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Alive 4
                               SPEEDSTER II
                          (Unreleased Prototype)
                             by Mario Perdue
                        Review by Bruce Philip For

This review is of a very strange prototype Atari Jaguar game I recently picked
up. The game is entitled Speedster II and was programmed by Mario Perdue. This
is the same man, incidentally, who developed the wonderful Breakout 2000 for
the Jaguar. As a matter of fact, Perdue created this game right after finishing
up Breakout 2000.

According to Perdue, Speedster 2 was completed on December 5th, 1996. It
was not intended for home users, but rather for a kiddie ride, believe it
or not! Yes, you heard it right. You know... those rides you see in front
of supermarkets and such. The company that manufactures a few of the
kiddie rides, Carousel Entertainment, actually had plans of using Atari
Jaguars in the rides themselves! Unfortunately, this never came to pass
due of certain issues with the Jag's reliability in wet and/or hot
environments, and thus the product was eventually discontinued. The cart
itself was recently discovered in a shipment of salvage Jaguar carts, and
luckily enough for me, into my hands! When I recently spoke with Mario
Perdue and asked him how many he thinks are out there in the universe, he
simply stated: I have no idea, but not very many. I may very well be the
only one out there with this original, one of a kind, prototype. From what
I am to understand however, there may be another prototype of a different
kiddie ride floating around out there in the abyss. This game is Skycopter
II and was also designed by Perdue.

I am greeted with a very nice title screen. No credits whatsoever, or
copyright date for that matter. Ok, looking great so far. The title screen
rolls away and I am now looking at a F1 style vehicle sitting on the road
with a message requesting the insert of a coin to start the ride. Ok, let
me see what button triggers the insert coin mechanism. It takes me all but
two seconds to find that the -pause- key does the trick and gives me 60
second of play. An announcer immediately says -Press the red button to
begin ride-. Ok, now, where is this -red button-? After pushing a few
buttons on the keypad I find that it is the -0- key. Upon pressing the
button, a very cheesy little tune starts playing and you hear the roar of
the car's engine. To accelerate, you can either press down on the
directional pad, or press -7-, -8-, or -9- on the keypad. Moving left can
be accomplished by simply pressing the d-pad left, or using -4-, -5-, or
-6- on the keypad. Along those same lines, moving right is done by
pressing right on the d-pad, or pressing either -1-, -2-, or -3- on the
keypad. Since it gets quite annoying trying to press down and left/right
on the d-pad to both accelerate and move left or right, I've found that
the most comfortable method of piloting the vehicle is by using the d-pad
for left/right, and -9- on the keypad to accelerate up. I also notice the
-B- button blows the car's horn.

Ok, now I'm driving down a nice, very straight road with some cute little
animals here and there on both sides of the road. The pig makes an "oink"
noise and the sheep gives out the familiar "baahhh" sound. And how about
the cow? You guessed it, it makes a "mooo" sound. There is also a chubby
looking birdie that flies over me chirps. At least that is all he's doing!
The announcer once again starts talking to me, shouting at me to -LOOK
OUT-. Uhh ohh, it's a road cone! I quickly dodge it and I get a -Nice
Going- from the friendly announcer fellow. What other crazy obstacles will
I encounter? Oh no! It's a road construction sign! It's funny how I do not
seem to see any road construction going on. I attempt to hit the sign now
just for the hell of it. The sign doesn't get smashed up. I don't receive
any kind of damage. As a matter of fact, the only thing that does happen
is that I lose some speed. Now the announcer I thought was being so
friendly taunts me with -Where did you learn to drive?- At least he does
not say this to me every time I hit something. Actually, let me rephrase
that. I would rather deal with him saying this constantly if there was
just a way to turn off this highly annoying, very repetitive tune that is
playing in the background.

As I continue to drive along a helicopter flies over me. What is it going
to do? The answer is nothing. It just makes helicopter noise. Ok, now a
plane flies by making this roaring noise. Aside from the flying vehicles
and animals, there are also a few trees, a barn, and a Carousel sign you
pass on the sides of the road here and there. The timer is almost to -0-,
which leads me to believe I am nearing the end of my fantastic voyage. The
timer ends and I pull straight into the parking lot of Carousel
Entertainment! The announcer then says -Good Job!- Thanks buddy!

Although my little game play review may strike a negative tone, that's not
the case at all. You have to understand this game was intended with a very
young child in mind. I can imagine some little kid at the supermarket
begging his mom for change to hop into Speedster II. The game itself is
very simple. You cannot actually hit any of the animals or even veer off
the road. Nothing in the game hurts you. No matter what happens, you get
to the end. There are no other cars on the road that will attempt to out
run you or knock you off the road. You drive mainly for high score -
that's it. You can blow the horn, but there is really nothing to blow at.
It's just an all around friendly game with cute graphics and no violence.
Perfect for a little child.


Alive 4