Gee Bee Air Rally
Copyright/Publisher: Activision, Designed By: Steve Cartwright & Gene Smith,
Graphics By: Mike Nowak, Music By: Russell Lieblich, Produced By: Terry Ishida,
Release Year: 1987, Genre: Mixed Sports, Number Of Players: 1 or 2
Inspired by the air race epics held in 1930's America, Gee Bee Air Rally puts
the player in the hotseat of a 250mph speed plane. The ensure success, a series
of 16 courses are completed, each within a specified time limit.
The action uses a 3D viewpoint with the plane in the immediate foreground. Cockpit
information registers are also shown, including details of the current altitude,
speed and time remaining. The aircraft is flown left and right and has limited
climb and dive capabilities, speeding up or slowing down accordingly.
However, it must be kept within the course boundaries, otherwise the countdown
times is accelerated. Collision with other racers isn't fatal - if the plane cracks
up in midair, the player parachutes safely to the ground. An unlimited number of
planes are available - but continued contact results in the player exceeding the
allowed time limit.
One more chance is given, but if the player is still too slow, the game ends.
Finishing a course within the time limit results in a bonus being awarded proportionate
to the amount of time left on the clock. After every fourth race, special courses
require the racer to pop low-lying balloons whilst avoiding telegraph poles and
Activision have tried a new approach to the racing game formula with
Gee Bee Air Rally, but unfortunately there's no disguising that's it's just a
simplistic Pole Position clone. There's no real feeling of speed, mainly due
to the lack of oncoming objects, and the unrealistic ground stripes just compound this.
Mind you, I did enjoy a couple of games, and found the crash pictures quite
humorous for a while. In the end though, the limited gameplay and the very low
difficulty level caused my attention to wander. At a cheaper price, Gee Bee Air Rally
would have been a viable purchase, but at £10 I don't think if offers enough entertainment.
This is very much derivative racing simulation enhanced by its one innovative
feature: being able to fly over or below opponents. However, the 3D landscapes are
fast and effective, if lacking in detail, and the animation on the main sprite is
impressive enough - although shadows would have given a greater sense of height.
The sound effects are limited to some supposedly humorous jingles and standard
aircraft engine noises. The only aspects which mar the action are the lack of
overall variety and the shortage or realism in the crash sequence: the plane phuts,
shoots up and performs a pathetic bellyflop. Otherwise it's a decent and enjoyable
game - even with the annoying multiload.