Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Specvent Calendar Day 4 - Chequered Flag

Day 4 - Chequered Flag (Psion, 1983)

Yep, it's another 1983 game, and another chance for me to rave about the early days of the machine. My first encounter with Chequered Flag was the computer department of WH Smith in Liverpool - it took me 30 seconds to know that this must be mine. In an era when road racers might acknowledge the existence of physics mostly by completely ignoring them, this was my first experience of an actual simulation. It might not look like much, and in case you were wondering, there were no other cars on the track, this was strictly a time trial affair, but - and I can't emphasise this enough - you could Drive. A. Formula. One. Car. Round. Real. Tracks.

Well, not quite - the car you see above is a McFaster Special - but it really did feel like you were driving a car round a track, rather than a sprite up a screen. If you didn't brake for a corner, you would crash; none of  those namby concrete run-off areas of today. But take it steady, learn the course, take the apexes and accelerate judiciously and you would take a precious second off your lap record (I managed 87 seconds round the Hatch from a standing start tonight, so aim for 70 or so...) There were two more powerful cars to choose as well, but I always stuck with the McFaster because it had an automatic gearbox, and when you're dealing with 4 keys for steering (hard & soft for each direction) you don't need to be worrying about gears as well... arguably it wasn't until Nigel Mansell's Grand Prix some 6 years later that there was a rival to this for serious racing fun on the Spectrum.

Only 71% from Crash, who regarded it as too serious to be addictive, further evidence of just how far ahead of its time it was, I think... 4 stars from Your Computer though, they always approved of more serious fare...

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