Testing drive for elite
The screams that echo in this game come from rubber burning on tarmac as fancy cars take to the road in three different locations. It is difficult to put a new spin on racing games but Virgin has managed to top predecessors by a notch with this new view of the game.
In Screamer you have several cars to choose from and each has its own grip and acceleration, so check your terrain before making your choice.
There are three different difficulty levels but Screamer also comes with three other different modes - and you can also have a network race with an on-line friend. The first is called 'Time Attack!', and as the name suggests, it is time you are trying to beat since you will have no competitors.
In 'Cone Carnage', the game designers have given even the best arcade players barely enough time to reach the next check point. But the plus point is that you can gain extra points by knocking over as many of the cones on the side of the road as possible. Each cone gives you an extra second.
'Slalom' does not allow you the same advantages despite the same lack of time. In this, you have to drive carefully between the two cones. If you miss one of these 'gates' then you don't get any extra time.
Races are held on three 'tracks': Palm Town, Lake Valley and Lindburg. However, if you win the championship race then three new courses will be revealed to you. Unfortunately it takes a lot of hard practice and cramped fingers to get this far.
Screamer is better played with the joystick, as is the case with other racing games. But the keyboard works pretty well in this case. Unlike some of the World Rally games, Screamer responds very well to keyboard commands - too well sometimes, because it is difficult to get back on a straight track after a slight bend if you haven't got your finger pressure just right.
The great features of the game is that you can toggle the views of the race. You can start off with a view from slightly behind your chosen car, but if you like it, you can 'move' into your car to get the adrenalin pumping.
During a race there is an irritating commentator who keeps throwing insults when you crash or bump other cars. The good thing is you can shut him up by toggling the commands.
If you play Screamer, it is wiser not to run it from Windows 95 since it freezes up sometimes when the race is just heating up.
Re-boot your system to DOS before starting again.
MEGAHINT: Palm Town might be good for practising on. It is a more difficult course than the other two because it has a lot of side culverts. If you want a smoother start with fewer crashes, you might start with Lake Valley.
MEGAHINT: It's best to try out all the different cars on the same track to see how far you can push them before you lose control and before you start on your championship quest.
Screamer For PC CD-ROM