Richard Petty's Talladega
Copyright/Publisher: Cosmi, Created By: Robert T. Bonifacio,
Release Year: 1984, Genre: Racing Sports, Number Of Players: 1

Racing games are all the rage this month and there's plenty of fast furious action in this one. It doesn't feature two player racing but you may find yourself with up to six cars on screen at once.

The setting is the Nascar circuits of America and you have to take on 18 other cars, including Richard Petty's (a famous Nascar driver). However before you can race against the best you've got to qualify. This is done around a tri-oval circuit or a random circuit. Both of these have only left hand turns with the former having three and the latter a random number each race.

Qualifying is fairly easy as long as you keep at maximum speed and don't bump into the other cars on the track. At this stage they're easy to avoid but they won't be so charitable in the race proper.

Your qualifying time determines your position on the grid and it's best to be in the top four or you'll have a lot of catching up to do. The start usually causes large jams as the leaders jockey for position and you have to be extra careful not to get sandwiched and crash. This isn't the only way to meet your doom though.

You have tyre wear and fuel levels which if allowed to get to zero will cause you to crash. Tyres are worm down when your car rubs against the curb while heavy contact in front or behind from another car will also result in disaster. You may also get some random engine trouble but this will only slow you down. All these factors can be repaired in the pits.

To help you avoid the other drivers you have two handy techniques. The first is slip-streaming (driving close behind another car) which won't speed you up but will conserve fuel so that you can avoid doing too many pit stops. Secondly you can use turbo boost which allows you to travel at 294 mph instead of the usual 250 mph and is great for overtaking manoeuvres. However it eats up the fuel and should only be used for short periods on straights.

The other cars have distinct personalities and there are five general types. Three individuals are your main competitors and drive distinctive numbered cars which are most easily out driven on the bends. The other fall into two classes: the bumpers are slow and easy to avoid while the demons are really nasty and baulk you.

The engine noises aren't that good but the tyre screech round corners is nice. The graphics are disappointing with a flickery track and although the cars look great, their movement is jerky. The perspective does allow you to see a corner before you are into it and this helps you prepare.

Each race is over thirty laps and you have continuous updates on your position in the race, who is in front of you, your last lap time and your points score.

B.W.
Although the graphics and sound aren't up to the standard of Pitstop II the competitive action is every bit as demanding. The computer controlled cars are incredibly mean and you'll have to be a real ace to beat them.

The best action is at starts when you can have jams of five or six cars scrapping for the lead and making driving very dangerous. The fact that you can only do left hand turns is disappointing but the random circuits can make things more interesting.

Gary Penn
The tacky graphics of the cars and track gave me initial doubts about the quality of this game. After hastily turning down the irritating sound and playing a couple of games, I soon found (with numerous crashes) I was wrong.

It turned out to have quite an addictive quality. Several days later my opinion still hasn't changed, only my driving has - more experienced and certainly more aggressive.

Pit stops
If a crash occurs on the track a yellow flag goes out and at the end of the lap you get a free chance for a pit stop and restart on the grid.

You can replace your tyres and fuel and also check out your engine - all this is done more or less automatically by three mechanics in your pit. Your car looks extremely beaten up with several bits of the bodywork having had major panel work and resprays.

You can call into the pit at any time by stopping in the pit lane but it's best to do it under the yellow flag when you won't lose any time.


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 61%
Good instructions, high score table.
GRAPHICS 44%
Fast-moving, but flawed by juddering.
SOUND 53%
Screeching car noises. Nothing spectacular. Poor title screen music.
ORIGINALITY 42%
Road-racing game with a few new touches.
HOOKABILITY 71%
Immediate excitement with stacks of action.
LASTABILITY 69%
Tough challenge to finish a race, let alone win.
VALUE FOR MONEY 69%
An enjoyable, exciting game. Bound to suffer by being released at the same time as Pitstop II.


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