Good guys come second

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 June, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 June, 1996, 12:00am

World Rally Fever for PC CD-ROMs Here is a game where the bad guy comes out on top. In World Rally Fever you have to play dirty to win - and to have more fun.

Drivers can pick up objects along the way and hurl them into the paths of other drivers to slow them down.

These objects include bombs, crates and reverse controls which reverses the victim's car controls for several seconds. To add to the danger, there are also many unexpected obstacles on the course.

You have to 'jump' your buggy over walls, run over sheep (which bounce off your bonnet), ford rivers and even drive through oil barrels.

There are 16 different locations for the races, ranging from the beaches of Hawaii to Europe to Japan, and all offer interesting terrain and novel obstacles.

You can choose to play one of eight exotic characters. The best bet is Koshiro, a comic book-style hero from Tokyo who is good at sticking to the roads and the best driver.

Rosemary, an aristocratic English lady, is none of the above. Mathias is a German Formula One racer who has switched to rally driving.

Dewey Doll may look like a sweet young thing, but she has great control in the deserts. Ex-saxophonist Chuckie J is weighed down by his size, as is Banner, a half-man half-yeti from Tibet.

Finally, you could be Hamada the samurai or Ambroise the green-haired Frenchman.

The game's graphics actually bear some resemblance to Super Mario Kart but the characters are more rounded and the colour is brighter.

For game control, a joystick is strongly recommended because there is no way you can control the car's acceleration and steering very well with the keyboard. And with the keyboard, revving the engine enough to take off can be rather tedious because it takes too long.

As with real-life racing, timing is everything here: from when you start revving up your engine to when you take a bend. With precise timing at the accelerator at the lights, for example, you can get a turbo start.

The good news is that you do not need a fancy computer or high hardware requirements for the game since Team 17 has programmed it to play on 386 processors as well. Naturally, the graphics won't be as smooth, but it is still better than having to upgrade your computer to play one game.

MEGAHINT: If you pick up a POW, save it for when you come up behind an opponent and then use it to barge past them. MEGAHINT: It is usually much quicker to jump over rivers than wade through them because they have rocks in their beds. MEGAHINT: Practise, practise and practise until you get your timing right for a turbo start - it's critical to your chances of finishing ahead of your competitors.