Slicks
Copyright/Publisher: Codemasters, Program, Graphics, Sound FX:
Ashley Routledge & David Saunders, Music By: Allister Brimble,
Release Year: 1992, Genre: Formula One, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

You sit there, sweating in your cockpit. The lights above you are still red. The other drivers around you twitch nervously. Your foot drops on to the throttle. The revs build. You can hear your heart beating rapidly.

The lights start to change. Green. Your foot slams straight to the floor and everybody surges along the A37 towards Sainsbury's and the city centre. It's the same every morning at 8.30 in towns across the country.

The stress of computer driving should set you up perfectly for the leisurely world of Formula One motor-racing. But if you haven't got your driving licence yet Slicks is a good alternative.

The general plan is to have a bit of a practice on six of the world's great circuits, then enter a season, racing against five other lunatics in cars of varying performance. It sounds like excitement city, Arizona.

The game is top-down viewed job, with small sprites belting around a smoothly-scrolling track. Your car remains in the centre of the screen, so you've got a bit of a clue about which corners you'll be dealing with next.

At 200mph, though, you're still going to need ridiculously quick reactions if you want to get round the bends without slackening the old speed or bouncing off the tyre wall into the path of the other drivers.

The first thing you have to do is qualify for each race in the season. You simply do this by hammering around the circuit once. It's important that you get your right foot down at this stage because there aren't any other cars to get in the way, and you should be able to get a decent position on the grid.

Once that's sorted, you get to the tense bit. Before the race you can challenge any of the other drivers and they can challenge you. If you beat the driver you've challenged (who'll be driving a better car than you), you swap cars for the rest of the season.

So it's worth always challenging the next-best racer every time. The problems start when anybody in a worse car than you actually challenges your good self. Jody, in the Ferrari, is the most persistent offender. If she wins, she's laughing and you've got to do some serious work to get your Benetton back.

Controlling the cars is pretty straightforward. Fire accelerates, left and right make you go, er, left and right. What is trickier is the cornering. The cars slip and skid round bends.

But if you're smart, you can cut the corners altogether. There are loads of buildings, trees and other things to avoid, but it's quite possible to tear across acres of grass and car-park to get on to the track much further up.

Slicks has also got a brilliant two-player mode. But even racing against the computer cars is fun. Tough, sure, but worth the effort.

(THAT'S WHY I FEEL FOR) THE LEADER OF THE PACK
You don't just race other cars in Slicks. Yoy get to race other personalities. Pretty two-dimensional personalities, certainly. Just pictures and names, really. And here they are:

YOU
Notice the rather fetching helmet, disguising your features. A neat way of getting around having to scan in pictures of everybody who buys the game.

JODY
The only girl (Urgh! - Roger) and a Ferrari driver to boot. We feel sure she's based on our Lisa, who has more Ferraris than Loyd Grossman has had hot dinners.

JOSH
He drives a Lotus, wears a baseball cap and says 'excellent' a lot. He's obviously seen Wayne's World, and deserves to be beaten.

MICK
In the Brabham, Mick's a bit hot. He corners fast, does a lot of skids, overtakes well and is pretty good when he gets behind the wheel, too.

TONY
Driving for the Willams team, he's got a dead good car (as Mr Mansell will testify). Beat him and you're laughing all the way to wherever it is you're going.

JOHN
Racing in a McLaren, John is the best driver. What a swine. Ram him! Put sugar in his petrol tank! (Except there isn't an option for that).

THE DOWNERS
There's no real sense of speed.
It's pretty difficult to win a race unless you have a lot of practice.
THE UPPERS
The cars are easily controllable and handle well. You can do some nifty skidding to.

Six circuits and five other opponents make it pretty varied, especially as all the cars handle differently.

There re two ways to do succeed; cheat or challenge a better opponent.

Two two-player option is completely brilliant.

The little sprites are well-drawn and are animted rather nicely as well.

Coin-oppy sound effects and music add atmosphere.


INTRO SCREEN

POWER RATING 83%

This is the totally brilliant two-player mode. And yes, it really is totally stupendously.
How about a ride in one of those boats later, Jody? Oof! Ow! That handbag's heavy!
I can see some chicanery ahead. (You've been wanting to do that gag for ages - Ed.)


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