Calling all Game Gear owners! Have you played Sega Rally yet? The state of the art coin-op that captures all the thrills and spills of off-road rally racing. Featuring fantastically realistic texture-mapped graphics and high-octane driving action, it's possibly the greatest racing game around. And it's coming to the Saturn too. But wait a second. Wouldn't it be better if it could be converted onto the Game Gear?
Imagine enjoying all the madcap antics of rally racing at your convenience. Leaping over grassy hillocks whilst sitting on the train, taking a flooded hairpin whilst on the loo, or bashing other cars into steep banks whilst eating your tea. Of course, there isn't a hope in hell of the game ever coming out on your LCD handheld, so you might as well forget about it.
Fortunately though, US Gold have come to the rescue with their own handheld version of rally racing - Powerdrive. Racing across 48 all-weather tracks, you start off racing Mini Coopers and Fiat Cinquecentos before moving onto bigger, better racers, until finally you get behind the wheel of such off-road kinds as the Toyota Celica and the famed RS Cosworth.
Actually, if truth be known, you don't get the chance to get behind the wheel of any car in Powerdrive. You see, this is actually one of those plan-view racers, similar to Micro Machines. Still that's no bad thing though, because you get to see the authentically designed car graphics from the outside. These have actually been based around the original computer designs of the real cars, although, we must confess, they have lost a bit of detail in transition to the Game Gear. Just a bit though.
I can't say I was that impressed by the Megadrive version of Powerdrive. However, the idea of a plan-view off-road racer like this seems much more suited to a Game Gear game, at least in theory anyway.
Unfortunately, the game suffers from a number of problems and, unfortunately, they're much the same problems the Megadrive version fell down on. Difficult steering and slow movement, together with simple tracks all make it quite dull. The idea of working your way through to better cars is pretty good, but actually getting to these cars seems like more effort than it's worth. Plus, to see a well used quote - Micro Machines 2 is better.
Powerdrive would seem like quite a good effort if it wasn't for Micro Machines. Yep, Codemasters have that particular fish expertly filletted, and any other racer just can't tough it. Tough, but then whoever said life was fair? Not only that, but my initial interest tended to wane as a distinct lack of new features seemed the form as lack of new features seemed the form as race followed race. Shame, as technically it more than matches the limp Megadrive version.
Neat looking cars, but bland colours give the graphics a very washed-out feel.
Nothing exceptional in this department.
Poor tunes, even by tinkly Game Gear standards.
Okay spot-effects though.
Difficult steering and a lack of speed ruin the action.
A lot of tracks and a lot of cars, if you're a patient person.
An okay racer that suffers from some annoying gameplay faults.