Title           Powerdrome
Publisher       Electronic Arts
Game Type       Racing
Players         1 - 2 (null-modem link up)
HD Installable  Jeff's Patch - aminet:game/patch/pdromehd.lha
Compatability   All (newer Amigas may need the above patch)
Submission      Dennis Smith Profiled Reviewer

Way back when this game was released, before I even had an Amiga, I read
the review in Zzap! with real excitement - here was the next generation of
gaming, a proper space-age race game, a new Stunt Car Racer. This game was
one of the first ones that made me realise that it was soon time to ditch
the old C64 in favour of the new 16-bit technology - and all without having
ever seen it except in screenshots.

The premise is a great one. Guide your sleek new racing machine round one
of half a dozen tracks on different planets, overtaking experienced
competitors by flying to the left, right or even over and under them, while
staying within the walls of the track. The vehicles are finely tunable to
suit your driving taste and the different tracks' styles. A variable amount
of self-centring can be chosen at the expense of speed to aid you in
getting round the corners. Different filters for different atmospheres
which may need changing in the event of a storm.

When Father Christmas finally brought an A500, I always kept one eye out for
Powerdrome but never found it. Only recently, ten years after its release,
was I able to get my hands on a copy with Angus' help. (Thanks Angus!) And
that's where the disappointment starts and never lets up. With Jeff Fabre's
patch, the game is still playable on modern machines (albeit suffering from
over-eager key-repeat). But when I say playable, I mean the game loads up
and behaves how it was intended to. And faster processors no doubt help.
But controlling the craft is, well, a bit of a nightmare. I vaguely
remember Zzap's reviewers expressing fears about how hard it was to get
good at the game, and now I got to find for myself - the third dimension
that seemed so exciting to a me when I was fourteen is a bit of a killer.

Steering left and right isn't so bad, but the craft has a tendency to pitch
like a toy boat in a thunderstorm. Controlling the pitching, even at its
lowest sensitivity setting, is nearly impossible except at low speeds. Not
good for a race game. You'd have thought, given the reasonably tight limits
on altitude that the game imposes, that the craft would automatically level
off. But no, you have to do it yourself, the mouse control is not at
all smooth, and you can easily spend the whole lap bouncing between floor
and ceiling like a demented dolphin.

Try as I might, I can't get to grips with this thing. Apparently, once you
do get used to it, there's a great race game in here, terribly dated though
it is nowadays. I don't have the time or energy to persevere with this,
though, so all I can say to you is dig out your PS or PC and play Wipeout
instead (or get Wipeout 2097 on your PPC Amiga). Wipeout looks to
have been inspired by Powerdrome, but Psygnosis had the wit to remove that
third dimension, and you'll find that game child's play compared to
Powerdrome; Wipeout is the game Powerdrome should have been.

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