the road and a map of the course making the position of each of the 8 stages together with the position of your car and that of your foe. On the left an indicator shows your speed and opposite a similar indicator shows the amount of damage your car has sustained. At the top of the screen the distance to the end of the stage is shown together with the total score and the time remaining to complete the stage. Your car appears to stand still while the road scrolls downwards and since only a small part of the road ahead is in view you have very little warnng of the oncomming hazards.

At hte end of stages 1, 3, 5 and 7 you are able to take advantage of pauses to collect some of the extra goodies, which you may have ordered for without added features your car will not have the performance required to finish the race. Should you survive the race you can start again but each new start becomes more difficult as the time allowed to complete each stage shortens.

Graphically the game is not unlike Grand National, obviously the same sprite routines have been used. 911 TS is fairly typical Elite game the style of the graphics and movement are givaways. 911 TS is produced with the cooperation of Dunlop which means that the game uses the various Dunlop product names. While the game is fairly playable the act of dying on the first stage, or indeed any stage, means returnign to the start, a severe knock for addictivity. Avoiding obstacles and so preventing damage to your car will require quick reactions and a great deal of concentration. Elite had another commercial success because it was a commercial game, but to be honest, I don’t thing this is such a great improvement (except graphically) over oldies like Turbo Driver by Boss. It’s also rather like The Dukes of Hazzard rotated through 90 degrees. Perhaps Elite should be known ans the “Wham of computer games”.



ATV Simulator

Author: admin
September 15, 2010

ATV Simulator brings together all the essential elements of motorbike cross-country scrambling and is one of the first side-view simulators.

The game has a total of six different playing areas: Sand Duning, Grass Tracking, Icebergs, Desert, Tropicana and Swamp. All of these scroll from left to right and you are instructed to out-manoeuvre an assortment of obstacles including rocks, fences, icebergs, mounds and ball bouncing seals

The screen is split into two windows – the top window shows player one’s progress through the course and the second player two’s. Both players must copete against the clock.

Any player who fails to reach the finishing line within the given time (which changes according to the difficulty of each course) will lose and forfeit the race. The remaining player is permitted to proceed through the remaining courses, util he/she fails to complete the course within the given time.

Controlling your bike or buggy is achieved by using either the keyboard or the joystick.

If you successfully complete any course within the given time limit you are awarded a score bonus which rapidly clocks-up your score.

I don’t know whether Code Masters intended ATV Spectrum to have been a rival to Mastertronic‘s Kikstart, or maybe it’s just a slight coincidence that it turned out to look and sound almost like it.



Deathchase

Author: admin
April 8, 2010

Written in 1983 in just 9K of memory, Deathchase puts you on a motorbike in a forest, with no purpose in life other than to chase other characters on motorbikes and kill them for bounty money. Your enemies don’t shoot back at you (not even the bonis point tanks and helicopters), there are no power-ups, no end-of-level bosses, and the only things which can kill you are the trees of the forest itself. They don’t TRY to kill you, of course, they just stand there, growing leaves and photosynthesising and doing whatever it is that trees do over the countless millenia, and wait for you to crash headlong into them at ful tilt. And you will. The inanimate nature of your only enemy gives Deathchase Spectrum addictive qualities which are almost unimaginable to anyone who hasn’t played it. You see, when you get killed in Deathchase, it’s nobody’s fault but your own. The trees don’t mve, nothing shoots at you to distract you and you can even slow down or stop to catch your breath. Basically, there is no excuse for getting yourself splattered all over the forest except your own carelessness and impatience. Which means, of course, that the next time you play, you won’t make any of those silly mistakes. Will you? Well, of course you will. The thing is, the game is so utterly simple (I mean, ‘avoid the trees’, it’s almost insulting) that you don’t see any reason to slow down, you can’t accept that your skills as a gamer aren’t equal to such a laughably straightforward task. So off you go at top speed again, whizzing through the forest in fine dramatic style until you remember that you’ve got enemies to chase, so you swerve after them with your bullets zipping past just centimeters away, edge just that bit further over to get them into your sights, and BLAM! Another faceful of bark. There’s more… (Very large portion cut, the gist of which is you drive at night every second level, and there are also bonus tanks and helicopters that drift temptingly across the horizon, just daring you to lose concentration for a split-second while you fire at them.)

Doesn’t sound like much, does it? Bikes, trees, bonus targets and crashing. (Lots of crashing.) Only two real controls, hardly any sound, totally basic character-square graphics and gameplay your dog could probably learn. I’m probably talking rubbish, all those years in front of flickering screens have probably destroyed my mind. It can’t be that good really. So why not prove me wrong? Why don’t you give it a try? What have you got to lose? Except the rest of your life, that is…

CONTROLS: Kempston or keyboard.

    1 – left;
    zero – right;
    9 – accelerate;
    8 – decelerate (but you really don’t want that one at all);
    Space – fire.


Cyclone

Author: admin
April 8, 2010

What’s with this helicopter craze? The damn things are whup-whupping all over the place. Blue Thunders, Airwolves, Whirlybirts (oops, that was a while back). Whatever, if it’s got rotor blades and flies it’s a star. So, Cyclone online is a helicopter game – not the first and not the last, but certainly one the best.

The scenario is a small group of islands somewhere in an unnamed ocean. You have control of a lone chopper (or three, if you count the number of “lives” you have) which you take island-hopping in search of five crates of medical supplies. However, wandering about the area is a nasty cyclone. As it nears your position the wind strength increases and the helicopter becomes downright difficult to control. As if that wasn’t enough, rogue aircraft hurtle in from nowhere on kamikaze missions to take you out if you happen to be in the way. We’re talking mid-air collisions here, friends.

Assuming you can live with all these various threats to live and limb you take off on your mission, lifting off from your base on… uh… Base Island. A “shadow” on the ground gives a good indication of your height. Calling up the map screen you choose a heading and take off into the wild blue yonder, keeping a close watch on your wind force indicator (or map screen) for the advancing cyclone. Locating an island, you check it out closely for the all-important crate. If it’s there you go into a hover and descend the grappling hook deploying automaticaly at a certain height and winching up the prize.

Oh yes, you may see some tiny figures desperately waving at you. These are survivors. Rescue them for bonus points – but only if you have time. Those five crates, of course, take absolute priority over a few natives stupid enough to get themselves caught in a cyclone.

Fuel and time are both limited and there will be the need for touching down to re-fuel at frequent intervals. Landing the chopper is not easy and needs a very delicate touch.

Collect all five crates and return to Base Island for a new mission.

In Cyclone Vortex have employed the same smooth-scrolling 3D-effect landscaping first seen in Android 2 and developed in T.L.L. The small but highly detailed shape of the chopper flies convincingly over green, hilly islands and wave-flecked sea. It responds well to the controls, turning in a lifelike manner.

On-screen displays monitor altitude, speed, fuel, time, direction and wind force. A useful additional feature is the ability to change your viewpoint by 180 degrees. There is also a warning of approaching aircraft.

Altogether a neat game that scores especially high on both addictivenes and playability. A little to similar to T.L.L. in appearance, maybe, but unique enough for that not to worry me.