When I was but a lad, the only thing that people did with their motor bikes, was race them. This could be round a race track or the Isle of Man, or whatever, but the basic theme was the same. Just occasionally, the television cameras gave us a glimpse of something called scrambling which as far as I could make out seemed to involve racing up and down hills and through large areas of mud; it always seemed to be raining when this sport took place. This idea of scrambling has now been refined and is currently one of the fastest growing sports in the UK. The idea is simple. Why have hills and mud when you can devise a series of ever more ludicrous obstacles all designed to show man and machine in perfect harmony.
Naturally, these new obstacles allow the rider to make a fool of himself in ever more spectacular ways. So to increase the tension, each rider now goes out individually rather than racing as a crowd. This then is the setting for Gremlin's Super Scramble Simulator. Up to six players can compete over a total of fifteen different courses, although you have to complete a bank of three courses before you are allowed on to the next set. The obstacles include very steep hills, barrels, and cars, streams, ditches, logs, and anything else likely to prove troublesome. Each course has a time limit so you have at least three attempts at each obstacle before being allowed to skip it.
Control of your bike involves choosing from three gears and being able to lift your and back wheel as required. All this on top of being able to steer and accelerate accurately. Careful throttle and brake control is definitely the key success in this game.
Super Scramble Simulator achieves just the right balance between fun and challenge. Control of your bike is not easy, not least because you have to keep your eye on three different areas of the screen simultaneously: a side on view showing just what obstacles you are facing, a top down view for steering, and your throttle, revs and gear indicators. Such is the degree of concentration required to keep your bike on course, that you tend to ignore the graphics and sound effects. They combine well together though and add considerably to the atmosphere of the game.
This is definitely a 'just one more go' game. It is easy to see exactly where you went wrong, but not so easy to remedy matters next time round. I dread to think what sort of horrors some of the later courses hold in store but I definitely intend finding out!
Gremlin's classic motocross game. It has horizontally scrolling terrains in which you race your bike over obstacles, sadly it looks better than it plays. The game was also released on C64, Atari and ZX Spectrum.
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