Wednesday 30 January 2013

Super Sprint - Atari ST - 1987

Like Gauntlet, Super Sprint is another conversion of an Atari coin op that made it onto the Atari ST but not the Amiga.  It was also converted to the main 8-bit home computers of the time and the NES console.  Super Sprint was released in the arcades in 1986 as the latest in the 'Sprint' series of overhead racing games.  In turn the 'Sprint' series can trace it's ancestry back to Gran Trak 10 from 1974.  Controls consisted of just a steering wheel and an accelerator pedal - brakes are for wimps.

Atari's Gran Trak 10 - Grandaddy of Super Sprint

As expected the ST version is the pick of the bunch.  It has the best graphics and sound, has support for up to 3 simultaneous players, and features all 8 tracks.

When you begin a game you can choose which track to start on.  A race takes place over three laps and you can continue onto the next circuit if you beat the green AI car (the computer also controls any other car not in use).  If you finish behind the green car then it's game over and you can enter your name on the high score table.  Some circuits contain  features such as open and closing gates and poles that come out of the ground.  As the game progresses the green car gets faster and more obstacles start to appear on the track to hinder your progress.  Oil, grease and moving tornadoes spin you out of control whereas patches of water slow your car down.  If your car is destroyed by crashing too hard, a helicopter flies across the screen to replace it costing you precious seconds.

The handling of the car itself is akin to driving on ice bumping your way around the corners while the AI cars corner like they are on rails.  You can upgrade your car by picking up the golden spanners that randomly materialise during a race.  Pick up four and you can spend them on faster acceleration, a higher top speed, improved grip or extra points.  Bonus points can also be collected when they appear on the circuit.

In Super Sprint the whole race track is viewed on a single screen so by necessity the car graphics are very small.  Nevertheless, the game is well animated and the graphics do their job well.  Sound is quite simple consisting mainly of engine drone and one or two jingles and effects. As a solo experience Super Sprint is admittedly a bit limited but add a friend or two and it really comes into it's own. 


  1. Nice choice, I'm a big fan of overhead racing games and this is one of the best! I usually prefer to play the arcade version but the ST conversion certainly looks tip-top as well :)

    1. It certainly is a decent conversion. If this blog was 'My All Time Favourite Arcade Games' the arcade version would definitely be in there.

  2. Wow - I've just spent a very worthwhile hour reading through your blog, and I'm starting to suspect we're the same guy due to the 99% identical gaming history ;-) Really good reading, some great memories in here. Time to fire up the emulators I think!