Saturday, October 29, 2016

Enduro Racer

I've been off work for a couple of days and enjoyed some retro-gaming nights in. Many olde classics have graced my dodgy TV and I ended up spending much of my time playing Enduro Racer, a game I had on my ZX Spectrum 128 right before migrating up to the burly Atari ST.

Enduro Racer is obviously based upon the coin-op and is a no frills arcade biker by Activision from all the way back in 1987. Interestingly, it was programmed by Ian Morrison who developed one of my favourite driving / shooters, Road Blasters. Okay, you are competing in five races against lots of other bikers on tracks that contain lots of silly hazards which should have been removed by the race organisers (yes, I jest). Cornering, I found rather tight along with the ever-decreasing time limit so don't dawdle because each race is against an aggressive clock that dictates you play over and over to learn each course. The first is quite easy but soon picks up the pace as you hit the heat of the desert to become quite the challenge. Controls are first a little odd, pushing up accelerates but it's the fire button that applies the breaks because pulling back will instead perform a wheelie. These are needed for the ramps and help prevent speed loss. However, if you forget then your biker protests by doing a handlebar handstand - it's crazy but very cool.

The music alone gets me. I've left the game running in the background as I type this text, beautiful chiptune magic by Dave Whittaker who certainly knows his bleeps from his blops. The graphics are a little sparse, understandable for desert regions, but this is an early game so I can imagine leaving out unnecessary details freed up CPU cycles needed for the framerate? Thankfully, the tracks are fast, smooth and perfectly suited for our cross country racing!

Enduro Racer might be a little long in the tooth and perhaps showing a little of its middle-aged spread but I think it's worth an hour of your time. I usually prefer cars but this is a good biker crammed full of cool jumps at every tight turn.

LINKS

 - 8BitChip have a download for those with an UltraSatan / hard drive.
 - Those stuck with floppy disks will need to download via Old Games Finder.
 - AtariMania features Enduro Racer in their ST database website.
 - The menu system gives away the cheat - start a game and type in the word "cheat".
          -> press key T for an extra 10 seconds (press it again!)
          -> press key S to zip along.
          -> press key F to advance to the checkpoint.