Grand Prix / Demolition Derby
Grand Prix / Demolition Derby is a 4KB cartridge released by Astrocade Inc. in 1981. It is cartridge #2014 and is part of the Action/Skills Series. There is a label variation called simply Grand Prix. These two games were programmed by Bob Ogden and Rickey Spiece. Scot L. Norris did the audio for this game.
The Grand Prix/Demolition Derby cartridge ROM image (called "grandprx.bin") is part of this archive:
Grand Prix/Demolition Derby is a very common cartridge, but if you don't have it, then it is included on every multicart that has been released for the Astrocade over the years. Neither of the main games on this cartridge requires the knob, so both games play fine using the MAME Astrocade emulator.
According to a letter sent to the Arcadian in January of 1979 by Glenn Pogue, the Grand Prix / Demolition Derby cartridge was supposed to be released by Bally on March 16, 1979, but I don't think that there is a Bally release of this game. You can read about the upcoming 1979 releases from Bally in Glenn's letter, here:
http://www.ballyalle...n 22 1979-).pdf
Here is the description of the game from the manual's cover:
"Four challenging courses in race car driving excitement! Jockey for position at Le Mans or go for broke on a dangerous Rally track! There's a constant trade-off between speed and maneuverability! Varying skill levels upgrade the challenge and the fun. Here is all the excitement of formula-style racing! The competition gets hotter as players improve their skills! 1 or 2 players."
The game's manual cover looks like this:
Here is what the cartridge looks like:
Here is a label variant of the cartridge:
Here is the cartridge's main menu:
Here are Grand Prix's three different courses:
Four-player games of Grand Prix are possible. Take a look:
The winner of round of Grand Prix will see this announcement (sorry, there's no checkered flag!):
In Demolition Derby, you can play with up to four players. If less than four people are playing, then the computer controls the extra cars. Here is how the derby begins:
This is a game in-progress:
Here are highlights from the Grand Prix/Demolition Derby manual:
Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines! The starting gun fires, and you're off in a flash, careening around dangerous turns in the race for the finish line.
Grand Prix gives you all the excitement of formula-style racing, with three different race tracks and two skill levels to choose from.
Starting the Game
Enter the number of players (1 to 4), then select the difficulty level by selecting 1 for pro, 2 for beginner. At the pro level, the race cars are able to reach higher speeds than at the beginner level.
Select the number of laps (1-99). If you enter a number that is less than 10, press = to start the race.
Playing the Game
The hand control functions for Grand Prix are:
- Trigger - Accelerator for race car.
- Knob - Has no function.
- Joystick - In right position, race car will turn clockwise; in left position, it will turn counterclockwise. Up position will move car in forward direction.
Once the race has started, use the joystick to move your car around the track. But, be careful not to crash into the other cars or into the race track walls. Skillful driving maneuvers are as important for success as high speeds.
The first car to reach the finish line after completing the specified number of laps is the winner.
Demolition Derby (1 to 4 players)
All the thrills of a live demolition derby! Contestants ram their cars into each other until only one car remains running.
Starting the Game
Enter the number of players (1 to 4). Computer-controlled cars are provided for more action in games with less than four players.
Select the maximum number of points (1-99). If you enter a number that is less than 10, press the = to start the game.
Playing the Game
The hand control functions for Demolition Derby are:
- Trigger - Accelerator for car.
- Knob - Has no function.
- Joystick - In right position, car turns clockwise; in left position car turns counterclockwise. It automatically moves backward (to protect engine from being hit) unless the joystick is pushed forward.
You'll stay in the competition longer by protecting the front end of your car and backing into your opponent's. In this way, your car's radiator, engine, etc. will remain intact.
Here is a YouTube video that shows the gameplay of Grand Prix/Demolition Derby. This video was created by "Highretrogamelord:"
Grand Prix Options:
Difficulty level: Pro
Number of Laps: 5
Demolition Derby (Options):
Difficulty level: Pro
Maximum Number of Points: 10
Grand Prix/Demolition Derby (Scoring):
Five points will be awarded for playing each of the two main games.
We are playing for lowest overall time for Grand Prix tracks 1-3. You can post each track score separately and I'll figure-out the math. Remember to complete 5 laps of each track. I presume all of our times will be very close; there may even be some ties.
This game does not keep track of the player's time. If you play a game and are the winner, then you'll receive five points. I don't expect that there will be anyone who can't win against the computer, but if there is anyone for some reason who can't beat the three computer players (how sad!), then that person will receive three "participation points." Yeah, yeah; that does sound a little like "everyone gets a trophy!"
This round's bonus game is a straightforward "racing" game, one that I expect nearly every "AstroBASIC" owner played in the 1980s, as it was reprinted in the "AstroBASIC" Owner's Manual. The game is called Sideswipe. It's an early effort by Mike Peace, who wrote the WaveMakers games.
Sideswipe looks very-much like an early BASIC game; that's because it is very early. Here are some screenshots of Sideswipe in action:
Sideswipe was first published on page 69 of the October 1980 issue of Cursor:
In 1981, it was reprinted in the "AstroBASIC" owner's manual on page 89:
Eventually (in 1982, I think) it was included with three other programs program on WaveMakers' tape 12 called Four Famous Freebies.
You can download the "AstroBASIC" version of Sideswipe here:
This archive also includes a program modification by Lance Brisee that was submitted to the Arcadian, but never published. See his Lance's letter in the Arcadian area of BallyAlley.com for details:
The difference that immediately jumps out in this game modification is that Lance added messages based upon your final score, like "YOU SHOULD BE DRIVING A WHEELCHAIR" or "YOU SHOULD BE DRIVING A RACING CAR".
Here are the directions for Sideswipe as they were printed in Cursor:
"Your goal is to steer your car through and around the other vehicles on the road at the same time making sure you don't hit the sides of the road. Your car is the one with the broken boxes at the top of the screen. The road moves up toward you from the bottom of the screen as shown in the photograph. Mike as usual has done a very thorough job using very limited memory. This program uses some interesting sounds, and a unique method of movement. Use Hand
Control Knob #1."
Here are the directions for Sideswipe as they were printed in the "AstroBASIC" manual:
"The car appears on the top of the screen moving toward the bottom. Steer your car using knob (1) to avoid obstacles as they approach. Top score is 100 points. You lose 3 points for each sideswipe and 10 points for each collision."
Don't be turned off by this game's primitive graphics. In the mid-eighties I used to play a type-in game very similar to this (probably even more primitive!) in typing class on a TRS-80 Model III. I had fun with the alternate TRS-80 version of the game then, and playing a few games of Sideswipe yesterday made me realize, that in some strange way the game holds up to this day. Maybe because it's so simple, or maybe because the game doesn't take long to play-- but I think you'll enjoy it for the brief period that you'll play it for this HSC round.
There are many bonus points available this round for both games.
- Grand Prix/Demolition Derby - Video Review - (1 Point) - Although I found examples of gameplay footage for this cartridge, I couldn't find any reviews. Anyone who makes a video review of Grand Prix/Demolition Derby will get a bonus point.
- Grand Prix/Demolition Derby - Multiplayer Game - (Up to 3 Points) - This cartridge is a rarity in that up to four players can play at one time. For every additional player who you can round-up to play with you, then you'll earn an extra bonus point. Don't have any Astrocade fans nearby, then maybe it's time that you get your significant other into the incredible videogame system that is the Astrocade. That will be worth one extra point. If you can get that person, plus your trained dog, and possibly your Guinea pig, then that's three points right there! Easy!
- Sideswipe - Playing Sideswipe - (1 Point)
- Sideswipe - Highest Score - (1 Point) - The maximum points that can be earned are 100. Whoever gets the closest to 100 points gets a bonus point. If there is a tie, then multiple players can earn this bonus point.
- Sideswipe - Video Review - (1 Point) - Anyone who makes a video review of Sideswipe will get a bonus point.
Someday, I'd like to try a four-player game of Grand Prix/Demolition Derby at a large gaming get-together. I bet this game would be sure to please the crowd.
Sideswipe is a very short, 29-line, BASIC program. For such a short program, I'd say that you get a lot of bang out of your buck. Is it a great game that you'll come back over and over again? Nope. Would Sideswipe have been worth the small time investment in time that it would have taken to type the program into BASIC in 1981. Certainly!
Enjoy the two main games and the simple bonus game-- and, remember, post your high scores often.