Super Cars
Copyright/Publisher: Gremlin Graphics/Magnetic Fields, Music By: Ben Daglish,
Release Year: 1991, Genre: Racing Sports, Number Of Players: 1

Yet another desert circuit forged by manic deathwish drivers is the scenario for Gremlin's latest release. But our reviewer burns some rubber on the twisting dirt track, walks through the warehouse and finds himself examining a winning formula. (It's just come to the editor's attention that these two icons look lonely and the rest of us agree).

Get a load of this for a plot. Homicidal drivers of cars customised in the direction of army personnel carriers engage in a kind of championship challenge. This consists of a deviously cut circuit in the locale of some un-named desert.

You're one of these drivers. Maybe all the drivers drive from remote control because you see all the action not through a wind-screen but from straight overhead.

When you start the game you have a basic model car with no frills, no add ons, nowt. However you start with a limited amount of cash with which you ought to get yourself some equipment without dealy. There are eight items of equipment in all.

Power steering prevents you from skeetering around the track and crashing. A turbo charger gives you plenty of go-fast and something called High Speed Kit gives you even more go-fast. Reassuringly, retro allows faster braking, while front and rear missiles do unto others in both directions.

Another good idea, Spin Resist, ensures you always come out of a skid the right way round. Finally, side armour minimises the damage caused by a collision with either an opponent or the crash barriers. You can buy equipment before each race but your funds will rarely be high enough to afford one of each item.

Once you get down to the task of racing you get to choose which track to race on. You have a choice of nine, each of which must be completed in order to progress to the next level. Track one is easy - only three opponents and a few sharp bends test your skill.

As the track number gets higher, so do the number of opponents and the difficulty of the track. It's simple to control your car: left and right rotates the vehicle in those directions and fire accelerates. Pushing the joystick forwards or backwards fires missiles in that direction. Hitting an opponent with a missile cripples it for the whole race. Take care - the wreckage remains to haunt you. You don't need to take ludicrous manoeuvres while your opponents sail by.

You have to complete five laps of the track and finish in first second or third place. Any lower than that and you're out. You also get disqualified for wrecking your car or running empty. The current status of your fuel, engine, tyres and body during the race are displayed in gauges. Any of these reach zero, you're history. At the end of a race, money permitting, you can repair and refuel at the garage. Failure to maintain your vehicle means certain death.

You get 20.000 for winning. Second place gets 10.000 and third place gets 5.000. When you've accumulated enough cash you can buy a new car. Replacement vehicles range from the two litre Tarace Neoroder, a mere snip at just below 60.000, to the eight litre Retorn Parsec Turbo at a ludicrous 220.000 (superb names, though). In a view of these extortionate prices, it takes a lot of successful racing before you can even dream about trading in your Skoda Bendix Automatic Injection Dishwasher.

Once you've completed all nine tracks on level one, you are given a code for access to level two. This means that next time you play, you don't have to go through the whole lot again.

Super Cars has neat and tidy graphics. Menus, garage, shop are clear and functional. The emphasis has been fully placed upon playability. It's fun fun fun. The game is incredibly addictive and packed with features.

Each decision you make has a discernible effect on the next race, making it as much a strategic challenge as a straightforward arcade romp. The sound is also commendably done with meaty engine roars and tyre screeches that'll make your toes curl. It's nothing like Gremlin's other racers. The whole package just hangs together so well the only option open to me is to say, 'Unreservedly recommended.'

THE DOWNERS...
Ramming is unfairly handled.
...AND THE UPPERS
Graphics while not outstanding are clear and functional. The smoothness of it all adds greatly to the overall effect.

Sound effects are nice and meaty, again adding to the experience.

Nine different tracks provide a varied and interesting challenge.

Opponents are pretty intelligent, giving it a real feeling of being a bittle of wits.

Choice of add ons and the need to offset funds against the necessity for repairs gives the game and additional strategic element.

Getting a glimpse of how far back the opposition is helps if you've got a rear-firing missiles. Even if you're being lapped, the other car is giving you another chance to blow it away. And that can only better your chances of finishing in the first three.

INTRO SCREEN
POWER RATING 92%


There's you, in the blue. A couple of killjoys wearing go-faster stripes are tailing from top right. Head for the under.
If the rest of the traffic gets in your way, as it often does, you can use a missile on them but you must overtake the wreck.
The most effective thing about Supercars' graphics is the impression of different levels it gives. When the screen scrolls to the position, you see cars drive through three different levels.
In this death-race game, as usual, it's difficult to make a living. You can't afford anything less than total concentration.
The lure of serious transport and the life that goes with it will have you drooling at the chops with this screen.
So what if I drive a Taraco Neoroder. It'll be fine with a front-firing missile. And I'll ve back for that V8 Retron Parsec.
Time for the facts of life (brief though that may be). Your lady friend here will sell you what you need to stay on the road.
Were mines a missed opportunity? If you could buy some, you'd be able to make sections like this hell for the opposition.
Once your speed gets up on the straights, make hard turns before you get to the corner and you'll skid into the right position.