C64 Review of Trailblazer from Issue 20

ZzapTest Logo by Biggest Jim


Ever fancied racing across the mystic pathways of space through unknown galaxies, boldly blazing a trail where no other trail has been blazed before? Well now's your chance...

Trailblazer is a three dimensional, one or two player, split screen race game in which you must travel as far as you can along a straight spacial pathway. The pathway is split into twenty one different sections, each must be completed with a given time limit. If the clock runs down before you get to the finishing post, the game terminated. However, if you manage to pass the post in time, extra time is added to your total allowing you to tackle the next section of the track. There are no other objects on the course to worry about (only the other racer if two players are playing), it's just you versus the clock.

The racing tracks are made up of many metal slabs, although not all the slabs are of the same metallic composition. Each metal is a different colour and has a different effect on the racing craft (see panel for details).

The Trailblazer race craft have been specially designed for space path racing and look rather like footballs. They stick to the surface of the path as they zoom down it, but can move left or right with a push of the joystick. Pushing forward or pulling back on the joystick makes the craft accelerate or decelerate, and pressing the fire button makes it jump a short distance.

There are two main racing options presented on the title screen: Course Practice gives one or two players the chance to race over any three of the path sections. You are given an unlimited supply of jumps and with 99 seconds to complete each course. Arcade Trailblazer can be played either on your own or against another player. However, you are only given 30 seconds to complete each course and a limited supply of jumps, so when you run out, that's it - you can't jump!

BROWN slabs make up the bulk of the track. Going over them has no effect on your craft. BLUE slabs make the craft bounce.
GREEN slabs instantly increase your craft to maximum velocity.
WHITE slabs increases your velocity to 'warp' speed, although the action is cancelled if you touch a black, purple or red square.
CYAN slabs reverse your controls and consequently cause a lot of hassle.
BLACK slabs are really holes in the road which must be avoided at all costs. If you fall into one, time is lost before your ball is thrown back onto the course.
PURPLE slabs stop the ball in its tracks.
RED slabs slow you down to minimum speed.
GREY slabs announce the beginning or end of a race track.

This review was typed in/OCRed by Iain

ZzapBack Logo by Biggest Jim
In the spirit of ZzapBack, you can have your say about how the game reviewed above, stands up in the cold light of today. Has it aged badly or is it still worth a few plays? Read other peoples thoughts and post your own.

The current ZzapBack rating is : 88%

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Baz - 11 Sep 2004
Did you know that this game was first written for the C16 but it was only a single player game? sout always had his own certain uniqueness with his games and this was one of his best. a very original idea in the racing genre. i recently downloaded a clone of the game for my nokia phone called gridracer but you still can't beat the original

Rating : 87%
Andy Watson - 10 Mar 2004
Well this was one game that stays in my mind even now im 30. It ozzes that "one more try" appeal and has enough fun in 2 player mode to keep you coming back. Laugh as your mates fall off the course and you go through the wining line.
Gameplay can be hard at times but once you master the routes of where to go on a course you will progress through this nice little game.
A classic for sure and a memory for life!

Rating : 91%
biggestjim - 9 Mar 2004
Trailblazer is a ridiculously funny and hectic little game. Then and now. In two-player mode it's classic stuff -sheer excitement, but playing it alone is not half as interesting.
High pick up 'n play value, even in the 21st century.

Rating : 85%
CraigGrannell - 8 Mar 2004
Sout had a habit of creating solid, playable games, although this was one of the few to attain the accolade it deserved.

His work proves that sheer playability stands the test of time more than anything else: Trailblazer is still worth a blast today, and although the "catch-up" AI is somewhat suspect, there's very little else to complain about in this classic split-screen racer.

Rating : 82%
Iain - 8 Mar 2004
I played a version of this game on my old Amiga a lot and the C64 version is just as good.

It's a fast action game with that 'just one more go' additive quality to it.

It is a hard game, especially when you first play it, but on each subsequent play, you do get a little further, which keeps you coming back for more.

Pres 90% Gfx 86% Sfx 75% Hkb 98% Ltb 78%

Rating : 97%
Richard Eddy
Gremlin really have proved themselves over the past year and Trailblazer won't tarnish their reputation in the slightest. This version is the best of the lot, with the two player option making the races very exciting and exhilarating. I must admit, I tend to play the practice mode more than the arcade mode as it's a great opportunity to see the various levels, some of which are very devious. Overall, this (sic is) one of the most addictive and challenging games I've played in ages.
Gary Penn
Two player race games are always great fun to play, especially when they are as good as this. Trailblazer is a simple game with little variety, but it's very playable. Some of the courses are too frustrating and I found the one player mode monotonous at times, but on the whole Trailblazer is a competent release which should appeal to anyone who would love the opportunity to thrash the pants off a friend in a two player game.
Julian Rignall
Trailblazer is a loose cross between Pitstop II and Bounder, and has taken the addictive qualities of both. The object of the game is really simple, but actually getting to the end of each course within the allotted time limit takes a lot of skill and practice. The graphics are really effective and colourful, and the whole thing plays superbly, especially in two player mode. If you're after an unusual and immensely addictive race game, then look no further than this, it's great.
Suitable title screen and serveral functional options.

Simple, but very effective.

Jolly title screen tune and a few spot FX.

Highly unusual and compelling.

Lacks variety, but the two player game holds long term interest.

Pricey but worth it.

An excellent variation on the race game theme.