Racing games have always been a part of a gamer's diet. From the days of Pole Position to Grand Prix on the Amiga and then onto contemporaries such as Gran Turismo and Metropolis Street racer. The Amstrad while not renowned for its range of classic racing games played host to one of the better games of the 8 bit racing genre. Put on your flame resistant suit and buckle up
for the ride. Welcome to Continental Circus.
Unbeliever proves he can drive 55.
On second thoughts, better slow down.
Based upon the well received 1989 Arcade machine the CPC version is pretty faithful to its arcade heritage. Obviously graphically and sonically it cannot hope to recreate its inspiration. However for a CPC game the graphics are smooth and most importantly there is a sense of speed. Racing games live or die from how they portray speed and Continental Circus does a fine job. Granted there is a bit of striped road syndrome synonymous with 8 bit racers but at least you actually feel like the car is moving at a fair pace. Sound wise its nothing more than functional but then that's not a bad thing.
The aim of the game is to overtake enough of the cars (all yellow unfortunately) and reach the checkpoints before the clock runs down. Starting in Brazil you are ranked at the very bottom of 100 racers. As you start overtaking your ranking improves, natch. To reach the next circuit you need to have reached at least 80th position and in the set time limit. This
you repeat at various circuits around the globe with the ultimate aim of becoming number 1 driver. The game itself has a good difficulty curve with the need for sensible breaking when in a gaggle of cars or when taking a sharp corner. If or perhaps when you hit another car or road side scenery you have the chance of going into the pits if you have signs of damage (this
being smoke and then a fire).
Pit line, fixed as good as new.
If you don't make it in time once the engine catches fire be prepared for an explosion (well in the arcade version you did its a disappointing shake of the car on the CPC). The pits are a nice touch but for the time you lose from piting in you might as well just crash or let the car stop of its damage. The racing itself reminded me of the old TomyTronic 3D games that you hold to your eyes (remember them anyone?) in so much that you go as fast as you can trying to avoid numerous oncoming cars with the need of regular breaking. But if you manage to pull of a perfect lap the feeling is great. As an arcade conversion Continental Circus succeeds in providing a thrilling experience and while it gets repetitive it does exactly what it says on the tin.
THE END RESULT:
Functional but fast, Shame about the yellow cars
Sounds serve their purpose.
Great conversion of good arcade machine plays well.
Can be a touch repetitive and long term ain't going to last.
THE BOTTOM LINE: 85%