No Second Prize

Title		No Second Prize
Game Type	Driving
Company		Thalion
Players		1
Compatibility 	All (1 meg required)
Submission	Angus Manwaring Profiled Reviewer

No Second Prize is a Motorcycle racing game from the prestigous Thalion
team. Unlike the Super Hang-On approach of a sprite based engine, Thalion
have opted for a proper 3D racing game using polygons for everything,
including the other motorcycles.

“"Slick" is the word that comes to mind with this game. The 3D intro is
particuarly tasty, showing a misty 3D landscape and a slow-motion
drive-past of a bike that is almost ethereal. The accompanying rock based
music incorporates some particuarly funky guitar, and compliments the
visuals very nicely. A mouse click takes you into the first game screen,
where you are presented with various options including entering a
Championship, Practice, or loading saved games. From here you can go to
the character selection screen where you can choose from several people of
different nationalities; each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
Some are very fast, but not so good at cornering, some are good
all-rounders etc, etc. You are also given a choice of Manual or Automatic
transmission, and mouse sensitivity. Here again, within the Option
screens, the music is very nicely done. It's a fairly in-your-face rock
riff, but it's broken up with a gentler groove piece very reminiscent of
the Dutch seventies rock giants, Focus. Mmmmmmm, nice!

This brings us to the racing itself, and may I just point out, that if you
have someone available who is not used to using a mouse, now is the time
to enjoy watching them play a game. As mentioned you can select  the mouse
sensitivity but even on the lowest setting, some people have great
difficulty controlling the bike, and it`s great fun watching them
continually over-correct, and swinging across the road from one grass area
to another, making very little headway. Highly amusing. If you are used to
a mouse though, the control is very good, and you can slide past the other
bikes in a very satisfying way. As for your surroundings, the 3D landscape
is essentially flat, but from time to time the track goes down into a
slight dip, or over a small hump. It also has a few nicely constructed
vehicles and buildings placed around the track. These are not just for
scenery; you can drive around them, and colliding with them will have
consequences. Actually, the 3D landscape engine appears to be roughly
equivalent to the one used in “Frontier”.

Both you, the rider, and your bike can sustain a certain amount of damage,
and an amusing point is that if you collide square-on with a building at
perhaps 300 kph, you`ll be presented with the message "YOU TOTALLY
CRASHED!"” written across the screen. Well, I liked it. This can happen if
you pay too much attention to the map which appears in the top left corner
of your display, showing the track and the position of the important
competitors; a  very useful addition, providing you keep an eye on the

There are also some fairly extensive replay facilities, giving you the
option of reliving your mistakes and successes from several viewpoints. A
TV helicopter continually tracks the rider in first place, and you`ll see
this from time to time ......or not.

No Second Prize is a very good effort and difficult to fault. What has
been done, has been done with style and skill, but possibly a little more
variety would have been nice in the topographical design of the tracks.
It`s a lovely little game though, and I was very impressed, although it`s
a non-dos disk, it slots into my 060 1200 and runs with no problems at
all. Good old Thalion.

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