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Powerslide (video game)

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Powerslide (aka PowerSlide) is a post-apocalyptic PC racing game developed by the now defunct Ratbag Games[1]. It was released in North America on December 7, 1998. It was also released in Australia. Ratbag, the Australia-based game company, was purchased by Midway Studios in 2005 and was shut down shortly after, leaving the staff unemployed. Powerslide was praised for its graphics and AI in particular, which were both impressive for their time. A sequel, Powerslide: Slipstream, was in development as of 2004, but Ratbag could find no suitable publisher, and shortly after their company was shut down[2].

Story

The game is set in a post-apocalyptic, near-future world. Story wise, most of earth's population was destroyed by a global holocaust, and the survivors are mostly freaks, who are trying to make a living by resorting to violence/hunting, and the rich, who have formed enclaves underground to hide from the environmental holocaust conditions. The freaks' (illegal) recreation, known as powersliding, offers prizes of fresh fruit (rare because of the extreme environmental catastrophe) for the champions. The player can take control of several extremely unusual racers, not specific to each car. The object of the game, played out as any of the characters, is to play through the championships: namely; Novice, Advanced, and to finally win at the Expert level.

Gameplay

Powerslide is set in the near future and is a "drive anywhere" arcade racer. There are three main modes: single race, time trial, and championship. Single races can be played on any unlocked track, solo or in online multiplayer. Records can be set in this mode, and saved. Time trials involve only a lone player in a sort of practice run for any given track. Championships consist of consecutive sets of tracks, mainly the Novice, Advanced, and Expert championships. The Insane level can be attempted if the Expert championship is completed.

The game is set in a "drive-anywhere" atmosphere, allowing the player to explore the tracks at will during races, etc. Cheats codes, which can simply be typed in during a race, can be discovered by reaching out-of-the-way places across the tracks. By beating championships, new cars and tracks are unlocked. The supercar can be earned by beating the Expert championship.

Graphics

The visuals were advanced for 1998, allowing 300,000 polygons on-screen at once[3]. They were highly praised by the media, with IGN in particular calling them "beautiful" and "fully rendered"[4].

Sound

The SFX had the ability to morph into their surroundings by becoming echo-like when in enclosed spaces. The music is mostly a mixture of techno and rock.

Multiplayer

Powerslide supports up to eight players via online modes. Two game modes are included in multiplayer: single race, and fox and hounds. The single races are like in the single player mode. Fox and hounds is a deathmatch with vehicles, using the two weapon cheats: a bomb and a shot of flame.

Reception

The game received mostly positive reviews from the press, generating a 75% ranking at Game Rankings[5]. It was praised for its impressive graphics, multiplayer, and sound. The real-world experience AI was also credited. However, the number of titles in the United States was limited because of budget problems.

Powerslide: Slipstream

A follow-up, Powerslide: Slipstream, as of 2004, was in development by the same company responsible for the original Powerslide. It was to feature enhanced graphics, more of the impressive AI, and online support. It was being developed for PS2 and PC, and possibly Xbox. However, Ratbag never found a suitable publisher for this game, and the entire company's cancellation was soon to follow.

References

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5

1. http://pc.ign.com/objects/003/003124.html

2. http://ps2.ign.com/objects/567/567884.html

3. http://pc.ign.com/articles/123/123124p1.html

4. http://pc.ign.com/articles/153/153124p1.html

5. http://www.gamerankings.com/pc/198337-powerslide/index.html

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