Championship Sprint
Copyright/Publisher: Electric Dreams, Coding by: Catalyst Coders; David Jolliff &
David Wainwright, Graphics by: Mark Jones & David Jolliff,
Release Year: 1988, Genre: Formula One, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

The successor to Electric Dreams' conversion of Super Sprint offers a new set of tracks and a construction set. Up to three players take part in a race over eight redefinable tracks.

At least one human participant must finish first ahead of the computer-operated drone, otherwise the game ends. Collecting golden spanners allows one of a quartet of customisations to be made, including higher top speed, turbo acceleration, better traction or a quicker helicopter (for faster repairs).

The tracks are altered by accessing the pull-down menus at the top of the screen. The Page icon reveals the track sections available, but the major design functions are detailed under the headings of Extras, Ability and Options.

The Extra section allows the game's decorative elements to be changed. A whirlwind can be added and between one and four spanners, oil slicks, water and gravel traps are placed randomly when selected. The Options page allows the number of human participants to be entered and the game to be played. Before playing, a starting grid is placed and the course direction set. The Ability menu contains the definable drone speed, number of laps and skid factor. Additionally, the eight tracks are individually selectable for play or redefinition.

Tracks are designed by positioning the cursor over one of the screen's 20 definable blocks. 30 individual track sections (including straights, bends, chicanes, brifges, jumps and crossroads) are cycled through by using the joystick, and selected by pressing fire.

Gordon Houghton
The unattractively slow gameplay of Championship Sprint impairs a well presented conecpt. The program is far slower than its predecessor: watching your car creep around stimulates adrenalin because of anger rather than competitive edge.

Theses aren't the only faults: the slowness with which the car turns after crashing, the awards screen mixing up the winning colours, the infallible drone...

The game is totally without atmosphere, a situation only aggravated by the feeble graphics and sound - the only aspect which keeps it alive is the three player mode - and when the action is as unappealing as this, the initial lure soon wears off.

Julian Rignall
I find it surprising when a sequel turns out to be much worse than its predecessor: I thought the whole idea of producing a follow-up was to improve on the original's bad points.

Well, Electric Dreams have done completely the opposite, and have taken out Super Spint's few good points to produce a pathetically slow and frustrating race game which fails to spark any sort of interest or enthusiasm. The action is played at a plodding rate, with the four Robin Reliants carefully observing a strict speed limit - at least Super Sprint was played at a fair lick.

The graphics are rubbish, with poorly defined cars and bland backdrops, and the soundtrack is utterly inappropriate. The most inexcusable thing is the appearance of bugs. Like its predecessor, Championship Sprint has some corkers - watch it when you're going under bridges, as sometimes (due to some temporal warp) the car is put back on top of it again - to give the Reliant drone a chance I suppose...

Also, you can sometimes drive your car off the track and go for a spin through the surrounding forest, just to break the tedium of racing. Whu on Earth wasn't the game properly playtested?

The screen designger is brilliant, but with the gameplay as appalling as this, only a masochist could possibly find any use for it. Championship Sprint is a miserable excuse for a conversion, and should be avoided.

P.G.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't speed an essential feature in a racing game? You know, to make you feel like you're really there or something...Engine noises as well... Yest they have those at race tracks don't they?

Well, Electric Dreams have obviously decided to break the mould and produce an alternative race game: one with uncontrollable, blocky little cars which have milk-float engines, and which crawl around tracks with rubber walls and secret doors in the tarmac to let you drive round your favourite bits twice in one lap.

Obviously the programmers weren't satisfied with Championship Sprint and so put in a feature which lets the player practically re-write the game. Unfortunately, it doesn't help matters much because the only things it doesn't let you change are all the annoying features I've listed above. If you see Championship Sprint on a retailer's shelf, just race past.


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 76%
Helpful instructions, easy-to-use and exhaustive construction set, but clumsy control method.
GRAPHICS 35%
Compact sprites but very little variety or colour in the backdrops or intermediary screens.
SOUND 23%
No engine noise, appealing but short-lived jingles, and very few, unimpressive spot effects.
HOOKABILITY 40%
The ability to design your own tracks and the multiple player option are attractions marred by the slow and dull action.
LASTABILITY 18%
The exhaustive construction set is rendered redundant by the unlikeable gameplay.
OVERALL 24%
A sluggish and exasperating sequel to Super Sprint.


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