ZX Spectrum Games Turbo Esprit
Another winner from Durell (and the talent of Mike Richardson), Turbo Esprit was released for the ZX Spectrum in May of 1986.
Mike Richardson already had a glowing reputation as a Spectrum games developer due to his excellent previous titles such as Scuba Dive, Harrier Attack and Combat Lynx and Turbo Esprit was yet another great game developed by him. Let's go retro....
In the game (these cars were quite iconic in the 80's!) you were a special agent out to prevent an international ring of drug smugglers from delivering a huge shipment of heroin.
On load up you could choose from four cities in which to combat these dealers of drugs - once the choice had been made the only way to change cities was to reload the game. The game also allowed you to practise driving before playing the game for real. Neat.
In the game an armoured car was supplying the drugs to the centre of the city. Four delivery cars collected the narcotics from the armoured car as it drove around the streets. Your mission was to stop the delivery cars, (your best bet was to stop them after they had made their pick-ups) before they scurried away to the drug dealers safe houses.
Extra points could be earned if you stopped the armoured car before it left the city - it would do so after all drug drops had been completed.
The gameplay in this classic arcade game was viewed from the driving seat of your Lotus car - in much the same way as in Combat Lynx. The instruments on the dashboard included a speedometer, rev counter, fuel gauge and a temperature gauge.
Your car was shown on the roadway outside, so you could see the dashboard, speed, fuel level etc and also your car as it raced along the road. I like to call it remote cockpit view!
This really was a driving game with a difference. Apart from being able to shoot the bad guys with your slightly dodgy sounding 'turbo cannon' you could also ram them repeatedly until their car was battered enough to force them into surrender. Ramming the bad guys was worth more points too.
Aside from these niceties, what really set it apart from other racing games on the ZX Spectrum was the fact that the city felt quite 'real'. Junctions had working traffic lights, pedestrians ambled along the pavements, workmen made road repairs and garages were open for business.
In fact you had to stop at garages to fuel the car up - running out of fuel resulted in the loss of a life. Other cars made use of the roads too and it was wise to avoid any collisions with them. These cars even featured working indicators - fantastic attention to detail (for the era).
Your car may have incurred damage through your encounters with the drug dealers too - so you would have to stop at a repair garage and have your engine fixed, otherwise your car would eventually conk out, losing you another life.
This release was a pretty tough game, but it was very playable and mighty addictive. Another great game from Mike Richardson.
Durell were generally associated with quality computer games, and Turbo Esprit was highly anticipated in the build up to it's release. Fans of arcade games and driving games liked it and it was a pretty big hit. Little touches like the working traffic lights and pedestrians really added some atmosphere to the game. It ended up being popular - and rightly so.
The test of time:
Like many Spectrum titles this one has aged considerably over the last 20 odd years, but it remains somewhat a classic arcade game. The features in the game such as workmen and pedestrians, the repair garages all remind us here in ZX Spectrum games of a certain Grand Theft Auto. In a way this is a precursor to Rockstar's excellent series of games, and certainly expanded the whole driving genre when it was released.
Stick on a bit of Radar Love and give Turbo Esprit a go.
We recommend getting hold of the real hardware but if not then download a ZX Spectrum emulator and download Turbo Esprit for the ZX Spectrum. Alternatively you could try and play it online.
GENRE: Arcade game (driving game)
RELEASE DATE: May of 1986
RELEASED BY: Durell Software
DEVELOPER(S): Mike Richardson
PRICE: £8.95 - UK
Our man speeds around the streets in yet another classic arcade game...
Classic Games and Arcade Games...