Format: Amstrad GX4000
Year Released: 1988
Also released on: Amstrad 464 Plus, Amstrad 6128 Plus
Available now on: Internet Archive
The Amstrad GX4000 is remembered for two reasons. One, it was a complete flop and two, it had Burnin' Rubber on it. Burnin' Rubber was the GX4000's most popular game, mostly because it was the game bundled with each console. Yep, all 300 of the console's owners were able to enjoy the delights of Burnin' Rubber, an arcade-style racing game designed to showcase some of the abilities of the GX4000.
|Oooh, I can feel the excitement building up just sitting here staring at this screenshot.|
|Smile! There are plenty of other quality games available|
for this console. Oh, wait. There aren't.
|There's some weird voodoo magic thing going on with my car here..|
|Signs for Ocean and a tunnel. Who knows what continent|
lies at the other side?
So, the idea of Burnin' Rubber is simply to drive a car. Begin with a qualifying lap, and then go onto burning dust and eating rubber for real. On starting up the game, the game's title blazes its way onto the screen over a animated tyre-like pattern. The first thing you need to do is change the controller layout. By default, the game is set so that pushing up on the d-pad accelerates, down brakes and the two control pad buttons control the gears up or down if you're playing in manual. The game is much easier if you set the buttons to accelerate and brake and use up and down to control gears. Or ignore the gears and stay in automatic, which is what I do.
|Even before the days of Instagram, games like these featured filter effects that make it look like it was made in the 1970s.|
|A bit of a grey moment here. Nice tree though.|
Graphically, the game is quite good. The GX4000 was able to display quite a number of colours on screen and had a large pallet to choose from so Burnin' Rubber, being a launch title, shows some of this off. The game is supposedly set over 24 hours and as you progress, day turns to night, night becomes day again and the colour scheme changes to reflect this. It does give the feeling that you're progressing nicely through the race as you pass through each part of the day. Cars, backgrounds, roadside objects are all nicely drawn and the scaling of sprites and items works well. The game isn't the fastest out there, but you do definitely feel a sense of speed when you do have the opportunities to put your foot down. All of the on-screen information you need is nicely laid out and everything feels polished and well-presented.
|Oh, what a feeling! When we're dancing on the ceiling|
|Is that Cameron and Clegg? Or the Pet Shop Boys. Perhaps|
they're the same thing.
|Close, but not close enough. Not close at all actually.|
Well presented throughout. Large text fills the screen when needed, the title screen is basic but does the trick, and the menu system is simple and effective. Nothing special but very professional.
A good use of the GX4000's pallet with changing colour schemes, detailed sprites and good crash effects, as well as nice smoke effects.
Good music, sadly lacking in game, replaced instead by horrible engine noise.
Ironically given it's name, Burnin' Rubber is a bit of a slow burner. It doesn't instantly appeal but grows on you if you stick with it and turns out to be rather fun.
A good example of what the GX4000 could potentially do. Sadly tarnished by the console's reputation but a decent game overall.
|Begone! And don't forget to look for your missing apostrophe!|