PLAYSTATION PREVIEW Circuit Breakers
Many years from now, when they come to fill the racing sim Hall Of Fame something like Gran Turismo XII will no doubt be in pole position. But the way things are looking, Circuit Breakers could also win a place on the
starting grid of posterity.
Developers Supersonic Software have eschewed any fancy-pants realistic driving nonsense and cranked the fun factor as far as it will go. Imagine, if you will, all those cutesy Matchbox and Dinky cars that you had as a kid, but threw out years ago, only to see them turn up on the Antiques Roadshow worth about £20 a shot. Well, these cars are the vehicles of choice in Circuit Breakers which looks like it might be the most downright enjoyable pick-up-and-play racing game to come out on
PlayStation this year.
Race against the computer or go head to head with up to three mates in the multi-player option. There are 32 thrill-packed tracks in a choice of eight spectacular 3D worlds. These include a Wild West ghost town, a juggernaut-filled freeway and an underwater circuit.
What gives Circuit Breakers — the follow-up to 97’s rather disappointing Supersonic Racers - its special kick is the number of power-ups lying around courses which allow you to despatch opponents in cruel and hilarious ways. Turn your car into a giant and squash rivals or else shrink drastically and speed through tiny gaps; belch fog from your exhaust or simply spill oil all over the road - the list of wacky cheats is large and amusing. This stuff is especially satisfying when competing against a human, and an ingenious 'dynamic camera’ zooms in and out of the action to keep all competitors in full view.
Circuit Breakers may not be the most advanced or complicated of games, but it has a charm all of its own. Word of mouth could make this a
sizeable hit. (Peter Ross)
l Circuit Breakers is released on Mindscape, Fri 70 Jul, f 39. 99.
Matchboxing clever: Circuit Breakers
total immerSion you get in Lara Croft’s world. The enVironment of Spawn is complex to the pomt of frustration and very poorly rendered. You’ll find yourself walking through objects and getting lost in the maze-like corridors.
Much more original is the Spawn fighting system. Whenever you confront an enemy, the action switches from 30 to a 2D Side-view for some Streetfi'ghter-style combat. Sadly, little effort appears to have gone into this idea and fights come down to mindless button-bashing rather than skilled technique. Spawn: The Eternal is an expected failure. (PRI
Soldiers At War
(Strategic Simulations Inc, £29.99) * t it
Hollywood may be bored of gung-ho mowes about WWII, but GI. Joe is still sluggin' it out With Fritz and Luigi in this macho package from SSI. On a campaign of eighteen episodes based on real battles (including Anzio and D- DayI, you can select and equip your own squad of men, commanding tactical manoeuvres to Win the day for Uncle Sam. Thankfully, given recent
political hot tatties, no Japanese campaigns are included, but you can create your own scenarios, or play With an unknown foe Via the Net.
The graphics and animation are nothing to radio base about, and players familiar with real-time strategy games Will find the 'turn-based’ system pretty pedestrian (you make your moves, then the enemy responds, like a board game). At first glance, it looks fiendisth complicated, With a 60-page 'User Manual’ and more menus than a chain of pizza parlours.
But spend an hour working through the tutorial and you’ll soon get the hang of things. Before you know it, the spotty pubescent in you Will be grittin demanding death or glory from your men, and hOisting the star- spangled banner in some bloodstained corner of a foreign field. (AB)
REVIEWERS THIS ISSUE Andrew Burnet, Paul Owens, Peter Ross
** “Hr Unmissable * * * tr Very ood * * ir Won a shot * tr Below average “7* You’ve been warned I
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II-ZS Jun I998 THE l|8T107