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Enduro

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Released: 1983

Genre: Racing

Format reviewed: Atari 2600

Publisher: Activision

Developer: Larry Miller

Submitted by: Coopdevil

A classic game of racing tractors. 

 
Oh, they're supposed to be cars? OK, then forget their resemblance to tractors. Try and remember they are supposed to be racing cars. I know it's difficult.

 
Enduro is another one of those Activision games that looks to be running on a format more advanced than the old woody.  Impressive palette shifting takes each days racing through green fields, snowy regions, plunging into thick peasouper fog (with a radically shortened draw distance), throughout the night where cars are visible only by their rear lights and then back through a dawn sky to the green fields of a new day. So impressive is this that you tend to not notice that the corners are really only gentle curves in an eternal road and don't need to be braked for.

 
What makes the gameplay of this classic really shine is the ingenuous control system . Your car can go fast. Really fast. Far faster than your competitors, far faster than you can really control. Pulling down on the stick brakes. Fire button accelerates but, and this is the trick, releasing the fire button and not touching the brakes leaves you weaving through the traffic at a constant speed.

 
In each game day you need to overtake a certain number of competitors (200 on the first day, 300 subsequently).

 
So gameplay is a question of going as fast as you dare, watching the overtake countdown clock tick down, trying to judge the correct pace to adopt. Too fast and you'll keep hitting cars and losing position as backmarkers overtake you. Too slow and you won't have overtaken enough cars at the start of the next race. You therefore go as fast as you dare, keeping one eye on the countdown clock. You'll have to slow for the foggy level and damage limitation is the order of the day here. Then preparing for a final manic burst of speed in daylight to ensure you overtake your 200 or 300 by the end of the level.

 
Slick, and a with brilliant gameplay mechanism.