Top Gear


Run it again and again and again — there’s nothing like a good race game. You can always beat that world record just once more, as DOMINIC HANDY and MIKE DUNN discover when they go into...


  • BMX Simulator
  • Endurance
  • Enduro Racer
  • Glider Rider
  • Knight Rider
  • Miami Vice
  • Milk Race
  • Nightmare Rally
  • Paperboy
  • Pole Position
  • Scalextric
  • Speed King II
  • Street Hawk
  • Super Cycle
  • TT Racer
  • Turbo Esprit



92% Issue 40

MIKE Enduro Racer is a direct conversion from the Sega coin-op machine which caused something of a stir in the arcades. In the seat of a powerful off-road motorbike, you have to get around five tracks in a rather limited time. The screen display is reminiscent of Full Throttle: you can see the bike and the track in front of it. The graphics are excellent, too. Fast and exciting, Enduro Racer is the best race game around and it’s....

DOMINIC Activision’s cover Smash still seems great — because there’s nothing like it. The jerky graphics show their age a bit, but the detailed ups and downs create a realistic enough feeling. I can still feel all the bumps and potholes after all those months.


Code Masters

63% Issue 37

MIKE Take to the saddle of your BMX in BMX Simulator, the creation of well-known programmer and software publisher Richard Darling. It’s a simple game, not requiring any real thought on the player’s part — you just have to get around the course without hitting an assortment of planks, tyres and oil cans. But it’s not the most mentally stimulating game ever, or especially addictive either!

DOMINIC The graphics may be fairly attractive, but there’s no hiding the lack of actual gameplay. Simple stuff at a simple price.



69% Issue 24

MIKE This management game puts you in charge of two bikes and four riders in a Formula One motorcycle race. You set variables which affect your performance in the race: your chassis, bike specification, and engine tuning. Bike handling is then altered to set the speed, safety and wear; going short on any of these has its consequences! Endurance is an enjoyable game, remarkably addictive despite terrible graphics and annoying sound.

DOMINIC Mediocrity and simplicity at its lowest limits. Football Manager on the track? No thanks! There’s too much strategy and not enough presentation.



80% (128 version 92%) Issue 34

MIKE The first 128 game with any sort of enhancement, Glider Rider is made much more atmospheric by music. Trying to knock out the reactors which power some black-market arms dealers, you use your motorbike — which when zooming down hills and suddenly reversing direction becomes a hang glider, conveniently enough! The graphics are good, despite the awful scrolling and screen flicking, and Glider Rider is fairly playable and addictive.
76% (81%)

DOMINIC The idea behind Glider Rider is very good, but the control method ruins the game. Still, the presentation is great — graphics, sound and options are all top-notch. And then there’s that superb Dave Whittaker 128K soundtrack...



39% Issue 33

MIKE Haven’t you ever wanted to become Michael Knight? I know I haven’t, though his car always looks pretty decent. Pity about the game, though. Ocean’s very long-awaited tie-in with the TV programme puts you in control of the mighty vehicle and gives you the task of stopping the evil terrorists who are trying to start World War III. Poor graphics accentuate a distinct lack of playability in this insipid shoot-’em-up.

DOMINIC I think the less I say about this the more Ocean will like the comment. If you’re going to make people wait for a hyped game, you’d better make sure its better than just ‘average’.



68% Issue 34

MIKE Cruise along the streets in your mean machine, killing baddies... Ocean’s Street Hawk lasted me a few minutes on replay. The graphics are dull, apart from the shoot-out screen, and the game’s appeal soon fades.

DOMINIC There were a few versions of this flying about before we got the final one (mostly for impatient mail-order houses) — but the mass-produced one is much the best. Shading is great and the perspective works well. Worth a look for old times’ sake.



68% Issue 12

MIKE I suppose it deserves credit for being the original and all that, but the 68% rating was given three years ago, and I’m afraid Pole Position has aged quite seriously since then. One of the poorer racing games.

DOMINIC I waited ages for this conversion to come on the Spectrum — and they did a reasonable job. The graphics may not be as good as in Out Run, for instance, but the feel of the game is definitely Pole Position. It’s dropped tremendously in price, and is unchallenged in its class (at the moment!).



41% Issue 42

MIKE Take to the saddle of your trusty Peugot in this 13-stage simulation of the thousand-mile race from Newcastle-upon-Tyne to London. It’s a very simple game; collect bottles of milk to keep your energy up, synchronise your gear with the incline of the road, avoid the other riders and you’re home and dry. The graphics are basic and jerky, and the addictivity very low.

DOMINIC A nice idea, but launched too late for big sales, and lacking many aspects of the ‘real’ Milk Race. There’s a superb little tune, but it’s an infuriating game.


US Gold

63% Issue 37

MIKE Another bike racer in the oh-so-popular vein: zoom round the course ASAP, and avoid the other racers. Not difficult. Unfortunately, US Gold made this far too easy to play, because there’s simply no challenge in the first few levels; it’s even possible to wrap around the sides of the screen when you corner!

DOMINIC What a failure this turned out to be. Second time round it doesn’t seem so bad, though — mainly because the hype has died down, and everyone’s forgotten about the excellent Commodore version. Bouts of boredom creep in rather too regularly, and because it’s still at such a high price Super Cycle doesn’t look too good against the budget competition.



80% Issue 34

MIKE Despite the cover depicting a Lamborghini and the game offering an Escort, Nightmare Rally is pretty good fun for the genre. It’s basically a case of belting to the course as quickly as possible. You can’t get much more simple than that, can you? There are pretty graphics and loads of playability, so it’s worth checking out.

DOMINIC I’m still impressed with this rallysprint clone — there’s nothing like it. The graphics are very good, and the car is a sharp representation of a Ford Escort. Animation is also clear, adding to a very enjoyable and playable game.



88% Issue 28

MIKE In Turbo Esprit, you get a view out of your car window onto the road directly in front of you; your task is to crush the drug barons who are corrupting the city’s young. Take on the world Miami Vice style (ie big fast posy car) in this fabulously detailed, enjoyable car game.

DOMINIC When Turbo Esprit hit the streets it turned more than a few heads — it turned out to be how Ocean’s Miami Vice should have been. The street scenes are so innovative and accurate that most people forgot about the object of the game and just cruised the streets doing three-point turns and smashing into roadworks. Hardly dated at all. All you drivers pop out and buy a copy now!



88% Issue 33

MIKE Hot from the arcades, Paperboy landed on our doorstep in late 86: a wicked little game, making the eponymous player avoid all the evil objects thrown in his path on the quest to deliver papers to the houses in a street. It’s playable (and quite fast), and offers a good deal of addictivity. A neat conversion from an even better arcade original.

DOMINIC One of Elite’s best-ever arcade conversions. Smash those windows, run over annoying kids and knock the lids off dustbins, all in the comfort of your own home.


Leisure Genius

57% Issue 38

MIKE The Scalextric toy racing set has almost become a necessary part of growing up, and Leisure Genius brings it right up to the computer age with their Spectrum version. A two-player Chequered Flag variant with a construction kit for good measure, Scalextric isn’t bad, technically, but short on gameplay.

DOMINIC Almost the best racetrack game around. The construction kit ties in well with the title subject, and also makes the game lots of fun to play. And the two-player option adds to the value.



42% Issue 36

MIKE Take the corners, avoid the other riders, go as fast as possible, and you’ve cracked the game — not what one I might describe as the best race game ever. Poor graphics and an almost total lack of playability make it worse than any other racing game I can think of.

DOMINIC Along the same lines as Full Throttle, only everything’s worse than in Micromega’s classic original. Full Throttle is also at budget price, so I’d give this one a miss.


Digital Integration

78% Issue 34

MIKE A race game with all the complexity of a flight simulator? A daunting prospect, or at least I thought so! However, TT Racer has the content which is lacking in so many games of this genre, giving it addictivity if not immediate playability. For ten quid, some may expect rather more fun, but I’m fairly happy with it.

DOMINIC This has to be the most accurate biking simulation around today. When it first came out I wasn’t too impressed, but after many, many more games the true simulation characteristics become apparent and the game more addictive. Most programmers would do well to look at the comprehensive options screen, as this makes the full price well worth paying. The best track-biking simulation on the Spectrum.

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