Monaco has to be the most glamorous and exciting Grand Prix race, dropping a gaggle of 200mph speed machines on the streets of Monte Carlo. It's incredibly dangerous, noisy and absolutely exhausting for the world's best drivers but who could resist taking part? While waiting to be turned into sliced beef on a nasty hairpin turn you could take a stroll along those famous golden beaches, lose a year's wages in the exclusive casinos and maybe even chat up a princess. And what better incentive to risk your life could you want than the chance to meet Princess Stephanie, with her hip-cut designer swimsuits, sultry eyes, dangerous attitude and big, uhm, shoulders? It sure beats Brands Hatch with the rain, hot dogs and Fergie falling off her limo!
In the original coin-op you were plucked off the streets to swap your jeans for an asbestos suit and a ticket to Monaco. But for the home computer market this is all too easy - before getting your chance to become an international playboy you must prove yourself on three other tracks: France, Brazil and Spain. On all the tracks you must do a qualification lap to determine which position you start at.
The computer will decide at random whether conditions are wet or dry. Once in the three-lap race you have to beat some peculiar qualification rules. With each lap you make, you have to be in goes up one: if you're not in that position as you cross the finish line you're removed from the race - game over.
Before you can accelerate yourself into oblivion you must decide how quickly you're going to do it. There are three car transmissions to choose from: Beginner's Automatic (Low skill level with a low top speed to match), Intermediate 4-Gear System (Medium skill level with faster acceleration and slightly higher top speed) and the awesome Professional 7-Gear System (High skill level with a monster engine and a hair-raising top speed of 200+ mph). Needless to say, if you hit any roadside object at speed you disappear in a ball of flame! It's death or glory on the asphalt with just a single life, but you can't play cautious when you're aiming to impress a Princess!
This isn't exactly a conversion of the cracking Sega arcade original, but more of a game based on the same ideas. The arcade version had just the one course, (Monaco, for the terminally thick!) but this computer version has no less than four challenging tracks.
You can control your vehicle using either the mouse or joystick with a panel showing how sensitive the controls are for each. There are also three difficulty levels to the game in the form of different gear boxes. The track itself has the fastest routine this side of Vroom (for a first person racing game at least). You'll be challenged to the full as you play at making a tenner a throwaway price for such an addictive racer.
If you are looking for a fast racing challenge then look no further than this. Definitely one of the ten best budget games of the year so far.
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