Originally released a couple of years ago on just about every format except the Amiga, Overlander follows in the footsteps of games such as Roadblasters, and Fire and Forget - it's a 3D driving game with a generous helping of the old blast-the-enemies-to-bits with your on-board weapons.
The plot places you in the future as a driver in the year 2025. CFCs have destroyed the ozone layer, so that the human race has had to take refuge away from the suns harmful ultraviolet radiation in huge underground cities. Because of the vast distances between the cities, the only way of getting from one to another is via the old freeways. These roads are not the place for normal citizens, due to the radiation above ground and the violent mutant beings living on the surface. Whenever a trip is necessary, the government sanctions the use of the Overlanders - mercenaries with extremely powerful vehicles at their disposal. The reason for the trip doesn't bother them - they only want the money so they can improve their cars.
You are one of these drivers taking on a government funded mission. Half the money is given up-front to give you some cash to add some kit to your car. Add-ons range from $100 flame bombs to a $10,000 lean burn engine, but a stock of fuel is needed before you can go anywhere and that costs money too! Don't worry too much though, since dosh can be topped up by blasting the overground mutants with your on board cannons or any other weapons you may have bought. If you manage to reach the end of the level, the other half of your fee is paid and you are given another choice of missions.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
Whereas the sound is the usual run-of-the-mill boppy bassline and drum machine effects, the graphics are much more impressive. The depth-cued shading gives the game a realistic quality and the nicely drawn open desert wastelands have a suitably desolate feel, in fact the appearance in general is very atmospheric. Even the selection screens have been beautifully designed, with small but perfectly formed symbols to represent the options. One more thing - why don't more people use the Amiga's overscan mode? As Overlander definitely benefits from its use.
The obstacles and enemies on every level fall into a definite pattern, so that you can learn just what lies ahead and remember how to tackle it next time. Not that you'll get through straight away though, it's going to take a good few goes before you start beating the roads!
This type of game was all the rage a couple of years ago, so why has it taken so long for Elite to get an Amiga conversion of it together? Probably because the programmers wanted to do it properly and to be honest they have produced a good looking and playable game. It's not exactly an innovative idea and hardly breaks new ground in technical expertise, but it does provide the driving, shoot-em-up addict with a high quality fix of blasting action. Fans of Roadblasters should put aside their disappointment at the official conversion and try this for size, but casual players should check it out carefully before slapping the money on the counter.
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