ST Games Gallery
Accolade's two-disk Test Drive just might be the hottest arcade auto-driving simulator yet. You take the wheel of one of the costliest exotic cars on the road today-Chevy Corvette, Ferrari Testarossa, Lamborghini Countach, Porsche 911, or Lotus Turbo Esprit. Try to beat the clock on a twisting road modeled after California's Highway 1, while you avoid oncoming traffic and the police.
Your driver's seat environment has a steering wheel, dashboard, stick shift, radar detector and a functioning rearview mirror. The joystick controls steering, shifting, acceleration and braking. Joystick left/right steers the car rather well, although each increment of the joystick has an increased turn rate. Moving the stick up or down while not pressing the button will cause the car to speed up or brake. Moving the stick with the button down is one way to shift the gears.
Manual shifting can be difficult because the joystick's pattern is an asterisk-which does not match many automotive stick shift patterns. So much concentration is needed that you forget to watch where you're going and end up falling off a cliff. An easier option is a sort of semiautomatic shift. Moving the joystick up or down with the button held down will shift gears.
Passing cars is easy. Just pop over to the opposite lane, floor the gas and zip back while avoiding any oncoming traffic. There always seems to be some traffic when you pass a car, especially on a curve. Try accelerating into a gear's redline and you will blow the clutch. Turning hard into a curve will cause a skid.
Your main goal is to race up a hill at incredible speed while avoiding the one person who does not allow for this kind of behavior. Your car is equipped with a radar detector- watch it. When that baby starts to beep and flash, it means there's a smokey on your tail.
If you get caught, you are forced to decelerate and pull over, sit and wait until a ticket appears on the screen. At that point you may continue up the hill, but your completion time will be pretty bad.
As soon as your radar detector starts, check the rearview mirror. A police car should be advancing and now is the time for you to go ballistic. Accelerate through every gear until it redlines and then shift to the next gear. This works best if you are in third gear when the radar detector goes off. If you accelerate quickly enough the police car will drift away.
Test Drive is great entertainment software. I recommend it to anyone with the need for speed.-SCOT TUMLIN
$49.95, color and joystick. Accolade, 20813 Stevens Creek Boulevard, Cupertino, CA 95014. (408) 446-5757.
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Lately I find myself scanning the ESPN listings for motorcycle races, shopping sporting goods stores for racing slicks and visiting motorcycle shops to admire the two-wheeled terrors. And it's all the fault of Broderbund's Superbike Challenge, the best motorcycle simulation I've ever played, not to mention the finest program I've ever seen at a budget price of $19.95.
The perspective of the game is from about 10 feet behind your motorcyle. The program provides 12 courses modeled after real European layouts, right down to background scenery. Race all 12 for the world championship-at novice, intermediate and expert levels. You can compete against five other computer-controlled bikes or against a human foe plus four bikes run by the computer. Each bike can be controlled by keyboard or joystick, although the stick is highly recommended.
It will likely be several races, even at the novice level, before you can consistently stay out of last place. I can give you a few tips on getting to the championship-at least at novice level. Memorize as much of the course as possible. Try to set up each turn. When a right curve is coming up, stay to the left side of the track and dive into the turn just as soon as it appears on the screen. Don't stay in the turn too long. About halfway through, get the bike straightened up and ready for the next one. In almost every five-lap race, there'll be some accidents. Practice getting back to top speed as quickly as possible from a standing start; it will be vital to finishing first.
Overall, this is one of the most entertaining and exciting racing games of any kind for the ST-RICK TEVERBAUGH
$19.95, color only. Broderbund Software, 17 Paul Drive, San Rafael, CA 94903. (415) 492-3200.
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