Copyright/Publisher: The Sales Curve/Virgin Mastertronic/Taito Corporation,
Programmed By: Pete Hickinson & Bill Caunt, Graphics By: Mark Edwards,
Release Year: 1988, Genre: Formula One, Number Of Players: 1
If you've visited the arcades within the last year you'll probably have seen and
played one of the hottest driving games around: Taito's Continental Circus.
The main innovation for the arcade machine was the stereoscopic 3-D used - the
screen is viewed through a pair of special LCD glasses.
No such gimmicks for the home version but otherwise the game's the same. In
your superfast Formula One-type car you must race around the track, reaching the
checkpoints within the time limit.
Of course, you're not the only car on the track - contact with computer cars
or signs at the side of the track causes your engine to smoke - if you don't
get to the pits in time, the car will catcg fire and blow up.
smoking (very bad for your health) and suffer a second collision, the car spins
out of control, exploding into a welter of fireballs. Miraculously, this does
not cause your death but slows you down as you have to start accelerating again
from a standstill.
Starting in Brazil, you race around eight tracks all over the world, finishing
up in Japan. On later tracks an added hazards are the occasional rainstorms which
makes the track slippy. To qualify for these later circuits you must complete the
lap within the time limit and overtake enough computer cars to achieve the
Fail to do this and you lose one of four credits. So put your foot on the
accelerator and your hand on the gearstick to be first to reach the gorgeous
redhead waving the chequered flag!
This was great fun in the arcades especially with the stereoscopic 3-D
which heightened the excitement. Even though this is obviously missing from the
home versions they retain the coin-op's fast, addictive action.
Technically, both versions are fast enough but lack any graphical frills -
I was especially disappointed by the feeble smoke and explosion effects. The
driving itself isn't that realistic, especially cornering where there's no need
to slow down unless it's a really tight bend - on tortuous circuits like Monaco
you can even take short cuts across the grass!
But it's the pace and simplicity
of the action that draws you in and keeps you playing
Unfortunately I found it just that bit too easy to complete the first few tracks
and it doesn't get that much harder on the later levels.
Converting yet another racing game whose only unique feature, the 3D, would be
lost might seem a silly idea. But while the finished game is completely unoriginal,
it's been programmed well enough to be both attractive and fun to play.
The 'extend' part of the game works well, providing a welcome diversion on
fairly long tracks which don't change that much. Amiga owners benefit from a slightly
faster game, but the C64 version is still very fast and much better value for
money. All in all, two extremely competent and enjoyable conversions.