The survival horror genre has taken on a new dimension with a new Gallic game which is guaranteed to give you nightmares


18 Wheeler American Pro Trucker. Publisher: Sega. Format: Dreamcast. (£29.99)

NO matter how great the graphics achieved by home consoles, for some people, the only place to play video games is the arcade.

Recently, consoles have closed the gap faster than at any other time in history. A cursory perusal of your local arcade will soon reveal cabinets with games that look far, far worse than anything on the PS2.

Sega pioneered the art of porting its arcade hits to home formats. Almost a decade ago, titles like Space Harrier and Outrun helped make the Mega Drive a major success in Europe and America.

The latest arcade legend to make the transition is 18 Wheeler American Pro Trucker, only this time Sega may have bitten off more than it could chew.

In the arcades, 18 Wheeler offers the authentic experience of driving a massive truck by presenting the gamer with a huge screen, a bench seat, a steering wheel the size of a dustbin lid and authentic air horns.

But, no matter how good the Dreamcast version may look, it's impossible to replicate that kind of atmosphere on a 14-inch portable telly.

At least the air horn has made the transition from arcade to home. Stab the yellow button on the controller and it blasts out a warning to slower road users. Get further into the game and you can upgrade to an even louder one.

The arcade mode is exactly the same as you'll find in the arcade. Choose your driver (they all look like 1970s retro disco dancers), climb into the cab and race your way across the US. It's all done against the clock and you'll be lugging a trailer that slows you down.

The weight of the trailer you choose dictates how much money you can expect to pick up when your destination is reached. Of course, you will be racing against other drivers. Some of the obstacles you can expect to find along the way include landslides and a terrifying tornado that drops smashed-up trucks in your path.

Anyone who has become proficient at 18 Wheeler in the arcade will breeze through this mode. The four levels are just too short - perfect if you are paying £2 a shot, not so good if you just parted with £30 to try it at home.

So where are the extras? Sega titles usually have lots of mini games to keep your interest.

New for the Dreamcast is parking mode. It's a simple idea - park your rig in ever-tighter bays before the clock runs down - that's a fun challenge but hardly a reason to forsake the arcades.

You can also challenge a mate in the two player split screen racing mode. Sadly, there's no on-line play. Sega seems to have given up on the idea of Internet-based gaming in Europe despite the success of Quake III: Arena.

There's also a time attack mode, where you cruise around looking for other vehicles to run off the road, that's a lot of fun. And that's about it. The extras are fine, as far as they go, but don't really add much depth to a pretty lightweight title.

So is it worth the extra cash over a few quid spent at the arcade? If you love the thought of the open road and an endless supply of Yorkie bars, then this is the Eddie Stobart of video games. If, on the other hand, you look for more longevity in your home gaming titles, stick with Metropolis Street Racer instead.

SO you have just taken delivery of a brand new PC? To your delight, it's already pre-loaded with a massive bundle of software. Great, but hang on a moment, where's the instruction books?

It's a sad fact but a printed manual is a rare thing these days. Most new PCs come with tons of useful programmes and no hint of how to use them. But four new tutorial CD ROMs from GSP can help.

Covering Windows 98, 2000 and ME, Excel 2000, Word 2000 and the Web (in reality, MS Outlook) you pop the disc in your drive and sit back as the PC shows you how to get to grips with your software.

The main menus are clear and easy to navigate. Each one actually demonstrates what will happen on screen when you use your software, as a voice takes you through each step.

They make an innovative replacement for the printed manual and the on-screen demos are much better than a few black and white stills in a book.

Advanced users may even find a few hints and tips to make their PC lives easier too.

Every new PC should come with a set and, until they do, you would be well advised to pick up a handful at your local PC store.


JUST when you thought it was safe to go back into the toy shop. . . the company that gave the world the Furby has a new creation on the shelves.

Shelby is a rapping, singing, talking, moving clamshell creature that's tipped to become the new toy sensation this Christmas.

It's the new interactive toy from Harrogate-based Tiger Electronics, the guys who created the Furby three years ago. Shelby is a next generation Furby. Advances in electronics made since the original toys, allows a Shelby to do far more than the first Furbies.

Animatronics allow him to move his eyes, to talk with realistic mouth (or should that be beak?) movement, and flutter his antenna. When's he is scared Shelby will clam up - quite literally. The shell clamps down tight and he wails like a frightened kitten.

Shelby speaks a mixture of English, Furbish and his own special language - Shelbish.

The toy has more than 800 words and phrases in its vocabulary. Place it near another Shelby (or a Furby) and the two will strike up a conversation of their own, thanks to infra red sensors.

Our Shelby entertained the office - for five minutes. After a while, his constant demands for a stroke wore a bit thin and the screwdriver came out to remove his batteries. Kids will, no doubt, find him endlessly amusing.

Shelby goes on sale this month at £24.99 and we have one of the first in captivity to give away. Just answer this question: In which North Yorkshire town is Tiger Electronics based? Send your answers to: Shelby Competition, The Northern Echo, Priestgate, Darlington DL1 1NF.


G-Police is an unsung gem on the PS1 but it's not the easiest game to finish. If you are having problems, try this code to make your helicopter invincible: hold L1 + R2 + Square button then press left during the mission briefing.

Published: Saturday, June 09, 2001