Saturday, 31 August 2013

Retro Review - Automobili Lamborghini (Nintendo 64)

Tiredness Kills! 

For those of you outside of the United Kingdom, or the non-drivers among you, 'Tiredness Kills!' is a government sponsored advertising campaign to make drivers aware of the perils of falling asleep at the wheel. While playing Automobili Lamborghini probably won't result in any fatalities, it will certainly alert you as to how easy it is to doze off mid-drive. With the exceptions of Ridge Racer 64, Beetle Adventure Racing and (possibly) V-Rally 99, Nintendo's 64-bit console is not really known for great road racing games. Instead poor N64 owners are 'treated' to a library of titles consisting of sluggish gameplay, poor frame rates and the usual blurry textures the system is infamous for.

Automobili Lamborghini, along with MRC, have to be the worst offenders in my opinion. You would think that a game featuring Lamborghinis would be a white knuckle ride of intense speed action, but you would be wrong. Auto Lambo (as I shall now abbreviate it in order to spare the chore of constantly typing the full title) is about as exciting as ironing a pair of trousers for work the next morning, and is as frantic and fast paced as a sloth on a Ketamine binge. 

Once you have navigated the bare-bones title menus and selected your car, you hit the road in either Arcade or Championship mode. I plumped for Arcade as I prefer my racing thrills to be uninterrupted by tedious menus and whatnot. Initially, the game looks fairly reasonable - sure, the graphics are lacking in colour and the vehicles look like cardboard box replicas of the real deals, but it is certainly acceptable. However, the doubts start to arise immediately after setting off at the start light. The cars move at the speed of glaciers melting, and the tracks are completely devoid of any character whatsoever. It is akin to driving a Milk Float (non-UK residents see here) around an industrial estate in Milton Keynes on a rainy afternoon. I actually found myself zoning out while 'racing' through these washed out, dull courses - exactly how I imagine falling asleep while driving begins. But I wasn't driving my Astra down the motorway at 5am after a night of partying, I was playing a video game featuring fucking Lamborghinis. This is completely unacceptable!

I am sure many people have fond memories of this game from their childhoods - I am afraid I had never played it until recently - and I am also sure that the NTSC version plays faster than the PAL version I am stuck with. But it can't stop me from seeing this game for what it is, an incredibly tedious and bland game with absolutely nothing to make it stand out from the hundreds of other racing games out there. It is not worthy of your time or effort and I advise you to steer well clear and play the infinitely more exciting titles I mentioned earlier, along with the sublime water based antics of Wave Race 64. If you simply must drive a Lamborghini then play Need for Speed on the 32-bit consoles or the excellent Lamborghini American Challenge on the Amiga, PC and SNES, as all these titles leave Automobili Lamborghini trailing in their dust.

Title : Automobili Lamborghini
Developer : Titus Software
Year : 1997
System : Nintendo 64