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Not top, or overly good
Top Gear Overdrive (N64)
Member Name: Wolfzilla
Top Gear Overdrive (N64)
Advantages: Graphics decent,fun multiplayer
Disadvantages: Sound,controls over sensitive,lacks length
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.
Summary: For those looking for some cheap multiplayer kicks only.