Remember the Cannon ball Run flicks? I sure do! Burt Reynolds, Dom Deluise and a wacky cast of characters raced cross country for a chance at a cool million bucks. On their way, they seized every opportunity to break tons of traffic regulations. If you're a Cannonballer at heart, take a one or two-player test drive of Race America by Absolute, a new cross-country road rally for your NES.
Long Distance Driving
If you're into motoring across the U.S. in a 6-gear, 135-mph top speed, sports car, you'll dig Race America. You race from shore to shore against eight, mean, four- wheelin' bandits, luckily only one at a time. The course runs from Boston to Los Angeles with stops in New York, Washington, Cincinatti, Detroit, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, and Denver. Your goal? Dust A.J. Turbo, Supreme Road Warrior of the Team Absolute road crew! You'll probably never clean AJ.'s clock the eight straight times required for a final victory. Less skillful players can practice up for Mr. Turbo by dueling with his seven flunkie buddies, or you can just bum rubber against a friend in a simultaneous two-racer game.
Pedal to the Metal
Since Race America features one-on-one race face-offs, the other cars and motorcycles on the course are just distractions. Put your car's revving power to the test in two race segments, the Drag Race and the Road Race.
During the Drag Race, you must quickly accelerate out of the starting blocks, but remember to switch gears to kick in the juice. You must take into account your machine's RPMs and speed, not to mention oil slicks and your opponent. You see the Drag area in a side- view, split-screen perspective.
ProTip: To take the Drag Race lead, watch the radar and change lanes left or right to avoid potholes.
Once you accelerate outta the pits, you're thrust right into the Road Race. You'll either appear in the Trailing Window, a small view of the chase car, or the Leader Window, an oversized display of the current leader. Both windows utilize a standard 3-D, first-person perspective. Anytime racers close the gap on their opponent, the view switches to a cool, flyby, overhead, camera angle. If the lead changes hands, the 3-D windows flip- flop. A straight split screen would have been less confusing than this view system, but it's still unique for an 8-bit racer.
- During the chopper cam closeups, try to bump your opponent into oncoming traffic.
- If you're playing against the computer and its racer is dilly-dallying around a section of fuel canisters, pull over to one side of the screen, grab your fuel, and then speed past the CPU.
- When you reach a gas can refuel spot, slow down to approximately 10 -15 mph. Drive over the can to fuel your tank close to its max!
Races for Aces
If you've already burned the competition in NES roadsters, such as Rad Racer and Rad Racer II, don't expect anything outrageous in Race America. The drivin' is pretty routine, except for the awkward gear-shifting mechanism. Graphics and sounds? I'm not shoutin,' but I'm not poutin'. In a nutshell, Race America's strongest asset is its split screen versus mode for one or two racers together. If that feature sounds appealing, you'll want to take Race America for an NES spin today!