Commodore User1st March 1986
Published in Commodore User #31
Elektra Glide is one of those long awaited, much talked about, and heavily previewed games that you expect a lot of.
When I sat down to play my review copy I could hardly wait for the tape to load so I could start racing.
Would it be better than Pit Stop II and Speed King? Comparisons with the Epyx game are actually invited by the cassette inlay which encourages you to "forget pitstops, refuelling, tyre changes and overtaking".
Playing Elektra Glide is the first racing game where "the experience of playing the game is everything", you are told. They must be confident I am thinking.
This belief is encouraged when the game loads. A beautiful, colourful landscape appears with some of the fastest moving track I've ever seen on any racing game, including Arcade's Pole Position.
Trouble is it looks a lot better than it plays.
The problem begin the moment you try to start a game. You must select the country you want to race in (America, Australia or England). I chose England just to be patriotic - not that it matters much more you get into the game as they all race pretty similarly - even if the scenery is different.
You also select the level of responsiveness through choosing one of three "Steering Control Envelopes". Why they couldn't just be called 1, 2 and 3 is anybody's guess.
I could have forgiven the "Envelopes" if they had worked properly. I tried three different joysticks and all of them required a great deal of yanking in all directions to get the game up and running.
Once you do get started you will find the game fast and furious and the graphics impressive. The trouble is the steering is just not responsive enough on any of the levels.
You never appear to spin off the track altogether; you just slow down until finally you shudder to a halt.
There is too much slowing down of the action for my taste. Because of the lack of responsiveness mentioned above, it is difficult to dodge some of the obstacles that loom up in the road in front of you. And crash - once you hit something you must endure the worst punishment any racing game can dole out - stopping!
The aim of the game is simplicity itself. "Stay on the track at all costs, and reach the tunnel leading to the start of the next section". That's it. There are controls on the dash - but apart from a rather sluggish speed indicator they don't serve any purpose in the game.
It is all very futuristic - with some highly impressive shapes moving towards you. As well as the bouncing balls and cuboids you are also buzzed by a jet fighter that swoops low over your car and then accelerates towards the horizon.
It's difficult to sum up Elektra Glide because there is so much in it that is good - it's just that the whole thing doesn't get together to make a playable game.
I can't help thinking it was a mistake on English's part to invite comparisons with Pitstop II because that just serves to remind you what a superior racing game the Epyx product is.
All new racing games have to be compared to Pitstop II because that is the standard. Elektra Glide falls below this standard for about the same money.