The answer to those Eighties playground arguments has finally arrived.
As a precursor to this review, I will admit that the usual rules do not apply here. I will be intentionally and unapologetically biased and will completely allow my heart to write this review. This is after all, aimed at people of my generation and for that reason was able to bag itself the Dad’s Choice Award for 2022.
When Knight Rider first aired in 1982, it superbly combined the Sci-Fi genre with one of the kids obsessions of the time-toy cars. In Michael Knight, the disgruntled former cop, saved from certain death by Wilton Knight, they had the perfect anti hero. His rather unconventional partner came in the shape of a 1982 Pontiac Trans-Am, which had been modified to be able to talk, drive itself, turbo boost and hit speeds of over 300mph amongst other things The Knight Industries 2000 or KITT was as much a part of the show as David Hasselhoff. KITT was the car of the future and a TV legend was born.
Fast forward five years and while Knight Rider is still riding high in the ratings another movie vehicle was about to create silver screen history. When director Robert Zemeckis was looking for a suitable mode of transport to stand front and centre as the time travel element, in his movie Back To The Future, Zemeckis, saw potential in a largely failed line of cars released in 1982. The Delorean is now one of the most, if not the most iconic cars in movie history. When Doc Brown finally gets his hand on the missing component for his time travel experiment-plutonium, his friend and protégé Marty McFly, take the Delorean up to 88MPH and set off on three movies worth of time travelling adventures, setting the standard for time travel movies and making a superstar out of it’s young lead Michael J Fox in the process.
Now, as somebody that was born in 1977, I consider myself perfectly placed for both of these franchises and playground arguments would often erupt when debating the merits of the Delorean vs KITT. Clearly this has resonated with somebody at Scalextric, as they look to put the argument to bed with the thoroughly enjoyable Back To The Future Vs Knight Rider set.
Where to start with this set. Well lets look at the vehicles themselves first. Meticulously designed to 1:32 scale, there’s not a feature missing from either vehicle including a miniature Michael Knight and Marty McFly at the helm, but it’s when they touch that track, that they both really come to life. It’s very satisfying to see that they’ve not scrimped on detail as, KITT’s scanner glides smoothly back and forth in a vivid red, while the Delorean’s flux capacitor….fluxes, as you put the cars through their paces. The track itself provides the competition element, with the side swipe section, giving you the opportunity to run your rival off the road, with a sneaky nudge, while the crash zone allows for epic full throttle collisions. Control of the cars, is as difficult or as easy as you would like it to be. Seasoned slot car enthusiasts, will enjoy how the cars are able to get around the track at a staggering pace, while maintaining a satisfying smoothness, and the controllers as per most Scalextric sets, can be altered for younger players to get the same level of enjoyment.
With both franchises still continually getting air time, they continue to capture the imagination of young audiences, even 40 years on, but Scalextric has ensured that you can take that enthusiasm to the next level. Sure, it looks like two cars going around and around, but let me assure you, it’s far more fun than that, as you take full control of two of the most iconic movie/tv vehicles and let them duel it out. There’s not many toys that can span the generational gap and bring families together on a Sunday afternoon. This set can. Scalextric can. Enormous amounts of fun.
What’s that you say? You want the answer to the playground argument?
I’m sorry, you’ll just have to find out for yourself….Chris Andrews