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They're small, they're fast and they can spin on the spot. However, there's nothing small about Team 17's machines. Tony Dillon, on the other hand...

Overdrive T op-view racing games are a bit old hat in most people's eyes. The genre is as old as the hills and there are many who say that it has gone as far as it can. Naturally, these aren't people who have played either Micro Machines or Overdrive - the latest in a very consistent line of hits from Team 17.

BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE
Overdrive is practically two games in one. First, you have the arcade game, where you have to race against a succession of drivers, each better than the one before, until you reach the final challenge and claim victory. The second game is a time-trials challenge, where you have to race a variety of vehicles over a number of courses against the clock. This is slightly easier than the arcade version and gives you the option to get some practice in.

You have four different cars to control in Overdrive, ranging from a GP to a Super sports car. All have their own strengths and weaknesses, as you would expect. The speed and manoeuvrability isn't really an issue, as you only ever race against vehicles of the same type. The only thing that exploits the weaknesses is the course you are racing on. There are five different types, from Grand Prix courses to icy roads, and the vehicle you are in greatly affects the difficulty of the course. A 4x4 will have little difficulty in the desert terrain, but would be wasted in the city. A GP car is far too fast for the city circuits, but perfect on a racetrack.

Overdrive By mixing these elements together, you can tailor the game to suit your playing level, making the game as easy or as difficult as you like. Just as well, really, as this is not a very easy game to play.

Sure, the controls are very responsive, and it goes without saying that it's incredibly playable. What makes it so tough is the speed. Everything just whips along at such a rate that it's often hard to anticipate corners, and you end up careering all over the shop. Once you become familiar with a track, then the fun really kicks in. Before you know it, you're racing over every turbo pad there is, leaving the other drivers coughing your dust.

Of course, it can't all be good, or it would have got a mark of 100%. The biggest problem is the horrendous loading times. As the levels vary greatly, the game has to load in complete graphics for each race, which can take a lot longer than the race itself in some cases! One particular thing that annoyed me was the way that the program needs to load the track after you've finished qualifying. Surely the course is already resident in memory at that point?

Some of the presentation screens are a little bland too. I would have liked to have seen a lot more in the way of animated faces maybe the other drivers passing verdict on your driving skills, but that's really just nitpicking.

CU Amiga, November 1993, p.75

MULTI-PLAYER MADNESS
What kind of arcade racer doesn't have a two-player mode? No kind of arcade racer, that's what! But there's none of this nancy split-screen action (can you imagine how hard that would make a game as fast as this!). Instead, Overdrive lets you link up two machines via that old workhorse, the null modem cable. Okay you say, plenty of games have done that in the past, why should this be any better?
Because the game doesn't slow one jot, that's why. For the first time, you can have full 50Hz scrolling on two linked machines!

TEAM 17 25.99
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TEAM 17, MARWOOD HOUSE, GARDEN STREET, WAKEFIELD, WEST YORKSHIRE WF1 1DX. TEL: 0924 201846
 
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OUT NOW
ARCADE
PSIONIC
JOYSTICK
2
2
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1Mb
 
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86%
81%
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84%
Hugely playable arcade racer. One of the best racing games yet.
OVERALL: 83%