Caught on the surface of a nuclear devastated
planet you have seconds to return underground before your radiation
shield decays. In any other car you would stand no chance - in the
LAST V8 survival is possible ..... Maybe!
Okay, that takes care of the sales hype on the
cassette inlay, now let's get down to facts. Despite Mastertronic's
dynamic build-up which makes the LAST V-8 sound like an introduction
to the latest Mad Max movie, it's actually another driving game (of
sorts) similar to Adventure International's 'Rally Speedway'.
The screen view is a plan view looking down on the
action from above and the general idea is to try and guide a tiny
car along a narrow road, heading for base. The road starts off
straight enough but, inevitably, begins to twist and turn in erratic
fashion almost before you've managed to get the car into it's
Time is the single most crucial aspect of this
game. Like it says in the introduction - you have only seconds to
reach your underground base before disaster strikes and, as you
struggle violently to keep - the car on the track, the timer at the
bottom of the screen ticks away at an alarming rate.
The control panel is a space-age art display in
the form of a futuristic car dashboard and takes up almost three
quarters of the screen. It shows all the required info relative to
the game but there are also a host of other lights and dials which
do absolutely nothing and are of ornamental value only. The flash
drawing of the V-8 below the control panel is nice to look at but
takes precious screen space away from the actual game. Speaking of
drawings, a colourful hi-res title screen is incorporated into the
Commodore & Amstrad versions of the game but, for reasons
unknown, Mastertronic decided to give it a miss on the Atari
Scrolling is fast and smooth even by Atari
standards, but the game is a bit of a pig to play. Car control is
the main problem as the program is over-sensitive to joystick
commands. A heavy touch in the wrong direction will send the car
spinning out of control. Also, the track is far too narrow and it's
easy to stray off and collide terminally with the trackside scenery
- oh yes, and you only get one life. No second chances here!
Graphically, the game is a big improvement over
their previous Atari effort - Clumsy Colin the Action Biker - but
there is a distinct lack of any game sounds apart from the haunting
theme music which plays away incessantly. I get the feeling I've
heard this tune before, or something remarkably like it, on one of
the Synapse games - Dimension X, I think?
So what happens when you eventually reach the
underground base? Answers on a postcard please. So far I haven't
even managed to negotiate the first U bend and it seems the inner
delights of the LAST V-8 will forever remain a mystery to me.
Despite all this, it's far from the worst Atari
game on the market and should appeal to anyone who likes a good
challenge. At the asking price of £2.99 it must rate as quite a
One final point. Mastertronic claim the game
features voice synthesis, but I never encountered any (it's almost
as rare as Ocean's Atari software!). As far as I know, only the
Commodore version has speech. Seems like Commodore owners get an
even better deal for their £2.99.