Death Race

Reviewed by Paul Rixon


Issue 29

Sep/Oct 87

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Atlantis Software
2.99 cassette

1 player
1 joystick





Let's all welcome a new company to the Atari scene called Atlantis Software, who have got off to a cracking start by entering this fast and furious dodge 'em type race game into the thriving and competitive budget market.

DEATH RACE takes nearly a quarter of an hour to load in from cassette, the reason being that it has been recorded in long inter-record gap format. If anyone from Atlantis is reading this, could we please have short IRG's in future? Reach for your driving gloves and crash helmet, assume a firm grip on your joystick and wait for the lights ... red ... green ... GO!

Overtake at least seventy cars within the eighty seconds allowed and you will acquire the right to continue, but with the added complications of heavier traffic and less time. There are five pre-selectable 'levels' however these seem to do little more than change the screen colours. In line with old favourites such as Baja Buggies and Pole Position, your screen view is slightly to the rear of the car you are 'driving' and what a car it is! This one is not your every-day Formula One Grand Prix model. Apart from being a two colour PMG sprite it is also supposedly capable of an amazing 300mph! Attempt to embark on a slalom course around slow-moving traffic at this speed and you will appreciate the difficulties. Your five lives aren't going to be around for long!

Graphics? Well, they're not up to Elektraglide standards (then what is?) but at 300mph the last thing you will want to be doing is admiring the scenery. Sound consists of adequate engine roars, beeps as each car is overtaken and a suitable racket to accompany the event of your car exploding! The race track is of the Roman variety (not a bend in sight) but it disappears realistically into the background as the opposing cars alter size perspectively to give a good 3-D effect. The surrounding scenery changes periodically, albeit somewhat abruptly, from high rise office blocks to countryside and water, or it may occasionally blank out completely as you enter 'night play'.

Only a couple of gripes. Sometimes, a car will smash into the back of yours before you've had a chance to accelerate off of the starting grid, and also there is no 'pause' facility. DEATH RACE is a commendable first time effort that will test your reactions to their limits. I have every reason to believe that it will become a front runner in the hard-fought battle between the software houses to claim top-spot in the budget league. Don't miss it!


Paul Rixon