Gameplay tips

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  • Tijn
    Tijn
    Keymaster
    Podcaster
    #3856

    Ok, so this is one of my favourite DOS games and I used to play the hell out of this as a kid. I’ve got lots of nostalgic love for it and have replayed it tons of times over the years.

    It’s fair to say I know this game inside-out, which makes it kind of hard for me to be objective about it. I’m sure some people here aren’t as familiar with it though, so if you want to check it out, I’d really love to hear what you think.

    As a kid I had all the time in the world to experiment with how the game works, but I understand this can be a bit frustrating for adults who are playing it now for the first time. So here are some basic gameplay tips for new players who want to get up to speed.

    WHAT VERSION SHOULD I GET?

    If you head over to streetrodonline.com and click “Downloads” you can find 3 games there for DOS. Street Rod 1 is the original game how it was released back then and it’s the version I played the most. It’s probably the best starting point for new players.

    Street Rod SE is a sort of expansion which has new cars, parts and opponents, but is otherwise exactly the same as the original.

    Street Rod 2 is the sequel, which is still globally the same as the original, but expands in almost every area: more cars & more parts, but also more events and things to do. It also supports AdLib instead of relying on PC speaker sound. SR2 is a great game, but it’s also very, very difficult. A lot harder to successfully beat than the first game, so be advised.

    HOW DO I PLAY?

    The premise of this game is that you’re some kid in the 1960s in the US. It’s summer holiday and you have some money saved up to get into street racing. The goal of the game is to beat “The King” before summer is over and school starts again.

    You can use the money to buy a second-hand car from the newspaper. After you’ve bought a car, you can work on it to make it go faster. You can buy new & better parts from the newspaper to improve your car, but you can also do some other things, such as removing the bumpers to lower the weight and lowering the roof to create less drag.

    Once you’ve got your car in the best state you can manage, you can head out to the local diner where racers will pass you by in the parking lot. You can challenge them to various forms of racing, with various stakes, from a small amount of money all the way up to your car itself (the “pink slip”).

    You play the game by winning races, improving your car and eventually challenging The King. If you beat The King, you’ve won the game.

    Now this game is not overly hard, but it’s easy to mess things up, so please whatever you do: SAVE OFTEN. You can save when you’re in your garage and there are plenty of slots available. Never leave the garage without saving first, because things can go really wrong really fast.

    WHAT SORT OF CAR SHOULD I BUY?

    My tip as a starter car is to spend as little money as possible, so you’ll have money to spare on improving it. It doesn’t matter so much that you don’t have the fastest car right from the start, because the game will offer racers to challenge that more or less match the pace of the car you have, so you can still win races with a car that’s not super fast.

    WHAT PARTS SHOULD I BUY?

    Upgrading your car is a little more involved in Street Rod than your typical racing game.

    First of all you have to be aware there are 3 main manufacturers in this game: General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. Every car is made by one of these three, even if they’re using a different brand name. You have to know which brands are made by which company, because GM parts only fit in GM-made cars etc.

    The brands & manufacturer combos are:

    GM:
    * Chevrolet
    * Corvette
    * Oldsmobile
    * Pontiac

    Ford:
    * Ford
    * T-bird
    * Mercury

    Chrysler:
    * Dodge
    * Plymouth
    * Valiant

    The most involved part in the game is the engine, which consists of three parts:
    * the cylinder block (either V6 or V8, with different sizes)
    * the manifold (which goes on top of the cylinder block)
    * the carburetors (which go on top of the manifold)

    There are different manifolds available, which allow for different amounts of carburetors to be installed. What it basically comes down to is:
    – larger engine = faster
    – more carbs = faster

    Not every manifold fits onto every cylinder block (of course):
    – a 2-brl or 3-2brl manifold goes on a V6
    – a 4-brl, 2-4brl or racing manifold goes on a V8

    If you have a 2-brl manifold, you need a 2-brl carburetor. If you have a 3-2brl manifold you need three 2-brl carburetors. Simarly if you have a 4-brl manifold, you need a 4-brl carburetor and two of them for a 2-4brl manifold.

    Racing manifold & carbs have the same fitting as 4-brl manifolds and carbs, so you can exchange those as you like. They do provide more power than the normal ones.

    OK GEEZ, WTF

    Yeah I know, but it really seems more complicated than it is. You’ll get the hang of it in no time, don’t worry. And you can always just go race what you have and leave the upgrading for later.

    RACING TIPS

    It’s advisable to not go betting for pink slips when you’re just starting out, because if you lose you will be without a car and probably won’t have enough money to buy a new one, which means it’s game over right there. You can practice with $10 or $50 until you feel comfortable and get the hang of it.

    Later on, racing for pink slips is definitely the way to go, because by selling the cars you win, you can make a lot of money real fast and use it to put together the ultimate racing machine to beat The King.

    If you have an automatic gearbox, you still need to engage it at the start. You don’t want to over-rev too much, or you’ll risk blowing up your engine or dropping the clutch. Try to keep the revs up a little and quickly press space as the race starts. With an automatic gearbox that’s all you need to do. If you have a manual (which is faster), you need to press space while pressing up to shift up through the gears as you speed up.

    Keep an eye on your revs at all times. You don’t want to push too hard or you’ll risk blowing up your engine. You’ll often have to take your hand (foot?) off the throttle for a short time in order not to overcook it.

    You don’t want to do too many races back to back, because as you’re racing your engine, gearbox and tires will degrade. Also you might run out of petrol. So after a few races, head back home, swap out some parts, tune the engine again and fill it up. Then you’re ready to head back out.

    SO ERR… TL;DR?

    * Buy a cheap car at the start
    * A working car consists of: tires, a gearbox, a cylinder block, a manifold, 1 to 4 carburetors (depending on the manifold)
    * Only parts from the manufacturer of your car’s brand work in your car (see the list above)
    * Spend some money on improving your first car (maybe get a 3-2brl for a V6 for example, a cheap and sensible upgrade)
    * Chop the roof, remove the bumpers
    * Tune the engine
    * Fill it up with petrol
    * When racing, practice first with some low amounts of money
    * Race for pink slips once you’re comfortable, then sell the cars you win to make lots of money
    * Don’t over-rev your engine or it will blow up
    * Don’t race too long back to back. Instead go back home, tune up your car and head out again.
    * The most important tip of all: SAVE OFTEN!!!!

    Good luck 😀

    Tijn
    Tijn
    Keymaster
    Podcaster
    #3857

    As for the racing, there are two modes available: “drag race” and “road race”. Drag race is just a straight stretch of road, pretty straight-forward. The road race also has the same drag strip at the start, but then continues to go into various corners and obstacles.

    The road track is randomly generated when you start a new game. Most of them are OK I think in terms of layout, but some of the generated tracks can be really tricky. If you find the road track is particularly difficult, you can start a new game and it will generate a new one. Within the same game, the track will remain the same, so you can practice to learn its layout and become better at it.

    Tijn
    Tijn
    Keymaster
    Podcaster
    #3875

    If you’re more of a video watching person instead of a reading walls of text person, I’ve recorded a quick guide on how to perform a cheap engine upgrade for a basic starter car: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ry7lB8F4Ygo

    dollarone
    dollarone
    Participant
    Podcaster
    #3879

    very exciting, I played this a lot as a kid. Hopefully it is still awesome 😀

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