If you don't know anything about Power Drift you must have just returned from a three month holiday on Jupiter. I mean, it's been a big hit in the arcades, been emblazoned on our front cover, and we've even given you an exclusive level as a playable demo! (Hello, I've just returned from a three month holiday on Jupiter! Reader's voice) Erm, right!
Power Drift is a conversion of the Sega arcade hit of the same name. It's a rolling road racing game in which you race a sort of dune buggy against 12 other competitors on different courses, There are five main courses to choose from and then five stages to each course, so in effect you've got 20-odd different tracks! Oh, and it's been programmed by the people responsible for WEC Le Mans so you won't be surprised to hear that it's one slick and smooth-scrolling racing game.
You start by choosing your driver from the selection of dubious looking characters displayed at the top of the screen. As you proceed in the race. so your character shifts up or down in the cast list in relation to your position. Furthermore, your actual sprite fits the character you choose. So if you choose the cool blonde your sprite'll have long flowing locks (ya big girlie! Er... unless of course you are a girl). Next, you choose your course, and then it's red light, red light, red light again, green light, GO!! You've got two gears, high and low, and a vicious turning lock, so go out there and do your damdest!
The earlier stages of a course are a basic case of belting around, flat out, trying to avoid your opponents. On the later stages a lot more skill is called for, as there are not only cars switching lanes to be coped with, but also hazardous curves that require rapid deceleration! In the now familiar Activision fashion, if you fail to qualify you're given a number of credits. Use all your credits up and it's back to the start.
Although I enjoyed the game and found it realty addictive, I've got a few gripes. In 48K mode there's no sound, not even an engine rumble. In 128K the sound alternates between a tune (which got on my nerves after a bit) and the preferable car sound. There's also the crashing noise, as you watch yourself spin nicely through several 360' turns across three (of the same) screens. In 128K the whole game loads in one, but in 48K the five main courses need to be multiloaded from the second side of the tape. (Why does Activision insist on not marking which is side one and two on their tapes?) Finally the collision detection is a bit of a hit and miss affair (geddit!?).
Still, as I say, in spite of this Power Drill plays well and is an excellent conversion. Many of the arcade features like the log tracks are reproduced, and the roller coaster hills are really well rendered. The arcade characters, the lap times and the top three winners are all crammed in here too. So, a very competent conversion but one which suffers from a few little anomalies. If you're a big fan of the arcade hit you won't be disappointed by Power Drift, especially if you've got a 128K. Neeeeoow!
A spiffing coin-op conversion, encapsulating most of the arcade features. A bit flawed, but a playable gem nevertheless. Best on 128k.