Test Drive (1987 video game)

Test Drive is a racing video game developed by Distinctive Software and published by Accolade, released in 1987 for the Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, and DOS, in 1988 for the Apple II, and later ported for the PC-98 in 1989. It is the first game in the Test Drive video game series.

Test Drive
Test Drive cover.jpg
Developer(s)Distinctive Software
Designer(s)Mike Benna
Don Mattrick
Kevin Pickell
Brad Gour
Bruce Dawson
Armory Wong
Rick Friessen
Programmer(s)Mike Beena
Don Mattrick
Kevin Pickell
Brad Gour
Bruce Dawson
Armory Wong
Rick Friessen
Artist(s)Tony Lee
John Boechler
Composer(s)Patrick Payne
SeriesTest Drive
  • Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64 & DOS
    • WW: 1987
    Apple II


The player driving the Lotus Esprit Turbo in Test Drive.

The player chooses one of five supercars (Lamborghini Countach, Lotus Esprit Turbo, Chevrolet Corvette C4, Porsche 911 Turbo (930), or Ferrari Testarossa) to drive on a winding cliffside two-lane road while avoiding traffic and outrunning police speed traps. The course's five stages are separated by gas station pit stops.[1]


In 1987, Accolade published Test Drive as a computer game worldwide, and Electronic Arts imported it to the United Kingdom. The quality of the Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, and DOS ports differ from each other.[2][3] The Amiga version's detailed visuals and audio realistically depicted the game's racing theme,[2] while its Atari ST counterpart used simplified graphics and sound effects. The Commodore 64 and DOS ports were of similar quality to the Amiga version. The gameplay was kept intact for all platforms.[4]

Reception and legacyEdit

Test Drive was a commercial hit. In late 1989, Video Games & Computer Entertainment reported that the game's sales had surpassed 400,000 units and were well on their way to the half-million mark.[5]

It received generally positive reviews from video game critics. Computer Gaming World stated in 1987 that Test Drive "offers outstanding graphics and the potential to 'hook' every Pole Position fan".[6] Compute! praised the excellent graphics and sound, but noted that the game only had one course.[2] The game was reviewed in 1988 in Dragon #132 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers gave the game 412 out of 5 stars.[7] David M. Wilson reviewed the game for Computer Gaming World, and stated that "there may be more competitive racing games on the market, but this game combines the enjoyment of driving five of the most exotic sportscars in the world with outrunning "Smokies" on mountain highways. What more could a race car junkie (or arcade fan) ask for?!"[8]

Test Drive spawned several sequels and spin-offs. Distinctive Software developed its 1989 sequel, The Duel: Test Drive II, using several software libraries. Distinctive (as Unlimited Software, Inc.) used the aforementioned software libraries for a MS-DOS port of Outrun, resulting in the Accolade v. Distinctive lawsuit. Distinctive Software won, so the rights to make the Test Drive games without the source code transferred to Accolade. The court also found that Accolade had failed to demonstrate that the balance of hardships was in its favor.[9] Another sequel, Test Drive III: The Passion, was developed and published by Accolade in 1990.[10]

In 1997, Accolade distributed Test Drive: Off-Road, an off-road truck racing spinoff,[11] and Test Drive 4, the first video game developed by Pitbull Syndicate.[12] In 1998, Pitbull Syndicate developed two further Test Drive titles, Test Drive 4X4 (also known as Test Drive Off-Road 2), a sequel to the Test Drive: Off-Road spinoff, and Test Drive 5; both games were the two last entries in the series to be published by Accolade.[13][14] In April 1999, Accolade was acquired by French video game company Infogrames Entertainment for a combined sum of US$60 million, US$50 million of which in cash and US$10 million in growth capital, and was renamed Infogrames North America, Inc.[15][16] The company chief executive officer, Jim Barnett, was named head of Infogrames Entertainment's American distribution subsidiary.[17] As a result, Test Drive 6 was the first game in the series to be published by Infogrames in 1999.[18] TD Overdrive: The Brotherhood of Speed (also known as Test Drive) was the last entry in the series to be developed by Pitbull Syndicate,[19] and as a result, the next game in the series, Test Drive: Eve of Destruction, was developed by Monster Games in 2003.[20]


  1. ^ Test Drive manual
  2. ^ a b c Tucker, Troy (February 1988). "Test Drive". Compute!. p. 50. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  3. ^ "CVG Magazine Issue 076". February 1988.
  4. ^ "The Games Machine Magazine Issue 04".
  5. ^ Worley, Joyce (December 1989). "Mega Hits: The Best of the Best". Video Games & Computer Entertainment: 130–132, 137, 138.
  6. ^ "Christmas Buyers Guide: Test Drive". Computer Gaming World. November 1987. p. 20.
  7. ^ Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (April 1988). "The Role of Computers: Test Drive". Dragon. No. 132. pp. 80–85.
  8. ^ Wilson, David M. (February 1988). "Life in the Fast Lane: Accolade's "TestDrive"". Computer Gaming World. Vol. 1, no. 44. p. 44.
  9. ^ Dannenberg, Ross (May 30, 2005). "Case: Accolade v. Distinctive (N.D.Cal. 1990) [C]". Patent Arcade. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  10. ^ Wilson, David M. (April 1991). "A Passionate Tryst with Speed". Computer Gaming World. p. 51. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  11. ^ Marriott, Scott Alan. "Test Drive Off-Road (PS) - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". www.pitbull.co.uk. Archived from the original on 7 February 2002. Retrieved 12 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Wigmore, Glenn. "Test Drive Off-Road 2 (PC) - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  14. ^ Sackenheim, Shawn. "Test Drive 5 (PS) - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on 14 November 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  15. ^ IGN Staff (April 19, 1999). "Infogrames Takes Accolade". ign.com. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  16. ^ Mullen, Micheal (April 27, 2000). "Infogrames Buys Accolade". gamespot.com. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  17. ^ IGN Staff (May 10, 1999). "Accolade's Barnett to Head Infogrames US". ign.com. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  18. ^ Mosquera, Fernando "Lagi" (24 November 1999). "REVIEW for Test Drive 6 (DC)". GameFan. Shinno Media. Archived from the original on 26 January 2000. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  19. ^ White, A.A. (June 2002). "Test Drive Review (PS2)". Game Revolution. CraveOnline. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  20. ^ Kato, Matthew (October 2004). "Test Drive: Eve of Destruction". Game Informer. No. 138. GameStop. p. 123. Archived from the original on January 8, 2006. Retrieved January 28, 2019.

External linksEdit