After a promising preview two or three months ago, Virtual Karting is now ready to fill up the rather blank looking Amiga shelves in games retailer's stores everywhere.
Fabio Bizetti, the author of Virtual Karting, has some very strong views on the Amiga and issues that surround it. I can quite readily agree with a number of the points he makes about the much debated issue of piracy, among other topics.
What he does mention is that as certain people abuse the Amiga industry, such as pirates, he himself would much rather develop and produce games that only he and his friends could enjoy personally.
When you think about it, he's actually making a reasonable and perfectly valid point. Why should developers produce games for pirates to abuse and ruin?
But anyway, OTM, the publishers, have managed to squeeze Virtual Karting into the market for the Christmas crowds, and with Leading Lap just finished it looks like it's going to be a festive fight.
In the preview, as said before, Virtual Karting looked very promising. I've been trying to think back to the early days, attempting to recollect another karting game, but I'm afraid I keep failing miserably. As this is the only one in its particular genre, any karting fans out there will only be too happy to receive this cleverly wrapped present nestled snugly under the Christmas tree.
The idea is to take on a series of other karters all competing for first place. Firstly, you have to race in a qualifier, and when your finishing time comes through you will be given a starting place on the grid, and from there, you have have to advance through the beginners, advanced and expert tracks.
On the first beginner track you can see that you are obviously karting around France, specifically in Paris. The Eiffel Tower is clearly lurking around in the background detail. From this you can see what great lengths the developers have gone to to produce the detail.
One of the Finest touches included in VK is that when you press down on the accelerator you see your foot actually act - it's the same with the braking too
Before you begin each race, you are shown a fly-by view of the entire track. Here you can plan out which corners are the best for overtaking, and check out any chicanes that may prove a problem.
Also, identifying the pits is a must because stopping to rejuvenate your kart is essential if you want to be in with a chance of winning.
One of the finest touches included in VK is that when you press down on the accelerator you see your foot actually act - it's the same with the braking too. Instead of just a still picture of a kart on a moving track, these touches actually make that small difference in realism.
There are two karts to choose from. The 100cc is the less powerful of the two, although because of this the actual handling is far better. The 125cc kart is by far the faster of the two, so use of the brakes in all of the tracks is a necessity.
SPEED AND PLAYABILITY
There are two main angles from which you can view the action. The first is 3D which looks as if you are actually sitting in the kart. The 2D view is from above, much like a bird's eye view, and although it is far easier to handle the karts in 2D, it's difficult to see which corners are coming next.
If you would like to know what kind of technical specifications have been made to accommodate the speed of detail of VK, on an accelerated machine, Virtual Karting runs at 50 frames per second which, to be honest, is quite spectacular. If you're running it on a standard 1200, it is slightly less impressive - running at a steady speed at 25 frames per second.
Fabio Bizetti pointed out that speed and playability was his main concentration during the development and although this seems like a fair point, I can't help feeling that Amiga games