Enduro Racer
Copyright/Publisher: Activision/Software Studios, Graphics by: Focus,
Programmed by: Icon Designs, Music: David Whittaker,
Release Year: 1987, Genre: Motorcycle Sports, Number Of Players: 1

Activision's first arcade conversion attempts to bring the power and thrills of high speed motorcycle racing into your living room. The action involves a series of motorcycle races contested over five courses, each accompanied by its own background landscape. The objective is simple; to successfully complete all the levels within the allotted time limit.

The biker is viewed in vanishing point perspective, from a position behind and slightly above his back. He's generally centred in the screen, while the track scrolls sideways as necessary to suggest curves, and the distant landscape follows suit. Activision have also attempted to incorporate bumps and hills (similar to those which appeared in the arcade game) over which the bike must wheelie - leaping into the air as it traverses the hazard.

The first course is set on a treelined country road. There's a handful of competitors to contend with, and a few jumps, or wheelies, to be executed.

A timer is set to 60 seconds at the beginning of each race, the limit within which the course must be completed - the actual time taken to complete a course is displayed at the end of each circuit. Opponent racers pose a threat, as collision between bikes slows you down and loses valuable time.

The second track, set in a desert, is made even more treacherous by the addition of rocks in the middle of the road, the third has puddles of water across the track, and the two final courses become harder and meaner versions of the second.

P.S.
I'm so disappointed. I was looking forward to this as being the arcade tie-in of the year, but instead it's the greatest flop. Enduro Racer contains none of the sparkle and realism of its arcade predecessor, the main flaws being the crudely animated graphics and unresponsive controls. The title tune is above average, but does nothing to cover up the atrocious playability.
Julian Rignall
How Activision have got the bare-faced cheek to call this abomination Enduro Racer is completely beyond my comprehension. A sickening travesty this might be, but a conversion of the thrilling offroad racing that I've often played in the arcades it ain't. Remove the official licence and you're left with most appalling race game that has been released in years.

The bikes are completely devoid of animation, just single frame sprites which flicker and float about the lower portion of the screen, not even looking as if they're travelling along the road. The scrolling is incredibly poor, and the update on the 3D is juddery and slow. There's no feeling of speed - the difference between 10 and 200 kph is non-existent and the overall 3D effect is pathetic. The bike is incredibly sluggish to control and sometimes travels through rocks and objects as if they weren't there.

Then, all of a sudden, the program decides that it's made a mistake and rectifies the situation by toppling the bike when it's nowhere near an object. By the way, what's happened to the jeeps on level two and why are the colour schemes different from those of the original? Why are there misleading quotes on the packaging, when all of them are referring to the Spectrum version?

The final kick in the teeth is that the game is amazingly easy to complete, taking about half an hour to gain enough proficiency to win the race. I would not consider buying this under any circumstances, as the only similarity between this and its arcade counterpart is the name.

S.J.
Has your 64 got a 32-bit internal processor? Has it got two 16-bit multi-tasking slave processors? Has it got several thousand colours and a high-resolution display system? The answer to these questions is of course a resounding 'NO'. This being the case, it then prompts one to ask why on earth have Activision even attempted to convert, let alone actually release the abomination that graces the ZZAP! monitors at the moment.

Talk about a pointless exercise! Enduro Racer is diabolical. It doesn't look, sound or play anything like the original - in fact, it doesn't play at all well full stop. Do yourself a favour and forget it.


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 79%
Good title screen, plus highscore table, restart, pause and redefine keys options.
GRAPHICS 24%
Poorly drawn sprites and backdrops create an unconvincing 3D effect.
SOUND 48%
Mediocre tune plays throughout.
HOOKABILITY 33%
Plays like a brick, but sadly doesn't have the impact.
LASTABILITY 12%
Five quickly completed courses, and little to inspire repeated play.
VALUE 8%
A lot to pay for a dismal racing game.
OVERALL 16%
The most disappointing and unrepresentive arcade conversion available.


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