3D Stock Car Championship by Firebird on the ZX Spectrum comes in a 48k version, and isn’t a game I’d heard of until recently. So firing up the trusty 128k +2A I loaded the game from the SD card in the PICODIVSD which I recently got. The first thing you see once you set up the controls is that there isn’t much 3D involved, at best it’s Isometric, at worst you could call it a strange viewpoint on a racing game. So the countdown to the green flag starts and then you’re off.

The game has a top down racer quality to it, but a very strange idea where acceleration requires bashing of the throttle button repeatedly to increase and maintain speed. That one detail almost made me stop playing after missing out on 3 races, but I held on in there and had another attempt when I found out how to go fast. Then it becomes a fun racer, as you battle with the other opponents (computer controlled in this case but you can have other friends playing). Added in are the car handling “physics” which are actually quite good and add to the experience as the rear of your car slides if you go too fast into a corner, but can be corrected with opposite lock, a nice little fun touch to the game. After a few races you learn how to block the other cars as you turn in, force them into the fences, and how to crash a lot too.

3D Stock Car Championship does not have the best graphics ever seen on the Spectrum, the cars are a little small, and a little basic, but it is an early game so that can be forgiven, as can the lack of sounds apart from a few clicks which get faster to indicate engine revs and a kind of crash sound when cars hit each other. Basic Spectrum stuff then really.

Firebirds attempt at a Stock Car simulation may be lacking in some departments but the gameplay is actually quite addictive once you get started. Sliding and controlling those slides is fun, blocking and pushing the opponents is fun. Winning a race and going onto the next track, and then the next adds a challenge as the tracks become trickier. Overall, 3D Stock Car Championship is worth a little play and will supply a little fun

Score 7/10

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