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