Vendetta’s race section was such a big success System 3 have decided to develop a completely new game based
on it. Most companies would simply take the original code and add a few new elements. Not System 3. For Turbo Charge
they recruited a new programmer, started coding from scratch and set their sights on making the best race game
Vendetta’s superb mix of racing action and Last Ninja-style 3-D was, of course, coded by Stan Schembri whose from the heart Vendetta text intro is possibly the longest ever seen on a C64 game! Most recently he coded The last Ninja Ill (yet another Sizzler), sadly Stan’s last game. He’s now become the product development manager for the 'System 3 Team’ The company has always relied on plenty or people to develop their games and from now on they want to emphasize the team rather than individuals. Original designs, often by company director Mark Cale, go through a long gestation period with lots of people not directly involved in the project contributing ideas.
Turbo Charge is still very much in the midst of this 'team development’. The basic concept is of a special agent travelling around the world in pursuit of drug barons. In typical 'Miami Vice’ fashion he has an eye catching motor, lookinq rather like a Lamborqhini Countach. He starts off armed with a pistol - press fire and he leans out the window to blast away - but other weapons can be bought .
They’re certainly going to be needed as the route to each of the drug barons is patrolled by enemy cars, gunship helicopters and lots more besides. There are five barons, each a multiload level, which you can currently take on in whichever order you want.
Turbo Charge was initially developed to be a cartridge-only game. However the failure of C64GS to make huge sales, and retailers’ reluctance to stock cartridges, has sadly led System 3 to return to tape and disk development. The original code may be similar on disk, but obviously highly detailed death screens and so on will be dropped from tape to save multiload hassle. The basic gameplay will be same, though, and it looks superb.
When it came to developing Turbo Charge System 3 didn’t make any compromises, they purposely recruited one of
the C64’s best programmers. With hits such as Ghosts ‘N’ Goblins and Ninja Spirit behind him, Chris Butler really
grabbed System 3’s attention with his Sizzling Power Drift coin-op conversion. But while he wrote Power Drift on
his own, for Turbo Charge he came down to System 3’s Pinner offices to work solely on the coding. A year on and
it’s almost finished, the main hold-up is the beautifully detailed graphics which are coming from a number of different
dedicated graphic artists.
The road routine is an advance of the unique Power Drift system, which accurately maps the road from the horizon with character blocks filling in the gaps. Side graphics are extremely elaborate, allowing lots of colour to be displayed in either hi - or lo-res mode. In action this system is terrifically fast, whipping past highly detailed graphics at great speed with some stomach lurching hills. The attack helicopters are really well drawn (Hughes 500s, for aircraft buffs) and the way their bullets kick up dust is a nice touch. Even better is how both the road and car get darker when you go through a tunnel. It all goes to create a great sense of realism.
Incredibly there’s over twenty different enemy cars, plus police cars which try to block the road. One carry over from Vendetta is the road junctions. Periodic forks in the road are a feature of many coin-ops which have been absent from their C64 conversions. In Turbo Charge they’re a critical part of the game and work very well. Indeed, from what we’ve seen so far Turbo Charge seems a certain hit. A release date of July/August time is expected on cassette and disk with a possible to cartridge version to follow.