War Cars Construction Set © Clive Brooker 1987

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Five Cassette Games with an Original Sinclair Spectrum

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Play War Cars Construction Set

War Cars Construction Set

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Firebird (BT)

Year of publication:-


Original Computer:-

128K Sinclair Spectrum



Design & programming:-

Clive Brooker

Other formats:-
Commodore 64
Amstrad CPC



War Cars Construction Set started life as Car Wars Construction Set. I closed a contract with the publisher Firebird, a subsidiary of British Telecom. I recall that they had a very impressive office in Oxford Street in central London. We closed a contract quite quickly and Firebird released it on their new £2.99 label. Just before going to production, I got a call from me asking to switch the first two words of the name of the game. I believe they had be warned of possible legal action from a business already using the two words, Car Wars. Of course, I did as my publishers asked, though felt that the words Cars Wars were not exactly legally enforceable.

I belive that the conversion to the Amstrad CPC was quite faithful to the original, but the C64 was rather weak.

This was the last game of mine that was published for sale in the shops.


War Cars Construction Set offers a truly computerised simulation of slot car racing. All the thrills and spills of a Grand Prix championship combined with the aggressive competition of a stock car rally. The frustration of building tracks that don't work has been taken away to leave you with hours of undiluted fun.

Within the gigantic roadway system of the WAR CARS ARENA both you and your, computerised opponent seek the special flags located around the track, in order to collect as many points, while losing as few lives as possible. Each flag is worth a minimum of 100 points, if after collecting six flags you have more flags than your opponent you will be given a 100 point bonus for every extra flag you posses.

To assist each player, you start with two boulders which can be used to block your opponents path for a short time. Press FIRE to release a boulder, but only at a junction. Each player may only release a single boulder at a time until their count down counter runs out.


Included in the CAR WARS CONSTRUCTION SET is a built in track designer that allows you to create up to five new tracks. More of this later.

The Flags you must beat your opponent to

The bonus flag

All flags give 100 points. This is a bonus flag with an extra 100 points.

The chase flag

The all important Chase flag. When you collect this, go for a head on collision, you are invulnerable and the computer car will lose a life. But hurry, you only have a limited time and maybe the computer car will collect a chase flag, then it is time to get out of the way. When you hold an active chase flag, your opponent will drop a rock at a nearby junction and do a U turn. Get him on the straight track - so much for computer artificial intelligence!

Replenish your rocks

The Rock flag. Collecting this will replenish your ability to drop rocks at a junction up to a maximum total of two.

Bonus flag

A Bonus flag worth 100 points.

Extra life flag

The extra life flag. You want this, don't let your opponent get it. The only way for you to progress to the next level is to get your opponent to run out lives before you do! (Pity that your computerised opponent gets a full five lives on the next level, boy, you will need to be ruthless!)

The game status panel including the right hand radar panel

The game status panel

Notice the direction and countdown (27) of the chase arrows above. The computer is chasing you in this example and is invulnerable if you collide!

Your score and status is the right hand score above.


Simply drive your car around the maze to collect bonus awards on the track, while avoiding crashing into the AI car on the other screen. Both players lose a life when they crash, unless one is holding the crash flag. The Crash Flag counts down toward zero, unless another Crash Flag is collected. The object of the game is to beat the score of the AI car.

Keyboard Controls

By default, War Cars Construction Set tests to see if a Kempston joystick is attached. If it is then whatever keys your emulator uses for a Kempston joystick are the ones to use. However, if the emulator does not recognise a Kempston joystick, then both of the two following strategies are adopted.

Sinclair joystick emulation:- using the keys 6 - 0

Keyboard controls if a Kempston joystick is not detected






Q,W,E,R,T,Y,U,I,O (Not P, this is for Pause)





Keys in addition to movement and fire

Pause (within game)

P (within game)

Rotate track piece anti-clockwise

I (within track design)

Rotate track piece clockwise

O (within track design)

Back to choose track style

P (within track design)

If the Keys are not working, this is because the Emulator has inadvertently met the test my program makes for a Kempston Joystick connected. When I designed my games I wrote a single input routine that runs a test to see if a Kempston Joystick is connected and if that it true, then it disregards the keyboard (Except for the extra keys detailed). In this case, you need to select a Kempston joystick in your Emulators settings, so it can actually use the joystick.

Hints Tips & Cheats

Try to beat the AI car to the Flags. Collect 6 of them first for bonus points. Don't crash into the AI car unless you are holding the Crash flag (holder don't lose a life). (The pointer of the crash flag in the control panel shows which car is being chased.) If the AI car runs out of lives first, you will go to the next level and the game continues. You have 5 rocks which you can drop under your car on a corner. Press fire, then move in the direction that you want to go in and the AI car can't follow you. An ideal move, if the AI car is chasing you when it has the Crash flag. The number of remaining rocks is shown in the control panel, as is their countdown to expiring.

No elements of this web site may be reproduced without the prior consent of the author.

© Clive Brooker 2001-2012, 2020

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