The arcade version of Drift bucked like a particularly peeved, hydraulic bronco and it was a stomach-churning experience. Its roller-coaster circuits were positively evil and while this conversion may not have the graphic grace of the arcade, it's hot-wired the gameplay, driven it away and parked all 25 tracks onto tape. All in one load! Hurrah!
Power Drift follows a simple formula. Finish in the top three of any race and you progress to the next track in that five course sequence. Each four lap outing inspires two minutes of automotive madness, as all 12 drivers fight to the line first. It sounds simple in theory, but getting onto the winners podium is a tad tougher.
After choosing a course and driver, the screen pans down to the start line. This bit's great fun, you can watch the start lights and rev the engine in the best XR3i at traffic lights tradition! (You've been spending too much time with that James, Trenton! Ed) When they hit green, you hit the gas (and all the other drivers try to hit you). A couple of seconds later you're screaming down a gravel track at 130 mph and it's time to shift gears. One press of the fire button and you're in top and heading tor trouble. Why? Cos there are no straights on any of the 25 courses, just short stretches of non-bending bits between corners. Eek!
The art of Power Drift is to slide sideways through corners under full throttle, swinging past the saps who slow down and turn. These tracks aren't just unpleasant or terifyingly tight, they're maliciously designed to mangle your car.
With 12 buggies jostling for position, precise control is essential. Your motor responds well to waggling, but it's up to you to thread a safe route for four furious laps. Slip up and the car is flung off the track in a painless pirouette that eats into you lap time and chances of victory. Playful nudges that encourage other drivers over the edge are perfectly acceptable, but they can do it to you too!
Graphically Power Drift is pretty uncompromising, with blocky sprites and occasionally confusing tracks. On the other hand, the racing is excellent and that's where the heart of the game really lies. The main aim of the programmers seems to have been to keep the wheels turning. (So don't be surprised when the soundtrack cuts out half way through a race. It just means life's getting hectic.)
Power Drift captures the high octane spirit of the arcade. You'll need a good eye, good luck and an iron stomach to stay the course of this twisted, 25 track, nightmare. Sunday drivers, caravan towers and milk floats move over - the rules of the road have changed! This alternative Highway Code can be found on the inside of the Power Drift cassette and all mad drivers, boy racers and speed freaks are recommended to grab a copy!
And where exactly do you think you're going in that car? And why aren't you wearing a helmet? Still, at least you've got sun, sand and funny trees!
Dodgy looking lot aren't they, Spec-chums? I mean, what's that chap on the end grinning about? And is that a mohican I see before me?