REVIEW : 80’s OVERDRIVE (PC)
Back in good old 1986, that’s where 80’s Overdrive — aspires to be. It wants to be Sega’s Out Run one of the best-supported arcade racing games of all time and it’s going to use all neon light, every synthesised note to cheer you along for the ride.
80’s Overdrive looks to replicate the ideal expertise whilst adapting just enough to stay relevant. But the core gameplay is every bit as familiar handle your vehicle which is viewed in 3D, from behind around the course, following the sweeping bends and dodging other traffic. Different backgrounds, locations, and a choice of vehicles all help to cheer the experience a bit.
Two play modes are offered in career mode, you’ll require to pick a track, pay the entry fee, and probably win prize money finishing in the top three. If you finish first, you’ll typically open a new track. Any damage sustained in the race must be paid for, and upgrades can be purchased between races, including beefing up the motor or nitro for bursts of extra pace.
You’ll share the road not just with direct rivals, but an array of other, more leisurely road users ranging from bubble cars to lorries. These different drivers are not about to get out of your way, either in fact, their main goal seems to be ramming you off the road. The police also turn up occasionally and are even worse operators than all the commoners.
It’s a decent challenge, although the entry fee clubbed with expensive repair bills means you might well run out of money. and will be forced to crush some of the earlier courses for essential funds. The trails are also repetitive after a while and although there’s a fair number of different themes, there’s not a whole lot else going on to make any particular track stand out.
Time attack mode is very much like Out Run, the player tasked with racing against the time, reaching each checkpoint for more time before it moves out altogether. There’s one important difference, though, and that’s the ability to gain bonus time (1-3 seconds) by nearly hitting other cars. It’s a unique idea which unavoidably ends in many crashes, but damage doesn’t occur in this mode.
The game is in very familiar territory graphics-wise, with sprites and backgrounds a detailed upgrade on Out Run standards. I was more a follower of the brighter levels but the feeling of speed conveyed by fast-moving objects at the sides of the road is as effective as ever. The radio that can be used mid-race has a great selection of music which perfectly reflects the times whilst maintaining some variety.
It’s a shame that 80’s Overdrive doesn’t have much replayability, although the two modes have plenty of hours of playtime together. There are also disappointing minor issues that indicate a lack of attention. For instance, there’s no overhead map or any indication of how close rival cars are. This really diminishes from career mode since you have no sense how close you are to the other cars during the race.