There’s a two-decade-old rumour that Codemasters’ top down racer, Slicks, is somehow related to their console triumph Micro Machines. Depending on the story you are told, one supposedly inspired the other. We’ve even seen it suggested that the games share bits of code or that Slicks was originally going to be C64 Micro Machines. As far as we can tell, though, this is just internet Chinese whispers. Certainly the programmer remembers no connection at all. Micro Machines arrived in 1991, and what is quite likely true is that Codies commissioned a cheapy C64 game inspired by it – intentionally or otherwise – in 1992. Slicks‘ similar two-player mode would point to it. They’re a little alike, and that’s probably all there is to it.
Anyway. It’s a bit of a bummer that this dominates discussion of the game, ‘cos it is ace in its own right. It’s simple enough: tiny car sprites belt around a smoothly scrolling race track, whose layouts and graphics are neatly inspired by the Grand Prix’ season of 1990. The tight bends and high speeds can make this tricky, ‘cos a wrong move of the stick can send you smashing into a wall or another driver.
The first thing you’ve got to do is qualify for a race by smacking your foot down and getting around the track in the fastest time. Then it’s onto the race, and a neat twist: any of the other drivers can challenge you. If you beat them, you get their car for the rest of the season. Fun, unless anyone with a worse car challenges you. Jody, as the CF review points out, is the worst for this. If she wins, she’s got your motor for the season and you get her clapped-out wheels.
The controls are all really straightforward. It’s fire to accelerate and then the stick to move the car. The bends can be a bit hairy, but once you get used to the tracks you will notice shortcuts like grass and carparks to shave seconds off your time.
All of which is fun, but can be beaten in a day. It’s Slicks‘ engaging two-player mode where you’ll find the longevity here. Social gaming before the era of social gaming, with the added bonus of being able to smack your mate if he cheats. CF
CF SAID: “Tough, sure, but worth the effort.”
WE SAY: We don’t think it’s that tough, really. But we do love it. One that Codies could probably have gotten away with charging full price for. A lovely, lovely little game.