Test Drive II - The Duel
Copyright/Publisher: Accolade, Designer: Distinctive Software, inc., Programmed by:
Kris Hatlelid & Kevin Pickell, Producer: Selley Day, Tests: Pam Levins, Art By:
John Boechler & Theresa Henry, Music: Kris Hatlelid, Manual: Jeff Hoff,
Release Year: 1989, Genre: Racing Sports, Number Of Players: 1

Drive yourself round the bend at 200mph

The Ferrari F40 and Porsche 959 are nothing less than the two fastest production road cars in the world. The Porsche was the first to hit the streets, the most technologically advanced supercar ever, with a 197 mph top speed and a 145,000 price tag.

The Ferrari, many feel, was built with the express purpose of proving Italian supremacy over the 959. Accordingly the F40's twin turbo, V-8 engine will rocket it to 201 mph for a price of 160,000.

But the difference between the cars is more than that. While the Porsche is the height of refinement, the Ferrari has no carpets, plastic side windows and doors which are opened by pulling on a piece of string!

If the Porsche is the world's most sophisticated supercar, the Ferrari is 'merely' a full-blooded racing machine made street-legal. Test Drive II offers you the choice of these amazing dream machines.

In fact, you can choose to race either against the clock or a computer-controlled 959 or F40. Acceleration and braking are activated by moving the joystick forwards/ backwards, gear changing is either automatic or via pressing fire depending on skill level.

Of course, the steering is most important but the on-screen wheel only moves left and right when your steering is extreme, otherwise a little blue dot on the wheel indicates subtler steering movements.

If your steering is less than precise be prepared to meet an oncoming Ford at a 256mph - the roads are busy, so overtaking is hazardous. Smash into something and you lose one of five lives, as well as getting twenty seconds added onto your race time.

You can also lose a life by failing to stop at the gas station at the end of each level! If you do manage to slow down in time, the race statistics are shown, including average speed and overall time.

In-game info is provided by authentically styled dashboards, both with the addition of a radar detector to warn when police cars are about. You don't have to slow down, but the cops are fast and if they catch you a ticket adds seconds to your race time. Ram the cop and it's game over - this is America and the cops are tough!

Ig you get tired of the two included cars (Ferraris are so dull, aren't they?!) or even the scenery, extra car and scenery disks can be bought to expand the game. At first, using these involves much disk-swapping but a 'Play Disk' can be created by copying parts of the master and extra disks onto a blank disk. This eliminates most of the disk-shuffling.

SUPERCARS
This contains five of the sleekest, fastest sports cars from around the world:

Porsche 911 RUF
Louis Ruf's custom-built, twin-turbo 911 has a top speed of 211 mph.

Ferrari Testarossa
90,000 to get to 60mph in 5.3 secs from a standing start.

'88 Lotus Esprit
Real thing a touch unreliable, but Bond used to drive one so it can't be that bad.

'88 Lamborghini Countach 5000S
Its performance is as stunning as it looks. A V12 engine can shoot it to 179mph.

'89 Corvette ZRI
Detroit's 'best kept secret' was designed to be the world's fastest production car, with a top speed of 185mph.

CALIFORNIA CHALLENGE
This scenery disk encompasses seven stages through California, from Oregon down to the border with Mexico. Along the way you'll see spectacular redwood forests, the Pacific Ocean, steep hills and the Golden Gate bridge
ROBIN
The addition of a computer-controlled competitor adds a whole new element to the Test Drive format which really urges you on to take risks overtaking, running from the police and going into corners on tight mountain roads way too fast.

Yeah, the Amiga version may look better, but on both machines the road movement is sturdily done, although the only improvement graphically over the original game is the addition of some trees, tunnels and cacti.

Personally I think it falls just short of being a Sizzler on the Amiga as well as the C64, but there's no denying that it is extremely playable, and the cars are great.

PHIL
On the Amiga the scenery moves smoothly and the other traffic is well-drawn. What really makes you feel like you're driving though, is the realistic noise of the engine; different for each car. If you're looking for a great driving game, then look no further.

The C64 version is less convincing, mainly due to oversensitive steering and the way oncoming traffic suddenlt appears from nowhere. Most of the playability of the Amiga version is retained however, and the ability to expand both versions with add-on disks should prolong their appeal.

RANDY
So it's basically along the same lines as its predecessor, and it could do with a few of its raggedy edges clipped, but Test Drive II on the Amiga is simply brilliant. The view from the windscreen, when beating a hasty path up one of the many twisting, winding roads, is particularly effective.

Sadly, the outside objects, such as trees, do tend to go into spasms when travelling at low speeds, but then again this is a game where acceleration is not only a lot of fun, but a necessity, so less than 60mph is a rarity. So while it won't get you through your driving test, it will provide some superb entertainment.

The C64 game has been crammed onto one disk, and in terms of general gameplay, little has been lost in the transition from one computer to the other. But both colour and sound are bland, while oncoming vehicles lack detail and advance rather jerkily.

Apart from those small gripes though, there is little actually wrong with a the 8-bit version which stands up as an impressive piece of programming.


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 85%
Plenty of options, especially with the extra disks. The 'play disk' option eliminates irratating disk swapping.
GRAPHICS 78%
All vehicles are well-drawn but the colour scheme is rather bland.
SOUND 58%
The theme tune ain't too hot and engine noises not that realistic.
HOOKABILITY 75%
Putting your foot down in a fast car is instantly appealing.
LASTABILITY 80%
Driving at 200mph is so exhilarating, you'll be playing this for months.
OVERALL 77%
A worthy sequel - great fun for all fast car fans.


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