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Game info

Test Drive

Test Drive
GenreRacing Sim
DeveloperDistinctive Software
Reviewed byndial
Test Drive is a racing simulator developed by Distinctive Software and published by Accolade in 1987 for the Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, and in 1988 for the Apple II. With this game, it didn't matter the driving simulation itself as it was relatively boring. What really mattered was the excitement at sitting in the driving seat of a few of the most exotic cars back in the days, with nicely detailed and resembled dashboards!
You've got five cars to choose from: Porsche 911, Ferrari Testarossa, Lamborghini Countach, Lotus Esprit and a Chevrolet Corvette. When you've made your decision you're placed behind the wheel and have to drive the car through five stages along a winding mountainous road. Your view of the game is as if you were in the driving seat of the car looking through the windscreen. The road has a sheer drop on the left and a solid, steep bank on the right. Not only are you trying to keep your car on the road and in the right lane, but you also have to contend with on-coming traffic, Sunday drivers and the ... police. The local police are well aware that some people use this particular road to test fast cars and so they're always waiting with their radar guns to trap the unwary speedster (that is you). Should you get caught in the radar speed trap (attached in your sun visor), you have to decide whether to try and outrun the cops or pull over and pick up a speeding ticket.
Control of the car involves pushing the joystick or keys forward to accelerate, back to brake and left-right to steer. Pressing fire normally changes gear (but you can choose automatic too) and you have then to move the joystick as if it were the gear stick up or down to change gears. Note that, if you reach the maximum of your car engine's RPM, the engine blow up (thus losing one life) and getting your windscreen broken too. Also note that, each car performs differently (this is why the game offers pretty nicely detailed information of each car at the main menu), so once you've become familiar with one car, you can try and master another.
Test Drive was an innovation back in the days, especially for the excitement at sitting in front of a steering wheel of a famous sports-car, resembling in high detail its real dashboard too, and it didn't matter the driving simulation itself.

The Amiga version offers great visuals with up to 32 colors on-screen. The perspective is from inside the car and is presented with impressive details that prompt to reality. All indications from gear shifting to torque changing are shown in a realistic way. The surroundings are pretty decent, with cars on or opposite your way, mountains, road signs etc. Comparably, the Amiga version runs a bit slower that its counterpart ST and PC (DOS) versions, but looks better in terms of graphics quality.
. Soundwise, the game here is the only version offering sampled ambient or engine sounds (which makes the game quite impressive), as well as a catchy introductory tune with speech.
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Gameplay sample
Comparable platforms

11 colors

29 colors
Commodore Amiga OCS/ECS

19 colors
Atari ST
Hardware information

Amiga 500/500+

Amiga 500/500+CPU: Motorola MC68000 7.16 MHz
MEMORY: 512KB of Chip RAM (OCS chipset - A500), 512 KB of Slow RAM or Trapdoor RAM can be added via the trapdoor expansion, up to 8 MB of Fast RAM or a Hard drive can be added via the side expansion slot. The ECS chipset (A500+) offered 1MB on board to 2MB (extended) of Chip RAM.
GRAPHICS: The OCS chipset (Amiga 500) features planar graphics (codename Denise custom chip), with up to 5 bit-planes (4 in hires), allowing 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 color screens, from a 12bit RGB palette of 4096 colors. Resolutions varied from 320x256 (PAL, non-interlaced, up to 4096 colors) to 640x512 (interlace, up to 4 colors). Two special graphics modes where also included: Extra Half Bright with 64 colors and HAM with all 4096 colors on-screen. The ECS chipset models (Amiga 500+) offered same features but also extra high resolution screens up to 1280x512 pixels (4 colors at once).
SOUND: (Paula) 4 hardware-mixed channels of 8-bit sound at up to 28 kHz. The hardware channels had independent volumes (65 levels) and sampling rates, and mixed down to two fully left and fully right stereo outputs
The Amiga 500/500+ (default) color palette
12bit RGB 4096-colors palette
(32 to 4096 colors on screen)
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