Nitro Logo

PSYGNOSIS £24.99 * Joystick

A no-holds-barred race to the death, where all rammed spectators mean is extra points. Where have we heard that before? Well anyone who remembers the classic racer film Death Racer 2000 will recognise it as the basic plot of the movie. However, that's where the connection between the film and Psygnosis' game ends. Nitro is an overhead-view, three-player driving game in a similar mould as Super Sprint and Sega's Hot Rod.

Let 'er Rip!
The championship contest is set over 30 races, starting in the city streets, then moving on to forest, desert and finally post-holocaust disaster scenes.

The game features some rather nice, colourful little sprites scooting over some well drawn, smoothly scrolling pieces of scenery. The track is littered with all manner of obstacles, from traffic cones and manhole covers to oil slicks and piles of rubble. You have to choose the appropriate vehicle for the terrain and then zoom out and let 'er rip.

The plan is to smash your way through the pack and get across the line first. Those are all the rules, so smashing, barging and using short cuts are all acceptable!

Even though the idea of Nitro is simple, the game is good fun. The usual classy intro you'd expect from Psygnosis is still there, but it seems that with Nitro they have put the emphasis more heavily on the gameplay.

Playing against the computer drivers is tough enough, but the game really comes into its own when you race against human opponents - then you'll learn just what kind of people your friends really are!

The terrains require the use of three different vehicles, each of which have advantages for particular tracks:
Nitro: Formula One
FORMULA ONE - has high fuel consumption, but races extremely well on road surfaces.
Nitro: Sports Car
SPORTS CAR - has the advantage of low fuel consumption and the ability to adapt fairly well to street and off-road circuits.
Nitro: Turbo Buggy
TURBO BUGGY - not as fuel efficient as the Sports Car, but races brilliantly over cross-country.
Nitro: Shop icons
  1. GAS: Tops up that flagging fuel supply.
  2. NITRO BOOST: Gives an extra burst of speed.
  3. REPAIR: Fixes your damaged car.
  4. CHANGE CAR: Allows you to select the optimum vehicle for the circuit.
  5. BETTER ENGINE: Allows you to reach a higher top speed.
  6. TURBO: Gives quicker acceleration.
  7. TRACTION: Better grip on corners.

Jupiter's Masterdrive logo Nitro Logo

Dieser Januar wird noch als der "Monat der Autorennspiele" in die Softwaregeschichte eingehen - so viele wie diesmal hatten wir selten im Heft! Zwei davon sind sich so ähnlich, daß wir es uns nicht verkneifen konnten, sie doch mal um die Wette rasen zu lassen...

Noch befinden sich die beiden Testkandidaten in den Boxen, und die Redaktionspiloten nehmen letzte Checks vor, aber schon kristallisiert sich ein klarer Favorit heraus: Während Jupiter's Masterdrive in einer 08/15 Schächtel daherkommt, glänzt Nitro mit einer gediegenen Psygnosis-Box.

Kurz vor der Startlinie verschieben sich die Gewichte wieder leicht zugunsten von Jupiter wegen der etwas kürzeren Ladezeit (aber wirklich nur leicht, denn das Intro von Nitro ist schon sehenswert). Dann kommen die ersten Auswahlscreens, und hier hat Nitro dank seiner besseren Ausstattung erneut die Nase vorn: Es können drei Spieler mitmachen (einer mit Tastatur), und sie haben die Wahl zwischen verschiedenen Autos; die Jupiter-Fahrer müssen sich dagegen mit einem Zwei-Spieler-Modus bescheiden, bekommen das Rennen dafür aber auf einem Splitscreen zu sehen.

Jetzt geht es in die erste Kurve - beide lassen sich gut und flüssig lenken, wobei auffällt, daß die Steuerung von Jupiter praktisch identisch mit der von "Supercars" ist. Von Runde zu Runde kann Nitro seinen Vorsprung immer weiter ausbauen: 30 lange und abwechslungsreiche Strecken mit vielen coolen Extras (sogar Nachtfahrten sind möglich) stehen gegen 18 eintönige Jupiter-Kurse. Und nur bei Nitro kann man sein Gefährt nach der Fahrt noch besser ausrüsten, womit endgültig feststeht, daß Psygnosis den Sieger stellt!

Jupiter's Masterdrive Bei der abschließenden technischen Einzelwertung wird der Klassenunterschied zwischen den beiden Games vielleicht noch deutlicher. Die Grafik von Nitro ist wesentlich schöner, bunter und detailreicher, nur das Scrolling ruckelt ein ganz klein wenig, Jupiter scrollt zwar tadellos, aber das allein genügt halt nicht! Beim Sound genau dasselbe Bild: Hier gute Musik und knackige Effekte, dort nur (gehobener) Durchschnitt.

Nitro ist also ganz klarer Sieger, aber Jupiter's Masterdrive hat einen durchaus ehrenvollen zweiten Platz herausgefahren. Weil es relativ leicht ist, und vor allem natürlich wegen seines Splitscreens kann man Anfängern, die gerne zu zweit fahren, durchaus ein Proberündchen damit empfehlen. Der unangefochtene Champion in der Klasse "Rennen aus der Vogelperspektive" heißt ohnehin nach wie vor "Supercars", daran hat auch dieses Duell nichts geändert... (mm)

Nitro Logo

Nitro is not an original game. In fact, when it comes to adjectives to describe the gameplay, revolutionary isn't one that springs to mind. The idea of a multi-player game featuring cars that race around a small track collecting bonuses to improve their capabilities is one that was implemented many years ago in the form of Super Sprint.

Even evolving the idea by setting the track over a scrolling play area against a backdrop of a major city roadmap was tackled not so long ago in Activision's Hot Rod. So why give Psygnosis' effort such a good mark? Because it's well presented, damn well executed and a lot of fun to play.

'The Champion of the Champions' is the title of an annual race where the prize is one million pounds and losing results in death. Set over 32 tracks, the race takes you through busy city centres, twisting forests and barren wastelands. Unlike most racers, you aren't out of the game if you come last. The only way to lose the game is to run out of gas.

As you race around, you can encounter all sorts of traps and pitfalls, such as rocks, walls, holes and patches of oil and water. Colliding into objects causes temporary damage to your car, signified by smoke rings pouring from your engine and the car begins to wobble across the road rather than hold a straight line.

Not everything in the game is bad, however. Tokens can be collected that supply you with points, gas or cash. The cash is used between levels to upgrade your car's engine and handling capabilities, or to buy a totally new one.

Graphically, Nitro is not overly impressive. Nice smooth scrolling and arcade-esque sprites give a fun feel to the game, although the pictures of the players displayed between levels are a little suspect. Is that really Clint Eastwood sat next to Rambo?

Nitro is a great game to play, even if it's particularly 'new'. It plays well, and that's where the addictive qualities lie. It isn't a game that you'll play into the early hours, but you will find yourself loading it up over and over again.

Each track takes the form of a 360 degree scrolling top view map that centres around the human player(s). The route through the map is marked with arrows, although you are allowed to cut as many corners as you like to reach the finish line. You are one of the four cars in the race, up to three of which can be human controlled. Obviously, the more players competing, the better the game.

Nitro Logo

Psygnosis, Amiga £24.99

With all these 'races to the death' it's a wonder there are any drivers left at all! In fact, just four remain to contest the Nitro Championship. Its 30 races take place over four different types of terrain so, uniquely the competitors are allowed to change their cars - Formula 1 Sports Car or Turbo Buggy - for a small fee in-game.

The action is shown from overhead with the four cars (up to three human competitors) racing around scrolling roads. If a car is scrolled to the edge of the screen it loses valuable fuel and is replaced further ahead on the track. Run out of fuel and you're out: so watch out for fuel barrels which roll by. Other collectables include nitro boosters. points and cash to spend in the interlevel shop to buy better engines, tyres, nitro boosters, etc. Some of the races take place at night with the road only lit up by headlights - you can even collect dark bulbs to turn your opponents' lights off! Winning a race earns you championship points and extra fuel.

Phil King This is very reminiscent of Hot Rod, but with a few extra frills. The three-player mode is fun for a few races, with a mad rush for the fuel barrels and other collectables. However, finding the correct route around some of the tracks isn't easy and you often end up down a dead end - especially at night! Also, I was annoyed at the way you can be penalised for beating the scroll when you're in the lead.
Stuart Wynne Nitro is a surprisingly playable game, especially with three players. Obviously there's a lot more movement than in static screen racers such as Iron Man and Badlands, giving an involving sense of exploration. It's also a good idea how if one player drops off the screen he's warped back into the action, but at the cost of some fuel. The only drawback is the simplicity, at £25 it's overpriced and lacks lastability - especially if you haven't got someone to compete with.