By Elite
Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #44


Ah, Judith Hann, where are you now? No-one listened to you on Tomorrow's World, when you were giving those riveting, but somehow *unconvincing*, demonstrations on the effects that aerosol CFCs were having on the Earth's ozone layer. If only we'd listened, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now. Barren soils, little vegetation and the human race banished to isolated underground cities.

Transport between cities is only possible for those daring enough to enlist the help of (jarring chord) The Overlanders, a small race of hardy individuals who live for speed. They build and rebuild their pre-holocaust automobiles, fitting improvements and cannibalised parts which will increase their speed and resistance to attack from some of the many gangs of surface-dwelling outcasts.

These gangs make life hell for the Overlander by blocking the road with barriers, placing snipers at the roadside, trying to destroy cars by knocking them off the road or driving explosive-laden motorbikes into them. Clever Overlanders equip their automobiles with heavy artillery to clear the road of such maladepts.


At the beginning of each level the player (who plays the part of an Overlander - which part we won't be divulging) is given the option of taking two missions: an easy but low-paying one for the Federation of Law-Abiding Citizens or a difficult but well-paid run for the Crime Lords. It's customary for Overlanders to be paid 50% of the salary up front, and with this money you can equip the car with extra weaponry and sufficient fuel to complete the journey.


Urgh! This is wheelie poor! The controls are sluggish so you have hardly any chance to avoid some of the later hazards on level one, such as the roadside machine-gun nests or barriers.

The graphics, though reasonably well-defined, don't create any kind of exhilaration to thrill or excite you. Driving my on-screen motor at 180mph distinctly reminded me of being a learner driver, cruising the streets at 30.


Shooting and evading anything is more a matter of luck than skill because things don't appear on the horizon - the first you see of them is when they materialise in the middle distance giving you precious little time to get out of the way.

If you're still desperate for the Road Blasters experience you might as well keep on pushing the ten pees into the arcade machine. This isn't going to answer your prayers.


I was pretty disappointed with US Gold's Road Blasters conversion, and thought that Elite's similarly-styled game Overlander would be some great improvement. I was shocked to find that it was scarcely better!


The 3D road display isn't quite as bad as that in Road Blasters, but it still leaves a few things to be desired. When you're moving at full speed, the roadside stripes look like they're keeping up, but objects on the road, such as barriers and overturned cars give the impression that you're staying well under the national speed limit for built-up areas.

Let's face it, if you're going to produce a game like this you've got to use an effective 3D routine to make the action exciting. This one just fails to make the grade.


Presentation 65%
Sluggish controls with fuel and weapons selections which aren't as friendly as they could be.


Graphics 58%
Poor 3D effect doesn't really create any feeling of exhilaration.

Sound 71%
Palatable soundtrack but no spot effects.

Hookability 47%
The lack of a convincing road display makes gameplay difficult and barely exciting.

Lastability 40%
Very slow progress leads to intense feelings of frustration.

Overall 46%
A poor 3D motor shoot-'em-up, not much better than the conversion it mimics.