Friday, 12 September 2014

Early Driving Games #10

Crazy Cars 2 (1989)
By: Titus Genre: Driving Players: 1 Difficulty: Hard
Featured Version: Commodore Amiga First Day Score: 1,532
Also Available For: Atari ST, PC, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum

Alright, let's tell it like it is - after the substandard (to put it politely) Crazy Cars there was only one reason any gamers were interested in its sequel - it had a Ferrari F40 on the cover. The fact that it was, at the time, the fastest production car in the world was awesome but it didn't matter as much as how cool it looks (I still think it's one of the best looking cars ever)... but was the game any better than the ghastly prequel? Well, owing to the aesthetic splendour of the F40 I decided to find out by trying what should be the flashiest version, as hosted by the Amiga. It certainly has an appropriately attractive loading/title screen and there's a fairly reasonable backstory this time which sees you cast as an unnamed FBI agent attempting to smash a stolen car racket. The only trouble is, the guys behind it are corrupt cops.

To take them down you need to go 'tearing through four states of America'. Supposedly, the in-game highways represent actual roads too, so you'll need to use a map to track your quarry. Unfortunately, while you're fumbling around with this the 'honest road cops who don't appreciate the sight of a Ferrari F40 crossing their state at 200 miles per hour' will be doing their best to stop you. To achieve this, the surprisingly numerous police cars (i.e. infinite) will occasionally set up road-blocks but are more often found simply driving along the same roads as you trying to block your path. Making contact with one of their cars, road-blocks, or indeed any roadside object (lamp posts, telegraph poles, even small posts), however, will cause your precious Ferrari to instantly explode, even at low speed!

Something else that does the same is if you stray off-road for more than a few seconds. Fortunately it seems you have an infinite supply of cars so the only thing you'll lose when you crash is time, and you do have a finite supply of that. If you run out, your car will... you guessed it - explode! As well as a time limit to reach each finish point (which presumably results in the apprehension of a corrupt cop; not that you actually see it though), it'll also be game over if you stray beyond the four states on the map - Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico - so you'll need to keep checking your route regularly. You're probably thinking, then, that this sounds like a pretty tough game and you'd probably be right, but sadly I didn't even get to find out thanks to a rather sizeable problem with the game's controls.

I would imagine a several-hundred-thousand-pound Ferrari, especially one that's essentially a road-legal race car, would be quite tricky to master, but I'd at least expect it to have ultra-responsive steering. This one, however, does not. It feels more like trying to heave a three-tonne Cadillac around, even with the gentle-curves that the simple courses here occasionally throw your way. Not only that but once you've started steering it's really difficult to get the car moving in a straight line again which often means you're just swerving from side to side frantically trying not to crash which you will do often, especially when you're trying to avoid a police car at the same time or take one of the very narrow branching side-roads that appear every now and then. The only way you can maintain any degree of control over your car is to drive it slowly but that kind of defeats the object, surely?

To be honest though, there really isn't much about Crazy Cars 2 that doesn't warrant some sort of criticism. The presentation is poor (you go straight from the loading screen above to the car on the tarmac with the clock ticking), there's no music, and the graphics, whilst reasonable enough to begin with, feature practically no variety (the colours change with the time of day and the grass occasionally gives way to brown dust, but that's it) and there are no other cars around either, just your F40 and the odd rozzer. The game itself has a fairly solid premise but it's executed very poorly. There's no sense of progress or any indication that you're doing well, and I imagine the whole thing would get soon get pretty boring were it not for the ridiculous controls but they strike a crippling blow and make the game practically unplayable. A real mess, unfortunately, and devoid of enjoyment.

RKS Score: 2/10


  1. Soon to become Lamborghini American Challenge or Crazy Cars III?

  2. Become? I'll be reviewing that soon if that's what you mean? :)