by Mario Perdue
Review by Bruce Philip For
The very second it arrived via priority mail, my heart began to pump in much the same way it did for many of us right before our first kiss! I eagerly tore the priority mail package to shreds to discover a plain Jag cart with some sort of glue where the screws are supposed to be on the front of the cartridge. I quickly rushed over to my beloved Jaguar console. On initial boot up, I witnessed the all too familiar “red” Jag screen that seems to plague dusty cartridges. A quick spray of compressed air onto the carts contacts and bingo!, it works.
I am greeted with a very nice title screen. No credits whatsoever, or copyright date for that matter. Ok, looking great so far. The title screen rolls away and I am now looking at a F1 style vehicle sitting on the road with a message requesting the insert of a coin to start the ride. Ok, let me see what button triggers the insert coin mechanism. It takes me all but two seconds to find that the “pause” key does the trick and gives me 60 second of play. An announcer immediately says “Press the red button to begin ride”. Ok, now, where is this “red button”? After pushing a few buttons on the keypad I find that it is the “0” key. Upon pressing the button, a very cheesy little tune starts playing and you hear the roar of the car's engine. To accelerate, you can either press down on the directional pad, or press “7”, “8”, or “9” on the keypad. Moving left can be accomplished by simply pressing the d-pad left, or using “4”, “5”, or “6” on the keypad. Along those same lines, moving right is done by pressing right on the d-pad, or pressing either “1”, “2”, or “3” on the keypad. Since it gets quite annoying trying to press down and left/right on the d-pad to both accelerate and move left or right, I've found that the most comfortable method of piloting the vehicle is by using the d-pad for left/right, and “9” on the keypad to accelerate up. I also notice the “B” button blows the car's horn.
Ok, now I’m driving down a nice, very straight road with some cute little animals here and there on both sides of the road. The pig makes an "oink" noise and the sheep gives out the familiar "baahhh" sound. And how about the cow? You guessed it, it makes a "mooo" sound. There is also a chubby looking birdie that flies over me chirps. At least that is all he’s doing! The announcer once again starts talking to me, shouting at me to “LOOK OUT”. Uhh ohh, it’s a road cone! I quickly dodge it and I get a “Nice Going” from the friendly announcer fellow. What other crazy obstacles will I encounter? Oh no! It’s a road construction sign! It’s funny how I do not seem to see any road construction going on. I attempt to hit the sign now just for the hell of it. The sign doesn’t get smashed up. I don’t receive any kind of damage. As a matter of fact, the only thing that does happen is that I lose some speed. Now the announcer I thought was being so friendly taunts me with “Where did you learn to drive?” At least he does not say this to me every time I hit something. Actually, let me rephrase that. I would rather deal with him saying this constantly if there was just a way to turn off this highly annoying, very repetitive tune that is playing in the background.
As I continue to drive along a helicopter flies over me. What is it going to do? The answer is nothing. It just makes helicopter noise. Ok, now a plane flies by making this roaring noise. Aside from the flying vehicles and animals, there are also a few trees, a barn, and a Carousel sign you pass on the sides of the road here and there. The timer is almost to “0”, which leads me to believe I am nearing the end of my fantastic voyage. The timer ends and I pull straight into the parking lot of Carousel Entertainment! The announcer then says “Good Job!” Thanks buddy!
Although my little game play review may strike a negative tone, that's not the case at all. You have to understand this game was intended with a very young child in mind. I can imagine some little kid at the supermarket begging his mom for change to hop into Speedster II. The game itself is very simple. You cannot actually hit any of the animals or even veer off the road. Nothing in the game hurts you. No matter what happens, you get to the end. There are no other cars on the road that will attempt to out run you or knock you off the road. You drive mainly for high score - that’s it. You can blow the horn, but there is really nothing to blow at. It’s just an all around friendly game with cute graphics and no violence. Perfect for a little child. Although I will not be playing it much, if at all, I am extremely happy to have this prototype in my Jag collection. Just when I thought every game created for the good ol’ Jag had been discovered, Speedster II comes along. It really wouldn’t matter to me what kind of game it was. I think other owners of prototype games can agree with me there. That should round up my coverage on the Speedster II prototype. I hope the information supplied here was informative. I would also like to thank a few people. Thanks to Mario Perdue for the information on this game; I only know about its history due to his helpful response to my inquiry about the game. Thanks to Atari Gaming Headquarters for giving me the opportunity to write this review. Last, but not least, big thanks go out to you, the many Atari Jaguar fans and developers. Without you guys the Jag would most certainly die an unjustifiable death. On a final note, I want to dedicate this review to the families, friends, and loved ones lost in the recent cowardly and horrible terrorist acts committed on my great country, USA. Let us pray for those lost, and hope the terrorists get what they deserve.