Power Drive Rally


Review by Matt Paprocki

Time Warner Interactive


Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 9


powerdriverallyjaguar1.bmp (2359350 bytes)Its title is a bit on the deceptive side, but Power Drive Rally is a fantastic little overlooked racing game, probably one of the best overhead racers ever made. That's not to say it's a perfect title. There are areas that needed some work unquestionably, but this Jaguar game deserves far more credit.

Much like a souped-up R.C. Pro-Am, Power Drive is a fast-paced, money making racing game. It's varied in its tracks and challenges, yet none of that even touches how well this one controls. The problem is this isn't really a rally-style racing game. The thought of drifting is lost on a tight physics engine that lets players take corners like a professional even if it's the first time they've played.

Once on the course after selecting a car, it doesn't matter. You're drawn into the nearly perfect gameplay. As with any game in this perspective, the camera should be zoomed out for better visibility. However, the succinct voice samples let players know when and how a curve is coming. Memorization is also a factor, and a player with bearings will win every time.

The perspective provided does offer a nice look at the cars, and while the menus make it seem serious, these cars are basically caricatures. If you think this is a kids game, you're wrong, because the difficulty ramps up fast here. One race you're beating your opponent soundly, the next you don't have a chance.

Money is tight, which is part of the problem. Repairs are expensive, and damage is unavoidable. Those are the problems that will turn people off from this one, and persistence is obviously the key. Gameplay is strong enough to keep players coming back, while the powerful soundtrack uses the hardware like so few did.

powerdriverallyjaguar2.bmp (2359350 bytes)The variety is part of the reason for that. Races cover a wide range of styles, from simple time trials, one-on-one matches, to tests of your driving ability. The latter has some problems, since it's not always clear what you should be doing. They're usually over fast, and after a few runs through, you'll have it mastered.

While simple, this is one of the Jaguar's elite few original games that works. It's the old adage of "easy to pick up, impossible to put down," racing fan or not. Power Drive Rally is a nice surprise, and a under appreciated gem.


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Last updated: Thursday, September 22, 2005 11:21 PM