Test Drive perfectly summed up the 80’s when it came to kids living the dream of driving the cars on their bedroom wall and not only in one 80’s supercar but a choice of five to drive as hard and fast as you could to make it to the next stop.
Test Drive was from Accolade, who when loading the game tell you it’s presented by them (speech was a huge thing back then) you get to see a RayBan wearing character, driving side on in an 80’s super car. This sets the scene perfectly and sums up the type of person you’re going to be to drive these cars in real life.
Basically, cool, rich and definitely a ladies man.
Moving on from the intro you then get to choose your car and it looks awesome, you can choose between a Lotus Turbo Esprit, Porsche 911 Turbo, Corvette, Ferrari Testarossa and the ultimate 80’s scissor door pin-up the Lamborghini Countach and petrolheads got to look at the stats on the car, from top speed, 0-60 and even the tyre pressure. For stat fans you have a smorgasbord of info to drool over.
Doesn’t sound much now but back in 1987, no one had done this and set the tone that actually this is a serious simulation for serious gamers.
The driving takes place in the car which was a first, each of the cars cockpit is based on the real cars, the Corvette’s digital dashboard looks great as you race up through the revs and the Porsche’s iconic steering wheel is replicated in pixellated glory as is the Testarossa cockpit. When you shift gears there’s a cutaway showing the gear changes as you speed along the road.
Each car sounds different which at the time was as realistic as it could be but not so much today. Still nice to max your iconic vehicle at 160 mph.
The driving itself takes place on a mountain road, on one side is a cliff face that will mash up your windscreen if you veer into it and the other is a drop off the side and the same result applies here.
You have two lanes to play with and this means overtaking and watching out for oncoming traffic which happens frequently, especially when overtaking.
Like all exotic 80’s cars, you were crazy to have one if you didn’t have a Radar detector.
These illegal detectors told you in advance that there was a police car nearby measuring the speed of passing motorists.
Not that the beep, beep, beep is going to stop your hurtling along at breakneck (and broken windscreen) speeds as the patrol car will very rapidly be in the distance of your rear view screen (another nice touch by the way). If you do get caught you’ll get a ticket which is a nice touch.
Each section of mountain road is measured and when you finally stop at the petrol station you’re given an overview of how fast you went and what time you did it in.
And that’s about it, the fact that you could choose your car was amazing back then and the in-car perspective was fresh and exciting as well.
Has Test Drive stood the test of time? Well no, not really but it’s definitely worth going back to just to remember how much fun you had with it back in the day and how much things have progressed and again whilst simpler graphically.
The Commodore 64 version is worth a load as well although bear in mind if you decide to change the car, you’ll have to rewind the tape and hope for the best.
Do you remember Test Drive? What car was you vehicle of choice? Let us know in the comments below.