Copyright/Publisher: Mr Chip Software/Gremlin Graphics,
Shaun Southern, Graphics By: Andrew Morris,
Music By: Shaun Southern,
Release Year: 1987,
Genre: Weird Sports, Number Of Players: 1
Stunning 3D racing action across infinite landscapes in space.
When Trailblazer appeared, it was hailed as one of the best race games ever.
Now Gremlin have released its sequel, which boasts some major alterations.
Cosmic Causeway is basically a race against the clock, set over a 24-level
landscape. The player attempts to steer a rolling ball across a rapidly scrolling
chequered landscape, jumping hazards, and accelerating or braking as conditions
dictate. All mistakes are paid for in terms of time, with an unlimited number of
balls being supplied.
The action is depicted in true 3D, and the landscape scrolls under the ball
and to left or right as the player steers. As progress is made along the causeway,
different coloured squares are encountered, all of which have individual effects on
The 24 levels are divided into six sections, each with four levels. At the end
of each section lies a flying dragon, who launches fireballs when the player draws
near. These knock the ball out of play for a few seconds if they aren't avoided.
To pass, the dragon must be destroyed by repeated blasting. The player is temporarily
endowed with firing abilities to achieve this.
Other obstacles appear on the landscape, and are shot or avoided, as prescribed by
the action. Trees and aliens are encountered, plus walls which block the course
and only have one opening through which to pass.
At the end of every level, any time remaining is added onto the allotted time
for the next, and converted into bonus points. At the end of a section only the
numerical bonus is awarded, a new timer starting thereafter.
Between levels, the player also has the opportunity to activate icons, using
glowing credits picked up along the course. These endow the player with a wide
variety of abilities.
When I first saw Cosmic Causeway, I nearly fell off my chair - it's incredibly!
It's a soirt of cross between Space Harrier and Trailblazer, but is far, far
better than both. The graphical effect is utterly amazing, and the ground's speed
gives an incredible feeling of exhilaration.
On later levels, when there are oncoming hazards to avoid, the going gets
particularly hairy, and blasting the giant dragon is very satisfying. Cosmic
Causeway isn't just pretty - it plaus like a dream. The gameplay is extremely well
balanced, and you always seem to progress just a little bit further with every
game - consequently it's difficult to put the joystick down.
The credits idea is a good one, forcing the player to plan ahead so that
obstacles can be avoided and levels negotiated. Cosmic Causeway is thoroughly
enjoyable, and should appeal to racing and shooting enthusiasts alike.
It's not very often I'm stunned by a game, but Cosmic Causeway is a pleasant
exeption. On seeing it for the first time, my immediate feelings were of disbelief:
'The 64 can't do that... can it?' The playing 'area' (how do you describe inifinity)
is just incredible - smooth, very fast and totally convincing.
Not only is the game a joy to behold, it's also incredbily playable. The designer
has done a great job, with levels that are just completable. It reminds me of Buggy
Boy in that sense, as you cruise over the line with one or two seconds to spare!
The level of difficulty is also graded well, so later sections are difficult,
but still provide a challenge, rather than appearing unattainable. Cosmic Causeway
could well lose its appeal after a few weeks, but until that time it's got to be
the computer experience of the year.