Top Gear Overdrive

a game by Snowblind Studios, Inc.
Genre: Racing
Platform: Nintendo 64Nintendo 64
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 3 reviews
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 1 vote
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See also: Top Gear Games
Top Gear Overdrive
Top Gear Overdrive
Top Gear Overdrive
Top Gear Overdrive

With fast, furious graphics, challenging tracks, and high-octane'multiplayer action, Top Gear Overdrive is a solid addition to the sparse N64 roster.

Overdrive offers only two cars to start off with, but fear not: After you win cash awards, other cars become available, including low-end clunkers like the Bug and finely tuned, death-machines like the Porsche and the Hummer. Although not on Par with Rush 2's customization options, Overdrive does offer limited upgradeable parts and paint jobs.

Top's attention to detail kicks into high gear on the game's five tracks. The varying seasons create unique road conditions and visibility, and you can expect to find plenty of secrets, shortcuts, and Easter eggs hidden throughout the game's tracks.

Even with its frustrating CPU racers and inconsistent collision detection, TGO makes a solid showing. If you re burned out on sim racing, this game's lighter arcade-style action may be just the diversion you're looking for.

ProTips:

  • Nudge your opponents into icicles, road signs, or anything else that's handy. With any luck, they'll crash and bum, giving you an excellent opportunity to build a healthy lead.
  • Ease off the gas around comers to avoid plowing through time-consuming off-road terrain.
  • When playing in the one-player Challenge mode, get an early lead on the merciless CPU opponents by using nitro boosts and aggressive driving.
  • Keep a watchful eye on your speedometer when climbing steep hills, or you'll soar like an eagle...and land like a 1000-pound tin can.

Graphics

With its well-designed cars and varied tracks, Top Gear Overdrive serves up a respectable visual spectacle on the N64. Only its rampant antialiasing and occasional lag in frame rate tarnish the game's graphical luster.

Control

Although initially vexing, Top Gear's sensitive controls can be mastered with time and a little patience. After a few hours of practice, you'll be tearing through hairpin turns like a pro.

Sound

If generic grunge-metal thrashing is your cup of tea, you'll love TGO's scratchy background tunes. A handful of decent effects liven up things, but this is one game in sore need of an enthusiastic announcer.

Fun Factor

Okay, so Top Gear Overdrive's clearly net a Kush 2 killer. But with its simple, addicting gameplay and engaging level design, this game delivers a healthy dose of N64 arcaderacing fun.

Download Top Gear Overdrive

Nintendo 64

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Ready for another lap? Top Gear is back after last year's promising rally run on the N64, and this time the cars are ready to burn rubber on good old-fashioned asphalt. As you tear around seven new tracks in new rides that range from sleek roadsters to heavy-duty jeeps to a car that looks suspiciously like the new Volkswagen Beetle, watch for nifty N64 special effects, such as light sourcing and reflection mapping (i.e., you'll be able to see the clouds overhead on the car's back window).

Gameplay-wise, you'll need to be on the lookout for cash littering the roads; collect enough and you'll be able to upgrade your ride. Other power-ups like nitros and "zippers" will give your car a speed boost, while hitting oil drums will make the road even more dangerous than it already is .

Top Gear Rally was good - how does Top Gear Overdrive compare?

Along with Knife Edge, Top Gear Overdrive is another title from Kemco that made its way onto the retail shelves pre-Christmas without even being seen by the specialist review press beforehand. And there's probably a very good reason for that because, like the aforementioned Knife Edge, Top Gear Overdrive is really a bit crap.

This is a particular shame as the main appeal of TGOs predecessor. Top Gear Rally, was its racing simulator qualities. These have been unceremoniously ejected in favour of some pretty poor arcade-style racing. If you're doing something right, why stop doing it, and end up doing something worse in the bargain? It's madness!

Top Gear Overdrive provides only two modes of play. Championship is the main one-player racing event against 11 computer- controlled opponents, but three other players can take part too, while Versus lets up to four players compete against one another, although one player can go up against 11 computer-controlled racers. Only having two playing modes already limits Top Gear Overdrive's longterm appeal, but the poor gamepleyer only makes things worse. Let's start with the one-player Championship mode.

First off, you need to choose you vehicle from the two varieties provided, but bear in mind that as you progress further through the Championship - and earn money along the way - more vehicles will eventually become available to you (there are ten in all).

Start Your Engines...

The Car Select screen provides you with a rotating image of your car on the left, with a description of its attributes on the right. Each car is graded on its Handling (how well it stays on the track), Acceleration (how long it takes to hit top speed), Top Speed (how fast the car can actually go) and Braking (whether you can stop in time to avoid that brick wall). The grading is comprised of 12 red- coloured blocks, which go green as the car's performance attributes improve.

For instance, a car with six Acceleration green lights is much better than a car with, say, one no duh – Ed. When you start off, both of the cars on offer score pretty low in the performance-related stakes, but that will soon change when you start earning money on the Championship circuit.

if you are not happy with your car's colour scheme, simply press Z on the select screen and you are presented with a colour picker palette. Your car can now take on as tasteful - or tacky - a paint scheme as you can imagine... you should have seen some of the monstrosities we initially came up with!

Now you're ready to hit the road, it's simply a matter of choosing a track to race on. There are five tracks in total, and you will eventually get to race them all as you make it through the three racing seasons, and in different weather conditions to boot. Since you start at the beginning (which makes sense, right?) you only have access to Season One and track one, Frigid Peaks.

To progress to the next race in each season, you need to be placed at least in the top four. Sounds simple? Well, after a bit of practice and getting to grips with the difficult control car handling, where the tiniest touch of the stick puts you into a 90° turn like Automan's car, you will soon get in the top four. However, nothing will prepare you for the fact that the computer-controlled racers are god's-gift to motor racing, and never seem to slip on the ice, crash, slow down around corners... they are, in fact, cheating gits of the highest order. The most obvious and patently bizarre occurrence of this is at the start of each race. For some reason, only around three or four cars are in your sight from the starting line, with the other racers already long gone when you begin to accelerate. You'll have a devil of a job catching them up, even if you use the car's nitro boost, because as soon as you've reached your top speed they're probably already half way around lap one.

Let's Rawk

The graphics on Top Gear Overdrive appear to be typical of some of the sloppy 'blurrovision' abominations that dog the worst Nintendo 64 games. The colour schemes lack any real depth or vibrance, and all seem to come across as shades of mud. However, the animation is pretty smooth and the speed is commendable too, but that isn't enough to elevate Top Gear Overdrive out of the shoddy depths it languishes in.

Even installing the new Nintendo Expansion Pak does little to improve the proceedings, with the fact that it is compatible seemingly being an afterthought - as there are hardly any differences at all as far as the game's appearance goes. The improved graphics aren't actually hi-res, but a halfway house medium-res, which makes you wonder why they bothered. The sound effects are passable, with a standard engine drone noise that doesn't seem different regardless of what vehicle you are driving, but the biggest aural evil comes from the rawk! soundtrack. There are six thumpingly awful tracks provided by a band called Grindstone (as in "I've never heard of...") sounding as though it is being played through a waterlogged amplifier - this is not CD-quality sound. But don't worry, luckily the options menu will allow you to turn down, or switch off completely, the cheesy rock choons.

The multiplayer mode (up to four can take part) is Top Gear Overdrive's slightly redeeming feature, in that it rattles along at a reasonable speed (but doesn't touch the vertiginous sensations of F-Zero X) and is clear enough to follow on a decent-sized TV screen. However, since the controls and gameplay are essentially the same as the one-player mode, it's still pretty naff overall.

After a few hours play, it becomes apparent that TGO has been cobbled together rather hastily, with little effort being put into fleshing out the game's potential. If there is going to be a third Top Gear title on the N64, let's hope that whoever develops it builds upon the original title and not this pile of cack.

2nd rating opinion

This is by far the worst driving game I have played in a long time! The cars themselves look nice, but the handling is totally unrealistic. And don't even get me started on the collisions! If you want a fun driving game then try Rush a - this is one to avoid!

Snapshots and Media

Nintendo 64/N64 Screenshots