Street Rod II – DOS

Suz E.Q is back and she’s gonna take you on a ride!!!!!

DOS. Say that to anyone under the age of 18 these days and they’ll stare at you blankly with their Xbox 360 controller flashing in their hand like you ‘re speaking another language. Well yeah, kinda. Even back in the 80’s and early 90’s it was a completely different dialect to the point and click operating systems we have become accustomed to. I know my parents had no idea what to do with the PC they purchased for me to join the big leagues of high school, but being a child growing up surrounded by endless developing technology to tinker with and being so inclined to, I knew how to steer this beast. It was all in the command…

Our games didn’t come loaded on these shiny things we call CD’s either. In the school library, and I don’t know why all “underground dealings” went on in the library, we traded games on these rectangle-shaped card things called floppy disks, and it would often take at least four of these to hold just one tiny game. And they were so very small by today’s standard! You’d get home after school and stashed in with your homework would be the stack of floppy disks you swapped, borrowed, bought or stole (not really) from any like-minded computer nerd. One at a time, each disk would be inserted and ejected from the pc with some key tapping in-between as you told the thing what to do, and finally, there would be a new game to play instead of opening the word processor to type some poor homework response.

‘Street Rod II’ (1991) is a racing game with a real difference to others in the genre of the time. You don’t simply pick a car, rev and race. You’re sent straight back in time to a pixelated 1969 with an empty garage and a bankroll with which to fill that lonesome space in the middle of the pinup-girl calendars and posters, brightly coloured spray paint, useful tools, the portable radio belting out the cheesy, fun midi-tunes,  and a much needed newspaper. This newspaper becomes your everything as you build up your reputation with other racers hanging out at the local diner and earn enough street-cred to race against the King.

This all doesn’t go without a decent challenge too. There are tactics involved as you test yourself and your vehicle/s at the different style races the game has to offer: the Drag Race, Mulholland Drive (winding cliff-side racing with many deadly obstacles), and the Aqueduct (based on a race from the film ‘Grease’ (1978)). You soon train yourself in the fine art of tapping the left or right arrow to steer rather than holding the keys in the desired direction, and that the ‘save’ and ‘old game’ functions are your closest friends. Save often! Win a car in a race for pink slips? Save! Sell a car to fund better parts for your main vehicle? Save! Screw up a race and roll it, losing your ride to your opponent? Load old game! Soon enough you’ll have a rep strong enough and a car beefy enough to take on the King in his Shelby GT500 and beat him.

 

4 /5 for old school pixel racing and engine building