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 Porche 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.


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, you will note that each car has a realistically represented dashboard with manual gearbox controls that briefly display with each shift. I found the controls a little wooden at first, but I soon got the hang of them after a couple of races. A red dot on the wheel helps to pinpoint a more precise indication of your direction and is as helpful as it is crude but it nicely makes up for the lacking analogue controls.


Beware, you're not on a race track and annoying civilians are also driving on these once safe roads but they do seem to have a love for 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. You then have a choice of being good or watching them disappear in your rearview mirror and I personally treat these moments as a green light opportunity to push the pedal to the metal, but that's just me! Now refuel at the gas station checkpoint before continuing on with your Bullrun Rally.

Test Drive has some nice characteristics which I personally 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 this! The graphics are pretty nice considering their age and the dashboards are superb with the Corvette being my favourite. Overall, an enjoyable drive without the rush of a thrilling speedster, more like a charming Sunday drive but I still have a soft spot for this cliffside racer...


 - 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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