Milk Race
Copyright/Publisher: Mastertronic, Music By: David Whittaker,
Release Year: 1987, Genre: Cycle Sports, Number Of Players: 1

Cycling fans need no introduction to Britain's prestigious Milk Race - the 1000 mile road race from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne to London. Mastertronic's 'officially licensed' simulation of this event gives you direct control over one of the 85 entrants as he pedals over 13 separate stages.

The race is run over a horizonatally scrolling road, with your bike moving from side to side to avoid potholes, other riders and the marshall's car. Contact with any hazard topples the rider, and precious time is lost as he remounts.

The bike is equipped with 12 gears; with speed increasing as the highrer gears are chosen. However these higher gears also decrease the cyclist's energy, represented as an on-screen bar which shrinkns towards zero. Complete exhaustion means early retirement, but reserves are replenished by touching the milk bottles which regularly appear at the side of the road.

As well as the energy trouble, there's also the clock to worry about. On some of the time trial stages a timer ticks down. If the course isn't completed before the timer reaches zero, the race again comes to a premature end.

Points are awarded for the distance travelled along each stage, with a bonus received for its completion. The winner is the cyclist who takes the lowest time to complete the entire course.

First sight of the blocky cyclists and Legoland backdrops of Milk Race does little to stir the imagination, but once the race has started, everything moves very smoothly and pretty quickly too.

Unfortunelately there are too many minus points to the game for it to be taken seriously: the collision detection is a law unto itself, and each course seems to last a randomly chosen length of time. The author didn't seem to have any grasp of gearing either, since you can be travelling uphill in 12th gear, and still manage 30mph plus!

This cycling race game is not at all impressive. It's true that there are one or two clever touches with make the game look nicer; the way the crowds heads turn to watch the bikers as they rush past for instance, but these don't actually add anything to the playability, which is desperately lacking.

The thing that I found most frustrating was the way in which after having fallen off your bike, picked the grit from you flesh, and got back on again, there's a good chance that the marshall's car or one of the other bikers would knock you straight off again. Milk Race is a poor tie-in, which is difficult to play and not at all addictive - give it a miss.

Julian Rignall
Mastertronic take the race game back to basics and end up with Milk Race. First impressions aren't favourable however - the badly animated riders, and childish marshall's car and backdrops are very off-putting indeed.

Second impressions aren't particularly favourable either - the race isn't at all thrilling, and constantly being bashed from behind when the rider is just accelerating from the start is just plain annoying.

The joystick control is poor, and the repetitive action bores after a couple of sessions. If you want a good cycling game track down a copy of Activision's Tour De France - it's ten times better than this.


Informative, but cluttered on-screen information.
Smooth scrolling has been wasted on extremely poor sprites and backdrops.
A pleasant, but instantly forgettable tune plays throughout.
Easy to get into, but the action is only mildly interesting.
It only takes a couple of sessions for the gameplay to bore.
Fails to convey any of the excitement and tension of the actual event.