Retro byte: Chariot Races (Vic 20)

I know, I know … Another Vic 20 game, but its yet another one of those games that not many people will actually be that aware of unfortunately … and its a huge shame.

Chariot Races was produced in 1983 by a company called Micro Antics. It was a rather different game compared to the usual Pac Man clone of the time, where you controlled two large scaled chariot racers (Sinister and Dexter) navigating through a vertical scrolling traffic of chariot racers of similar shape and size.

Not a pretty sight, but very addictive - trust me!

In the game, chariots can be bashed from the sides and you can push into the front of them, but you must not collide behind another chariot, as otherwise your chariot will crash and crumble apart – signifying ‘Game Over’.  Other chariots must be bashed into the sides and crashed out of the game to earn you points.  The more points you earn, the faster the game gets and the more ferocious the opponents become on the track.  There are no levels in the game, you just keep going and rack up as many points as you possibly can before eventually crashing out.  It’s a classic hi-score based game.

Additionally, to add a bit of spice – if you maneuver too slowly in the game, you will have fireballs shot at you from behind, so you need to keep moving fast – which additionally gives you a bit more power when bashing into others.

The game was additionally one the first of its kind on the Vic 20 to have two players simultaneously who share keys on the keyboard to play.  Although it seems to be predominantly a two player game (The game always starts in 2 player mode), you can play by yourself, let player 2 crash out and then continue to do battle against the computer based chariots.

Overall there are a lot of very clever game play features for a title from 1983, making it a very fun little title.  Although it looks terrible, it plays very well and is extremely fun in two player mode as you do battle with a friend – but even in a single player game, its one of the best Vic 20 titles to ever grace the system and comes highly recommended if you are checking out the machine and its software library.

Actually after playing it a bit recently (including a 2 player game for the first time at Retrovision recently), i’m very keen to be involved in a C64 conversion of the title with some updates.  Maybe watch this space?…