Test Drive
Copyright/Publisher: Accolade, Created By: Distinctive Software Inc., Design &
Programming By: Don Mattrick, Mike Benna, Bruce Dawson, Brad Gour, Kevin Pickell,
Amory Wong & Rick Friesen, Art By: John Boechler & Tony Lee, Sound & Music By:
Patrick Payne, Release Year: 1987, Genre: Racing Sports, Number Of Players: 1

For those who'd like to spend the afternoon cruising around in a sports car, but can't afford the rental, Test Drive provides the chance of getting behind the wheel of one of five classic marques.

Initial selections are made from a Porsche 911 Turbo, Lamborghini Countach, Ferrari Testarossa, Chevrolet Corvette or Lotus Esprit Turbo. The chosen vehicle then appears on a two-lane road, which is viewed in first person 3D.

The objective is to survive long enough to reach the top of 'The Rock' - a hazardous winding roadway set between a perilous cliff edge and an unforgiving mountainside.

HGVs, rival sports cars, potholes and water slicks all conspire against the driver, together with the local Highway Patrolman, who penalises breakers of the speed limit. Warning of his impending appearance is given by an in-car radar alert.

Hitting either the mountainside or the cliff edge results in a 'write-off', and only five cars are provided to reach the summit. Each level is completed by reaching the next gas station, where the player receives a full tank of petrol and a comment on his performance from the local pump attendant, detailing time, score, and his personal opinion of both.

When the game ends, there's an option to replay the course with the same car, or start again with another.

S.J.
Electronic Art's sports car simulation is certainly different, but unfortunately as a 'simulator' it fails on several counts: the interior graphics are very smart, but the exterior views are slow to update and do little to create a realistic driving experience.

The course never alters from the initial blue sky/brown cliff view, and finally control of the cars is awful: they're all unresponsive and unrealistic to 'drive'. Cassette users should also beware the load time, which is terribly long, taking around 15 minutes to set up a game.

A noble attempt, but I can't recommend Test Drive, simply because I don't think that you'll be playing it past the end of the first week of purchase.

P.S.
Although lacking in a few departments, Test Drive does prove quite appealing. The on-screen presentation could have been a lot better, particularly the dashboard which is a bit bland, but the initial choice of five cars is great.

In practice, however, the cars aren't particularly varied in control or design. The screen isn't very quick to update, when compared to games like Buggy Boy for instance, nor does it have the same addictive qualities - mainly due to the poor controls and lack of variety. Test Drive it first.

Julian Rignall
The idea of being able to drive one of five amazing sports cars is great, but unfortunately Test Drive falls short of its potential in many fields. The graphics are very bland indeed, and there's little detail on the road or mountainside.

Movement is jerky, and other cars and trucks are very blocky and completely destroy any sense of realism. The control method is poor and the difference between cars is hardly noticable.

Once you've completed a level, there's little to draw you back, as sub-sequent levels merely offer heavier road traffic. The last nail in the coffin is the incredibly cumbersome multiload.

Not only does it take ages to set a game up, but if you want to change cars, you have to reload the entire program! Test Drive could have been special, but unfortunately Electronic Arts have missed the mark completely.


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 66%
A good range of in-game options, but the slow multiload is a major annoyance.
GRAPHICS 65%
Impressive still shots, but interiors are let down by feeble 3D.
SOUND 40%
The engine noises are weak, but reasonably effective. Title music is dross.
HOOKABILITY 73%
The lure of high-speed driving is quite strong, although the long cassette loading time is not particularly helpful.
LASTABILITY 31%
The lack of variety and excitement soon kills any urge to continue.
OVERALL 46%
An unusual driving simulation let down by average graphics, poor sound and ultimately repetitive gameplay.


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