Copyright/Publisher: Digital Intergration, Release Year: 1984,
Genre: Motorcycle Sports, Number Of Players: 1 or 2
Speed King is a 3D race game, not difficult to guess from it's title I suppose. What you
might not guess is that it's a motorbike racing game (yah boo sucks, smarty-boots).
It has its origins in the classic Spectrum racing game Full Throttle (and can, in
fact, be considered as a conversion of that game by author Mervyn Estcourt who wrote
Full Throttle for Micromega) and it contains similar features, tracks and racing
scenario with a few additional touches.
When you load the game you are presented with a wealth of options, for a start
track selection: there are ten tracks to race on, ranging from classic English ones
like Donnington, Silverstone and Brands Hatch to the ones in more exotic locations like
On choosing a track you are given a brilliant preview option. This allows you to
view the track which you'd like to try at high speed and the computer zooms round it
so you can take note of corners, straights etc. If you still don't feel like having
a proper race then you can opt to practise. This allows you to zoom round the track
on your own to get the 'feel' of the bike and get to know the track a litte better.
Once you're happy with a track then you can set the difficulty level from the
three provided. It's advisable to start on 'novice' - that's hard enough! Select
the number of laps and you can begin.
The bike itself is a pretty powerful one with six gears, great acceleration and it
handles perfectly (as long as you ride it properly)! Using the gears is dead easy -
pull the joystick down to shift up a gear or forward when you want to shift down (when
taking corners for example).
When you start the race you'll find yourself at the back of a pack of twenty bikes.
It's your job to work your way to the front and then stay there, no mean feat. The
other riders are not idiots and they try to take the fastest way round the bends and
cut you up of you try and overtake.
You can crash into them of course, which sends you spinning from your bike. If you're
too slow to remount then you soon find the bikers whom you've overtaken whizzing back
past you. Most annoying!!
When you're racing there is quite a lot of on-screen information at the top. Your
speed is shown, along with the gear you're in and your current position in the race.
The lap times are also shown, along with the current record time so you can gauge
how well you're doing.
There have been so many racing games released on the 64 recently, some bad, others good
and a few, brilliant. Speed King falls into the latter category I'm glad to say, and is
among the best racing games this year.
The graphics are great and the track perspective excellent, making the game realistic
and thrilling to play. The sound too, is good with a strange, but vert effective, title
screen tune and the roar of the engine during the game adds to the atmosphere already
As racing games go this is a superb and tough one, second only to Pitstop II. If
Speed King had a two player game to go with its multitude of fabolous options then I
would most definitely consider it to be the race game out of those currently available.
Nevertheless this is one game that shouldn't be overlooked at any cost.
There are two racing games in this month's reviews, both quite different from each
other. This one is more of the 'classic' view-from-behind 3D sort which arguably Pole
There are loads of really nice options, the practice and view ones being particularly
good. Racing itself is great, if not a little difficult, and the bike has a wonderful
'feel' as you hoof it round the track at breakneck speeds.
The graphics are excellent and the way the track scrolls about is very good. Sound
is excellent too, with a rather odd, but nice tune on the title screen. There are many
race games on the market but this, with its options and general play, has surely
got to be one of the better ones.
Speed King has several features that add realism, for a start the actual speeds you can
achieve. The bike's top is 250mph, reaching it, though, is another matter. Even on a long
straight it's highly difficult to get within 20mph of the top speed, especially when
you know there's a sharp corner at the bottom of it!
When you start off, stop or restart from a crash your rider puts his leg down to
stabilize the bike, a nice touch that adds further to the realism. Full Throttle
on the Spectrum didn't let you go off the track or rachs into other bikes (you
just got slowed down), so Speed King offers that extra element of thrill.
In its graphic presentation it doesn't let you down either. The track view is like
that on Pole Position scrolling from left to right as you zoom from one side of the
track to another, or go round a sharp bend. The 3D is very realistic, as are the
riders when you approach them from behind and try to overtake them. One for the
collection without doubt.