I Remember When A Sports Car used to sound like a sports car as soon as its name started to roll off your tongue. Ferrari... Lamborghini... From the first syllable people were already impressed (unless you had one of those old three-wheeled Lambo Reliants, of course) and were already jealously thinking, "Wow! He must be really well endowed in the trouser department."
Today however, things just aren't the same. Play the average arcade racer, jam-packed with supposedly impressive chunks of machinery, and it's all a bit mundane. If you owned the logbook of one of these motoring babies, you'd have to identify the model before anyone showed even the slightest bit of interest - and that's assuming they knew what you were talking about. Alright, so everyone knows what a Porsche is (even if they don't know how to pronounce it), but you'd hardly get them " glancing towards your crotch area when you announced that you had a Mazda, would you? Or a Honda, for that matter. You'd have to say, "I've got a Mazda.
No wait, don't go - it's got an X on the end of its name," before they cottoned on that it was supposed to be fast. You might even have to gesture vaguely in the direction of your pouch-ette to emphasise the point. And if you have to do that, you might just as well spend the money on some cosmetic enlargement and be done with it.
Nevertheless, Screamer's back, with the same old anonymous-sounding cars that travel very fast. In fact, thanks to an improved game engine it looks as if they'll be running at a greater rate of rpm than in the first version - which as we all know, was faster than an Irish swimmer after a few courses of expert coaching from a discus thrower. But this isn't just a re-hash: where the first one was an attempt at Ridge Racer for the pc, this one will be trying to go one better and be the new Sega Rally. More effort has gone into the handling, so the cars have more in common with those in Sega's effort: they slide better, and all the various set-ups handle differently too.
A little bit of this...
The designers have taken a little bit from this game and a little from that to come up with a set of options that could easily hail from any of the top psx arcade racers. There's the usual arcade mode and a championship that can be competed for over four, five or six tracks; a time trial option, including the chance to race against a 'ghost car' (which sounds like you might need to get the rubber underwear out unless, like us, you never take it off) or give an opponent a headstart in Sega Rally style. And there's a multi-player network mode and a split-screen option for human-opponent fun.
With perhaps a slight nod towards Wipeout, you can now choose to drive for one of four teams, each embellished with their own little logo. Sadly, they haven't been designed by anyone famous so they're not quite as stylish as those in Wipeout, and whichever team you plump for you still have the same cars. But the thought's there, I think.
There are more courses for you to zoom about on, each set in a different country and here you'll find conclusive proof that California considers itself a separate country from the rest of the US - either that or Americans think that every other country in the world is uniformly similar throughout, and that only their's has different bits. I can't decide. Although only three countries had been completed in the version we saw, they will apparently incorporate different racing conditions and even different weather. Sunshine in California no doubt - which'll be a bit of a bugger to contend with, I'm sure. There's not really much more to reveal just yet, except that there'll be a demo on our cover cd soon for you to have a go with. So piss off out and play - what's a pasty individual like you doing indoors on a nice day like this anyway?
Course you can, Malcolm
Here's a brief rundown of what you can look forward to in each of the six different courses.
Race around Old London Town, under Tower Bridge and over the Cheddar Gorge, avoiding the Cocknernee barrowboys who will try to wipe your windscreen with a pair of stained brown nylon Y-fronts in return for a fiver, while issuing physical threats to anyone who has the nerve to hold you up by driving at a lesser pace.
The desert level for aficionados to slide about in a Sega Rally stylee. Skirt round the camel droppings and, without getting sand beneath your eyelids, race through the packed Arab market, running goats over, laughing at the two-headed radioactive camel and knocking down stallholders until you're neck-deep in perishable goods.
The snowy level, complete with realistic white frozen stuff: dodge the alcoholics lying speed-ramp fashion across the road; score bonus points for clipping the Christians on bicycles (Yus!); keep a fire and a bucket of water in the back seat, and jump out occasionally to plunge into icy water; write off your car in a head-on collision with an elk.
Another snowy level, but of a different kind. Deliver packages of cocaine to drug cartels deep in the mountains, navigating winding roads and a rope bridge; shoot your gun out the window at random, especially if you're anywhere near a football ground; end up skint and dead in a hotel room with one nostril (bet you didn't even know hotels had nostrils).
Care must be taken not to fall asleep at the wheel.
The easiest level, partly because everyone else insists on driving at 55mph with cruise control engaged. Jump Golden Gate Bridge; surf along Sunset Strip; wave at the President and his latest floosie; enjoy the stunning views and wide open spaces of Compton and Watts; mow down anyone without a Gold AmEx card; join the National Rifle Association; hang loose.
Them car things
The cars in Screamer can't be called by their proper real-life names, presumably because the developers would have to cough up the equivalent of the Brazilian National Debt to use them. So they've given them alternative ones instead. Unfortunately, rather than going for the racey blood-stirring monikers you'd usually associate with highspeed thrills and spills, they've opted for the type of name usually given by drug-addled hippies to their soon to be embarrassed offspring, dog or vacuum cleaner. Here they all are anyway, in all their poncily-named glory. And just so you can be truly impressed, we've even told you what their metal real-life counterparts are, extra initials and all. Each handle differently depending on whether they're front, rear, or four-wheel drive.
It's worth noting that in games such as this the growing trend is to calculate speeds in kilometres-per-hour. This is purely because it sounds faster than the old-fashioned British miles-per-hour, and since nobody can work out how to convert it, gullible consumers are all the more impressed. We have several mathematical experts on the firm however, and they have devised a foolproof formula to convert these speeds so that we can record them in mph. Their computations are accurate to point zero zero one of a decimal point (except that we don't believe in decimal points). Yet another triumph for plucky ol' Blighty over the despots of Europe who refuse to eat our disease-raddled meat by-products! (Cue national anthem...)
The Radiance is a rear-wheel drive car, which means that the back slides out on corners as if its tyres were made of highly polished aluminium, and life becomes an extended power slide. In reality it's known as the Porsche 911, which used to be popular with property speculators in the 1980s but can now be had for a fiver or so from bankruptcy auctions. Its top speed is 210kph, which in our foolproof calculations works out as 165mph.
The Nebula is another rear-wheel drive number and again, you'll find you develop a crick in your neck from looking over your shoulder while travelling around the world sideways. I don't know why they don't just put the wheels and seats on at an angle of 45 degrees and be done with it. In real life it's the Honda NSX (with the X standing for 'fast', of course) and its top speed is 220kph, which converts in our adjust-a-tron, as... er, well, it looks like 348mph (as it says here).
A lovely little motor, handy around town and something you might consider as a second family car, but only for the wife if she's a top rally driver with cobra-like reflexes and a complete absence of fear particles in her body. Because it's front-wheel drive, the front wheels behave like they're on a mission to collide with anything resembling your actual vehicle of choice. In real life it's a Mazda MX5 and can manage an astonishing 240kph, which translates as... er, 57mph. (Are we sure about this formula?)
The Horizon provides full on four-wheel-drive action, but it's not a Jeep so you can't cruise the high street with massive bullbars welded on the front, bumping into and wrecking other people's cars like a twat. But you can drive fast over tricky surfaces like sand, snow and camel crap. It's a Toyota Supra, which hasn't got an X but still hits a top speed of 230kph, which our ever-reliable formula translates as 'slightly less than the speed of light'.
Download Screamer 2
PC compatible, P-100
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode