Copyright/Publisher: The Sales Curve, Licensed from: Leland Corp,
Simon Pick, Music by: Mini Spock, Graphics by: Robert Whittaker,
Release Year: 1991, Genre: Racing Sports, Number Of Players: 1 or 2
Grand Prix racing has never been so dirty. This follow-up to Iron Man (Super Off-Road)
is definitely from the Ayrton Senna school of driving, as is PHIL 'KERB MOUNTER' KING!...
Okay, I'll admit it, I'm not the greatest driver in the world. Gawd knows how I passed
my driving test - I was shaking like a big jelly, and the examiner looked even more nervous!
Mind you, my navigation's even worse: I haven't managed to find Telford (roundabout
city) centre yet without making at least two wrong turns.
It's just as well I can't travel at high speed - my Metro can just about manage 70mph
without shaking to bits. So I was quite surprised to do quite well at Indy Heat. I even
managed to beat Sega Force games champ, Paul Mellerick - at which point he went
off in a huff.
However, five minutes later he was playing again, completely ignoring a cupboard full of
Mega Drive games to play on the 64. Well, can you blame him?
Super super sprint||
Well I suppose someone's got to say it, Indy Heat is a variation on the old Supersprint
theme. Four tiny cars race around 12 overhead-view, single screen tracks.
Up to two players can compete against computer drivers of varying ability. Let one
of these beat you and you lose a life - if you have enough credits you can continue-play
(although some tracks don't allow this).
Races involve a lot of Senna-style argy-bargy with cars being shoved into walls etc.
Too many knocks and you have to enter the colour-coded pits for repairs. The ant-like
crew then repair and refuel the car - its miles-per-gallon is lower than a leaky Rolls Royce.
One dirty trick is to knock your opponent off his pit and run over his crew! (I bet
Mansell wishes he could run ober his own!) Doing well in races earns you championship
points, and hard cash. The latter is spent in the garage between races on a variety of
super-duper car improvements.
The 12 tracks range from a simple racing oval to the bendiest of street circuits. Each is
loaded in separately when needed, but two tracks can be held in memory. An ingenious main
menu option allows you to turn the multiload off, so you just race around two tracks.
Even more useful is the 'Ask' option, where before every race the program gives you the
choice of either of the two tracks in memory, or loading in a new one.
This thoughtful presentation extends to the car control system with each player given a
choice of the usual 'rotate left/right, fire to accelerate' method, directional control,
joystick or keyboard.
You also get to choose the appearance of your driver, and enter your initials - the
program even says 'hello again' if it recognises them from a previous game!
Size isn't everyhting||
As for the graphics, they're small but perfectly formed with lots of nice little details
like the dirt flying from you wheels as you skid onto the grass verge - something I'm very
familiar with! And on the last lap, the little race official frantically waves the
Presentation screens include the winner's rostrum and a neat hall of fame with the
driver's heads shown. Sound's not bad either with a choice of good, continuous music or
gritty engine and crash FX.
The gameplay impresses far more, though. As with most games of this genre, Indy Heat really
comes into its own with two players - it's a shame a third couldn't have joined in on
keys (as in Iron Man).
Races are totally hectic with cars constantly barging and bumping their way to the front
with the help of turbo power, so race positions are never sure until you pass the
chequered flag. There's an extra tactical element in knowing when to go the pits and how
long to stay in - you don't need full refuelling if there's only one lap left.
Indy Heat is hardly ground-breaking - the pits are really the only novel feature over
previous overhead racers - but far more importantly it's helluva lot of fun to play. And
at the end of the final lap, that's all that matters.
Turn Up The Heat||
After every race you can soup up your car - spending dosh on increasing levels of the
Turbo: Your turbo power is shown below your fuel while racing. Pressing up gives you
a quick boost - great for lightning overtaking manoeuvres.
Brakes: Those things you use when you want to slow down! The better they are, the
quicker you slow down to get round tight bends.
Tyres: Give you better grip to avoid skiddin gout of control.
Crew: The better your pit crew is, the faster they can repair and refuel your car.
MPG: Miles per gallon - improved fuel economy means fewer time-wasting pit stops.
Engine: A bigger one gives you improved acceleration.
Simon's Pick: He chooses the best items for you - mostly a lot of turbos.
Wowzer, this is good stuff. I loved the arcade version and was positively drooling over
the game on the 64. The programming manages to retain the polish of the arcade and all
Going into the pits and deciding how much fuel you want is great fun, although
sometimes you'll get in wrong and run out halfway round. Storm have come up with a
cracker of an arcade conversion and a brilliant game anyway. Rush out and splash out all
your spondooles on this right now.