Powerdrift (Activision) Review | Commodore User - Everygamegoing

Commodore User

By Activision
Commodore 64/128

Published in Commodore User #74


As a straight conversion, C64 Powerdrift might not have the sophisticated programming techniques of the Amiga version, but as a racing game, it sure is a hell of a lot more fun.

The idea remains the same. Race through five courses, based over five stages, each with four laps. Compete in a field of twelve and finish within the top three to progress to the next stage. The controls are simple: up to accelerate, back to brake and fire to change between high and low gears.

Thankfully, the programmer, Chris Butler, has decided against emulating a 3D course and has opted for a straightforward OutRun-style grey strip for a road, with objets flashing by on either side to give the impression of movement. The objects range from small roadside bushes through to huge bridges that stretch high above the course and reach across both sides of the screen. Some really nifty programming has been used to keep the humble little C64 running at the same speed - regardless of the amount of sprites on screen.

It plays really well for the most part. The controls are responsive and tight, and the feel is just right. The unusual thing is the way the difficulty level progresses. Rather than make the turns tighter, or the opposing cars harder to avoid, you lose traction on the road from about the third stage on each course. On the first couple of stages, you can quite happily burn round tight corners at high speed, but after that you're lucky if you can get round the easiest of bends in low gear without crashing into a roadside object.

Powerdrift C64 is far superior to the Amiga version. It plays with all the fast-paced frenzy of the arcade original. Given the choice I sure know which version I'd choose.

Tony Dillon