I feel a bit like Basil Fawlty trying not to mention the war to the German guests. In reviewing Elite's Overlander, it's impossible not to mention US Gold's coin-op conversion Roadblasters. Yet at the same time, one hesitates to do so.
Any old how, Overlander is a jolly good racing-and-blasting game which makes up in excitement what it might lack in graphic sophistication. The desert road scrolls nicely, and unlike the scenery in Roadblasters (oops, there I go again), it moves up and down rather than just wobbling from side to side.
You can choose to play either a hero Federation agent trying to get secret documents from point A to point B, or a nasty baddie smuggling counterfeit money, although it doesn't make much diff to the game.
Next step is to equip your car with fuel, weapons and accessories. You have a limited amount of money to spend; the aim of the game is simply to finish stages as quickly and violently as possible to earn cash bonuses. Weapons you can choose include bulletproofing, armourplating, missiles, flamethrowers, spiked wheels, turbochargers and smart bombs (pretty costly). You can define the key used to activate each special weapon.
Zoom! Off you go into the desert. Soon you'll be battered by enemy cars trying to force you off the road, fast-moving motorbikes, roadside gun emplacements, and mine-laying trucks. You can force your opponents off the road, blow them to bits, or dodge around them, and to warn you of their presence there's a twodirection indicator to the left of the control display.
Also shown on your control panel are indicators of the currently selected weapon, speed, RPM (which doesn't signify much), and fuel remaining.
Once you've hit top speed things get pretty interesting. Tyres squeal as you fling yourself around corners, explosions blossom as motorbikes smash themselves against your armoured bonnet mangled wreckage is strewn across the road and bullets and missiles fly as you race for the end of the stage. Altogether more fast-moving and enjoyable than R**d*****ers, but not as well-designed; the backgrounds are pretty monotonous, and the vehicles look rather boring.
Far be it from me to recommend one game rather than the other. just give them both a try and see which one revs your engine.
Label: Elite Author: Mark Haigh-Hutchinson Price: £8.99 Memory: 48K/128K Joystick: various Reviewer: Chris Jenkins
Exciting and enjoyable racey-shooty opic not unlike a certain coin-op.