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I thought this might be a sort of race game based around the cars you could buy. Unfortunately, it's not -- it's a kiddy game, and not a very good one at that. I think your bog standard kid would prefer a whole pile of Matchbox cars than an uninspiring and dull computer game -- but perhaps I'm wrong. The graphics are pretty dull and the sound gives the same sort of effect as a kid banging on a tin drum. Yawn.

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Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Hot Wheels
1985 Epyx
Programmed by Eddy Goldfarb
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the eighteenth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: September 11th, 1986).
 

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HOT WHEELS
US Gold/Epyx, 14.95 disk only, joystick only


In Hot Wheels you take the part of Skidmark Sam standing in a very upmarket showroom. In front of you is a selection of six flashy cars, ranging from a dashing blue Corvet to a maroon Austin Martin. However, if Sam doesn't like the look of any of the original cars, he can always do it himself. All you have to do is pop along to the factory and build a car to your personal specifications. Stationed at the production line, Sam can assemble a car with front, passenger and end sections of his own choice. Then it's off to the paint shop for a quick technicolour spray job and he's ready to go!

Once on the streets, Sam can begin to get to grips with his new megamobile. He discovers the horn and the rather jovial screeching sounds as he slams on the breaks or changes direction when travelling at rather excessive speeds.

The package consists of several mini 'games' any of which can be accessed at anytime during play.

DEMOLITION DERBY
Once you've got to grips with the car, it's time to find out how much of a competent driver you really are. There are three other cars also competing and they all want to mash Sam into little bits. The car becomes slightly more difficult to control due to the dirt-track, and slides to and fro. Can you beat the other cars and emerge the victor? If you do, Sam's car will get very dirty and will no doubt need a. . . .

CAR WASH
Simply drive round to the Car Wash and let the automatic machinery take over. After the rinse and blow dry, Sam's car will emerge gleaming. The light will turn from red to green and off you go again along the highway.

GAS STATION
After all this hurtling around, Sam's car will be in need of some gas. At the gas station you can begin to control Bob, the gas attendant. Walk him to the pump and then, with a quick flick of the fire button, fill the tank, which is displayed at the bottom of the screen. Having checked the tyre pressure, Bob can then go back to his hut for a nice cuppa and Sam can continue on his journey.

FIREFIGHTING
Sam is a part-time fireman and so has access to the fire station where he can pick up the fire engine and drive it away. Hurtling along in the shiny red engine, Sam encounters a house on fire. He rushes to the rescue, brakes squealing as he grinds to a halt alongside a fire hydrant. A pressure hose gracefully emerges from the top of the engine. Pressing 'fire' unleashes a spurting jet of water which Sam can aim at the relevant flame-filled windows. If he succeeds in putting out the fire before the water runs out, he can return home a hero. If not, the house is burnt to a cinder leaving only an area of charred grass where the house once stood.

OIL CHANGE
If you have ever changed the oil in a car you will know what a messy business it is and this is no exception. Once the car has been raised on the hydraulic lift, work can begin in earnest. Walk the mechanic to the right of the car and watch the dipstick measure the amount of oil Sam has left. Once done, Sam can then see how much oil is collecting in the container at the bottom of the screen. Try and catch as much oil in the barrel as possible because if you let any spill, the poor old mechanic will go head over heels and crash to the floor. When the oil stops dripping, you refill the oil pan until the dipstick shows 'maximum'. Lower the car and Sam can happily drive away. Servicing can also be done at the tune-up Station where your engine gets the once over automatically
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Many, many, many years ago I remember settling down in the afternoon, playing with my plastic multy-storey garage, pushing those little cars along going vvvvroooomm, weeeeeeee. Why all this reminiscing? Well, Hot Wheels doesn't seem to go much beyond that -- it's not so much a game as an activity toy and, to be fair, that's what Epyx describe it as. For the young child it can be great fun exploring the town, fighting fires and changing the oil, but it has very limited appeal in terms of lastability. Playing it was fun for an hour or so, but I doubt very much if I shall return to it again.
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Presentation 65%

Lots of options, but the disk accessing is annoying.

Graphics 58%
Bright and jovial but not very well drawn.

Sound 48%
Reasonable tunes and spot FX
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Hookability 61%
Quite jolly for an hour or so.

Lastability 32%
But after that there's little to do.

Value For Money 32%
For what it really offers, poor.

Overall 40%
A game for the very young -- or those wishing to reminisce about the 'good old days'.
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Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (1 Mar 2010)
Only the first two of above screenshots existed in the original review.

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