Powerslide Review - Part 3

Sound
The sound engine used in Powerslide isn’t exactly one of its strengths. The sound of the cars’ engines awfully weak, and switching from interior to exterior views did not yield any appreciable differences.

Powerslide also allegedly ships with both 4 speaker and EAX support, both of which were virtually indiscernible to me. I use a Live (full version) with a Desktop Theater 5.1 in 4 speaker mode.

To be fair, 4 speaker audio is especially hard to detect in most racing games (including the recently patched Ultimate Race Pro and Need for Speed III).

EAX support is a little more audible, but it is nowhere near the impression achieved by First Person Shooters like Half-Life (EAX patch not applied)

The only racing game where EAX and 4 speaker support is readily apparent is Moto Racer 2 (with the latest patch). With the new patch, I could easily sense an incoming competitor, and even whether he was going to overtake me from the left or from the right.

Graphics
Besides the physics engine, the other saving grace of this game was its excellent use of Glide. I understand it was written to take advantage of the special features of the Voodoo chipset and it clearly shows.

I was able to run the game in 1024x768 with at least 60fps on my machine (Celeron 450MHz with Voodoo2 SLI), with all the effects turned on to maximum. Admittedly, the cars are pretty detailed (and I have read elsewhere that there are many more polygons used per car in Powerslide than in other driving games)

"Besides the physics engine, the other saving grace of this game was its excellent use of Glide."

But is this enough to save the game? Not in my book. But if you want a good demo showcase to test drive your Voodoo2 cards, you can’t go wrong with this game (Hey! It’s your money!)

Conclusion
In summary, the pluses and the minuses:

Plus

  • Great physics engine (I’ll concede that)
  • Great graphics engine (even that too)

Minus

  • Where’s the gameplay?
  • Unimpressive sound engine

If you are contemplating a futuristic arcade racing game, may I offer the following advice?

Download the demos of Powerslide, Dethkarz and Rollcage (or get them from some magazine’s bonus CDROM), and compare them all, then decide which one to get.

My vote would go to Dethkarz. The graphics are IMHO even better than Powerslide and the cars are inherently much more controllable than in Powerslide. Rollcage runs a close second.

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