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 are accumulated.

Julian Rignall
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.

Gordon Houghton
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.


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 68%
Detailed instructions, reasonable inter-game sequences, but an intrusive multiload.
GRAPHICS 65%
Speedy 3D effect tainted by gaudy use of colour. Large and neatly-animated sprites.
SOUND 48%
Functional aircraft engine effects and a couple of jolly jingles.
HOOKABILITY 69%
The speed of the graphics and desire to progress are relatively addictive.
LASTABILITY 35%
Little overall variety and lack of a two-player option overwhelm the game's initial appeal.
OVERALL 57%
A fast and appeaing 3D race simulation marred by very limited lastability.