LGR – Vette! – DOS PC Game Review

LGR – Vette! – DOS PC Game Review

[LGR Theme plays] [fizz, sip] Aahhh! [typing] Think to yourself for a moment
of open world driving games. What is the first one you can think of? If you thought of Vette!, the street race simulation through San Fransisco, then I’d be impressed. In fact, the only older open world
driving game that I know of is Durell Software’s Turbo Esprit. This one is from Spectrum HoloByte and Sphere,
Inc. from 1989 for AT-class MS-DOS PCs and Apple Macs with an FPU. This is the DOS version we’ll be looking at
in this video, and it is awesome. I mean, first thing’s first here. You’ve gotta judge a game by its cover and Vette! wins. The chrome-y golden raised logo, that totally awesome cover artwork with a Corvette totally pulling a Knight Rider
over hide, and on some versions you had this sticker which totally sticks it to its contemporary, Test Drive II: The Duel. “The REAL duel,” it boasts, since the game features head-to-head multiplayer, as was a staple of Spectrum
HoloByte games of the time. This is one of the many excellent
games from the guys at Sphere, who were known for the popular Falcon franchise. And some of the same design team went on
to make the very impressive Stunt Driver, which I reviewed previously, and later moved to EA to make Road Rash. But Vette! kind of stands apart, since it’s a very open-ended game
with lots of very innovative stuff. The game comes on multiple possible disk formats, with CGA and EGA versions on separate floppies. None of these disks are copy protected, so you’ll need the manual to answer
some trivia when you start the game up. Besides providing copy codes,
the manual is packed to the brim with information regarding the game, the history of the Corvette, and detailed specifications of the cars. There’s even a section which tells
you exactly what settings to try if your machine has less-than-optimal performance. Dang, why didn’t Crisis come with a section
like this? You also get a very bright and handy
reference card with controls and interface notes, as well as a full map of the game, which is, of course, a map of San Fransisco, complete with landmarks and
history of those locations on the back. I mean, wow. This is the kind of stuff that you
just don’t see with games anymore, and it’s kind of a shame, but thankfully Spectrum HoloByte
always included these kinds of things which can still be appreciated today. Once you start the game up, you’ll be greeted with a very
impressive high-res title screen and a short rendition of the song
“I Left My Heart In San Fransisco.” [PC speaker version of “I Left My Heart…”
plays] Is that a tiny EGA Tony Bennett? Man, now that’s a phrase I never thought I’d
say. If you hadn’t noticed, the game uses one of
the high-res EGA modes for these static scenes, and it looks really great, with all sorts of wonderfully dithered details that look amazing on a CRT monitor. You have your choice of four 1989 model Corvettes: the stock machine, the ZR1, the Callaway Twin-Turbo, and the 254 MPH Callaway Sledgehammer. You can also select to put the car in the
dynamo to get some detailed performance specs. Once you choose your car,
you can select your difficulty, which affects damage, traction,
police involvement and cruise control. This is nicely detailed in the manual, so choose whatever seems best for you. Next you’ll choose your opponent, which appropriately consists of European sports
cars for you to show your American dominance over. Like the Porche 928, the Lamborghini Countach, Ferrari 512 Testarossa, and the Ferrari F40. Finally, you choose one course out of four, with each varying in length. You are then asked for a bit of information
from the manual to start the game, and then you’ll start the race, shifting into gear and speeding off. But I’ve just gotta show you what
happens when you enter the wrong thing, which was likely to happen if you had pirated
the disk. [PC speaker engine revving] [PC speaker police siren] Heh heh, stolen Vette. From here, it’s all up to you. Depending on your destination,
you’ll have a different course of action. The starting point and end
point are all that really matter, the rest is completely up to you, with all of the city of San Fransisco
to navigate in order to get there. You can press H to show the mini-map to help, which also displays you and your opponent’s
positions. Now while the city is completely open to explore, in between main sections there are highway
on-ramps which leads to these in-between areas
which have gameplay reminiscent of games like The Duel and Street Rod. There is also a tour mode, which is useful for seeing different landmarks to help in your navigation later. Well-known timeless landmarks, like the Transamerica Pyramid, Fisherman’s Wharf, Lombard Street, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the gas station. Depending on the difficulty you chose, you’ll want to really pay attention
to the indicators on your dash, which display things like the
speed limit and traffic signals, as well as cruise control and automatic
shifting options to make things simpler. This is important because there are cops around and they will track you down and pull
you over if you’re driving like a maniac, which is probably going to be all the time. You can try to outrun them, but if you get
caught, the cool thing is you can select from a list
of excuses for why you’re being an idiot, including needing to take a dump and the Toyota excuse. which I think is just friggin’ awesome. Well, you can select from this list unless
you’re pulled over for vehicular manslaughter, which is pretty serious stuff. Yes, this is one of the earlier games I can
think of where you can run over pedestrians, including some that appear to be nuns. This of course will veer you off-course and will damage your car, as will
smacking into pretty much anything. Again, depending on your difficulty,
this will show up in the little display here, showing the affected areas of your Vette. Eventually, your car won’t be able to drive
at all, and you’ll need to get it repaired at one
of the local gas stations, if you can make it. If you can’t get it there, just total
your car by driving it into a bus. Or drive it into the bay. That’ll do it. And it will help support the families of local tow truck operators. Another interesting feature is
the ability to change your views, looking left and right from the driver’s seat to an overhead view, which is very useful for admiring the
wonderful filled-polygon objects, but not much else. It’s really awkward driving in this
view and I don’t recommend it, mainly because of the way the car handles. You steer with the keyboard, joystick or mouse, but I usually just use the keyboard since all the other controls other than steering
are there and you kind of need those. Controls are decent enough, I suppose, but it can get really hard to control at higher
speeds. And that makes sense to a degree, but I’m thinking that’s also
partially because of the frame rate. Now sure, you can try running it on a faster
machine, but it was made for a 20 MHz 386 at most. Too much faster than that and the game runs
too fast, and even on my 16 MHz machine,
it runs just somewhat choppily, so the controls feel just a bit clunky at
times. And maybe that’s a design decision, I don’t
know. The graphics sure are nice, though, especially for a 1989 EGA game, so I have no complaints there. The sound IS a complaint, though. I’ve been playing this review with
the engine sounds turned off because with them on… [awful modulating PC speaker noise] It’s too bad there’s no support for
anything other than the PC speaker. AdLib was out at this time and
that would have been a nice addition. And, really, that’s about all. You play the game to experience the city,
mostly, an you either win the race or you don’t. Either way, you enter your initials
and play again if you want to. The only other aspect of this game is multiplayer, which is done using a modem
or null modem serial cable connecting two PCs. I haven’t tried this yet, but it’s
supposed to be the exact same game, just with you playing against a
friend instead of the computer. But hey, that’s still completely awesome to
me, And once again, I have to praise Spectrum
HoloByte for their early multiplayer support. Vette! is one amusing game, full of innovation and lots of detail and it’s amazing what they fit into less than 1 MB of space. Everything from the packaging to
the game itself is full of content, that is at least good for an afternoon’s diversion. But as innovative as its features are, I just don’t see myself going back to play
it very often because once you’ve explored what it has to
offer, there’s no real variety in the gameplay. I mean, sure, San Francisco is a big place and there are theoretically lots of ways to
race, but once you find a quick path,
there’s no real need to go any other way unless you’re just bored. And when I’m THAT bored,
that means I go and play another game. Oh, well. I’d still recommend giving it a try because even though it’s pretty simple at
its core, there’s a lot of really neat stuff going on
in Vette! And I think anyone with an
interest in early racing games should give it a go.

100 Replies to “LGR – Vette! – DOS PC Game Review”

  1. One unique thing about the steering in this game was the '5' key on the keypad. It would align your car to the road, allowing you pretty much stay in your lane on the freeways by holding it down.

  2. i understand why the framerate looks like the way it does but i'd much rather play a simpler racer like top gear, this one looks like it would give me a headache these days

  3. No jump ramps but the hills have a similar effect. Try taking the Sledgehammer at full speed down Lombard starting from Van Ness or so, you should be able to clear almost all of the famous crooked section.

  4. firs gameplay sandbox in the world game es el primer sandbox de autos !! simpre que jugue al vette me imagine un gta para mi el gta es fruto del vette

  5. Oh man this is one of the first games I ever played! I still remember the making up excuses part. So much nostalgia, thanks for reviewing this game 😀

  6. I may have been the first person in my neighborhood to game in a network because of this game. When I first played this game it was in a green monochrome monitor and it was laggy as hell, because this was like a next generation game, lol! Then I made a more powerful AT and got a CGA monitor, and then it was all over …. until the EGA games came out … and then the VGA games … OMG!!! VGA GAMES!!! That was like the future!

  7. Very good my friend … You are absolutely the Best Dos Games Reviewer in the world 🙂 I have the earlier Boxed Version without the funny "Real Duel" sticker as the yours. Anyway, I know of a secret area in the map but I never found it. 

  8. and I watched this review on the same day as 8 Pretty Much Irreplaceable Corvettes fell to their Doom in a Sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum.

  9. Dose anyone know if there is a modem emulator for older game`s like this , so you can spoof the dos game into thinking internet is a real modem , even if not it would not be hard link your ip`s to a number you choice

  10. One megabyte?!? I had no idea.
    I have the boxed version, and back in the day, I played it on a 486/25. I thought it was fairly impressive, but got about the same framerates as you are getting here.

  11. I liked this game back in the day.  I always wanted to play it Multi-Player but couldn't.  It wasn't as good As Stunt Driver, but was good for the time.  I forgot about muting the engine sound… I did that as well…

  12. Man your videos rock. There's so many shit clickbait videos out there but your actually a good host and have original and very well researched and structured reviews…

  13. holy crap! you found it!!! I played this game in the early 1990s at my neighbors house and tried to find it ever since. all i remember was the San Francisco loading screen and that dyno at the start!

  14. Ughhhh makes me miss my vette so freakin hard. Had an '86 that looked identical to the one in the game, down to the sawblade wheels.

    fuck I need another vette

  15. I actually played this for hours as a kid. Unfortunately ours was not registered and had no manual. So by playing I mean staring at the screens and hoping i would get away with my stolen vette. I remember as a how awesome and futuristic the dashboard looked, and wishing i could really play this. My dad ended up getting Road and Track 10 best a little while later so I played that instead.

  16. I had a box set with this game, Stunt Driver, and two flight sims. Couldn't figure out how to fly the damn planes as a kid so I stuck with the driving games. This review takes me back. Thank you for the nostalgia.

  17. I want to make a futuristic Open-World driving simulator, which would basically just be this, but MechWarrior-ified and with Anti-Gravity. And running in higher framerates, resolutions and color gamuts, because in all three of those "Less is More" doesn't really apply.

    Also, the sound, JEEZE.

  18. This game would be so much better if you could race to unlock different cars and race styles. Maybe they could ad other cities to race, like London.

  19. This was the most amazing experience back then. Playing on my Mac SE with very little detail,then the LC with a little more detail, then later on the Quadra with all the detail up. What a great game. LGR you are the best.

  20. My god… it brings me a very good memories. It is funny to see all the staff which came with the game. I played to this game in my uncle's house for hours. It was totally amazing to drive in 3D…it is a piece of history. Nice video mate and good review of the game!!!.

  21. I really and truly am thankful that another person appreciates all that came with these old games, and I'm particular old game covers. these old games had so little context sometimes, and on occasion (atari 2600 for example) the only idea of what you were doing might be the cover. Keep at it man, someone out there (me) loves the work you're doing, and totally gets it. Maybe do an episode on your all time favorite cover arts, between what they convey, and their overall art? I'd love that

  22. Ah, the nostalgia. This is the first game that I remember playing as a kid. I distinctly remember my dad telling me to turn the sounds off, but I didn't want to because I thought they were cool. Poor guy.

  23. I can't believe I have never heard about this game until now. Wow, I am extremely impressed. I had no idea there was an open world racing game like this back then. I was really into Stunts and Test Drive 3 back then.

  24. It's so interesting to go back and watch "Old LGR" videos. I know you're a big channel now, but as someone who has been with you for a few years, I've always wondered what kind of microphone you used back in the day?

  25. Jesus christ this video is old, yet Crysis is older..

    Always blows my mind when I'm reminded it came out in 2007.. back when I used an AGP system. Tons of modern games still look inferior to it!

  26. I had the mac version and I think there were better engine sound effects, but it seems like it was in grayscale, maybe it was an option to go grayscale or color.

  27. This game was actually an in-class assignment back in high school computer technology class (cc 1993), along with the original SimCity. I used to love wandering around the city, finding Lombard street and trying unsuccessfully to navigate all the way down without hitting anything. I loved trying to beat the AI on hardest difficulty, and when you lose, you realize that the AI is the game designer himself, saying not to feel too bad about losing – he did design the game, after all.

  28. where do you get all package, instructions in paper and all that stuff? 🙂 But one thing I really hate – the lag. It ruins the all beauty.

  29. The computer in the library of my elementary school had Vette, Stunt Driver, and Falcon on it for some reason. I don't remember any of them having copy protection. We certainly didn't have the manuals handy. I wonder if there was ever a special collection of them released.

  30. 3:34 Though I personally prefer the Corvette over any of those cars, honestly any of those Euro cars would smoke a Corvette (and rightfully so since they are 2x-5x the cost).

  31. What is the displacement of the Countach engine in CCs? What kind of copy protection is that? As if I didn't already know!

  32. OH MY GOSH THIS is the one from my childhood!!!!
    Now I just need to find out what that floppy disk game was where you crash land on an alien planet or something and explore the space ship

  33. This is what every game should include other than the CD. The manual, maps and/or whatever would be of use throughout the game. Nowadays not even GTA 5 has got a map which was a must back in the day for GTA games…

  34. The very first race game I played at home was Pitstop (Epyx) on the C64, somewhere in the eighties (propably in 1984)

  35. The game was made too early, if they waited for the technology to not make it look like this then it could have been a bigger seller

  36. The graphics and sound were way better on the Macintosh…I got this when it first came out in '89 or '90…now I'm old…sigh….

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