Sunday, October 16, 2016

Test Drive

I fancy a road trip!

Accolade's Test Drive was released in 1987 and is one of the games I got free with my first Atari ST computer. So I have fond memories of playing this game during my early 16-bit days. It begins with an intro animation of a dude sitting in his Porsche before winding down the window to display a cheesy grin and then speeding into the sunset. So cool.

There are five sports cars to choose from and each is viewed on the main menu with lots of technical details (that I've never read). Their artwork is gorgeous and I personally think the Corvette is the best of the bunch for a road trip.

It's time for some screenshots so let's check out the choice of smooth riders on offer...

I've never really been much of a Porsche fan... More of a girl's sports car, right?

Okay, it's not a Ferrari 308 but that doesn't stop me from thinking I'm Magnum P.I.

I can't say I'm a fan of this and the handling never really excites, more terrifying!

(Insert James Bond theme now). Okay, it might not be that fast but we love British muscle!!

I'm more of a muscle car fan myself but the Chevrolet Corvette is a beauty in every respect.

An oldie classic?

Test Drive is a race against the clock with points awarded for faster times along a seemingly endless mountainside highway. Driven from an in-car perspective, behind the wheel, you will notice that each car has a realistically represented dashboard. I love that and it includes the manual gearbox controls, that briefly display with each shift.

At first, I found the controls a little wooden, but I soon got the hang of them after a couple of races. A red dot on the steering wheel helps pinpoint a more precise indication of your turning and direction. It's really helpful albeit crude. However, I must admit, it does make up for the lack of analogue controls nicely. Considering that, it feels pretty natural.

Like cars? Like rocks? Then you are gonna love this next screenshot...

Ahh, the open road of a road trip. Wait, another car? Argh, it's suddenly gridlock!! ;^)

You're not alone!

Beware, you aren't actually on a race track, it's a highway. So annoying civilians are driving on these once-safe roads who seem to love head-on collisions!! There are also cops so it's a good job that your car is fitted with a radar to help signal when they are nearby. Then, you have a choice of being good or watching them disappear in your rearview mirror!

Personally, I treat these moments as a green light opportunity to push the pedal to the metal, but that's just me! Don't forget to refuel at the gas station checkpoint before continuing with your Bullrun Rally. Petrol doesn't last forever!

Honestly, I'm a good driver. Especially after a few beers as shown in this next screenshot...

Sometimes your road trip can go terribly wrong!

Old school aesthetics

Test Drive has some nice characteristics - that are hilarious - like the grey fella driving his truck. How about the handless steering wheel or the slo-mo effect as your windscreen breaks up after a crash - it's almost worth slamming into an oncoming vehicle just to see it! Yep, I think that the graphics are nice considering the age of this famous racer. I like the dashboards the most with the Corvette being my favourite. However, all cars feature equally superb graphics.

Musically, this is nice with lots of jingles and cute tunes during the menus and screens when filling up with fuel. The sound effects of the car aren't the best; it's all buzzy compared to other oldies like Turbo Cup. Bit of a shame.

I love how the game looks, even if the cars sound like a bee trapped inside a drum. Screenshot time...

It's time to fill up before hitting that open road.

The CryptO'pinion?

Test Drive offers an enjoyable drive without the rush of a speedster like Vroom or Crazy Cars III. It's more like a charming Sunday drive without that thrill of speed. But don't let that put you off, this is a great driving game and one I have a soft spot for. This cliffside road tripper is the beginning of the historical 90s series. To think that it began on the Atari ST.

A grand racer with loads of great cars for the rocky American roads. Far from perfect but I love it to bits!!

8BitChip has a hard drive installable version which I recommend!
Old Games Finder has floppy disk images.
Update: There is an excellent new video by Wasabim.
There are many Test Drive games and I love No.5 on the PlayStation.

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