The First 100% QuickBasic Game Review Magazine
Updated November 20, 2004

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Ghini Run v1.1
(Piptol Productions)

"Catch me if You Can!"
2002 QB Gaming Gold Award Winner for Best Sound/Sound Editing and Best Arcade Game
2001 QB Gaming Gold Award Winner of the Gaming Gold Generations Award

Fill up the tank, buff the bodywork to a chromium shine and hear that V12 purrr like a kitten. It's time once again for the SHOTGUN RUN - an illegal race across several demanding courses, where every twist and turn of the track will test your nerve, not to mention suspension!

Or do you dare put a stop to it? Get into a police car and run those lawbreakers off the road! In Ghini run, you can do either. The game that everyone has been waiting for has finally arrived.

Game Review
Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
Piptol boasts on his website that "virtually all the graphics in the game have been painstakingly converted from actual photos of cars, trees, boats, etc. thus insuring maximum realism within the scope of the video mode.". Needless to say, the graphics in the game are amazing because of it. It's possible that this is the most realistic game ever released in QuickBasic, and the graphics are a really big part of that.

What Piptol has done best is the little details - when you drive over sand, you can see bits of sand sprayed about under your car. The fonts give the game an arcade feel right from the beginning. The weather effects are totally convincing. And each of the six levels feels completely different graphically from the last - the game moves from beach to city to snowy mountain. When you add up all the little things, you end up with a package that just feels nothing short of professional.

However, the game is not without it's flaws. The game engine is actually a simulation made to appear 3D, through trial and error. There are some things, however, that Piptol didn't get just right. The ground is made up of moving strips, as opposed to the skewed tiles look of OutRun. It has the same effect of making the road appear to move quickly underneath the car as the OutRun graphics, it just doesn't look nearly as good. Also, in some stages the objects at the side of the road appear in the wrong places - the worst example is in the first Bluewater Bay track, where the surfers appear to be floating in midair rather than bobbing up and down in the water. This kind of criticism is petty though, when you view the bigger picture.

Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
(Very Good)
When the sound, music, and inspiration of your QB game comes from a racing game that was released back in 1986 (like Ghini Run is based on the Sega arcade game OutRun), you're bound to get a sort of retro-feeling that doesn't quite peak in terms of quality, but does get the job done. The music in Ghini Run "fits". It's certainly not perfect, but it just happens to really suit the game.

What topped the game off musically is the sound effects. The police cars yell "You're all under arrest!", birds chirp as you pass under them, music is disturbed as you drive under tunnels, and every rev and purr of your car's engine is heard. The sound effects are actually spot on.

Gameplay (n.)
The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe
(Very Good)
The game itself gameplay wise hasn't changed much since the QB Expo version. Each level still has the same basic rules - avoid the cars, brake at the tricky corners and finish the race before you run out of time. Despite this mediocrity, the game is still a lot of fun to play. To be honest though, it got a little boring after a while.

Piptol has done something to make the game a little bit more fun by adding various game modes. You can play the track normally, try to beat the lap timer, or best of all you can play the Pursuit game, where you take control of a police car and try to knock the speeding cars off the road. The police car mode is particularly good - it's a little like Chase HQ in concept, but doesn't quite get there. In Pursuit mode the game doesn't seem to record your scores unless you manage to finish the track, but unfortunately this is very difficult as every time to knock a car off the road your own speed is reduced considerably.

Overall, the Gameplay aspect of the game was totally unsurprising, and played pretty much as I expected it to. Considering that the other QB games we've reviewed come up flat but there are greater expectations that could come from a game this close to them, I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
Definitely the game's low point. The story takes place in the text file, and feels a little thrown together, even though it's admittedly well written. Some attempt at presenting this story in-game would help to enhance the story score the most.

A good story for a racing game is difficult though, and a poor score here doesn't really detract from the whole gaming experience. The story as it is is essentially an excuse to race on six varied tracks. The 'illegal' aspect of the race was thrown in to give the police chase sub game some meaning. It feels like the story was written to suit the game, not vice versa as a good game story usually is.

Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
Good. In the bigger picture, anyone who's decided to download QB games have probably played numerous racing games in the past, so to make a title comparable to console racing games instead of where QB racing games usually stand is a feat in itself.

Ghini Run is great fun, especially the first few times, but very little changes from level to level - there are more twists and bends, more hills, but nothing novel or unique to the game that makes you want to come back to it (with the exception of the Police Chase level).

Ghini Run gets a lot of it's Replay Value from the locked tracks and cars - the tracks are unlocked by winning races in the arcade version, and the cars seem to be unlocked by doing well in the Pursuit mode (although I can't verify that, since I didn't have time to unlock the cars).

Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
Ghini Run is difficult - but heres the key - it's not impossible. Beating the game on Pro mode to unlock the last track will take you quite a long time - and Piptol has actually made this version of the game (v1.1) easier! Getting to know the uphills, the difficult bends and where and how to break takes give a little skill, and isn't something you pick up right away. Although having been in the works for two years, it's understandable that this game should be a little difficult. Piptol is probably a master at this style of racing game at this stage! 
Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
(Very Good)
Once a programmer has been working on something for as long as Piptol has been working on Ghini Run, people tend to lose interest. They begin to think that the programmer will never finish the project, and by the time the game's released (if it ever is), it's dated by comparison to everything that's come along since. Fortunately for Piptol, but perhaps unfortunately for QuickBasic as a whole, Ghini Run looks and plays as spectacularly now as it did when the first demo version was released almost two years ago.

Ghini Run certainly falls short of the hype. While it's probably going to be the best QB racing game for a while, Ghini Run isn't the best game ever made in QuickBasic to date. But forget the hype, and forget what you might have heard about Ghini Run, because all it's petty flaws donít detract from the game as a whole, and in the end it still kicks ass.

As for whether or not Piptol succeeded in "recreating the magic of Outrun in QuickBasic", his goal with Ghini Run? I think he got very close - but I say download it and make up your own mind.

Ghini Run Reviewed by Terry Cavanagh

Players 1 player Genre: Arcade/Racing Game
Rating To solve: 4-5 hours Final Rating: 26/35

To download Ghini Run v1.1 (2.62MB), click here.
wIf you're unzipping this program in DOS, you may have to use the -d option.
wMake sure you run "SETUP.EXE" to set the game's operating system and sound settings.
wAfter changing the settings, to play Ghini Run, unzip the file and run "GHINI.EXE".

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Game Summary
Coding Group
Piptol Productions
Homepage URL
Final Rating
26 out of 35 points

The Highs: A fun-to-play game that's very unique from a QB perspective.
The Lows: Ghini Run has some compatibility issues, particularly with Windows XP.

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