Ever wanted to race dune buggies at high speed on a variety of tracks? Power Drift is an arcade racer that gives you the chance to do just that.
There are 5 tracks to choose from, each with 5 stages. The stages range from cities, to deserts to tracks over water. There are also 12 drivers to pick from, from businessmen to skinheads and mohicans.
Your buggy has 2 gears, high and low. Once the light goes green, just keep the pedal to the metal. You'll need to place third or higher to continue to the next stage. Be careful not to bump into other buggies or objects next to the road. While you're buggy can take a pounding, crashing will slow you down.
Finish all 5 stages in a level and you'll be presented with a bonus level.
In 1990, SEGA developed a DOS conversion of a racing game called Power Drift. One year earlier, this game had been released on arcade machines and many home platforms, ranging from the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 to the Amiga and Atari ST.
Your vehicle in this game is a sand buggy, and I have to admit it is a really fast one. It has quite good acceleration and a top speed close to 250 km/h. Steering the buggy can be tricky, but this depends on the difficulty level. On Easy, there are only a few turns that require you to slow down to stay on track, but if you increase the difficulty, you will have to be really careful not to bump into signs, trees, or anything else near the road.
Your job is to finish in the top three on each of the five available tracks. If you manage to win the game, you'll get a bonus round with a little surprise. (Hint: Look closely at the screenshots.)
The first thing you'll notice when starting the game is that you can choose not only the track on which you will start the championship, but also the face of your driver. Choosing a face doesn't change anything in the game, since everyone drives exactly the same buggy, so it's purely a cosmetic decision. The drivers' faces are shown for the entire duration of the gameplay, and you can see who is currently leading, as the top three have numbers beneath their heads.
I do not know why, but in the DOS version, this face feature is limited. I used to play this game a lot on my Commodore 64 and on my friend's Amiga, and the face of your driver was shown when the car spun after a crash. Also, every time you gained a better position during the race, the driver smiled at you. In this version, every opponent looks the same, and my player also looked the same, even though I had chosen a long-haired girl.
The graphics are pretty decent and colorful. The road not only curves, but also sometimes gets pretty steep, and it might be hard to see what is coming because you'll be driving up or down an incline. I haven't noticed any differences in either the driving speed or the steering during changes in the road's terrain, so it must be just for looks. On one track there is a gap in the road, so your buggy will have to make a stunt jump! The music can get boring after a few races, and there is also a digitized speech before and after each race.
Apart from some graphical additions, the game gives nothing to the genre, and in my opinion it was more fun on a different platform. I give this game a score of 3/5, as it didn't add anything new to the standard style of racing game popular at the time, and the graphics are of low quality in comparison with the ports to other platforms.
Power Drift should be familiar to those of you who owned a C64/Amiga or played arcade games in the late 1980s. For those of you who didn't, then I think one can safely say that it inspired one of the more recent Amiga racing games, Street Racer. The game is played over 5 different courses with five different circuits in each. At the start of the game, you can choose any course and one of twelve drivers to burn rubber in your off-road buggy. In each race, you must fend off 11 other drivers and finish in the top three to advance to the next circuit. The buggy itself can take a pounding, only spinning out of control if you collide head-on with a sign, tree, post or another car. Finish a course and you can take your pick of the next course and even change driver if you feel the urge. Complete all the courses and you win the championship trophy. If you bomb out at any stage, then you get the luxury of five continue-plays.
The graphics are nicely detailed and whizz past you at a frenetic pace when in top gear. A layered graphic effect is apparent, although much less effective than the original arcade version. Occasionally, as a result, one can get disorientated and the road can be hard to find in a hurry. For seasoned players, this will pose no problem and just adds to the challenge. Novices may be frustrated. Highly recommended!
Rob's original review from when the game was at CW#3: Conversion of Sega's fun arcade racer Power Drift, which hit the arcades in 1988. The arcade game was one of the technically most advanced of its time with amazing fast and smooth graphics and extremely fun gameplay. This conversion doesn't really capture the feel of it in any way and ended up as mediocre arcade racing action. Sadly, this game is hardly playable on modern computers as the game-speed is waaay too fast. A slow-down util can help but makes gameplay very choppy.
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