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Tranz Am

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Released: 1983

Genre: Racing

Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum

Publisher: Ultimate Play The Game

Developer: Tim Stamper / Chris Stamper

Submitted by: Ian Marks

If you liked Rally X, but you were a bit put off by all the walls and the maze element, then Tranz Am was the game for you. The cars looked a bit like the Rally X cars, and you had to look for items on the map, a bit like Rally X. Also in a similar vein there were enemy cars that were determined to increase your insurance premiums.

Unlike Rally X it didn’t have jaunty music and it had lost a bit of it’s sparkle as well.

You drove your ‘Tranz Am’ across the great continent of the United States of America. In a Mad Max sort of world there were no buildings or landmarks, just petrol stations and some ACG cups that you had to find. The only other items of note were some really hard flowers that blew your car up if you crashed into them, and some signs that helpfully said USA, but blew your car up if you crashed into them.

Strangely in this apocalyptic world if you died, someone took the time to bury you and leave a gravestone that said RIP where the tragedy had happened… your car blew up if you crashed into these.

There was a swish Night Driver mode, where all the yellow went black, you went pink and obstacles went white. It was just like driving at night.

The car was quite smooth to control and the combination of power, break and turn worked well. You could zip around the playing area, out driving your opponents. But you had to watch out for a couple of things. Mainly your petrol would run out very quickly, and only driving over the petrol stations would refill your car. I think the car could also overheat but I can’t remember how this happened… perhaps a fellow Retro Gamer can enlighten me on this.

All in all it is quite a fun game. Not Ultimate’s best by a long way… in fact it’s probably their weakest (excluding Martianoids and Bubbler). It was however a lot better than many software company’s games in 1983, a highly polished graphical treat, and it gave me many hours of driving pleasure.