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Speed Duel

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Released: 1983

Genre: Racing

Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum

Publisher: DK Tronics

Developer: DK Tronics

Submitted by: Ian Marks

Are you as old as me? You see I’ve recently turned 40, and I can feel time’s icy grip on my shoulder (and hairline). Anyway if you are as old as me you’ll remember a time when computer game magazines didn’t really feature many game reviews. They might have a token three each issue, but if you wanted to buy a different game then you were on your own. All you had to go on was the name of the software, and the picture on the front. I myself bought Manic Miner simply because it looked good on the shelf… but things did not always go so well, for one day I bought DK Tronic’s Speed Duel.

I wanted to play Pole Position at home, and as there was at the time no official version on the Spectrum I looked what other racing games were available. Speed Duel seemed to fit the bill, the case showing two F1 cars roaring down a track. Perfect. I pestered my mother for some money for a few weeks and eventually I had the cassette in my sweaty palm.

Upon loading it up it became clear even to my young game playing mind that it was dreadful. Let’s remember here that I wasn’t fussy as a youth, I was quite happy playing average at best pap such as Styx, Spectres, Defenda and the like. But Speed Duel was different…. terribly different.

The graphics were plain weird, with the car being at a different 3D projection than the track. On top of that the car didn’t look like an F1 at all, more an Austin Allegro. What was worse though was the controls. The track shot past, twisting and turning like a snake on acid. All the while the car struggled to keep up. Getting past the first corner was an achievement akin to winning the whole race on Pole Position.

So another poor game was purchased by my younger self. Did I learn my lesson and take more care next time I had pester money to spend. Of course not, I’m pretty sure my next purchase was Ocean’s Kong, oh the humanity.