I know we don't normally start voicing opinions during our intro text, but considering how relatively underwhelming Powerdrive is, I just had to let you in on some of the 'slightly exaggerative' press release material that accompanied the game. When you accept that most player/reviewers instantly know when they're about to unwrap an average game, you have to admire US Gold for its sheer audacity, sending out such fat slabs of prose littered with tosh and hogwash.
After a couple of paragraphs of normal blurb, the press release quotes Powerdrive's producer, Stuart Hibbard, as saying "Our brief was to develop a game that is, above all, great fun to play - and that's what we've done!" Er... no you didn't. It's not "great fun". You're lying.
Next... "We particularly wanted to ensure that the cars handle realistically so we took the programmers to a rally school for a day to allow them to experience the real thing - and it's certainly paid off." Er... no it hasn't. They probably had a really good time spending the company's money, but accuracy and realism do not always make a stunning game. As in this case, I'm sure.
The rest of the information given, though, is correct; you do get to play over 50 different courses across eight locations throughout the world, each with their own conditions, characteristics, weather, and specific vehicles. Both night and day driving does takes place, covering such road conditions as forest, desert, sand, ice, gravel and tarmac. Oh yes, and the wheels do turn on the car in a most impressive way.
Other than that, there are bonuses to collect, nasty roads to be negotiated, and the odd skill level to be three-point-turned around in. Apart from the above, plus some very nice snowflakes (my favourites, actually - Harry) Powerdrive is a bit hard to judge. Come, together we shall try...
Powerdrive is a strange game. To start with I really hated it, then I started to warm to it, and though I still can't go crazy-bonkers about it, there's no real reason to murder it. As I mentioned earlier, it's a bit of an underachiever in some areas, with the music belonging to a long-forgotten era, when programmers had to employ weird techniques because they lacked the technology. The end result is something fairly unattractive, that sounds like... well, poo really. There are some very nice graphic effects, such as the way in which the highlights move across your bonnet as you turn, as well as the skidmarks and weather effects (although the lightning would have been nicer had it been accompanied by a decent thunder clap) but otherwise, Powerdrive often looks a bit crude and dated. The game's main drain is its lack of competition, with the single computer opponent just whizzing off at the start of each race, never to be seen again. Perhaps if the programmers had spent a bit more time on the artificial intelligence rather than 'how real the wheels look' they would have made things a bit more fun. There's also a severe lack of speed, and apart from the brief nitro-boost, the only chances to get really moving are when qualifying (i.e, with no CPU car). Even on the A1200, things are often a bit snailsome (but that could be because I'm still playing Road-kill!). The night races very nearly killed this game for me, but once I'd chucked the contrast and brightness right up on my monitor, it got to the point where I could get round even if my lights were completely buggered, albeit very slowly (and with the guide arrows very firmly ON!). Powerdrive is ultimately an okayish game, but with no real substance or challenge other than keeping on the road and having enough money to repair your car. Sort of good, yet nothingy.
A racing game, where you control your little car and have to win the race in rate of terrible control of the car. It's very hard to stay on the road :) Anyway the graphics is not bad. Give it a try, but you will have to practice a lot.
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