1000 Miglia logo


Intent on programming a racing game, there must be lots of exciting modern events to choose from. So it begs the question, why on earth have Simulmondo chosen a cross-country race featuring the lumbering land wagons of the late 1920s? Yes folks! Now you too can jump into your three-litre Alfa Romeo Super Sport and trundle leisurely across 1,000 miles of sparsely detailed Italian countryside. Whoopee.

True, it's all very neat, with digitised piccies from that era, period typefaces and a reasonable 3D view. But the cars handle like whales and every time you go over a particularly brittle twig, you stop for repairs.

Once you've pottered between a few cities I doubt you'll be bothered to complete the whole Millemiglia. Somehow I don't think Formula One has much to worry about just yet.

1000 Miglia logo

One glance at the rather 1930s-style box artwork will tell you that this is anything but your standard rolling road driving game. Despite using the basics of a game style that's seen service in everything from Out Run to Lotus 2 to this month's Jaguar XJ220, it's not an arcade game, not really.

Instead, it would seem to be aimed at the more (ahem) mature individual who enjoys magazines like Classic & Sportscar and probably keeps a wire-wheeled MGB in the garage for summer weekend use only.

Te people who buy this won't care that it's far slower than nearly any comparable driving game (which it is) or that it lacks such niceties as varied road traffic,great scenery variation and so on (which is does), but will worry instead about its historical authenticity, sense of atmosphere and technical accuracy. So let's take a look at those areas, shall we.

Erm, this is going to be pretty tricky, actually. Despite the fact that I do quite like my old cars, I can't in all honestly tell you whether an 'Alfa Romeo RL Super Sport' ever existed or not, and certainly not whether it was any faster than an 'OM 665 "Superba" 2000'. Equally, I don't know if drivers like 'Tazio Nuvolari' were really around either, which puts me in a bit of a quandry. Let's just assume that it's all true - in which case the game scores heavily for historical accuracy - and move onto the rest of it, shall we?

Unfortunately that means mentioning a few of the game's problems, and it has some. Not, let me hasten to add, that I'm going to have a go at Mille Miglia for its lack of speed thrills (the manual states that 'the sensation you'll experience will not be of pure speed alone', and it's not wrong) - I think it's fine to have a slow sort of driving game, as long as you substitute the lack of speed with something else.

And this, as far as I can tell, is something it doesn't do - as it is, you get the feeling that the game's alright, but very hard to get excited about. There are also problems with its logic. Let me explain:

The real Mille Miglia, you see, was a 1000 mile road race, taking place in stages around Italy (Mille Miglia means '1000 miles'), so the game is split into stages (some are Italian country roads, some snow-covered mountain paths and so on) with a nice digitised picture of the correct Italian city to reward you as you pull into it. Before you set off you're given a choice of spare items to take with you, and these are apparently all-important - there was no back up to speak of in the Mille Miglia, no pit crews to change tyres, and if you couldn't repair whatever damage you might do to the car yourself, chances are you were out of the race.

This being the case, the game punctuates the driving action at annoyingly regular intervals with a 'Trouble Screen', which tells you what's gone wrong with the car and how much time you've lost fixing it. It's a reasonable idea in theory, but once I started playing it soon become incredibly annoying.

Every 40 seconds or so the race would freeze, the game would load the message that I'd jammed the wheel and that it'd take around 15 minutes to fix, then put me back into the action where I'd left off - all for no apparent reason at all. Drive off the road, through a house and two trees then back onto the road again and sometimes the game wouldn't mind at all - but pootle along perfectly safely in the middle of the road for a while and, uh oh, it's buckled wheel time again.

Um, so what's the conclusion? Well, if you like fast driving games, don't apply. If you like adult race strategy type things tread warily - I don't fully trust the stats and logic in it. If, however, you're an Amiga owning '30s car fan with a very low frustration threshold, this could be the game for you. Yes, both of you.