Power Drift
Copyright/Publisher: Sega/Activision, Programmed & Graphics by: Chris
Butler, Music by: Dave Lowe, Produced by: Neil Jackson & Nick Dawson,
Release Year: 1989, Genre: Racing Sports, Number Of Players: 1

Power up for the best 64 race game yet.

Well you must be feeling on top of the world right about now. You've driven your Ferrari across California in record time, ridden rough shod over some of the gnarliest Moto Cycle Cross courses in the world, hell you've even decimated an entire air force at the request of the US Navy.

But now let's see the TRUE stuff that you're made of. Yep, this time Sega have cooked up a real tough one for you - we've put you in for the Power Drift league.

We've heard a lot of good reports about your driving skills but can you handle a hot rod with a souped-up engine and the heart of a 4x4? Sure you can, but be warned, you're not the only out there with the need for speed.

Power Drift is played over five different courses with five different circuits to be found in each course. At the start of the game any course can be chosen and any one of 12 drivers can be chosen from to take to the hot seat.

Revving up at the start with the other 11 all around you it's now or never. Putting the pedal to the metal, 224 km/h worth of engine roars up and the opponents eat your dust.

Round the first bend, you deftly slam the car into high gear and the others are far behind. Taking the second bend doesn't leave much paint left on your car, but what the hell? - this buggy can put with a lot of damage. Only one head-on collision with a sign, tree, post, or another car can spin this baby off the road.

Woah! Over a ramp you go and the car is flying! Back down to the earth and the buggy is really roaring alond now with the tyres smoking round the corners. Past the start line again and it's the second of four laps underway. Uh oh, here comes a dawdling car but he's moving so slow he looks like he's going backward and YOU'RE GONNA GET HIM!!!!

Spinning off the road is new experience which you can do without and now you're down to fourth place - if you don't end up in the top three then you're out of the race and can find your own way home mate! Those rival cars sure are fast and like you they take those bends with no thought for safety; theirs or others!

When you burn past that third-placed driver, show him what you think of his driving with a 'suitable gesture'. (Wadd'ya mean it ain't suitable for a family mag like this, just do it!).

Those high rides sure are fun but don't forget that you're talking stratosphere in height so don't wander too near the edge of the road unless you want to fly. It's not an F-14 this time boy!

Lap three follows and lap four begins - you're in second place and the leader is burning around the course, over hills, round twisting bends, and under bridges. No time to admire the scenery, even if does remind you of relaxing palm beaches. Just go flat out!

The computer controlled leader crosses the line and is displayed in all his glory as 1st just to rub it in. Never mind second is respectable but no time for a breather - it's off to the second course and after that another three more.

This time watch out for the slight gravity going round corners - the effect is gonna get a heack of a lot stronger so get practising now or else. With all these hills, bumps, and bends you're in for a bone-shaking roller coaster ride.

Complete all five circuits and the next course beckons. Fancy turbo-ing around the bridge course or rocketing through the plam beach cirucits, or how about a desert burn up with your hair blown back (who needs hair dryers?!). Take your pick of the next course and change the driver if you want, but go all out to win that trophy! GO FOR IT!

PHIL
Well it's a toss up between this and Chase HQ for Xmas, but Ocean's coin-op conversion will have to be pretty spectacular to beat this immensely fast conversion. It's great to see that most of the coin-op's features are in there: the ramp, spinning off the road, falling off edges, and even the driver selection option complete with individual gestures!

On the negative side I'm not too sure about the depth of play and long term variety of the gameplay but the coin-op was so fault in this respect also. Considering what Chris Butler has done in one load you can't fail to be overwhelmed by it all.

So what if the graphics don't move past with 100% precision? Considering the C64's graphical limitations, Chris has attempted the impossible and succeeded in very fine style. The speed and fun of the coin-op is all there and that's what counts in this true roller coaster of a ride.

ROBIN
Afterburner is my personal favourite in the arcades but that was a disaster in the process of conversion to the C64. Now we come to Power Drift, and having played the arcade machine to death I was highly sceptical that it could be done at all.

Once again I am proved wrong and deservedly so with what must be the best 3-D racer yet to grace the Commodore. Sure, it hasn't got all the extensive arcade graphics, but programmer Chris Butler has gone all out to retain the high-speed action, and as such, the pace and spirit of the coin-op have been kept perfectly intact.

The superb sprite of your car and driver is well animated with other cars rushing past at speeds beating the coin-op (I'm not kidding!). The side graphics have considerable detail, although you have to stop to really appreciate their quality, much like the coin-op really!

Wondeful stuff that does Activision and the C64 proud.

STU
Once again Activision have entered the Xmas fray with a lot of credibility resting on a 'impossible' Sega arcade conversion.

I found the C64 version quite a bit easier to get into than the coin-op with very few prangs or sharp corners to cost you the race. However, on later circuits the gravity effect of bends makes its presence felt and at 224 km/h it's no picnic, I can tell you.

It's great shame that the effect of climbing hills is spoiled somewhat by the lack of side graphics. However this doesn't stop the enjoyment as you ride to the top and, in true roller coaster fashion, subsequently plunge over the other side. The speed of the game and rush of oncoming cars and hills is enpough to to keep your stomach hanging in mid-air for most of the race!

The limited sound effects are disappointing although the ongoing music is well above average. And in unfair comparison with the coin-op, any loss of variety in the graphics is hard to ntoice as each course is markedly different in style with bridges, rock faces, palm and pineapple trees, and road sings all mixed up to ensure variety throughout all 25 ciruits. And all this in one load! Truly amazing!


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 94%
25 circuits spread over 5 courses with 12 characters to choose from and all in one load - need we say more?
GRAPHICS 94%
Fast following, well detailed and varied graphics with a solid 3-D road effect and highly effective illusion of riding over hills.
SOUND 78%
The few effects that are present are well done with a good tune to accompany the racing action.
HOOKABILITY 94%
From the moment you press the fire button any doubts are swept away with the dust churned up at the starting line.
LASTABILITY 92%
The gameplay can get a little too familiar with prolonged play, but no course is ever the same to play or see, and the game always provides a very strong challenge.
OVERALL 94%
Superlative, high-speed, off-road action, setting the incredibly fast pace for the rest to follow this Xmas.


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