Now then, Mr Chip Software treated us to some brilliant C64 games – the Kikstart series, Humdinger, Super Scramble and many more. Of course along the way there was bound to be some casualties, and Speed Sprinter is one of them.
Speed Sprinter as you may have guessed was to be a car related game, top down and very much like a modernised Last V8 type title – even featuring graphics inspired by the game. The game was to feature a shop where you could buy materials for your car and do various upgrades. There were also a large number of tracks to play on. The game was being coded by Shaun Southern and graphics done by Andrew Morris – no doubt Shaun would have done the music too.
Basically Speed Sprinter was what eventually became Super Cars on the Amiga, and was the base idea. As Mr Chip turned into Magnetic Fields though, both Andrew Morris and Shaun Southern decided to move onto the 16-bits, not seeing a future left with the C64 any longer. Speed Sprinter was shelved, and ideas went into Super Cars which was released on the Amiga to great acclaim.
Many years later, Andrew Morris got in touch with GTW64 and offered to loan us some of his disks in the hope of preserving his work. In one batch we luckily managed to find most of the graphics for Speed Sprinter, though sadly no executable of the game itself.
We hope that Shaun may still have something of the game that he is willing to share – but Andrew suggests that Shaun probably will no longer have any of his disks. For now, you can get a good glimpse of how the game would have looked. If you imagine the Super Cars game play with those graphics, you will get a good idea of how it may have played.
In time we hope to get the course maps accessible, but we’ve included them in the assets download which Andrew has very kindly allowed us to put up. More soon on this game we hope, including input from Shaun himself!
Contributions: Andrew Morris
Andrew Morris talks about Speed Sprinter:
“I can’t remember why this game was never completed and released. I know we were working on Amiga games by that time, so that may have played a part in dropping it. I can’t remember who was programming it, probably Shaun Southern, although I don’t think there was anything beyond an editor.
It was intended to be a version of the arcade game Super Sprint, something like The Last V8 but with more levels and depth. As always, C64 graphics look particularly basic on today’s monitors. Many of the techniques I used as an artist relied on the graphics appearing on a blurry TV and not a modern monitor. Many of the graphical and design ideas I developed for this game were used a couple of years later on the Amiga game Super Cars, so if anyone played that, they will have some idea what this game would have turned out like.
I don’t remember a running version of the game, but then I don’t remember designing the maps. If you manage to get them working, I’d be interested to see what they look like. There are so many reasons we may have stopped the development. We may have focused on something else instead. Sometimes we got asked to do other projects or sequels. I think we did Amiga Rollaround in ’88, so I might have moved onto that.
I do remember how I re-used many of the ideas I’d thought of in Super Cars. It gave me a big head start on the design. I have some graphics for an un-released Amiga shoot-’em-up that we worked on after Super Cars. I effectively called a halt to it because I’d started designing Lotus and convinced Shaun to do that instead – a good move as it turned out.
I’ll ask Shaun if he’s got anything from those days but I don’t think he even has copies of the games.”
Looks rather nice – that stats screen for the Lambourghini was clearly the basis of the idea in Lotus 1 (and Lotus 3 on the Amiga IIRC). At least Super Cars ended up good on both Amiga and C64.