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I think people could well be put off by this game because of its great similarity to
Pitstop II. If that does happen then it would be a shame since Scalextric does have some really nice features. The track designer, for example, has different types of chicanes and numerous bends, which can be used to build some really brilliant tracks. The graphics and playability aren't as good as the standards set by Pitstop II, but the corners do work well, unlike those in Pitstop II. I don't know why Leisure Genius thought they needed to buy the rights to Scalextric to market a game like this -- as a race game it stands up well on its own. In fact the title makes it all seem a little silly because the game doesn't have any real elements of slot car racing. I'm sure Leisure Genius could have produced something more like a slot car racing game if they'd thought about it. If you are a racing game nut then take a look at this -- it isn't bad, but by no means is it a classic.

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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!
Scalextric
1985 Leisure Genius
Programmed by Andrew Bradley
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the nineth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: 12 December 1985).
 

SCALEXTRIC
Leisure Genius, 9.95 cass, joystick or keys


Scalextric is a one or two player racing simulation based around the toy set of the same name.

The screen is split into two halves, each half being a screen in its own right which shows the view from one of the cars. Therefore, if player two is behind player one, then he'll see player one's car in front of him. If he overtakes player one, then player one sees player two overtake him and roar into the distance.

Underneath the two main displays are two boxes which show each player's status. Each box contains a map of the course being raced, showing where the player is on the map, as well as displaying the speed of the car, lap time and lap number.

Every time you load up the game you have to go through a number of options before starting to race. First you are asked to input your name and the second player's name. If you don't have a fellow player, then the computer will supply one (usually called Lauda, Tambay, Piquet or Brundle)! You can then select the skill level of the computer from three settings. This determines the speed the computer car takes corners (on level three it's just about impossible to keep up with it, since it takes all corners at about 200mph!).

Once you've decided who is racing, it's time to select a venue. The computer asks whether you want to design a track or load one you've designed previously. If you don't want to race on a custom-made track, then the computer displays a series of preset tracks (all models of real life courses, such as Silverstone and Rio). When you've selected one of these and decided the number of laps to be run, then you can start racing.

If you select the track designing option, the screen clears and a box containing 16 different sections of track appears above the main display. You are asked to locate the start/finish section, which you do by moving a little cursor to the required position and pressing the fire button. Once you've done that then all you have to do is select the different sections of track and the computer assembles them for you. Some pretty neat courses can be constructed since there are heaps of different corners, chicanes and straights. The process of building a course is a lot faster than with Racing Destruction Set, and it's possible to construct a race-worthy course within a few minutes.

The actual racing is the best part of the game. Unlike Pitstop II you don't have to worry about tyre wear, fuel consumption or other cars -- all you've got to do is stay on the track and get round it faster than the opposition. The controls are pretty simple; push the joystick forward to accelerate (to a max of 240mph), back to brake, and left/right to steer the car round corners. If you take a corner too fast then you'll skid to the opposite kerb and slow right down until you can regain control of the car again. The car is virtually indestructible, so you don't have to worry about blowing up if you treat it roughly, although if you do take things too fast you'll lose precious seconds when you start to hit the kerbs. Careful driving IS in order -- especially through the chicanes!

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Leisure Genius have taken quite a gamble in releasing a race game, especially with the well established
Pitstop II as competition. There are some similarities to the aforementioned classic, such as the split screen display, but otherwise Scalextric is a good ol' fashioned racing game. The track designer is the most innovative feature, allowing you to design and race your very own circuits. Despite having relatively few links with the toy set of the same name, Scalextric is in fact a cut above most race games and is one I would recommend to fanatics of the genre.
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Presentation 88%

Very easy to use track designer but a few minor niggles such as annoying delays.

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Amazing how the computer version of slotting bits of plastic track together and racing model cars is merely a
Pitstop II copy. The only real difference is the screen designer, in which you can make up a track pretty much the way you would with the real thing. The screen designer is very good but the racing game itself is extremely poor. It lacks all the smoothness and polish of Pitstop II, while trying desperately to achieve the same effect. The sound effects were very good, particularly the car engine effects, but I'm afraid it doesn't redeem the game Leisure Genius have released.
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Graphics 75%
Big, bold cars but no true feeling of 3D when driving.

Sound 68%
Reasonable rendition of the BBC Grand Prix theme and good effects such as the screech of tyres
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Hookability 76%
All the addiction of a good race game.

Lastability 80%
Three very tough computer cars and a two-player option plus the ability to race your own circuits.

Value For Money 75%
Although Pitstop II is the same price, Scalextric has enough redeeming features to make it worthwhile.

Overall 78%
A competent race game, but is it too late?
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Can anybody rip the SID tune out of this one?

Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (30 Apr 2004)

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