Sunday, October 16, 2016

Test Drive


Accolade's Test Drive was released in 1987 and is one of the many games I got free with my first Atari ST computer so I've many fond memories playing this racer 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 off into the sunset.

There are five 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 our road trip.

Let's check out your possible rides...

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 thinking I'm Magnum P.I.

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

(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.

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 with 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 to pinpoint a more precise indication of your turning and direction which is as helpful as it is crude. But I must admit, it does make up for the lacking analogue controls very nicely.


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

Beware, you're not on a race track: annoying civilians are driving on these once-safe roads and they do 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 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! Now, just remember to refuel at the gas station checkpoint before continuing on with your Bullrun Rally.


Sometimes road trips can go terribly wrong and sometimes we just need more fuel...

Test Drive has some nice characteristics which I think are hilarious - like the badly drawn 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 and I probably like the dashboards the most - with the Corvette being my favourite.

Overall, an enjoyable drive without the rush of a speedster. More like a charming Sunday drive! But I still have a soft spot for this cliffside road tripper because it's a cracking game. A historical series that began on the Atari ST!!

LINKS

 - 8BitChip have a hard drive installable version which I highly recommend!
 - Old Games Finder has the floppy disk images.
 - Update: There is an excellent newly uploaded video by Wasabim.
 - There have been many Test Drive games and I still loved no.5 on the Playstation...

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