Taken from Retro Rated: Amiga 500 – Astra Pack;
Originally published by Microstyle, you jump behind the handlebars of a Honda RC30, racing across recreations of famous circuits such as Donnington, Brands Hatch and Silverstone in your quest for the championship.
We start with a suitable blast of heavy rock on the title screen to get us in the mood. Options are limited (sound, speedometer readout and number of laps your only choices) but you can have a test race to get your bearings and your racing history is preserved for you to look back on.
But I feel the need for speed so let’s jump straight into a season and get things started.
Race one is the Tetbury GP. Time is short so we’ll dispense with the practice lap. I’ve opted for a 5 lap race, the shortest on offer, but you can go as high as 25. We start at the back of the pack (natch) and the other riders have sped off into the distance before I realise it is ‘up’ to accelerate (yuck). With no automatic option in the settings, gears are controlled manually, forcing you to wrench backwards on the joystick whilst also trying to turn if you want to successfully navigate a corner. After drifting a bit too far I lose a fight with a tree, my rider tumbling off the bike. He soon reappears on track, comically pushing his bike along for a few seconds before jumping back on and resuming the race. Just as I start to get a feel for it, I go hurtling through what looks like a Police trap but is actually an oil slick and my man is sent crashing to the tarmac again before once more embarking on his laboured walk of shame to get the bike restarted. Five laps later and my misery is over as I stumble across the line in last place.
It’s certainly a tough little game to control but it’s kind of fun. Graphically there is nothing special going on but it’s not ugly either. There is no in-race music, the sound of the bikes growling at full throttle providing the aural accompaniment. It has a real sense of speed too, the tracks undulating nicely, scenery passing by in a blur as you hunt down the pack. When you inevitably fly over the handle bars, damage consists of a broken rev or speed counter, enough to be an inconvenience without seriously compromising your race and you can always dive into the pits for an instant repair job if things get too hairy.
There are only 8 tracks but winning the championship lets you upgrade your licence, adding some longevity as you take on a tougher group of riders, although in truth you’ll likely tire of it long before that.
It’s certainly not a bad game by any means. Handling is tough but fair, it looks pretty decent and it has that all important speed that a good racer needs. Spend some time mastering the controls and there is some fun to be had here, albeit short lived.