Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Retro Game of the Day! Power Drift

Retro Game of the Day! Power Drift

Power Drift by Sega, original arcade release in 1988.

Back in the day, Sega owned the arcade when it came to racing games - they truly pumped them out, and each one was phenomenal. Hang-On, Super Monaco GP, Rad Mobile, OutRun (everyone knows that one!) and of course Power Drift was no exception.

Whereas most of the above-mentioned games were more concerned with having somewhat of a realistic bent, Power Drift took the whole notion and ran with it. A bit more cartoony in style, and a LOT more cartoony in scope, PD augments straightaways and hairpin turns with magnificent rollercoaster-steep climbs and drops; to enhance the effect, as you navigate sharp turns, the entire playfield will swivel with your vehicle, making everything feel a lot more extreme and adrenalizing.
The effect was great, and from the moment I coined-up this game I knew I was going to have an unusual experience. Sega Designer Yu Suzuki always turned out unbelievable arcade work, and Power Drift was just another in a long line of masterpieces.

Sadly, the game was much too overboard to receive a proper console port back in the day; Amiga and C64 versions showed up to whichever extent, but there was never a representative on the home 16-Bit machines. I suppose it could have done well on the Sega-CD, but by the time that device released Sega seemed tired of their racing lineup, unfortunately. There's a port of the game available for the NEC PC-Engine, but that's all that is available console-wise.

Power Drift is an amazing game which still holds up, it's breathtaking to witness (though admittedly dated, but what do you expect!) Some circles maintain that this was an inspiration for Super Mario Kart - I can see that..

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