Driving around in a huge, low, fast car, cocking a snook at local traffic regulations and frightening the peasants in 12 different countries of the world – that’s the life, eh? It’s also the idea behind Jaguar XJ220, a sprite-based racing game with a two-player split-screen option. You’ll experience a variety of conditions on your tour: rain, snow and cross-winds affect handling, while visibility may be impaired by fog or night driving. There are 20 cars in each race – Porsches, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bugattis and Corvettes. Each of the constructors fields a three-strong team. Teams consist of a good driver who goes like the clappers, a Sunday driver who does likewise but brakes at hazards, and a learner driver who’s likely to be hitching on the hard shoulder when he lets his car run out of fuel. The prize money you earn from a race can be spent on travelling to more races in different countries, or on repairing any damage to your car. Prangs, rough handling and cross-country short-cuts all take their toll on the tyres, engine, spoilers, stick-on Garfield, etc. The car status screen shows you the condition of each component – green if it’s okay, orange if it’s a bit poorly and likely to hamper your Jag’s performance and red if it’s damaged the car would fail an MOT. The damage factor brings a whole new dimension to the game – especially in two-player mode. Picture this scenario: your opponent is as poor as a church mouse and has been forced to enter a race with a dodgy rear spoiler. During the race, you ram said spoiler ‘accidentally’, incurring some damage to the paint-job on your car but hopefully wreaking havoc with your pal’s aerodynamics and lowering his top speed. The tactical nobble – it’s what racing games have been waiting for. As a format, arcade-style racing games are as fresh as left-over bread rolls from the Last Supper. Luckily, XJ220 has enough new features to get away with it. It’s well thought-out from start to finish, and graphically it’s just dreamy. Take the autumn scene on the Canadian leg – I just wanted to run barefoot through it. The Map Editor lets you re-design any of the game’s 36 circuits with ease. It includes a large prop department from which to select the roadside sprites, as well as various track sections to create the uppy, downy, lefty, righty bits. The game features a marvellous in-car stereo. Boasting a selection of music ranging from trash metal to Leonard Cohen, there’s something to suit everyone’s style of driving. It’s also got a smart simulated radio with channel search ad a working Dolby system.

More news: Generation Amiga magazine