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Top Gear Overdrive (N64)

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4 Reviews

A racing game developed by Snowblind and published by Kemco.

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    4 Reviews
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    • More +
      17.06.2010 13:50
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      A good game, should keep you busy for a couple of hours, more if you play with friends.

      Well i'll compare this game to the 2 N64 games its closest too.

      So that'd be Cruis'n World and Beetle Adventure Racing.

      It resembles Cruis'n World in the fact that at the end of each race you collect money which you can use to upgrade various aspects of your car, or buy a new car (this is also similar to Top Gear 2 on the SNES). When i first played this game, i instantly thought of Beetle Adventure Racing, possibly because the first car you get in the game is a VW Beetle.

      The graphics are similar to BAR, but TGO definitely has better graphics, most likely because it can take advantage of the Expansion Pak, which doubles the screen resolution. The driving however is totally different, whereas the driving in BAR could probably pass as fairly realistic, the driving in TGO is similar to something like SEGA RALLY on PS3/360. You will drift around every corner, Only the cars with the highest handling have the hope of going around a corner without drifting. This can be frustrating to new players, but once you get used to it, it becomes an artform. It's just another way to make the game more challenging.

      There is a fairly decent amount of cars, all real life cars, and in fairly good detail. 15 in all.

      The cars are:

      - VW Beetle (The new one)
      - Mitsubishi Eclipse
      - Jeep Wrangler
      - Chevrolet Camaro
      - Dodge Viper
      - Hummer H1
      - Porsche 911 Turbo
      - Ferrari F40
      - Chrysler Jeepster
      - Mclaren F1

      Bonus cars, unlocked by cheat codes, or by completing all of the games 6 seasons:

      - Nintendo 64 Logo
      - Hotdog
      - Nintendo Power Car
      - Donkey in a glass box
      - A Taco

      There are also 6 tracks:

      - Frigid Peaks
      - Fetile Canyon
      - Swampy Depot
      - Downtown
      - Sandy Beaches
      - Space Truckin'

      For the most part, the tracks are ok, they all have shortcuts to take, and all of them need skill in order to navigate. Although Sandy Beaches tends to require quite a bit more skill than the rest of the tracks, it is possibly the only track where you need to brake in order to not crash.

      The AI isn't the best in the world, the developers opted to go with the standard arcade way of doing things, the player starts in last, with the driver in first about 1/2 a lap ahead of him, he has 3 laps to overtake the driver in first. This isn't difficult at all between seasons 3-4 for me, i found the last 2 seasons and the first 2 the hardest, as soon as i got the Camaro in season 3, i blitzed them all. One thing that i did like about the AI however, is that they seem to react on the same physics that players do, they don't operate on a path, they'll drift around corners and crash, they'll have the same amount of difficulty staying on the track in icey weather ect.

      Basically this is a fairly short but fairly good game, the 6 seasons will probably take you around 3-5 hours to complete. Depending on how good you are. But i couldn't end the review without talking about the multiplayer side.

      The game supports 4 player in all of its game modes... Ok so there's only 2 game modes, but still. It has 4 player championship, where all the players race, earn money at the end, and can upgrade their cars, and 4 player VS. races, where the players take part in a single race with no money.

      So yeah, its a decent game for 1 player, but its a great game for 2-4 players.

      The game also features a 7 track soundtrack. All of them rock songs.

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    • More +
      16.06.2008 17:35
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      For those looking for some cheap multiplayer kicks only.

      Given that Im not much of a fan of the genre, it may surprise some people to find that one of the first games I got for my N64 was this, Top Gear Overdrive, a racing game. My 64 came packaged in a deal with Super Mario 64 and this, so I never really had a say in it, and probably wouldn't even have looked at the game had it not come with the console.

      The game is an arcade racing game that supports up to 4-Players and even the Expansion pack to enhance the graphics. It was released in 1998 to very little response critically or sales wise, and isn't one of the better known Nintendo 64 games by any stretch of the imagination.

      The game offers a single player championship mode where the goal is to beat computer controlled opponents in 5 courses to earn money to upgrade your car and buy other cars, going towards hopefully winning the championship. This mode really doesn't have anything special to offer, and is merely a standard championship mode, but what it does it does well enough and is a competant single player option, I played it until I won, which is a rarity in racing titles, which usually only get any play in my hands on multiplayer.
      The multiplayer in TGO is actually pretty cool, and is simply a multiplayer version of the single player championship, where you are also at odds with the computer and trying to upgrade cars and earn cash and so on. Of course there is a standard race option for multiplayer use, but I thought it was pretty cool of the game to have this 4-Player championship option.

      There are 10 cars to earn, including three bonus cars, such a a hotdog on wheels and an N64 logo, and they range from Dodge Viper's to humvees and VW Beetles. As I mentioned, there are only 5 tracks, but also included to add value is mirrored versions of each course, which is pretty cool on the part of the makers, and while it's hardly a comprehensive array of courses or cars, it's certainly enough for casual racing fans like myself. It should also be noted that each course is littered with various shortcuts and breakaway walls and such to aid you in your quest for glory. This adds to the fun, being able to make up a lot of ground on a friend who has just sped away from you in multiplayer is pretty awesome, especially if they didn't know there was a shortcut.

      However, the problem the game has is that it just gets very old very quickly. The championship mode could even be bested by me, someone who is completley inept at driving games, and Im talking about on the default difficulty, not even easy. The multiplayer is fun for a while, but the lack of tracks does mean that the game can become quite tedious, something that no amount of shortcuts can solve. The problems may also lie with those who I played this with. None of us are really big racing fans, and to be honest, the game simply attempted to fill a gap that could really only be filled by Super Mario Kart 64. That game had the tracks, as well as the features to keep even us non-racers satisfied for an infinite length of time. TGO did keep us entertained, but for a few weeks at most.

      Graphically, the game is quite strong, with the cars looking excellent, and even managing the rarity on the N64 of not being blocky or blurred. The levels may not be the most detailed, but they certainly look good for the hardware. This is the single player graphics Im referring to. In the split-screen mode, the graphics on the cars certainly do seem to go down several, noticeable pegs, and while it isn't the end of the world, as I say, it is noticeable. This may not be an issue with the Expansion Pack in, but I don't have one so cannot comment.

      The sound in the game is pretty disappointing it has to be said. The car noises and such are ok, if very muffled, and the game has 4 generic rock songs to comprise it's soundtrack. Naturally this gets old in about 20 minutes, so having a CD player and a mute button on hand is really a key element to enjoying the game.

      Controls for the game are as follows:

      I have no layout problems for the controls, other than that they are on the hell that is the N64 contoller, but the response of them is where some problems encounter. Not with any of the buttons, but with the control of the steering via the Analogue Stick. This is far,far too sensitive, and to be honest, it's hard to ever lose control, because you never actually have it. You can get used to it after some time, but it isn't something that can really be ignored easily, and definitely has to go down as a flaw.

      On the whole, this is a pretty short review, but that really does sum up TGO's lifespan being played by me and my friends perfectly. The game isn't the worst racing game I've ever played, and it did provide some minor thrills on 4-Player, but it doesn't have enough of a career mode to keep hardcore racing fans occupied, and the multiplayer is fun for a while, but the lack of tracks really does hinder the game, and the fact that the tracks themselves aren't all that spectacular doesn't help.
      I was never in any doubt as to how many stars to give TGO, 3 sums up the game very well, neither here nor there really. But Im not quite sure if I should recommend it or not. I certainly wouldn't have bought it separately, but at the same time it did bring some enjoyment from playing it, and I never felt the urge to trade it in or anything.

      I think a recommended will be suitable, given the current prices of most N64 games. If you are looking to get into the console, then there are much worse games you could pick up at a low price to waste some time than TGO, just don't go expecting anything great.

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      • More +
        02.10.2001 02:33
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        The N64 has been starving for a good "real" racer since it's release way back in 96. There were some good cute racers such as Diddy Kong and Mario Kart and then there were some just plain awful racers like Cruis'n USA and F1 Pole Position 64. Finally, that has changed with the release of Snow-blind Studios Top Gear Overdrive. By far the best racer to grace the system, TGO features some of the best graphics, control, game play and all out fun to ever come out of an arcade racer. Being one of the first games to support the RAM Expansion Pack it's pretty much a given you're going to be treated to some knockout graphics if you're lucky enough to own one. However, even if you don't have the Expansion Pack you're in for a real treat graphically. With the EP (Expansion Pack) you're given the option to play the game in all of its full screen hi-res glory. This is obviously the way to go if you've got that puppy popped into your expansion port but if not the game offers a hi-res letterbox mode which basically means the screen size is reduced. This may sound pretty cool but it's actually more of an annoyance than a treat and it's very hard to tell the difference between it and the full screen normal-res mode which I preferred to use throughout the game. The cars look gorgeous with some nice effects such as transparent windshields and environment mapping as well as light sourcing. The textures look great and aren't a tad bit grainy that seems to mar the majority of other racers on the system. I was amazed to find that there was no pop-up or fog anywhere in the game, which deserves a major pat on the back. The control is spot on offering some of the most exciting race's this side of F-Zero X. Taking curves at 120 MPH never gets old and works pretty well. Of course there are times when power-slides are necessary to gain important positions on opponents, which is no problem once you get the hang of it
        . There isn't much of a difference in how each of the cars handles which keeps the learning curve minuscule. You can use money you earn during races to upgrade your cars handling, acceleration and top speed or save enough to purchase a whole new car. There are 10 normal cars in the game all modelled after real-life cars; however, the cars aren't officially licensed so you won't be seeing any brand names in the game. You can paint your car virtually any colour ever imaginable using the colour changer. Those of you who have dreamed of driving a poop-brown Viper now can. The soundtrack for the game is nicely done with 6 tracks by Grindstone. The music fits the game nicely and keeps your adrenaline on overload throughout the entire game. The sound effects are a bit disappointing but aren't bad. The sound of cars ramming into each other at 130 MPH would probably be a good bit louder in the real world than they are in the game, but then again, this isn't the real world. I feel I should warn you that this game isn't easy. The game is rather cheap in this prospect as the front of the pack starts ridiculously too far ahead of the back of the pack (which is where you'll have to begin each race). By the second season you'll be swearing because you can't do any better fifth. Expect to spend a LONG time with this baby. Fans of San Francisco Rush should enjoy TGO for its sky high jumps. These are some huge jumps and they get even bigger when you learn how to time your nitro boost just right in order to catapult yourself through the air at sick speeds. I found myself parking under drops in the tracks and watching, as other cars would soar above my head, it's actually quite fun although not very productive. Other similarities to rush are the consistent shortcuts, usually 2 or more for each track. You do have to learn how to navigate them at full speed before they become much of help, though. And finally th
        e explosions look like they were taken directly from Rush, it's almost ridiculous it's so similar. On the whole this is a highly recommendable racer. While it does have its fair share of problems it's still the best racer to come out of the N64. The combination of speed, graphics, control and game play make it an excellent choice for any racing fan. Those who aren't as interested in racers may want to rent it first as its slight problems may keep it from being worth it's £30 price tag.

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        • More +
          15.12.2000 22:11

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          This game is quite awful and needs to be kept clear from. It has tracks which you would expect from this game and the usual cars (nothing special there) yet the inclusion of a turbo boost really does spoil it. In multiplayer mode it alright yet the action is usaully limited to whoever has the fastest car. The graphics look good but play jerkily even with an exspantion pack. The tracks hve long straights which go into really tight turns and you almost certainly crash. It then may have an odd short cut here and there. The game is quite poor and deserves to be kept well away. This game shows u that good graphics don't always mean good gameplay. It does play smoothly but unfortunately doesn't have the gameplay.

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