Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 77 / OCTOBER 1986 / PAGE 62


James V. Trunzo

Requirements: Apple II-series computer with at least 64K RAM and a joystick. Disk only. Versions for the Commodore 64 and Atari 400/800/XL/XE computers are scheduled for release late this summer. Versions for Macintosh, IBM, Amiga, and Atari ST are also planned.

Based on the popular board game Car Wars by Steve Jackson, Autoduel is essentially a futuristic role-playing game that takes the player out of a dungeon and places him on the outlaw-infested highways of the twenty-first century, "...where the right of way goes to the biggest gun." However, Autoduel also requires a mastery of the arcade-style game skills called upon in the popular Spy Hunter computer game (which it closely resembles in many ways). Finally, Autoduel demands strategy, logic, and planning. It's really a game within a game within a game.

In Autoduel your chief characteristics are not strength, dexterity, and wisdom; instead you split beginning ability points among driving skill, marksmanship, and mechanical skills. With those attributes and $2,000, you find yourself in Albany, New York (one of 16 cities that make up the Northeast Sector as determined by the AAA—the American Autoduel Association), looking for courier jobs as a way to earn fame and fortune. Because of the deadly bandits and underworld gangs who patrol the highways, drivers with guts and guns are needed to transport anything from valuable stamps to computer chips from one city to another.

Custom Cars

Computer role players will find that Autoduel offers a refreshing change of pace after one too many tours of various dungeons and demon-infested lands. Unique in many ways, Autoduel provides many of the same satisfactions as role-playing games, but it also offers an exciting new scenario with new challenges and unexpected situations.

The Driver is required to build his own car, designing it as he sees fit and as resources allow. This aspect of the game is almost as much fun as the actual highway shootouts. You must determine each characteristic of your car: how much armor it needs and where to put it, what weapons it will use, what kind of suspension best suits it, how much carrying capacity is required, etc. Certain types of designs will naturally be better for different types of jobs, and as you become more successful and more wealthy, you will end up with a stable of machines from which to choose. You'll be able to suit the car to the job.

The possible variations in car designs are endless, and each design opens up an entirely new spectrum of strategies and job possibilities. Obviously, a car designed like a war-wagon, containing every possible armament, would be deadly but slow-moving due to its weight; on the other hand, a car given maximum engine power, but lightly armed, would be a highly mobile, easily maneuvered machine. The various cars would require various strategies and tactics to derive the maximum benefit.

Clones, Vigilantes, Outlaws

The world of Autoduel includes many challenges and adventures. Most cities have arenas where deadly races are held nightly. A driver can earn money and prestige in the arena…or death. In Atlantic City, stop at a casino and gamble away the money you've just been paid for delivering a rare pet to a zoo. In Philadelphia, visit a Gold Cross building and have a clone created: If you die, he—or rather, it—will take your place.

Of course, you don't have to be a courier; you could be a vigilante, gunning for outlaws; or maybe, just maybe, you might prefer to be an outlaw yourself.

Autoduel is more than a game—it's a complete system of play. There is a wealth of additional features we don't have room to cover, and the overall game play is excellent.

Now you too can be a Road Warrior, ridding the highways of those who would control them for the wrong purposes. And remember the AAA's motto: "Drive offensively! The life you save may be your own." This exciting program is highly recommended.

Origin Systems
340 Harvey Road.
Manchester, NH 03103
Distributed by Electronic Arts
1820 Gateway Drive
San Mateo, CA 94404