Overtop: A Speedy-Review by Bobak!
In 1991, ADK (then Alpha team) released Thrash Rally for the Neo Geo. While fun to play, it was most noted for its woefully bad graphics. Five years later, ADK released another "look-out-for-the-next-turn!" game called Overtop. This time they got it almost all right: Great graphics, good sounds, lots of vehicles, and kept the excellent playability of its predecessor.
Overtop vs. Thrash Rally: You'd hardly believe they came from the same system!
I joked that Thrash Rally looked like a NES game done on Genesis. Thankfully I can't say the same about Overtop! Overtop shows the Neo Geo's graphical capacity in all its glory: beautifully drawn vehicles, tracks and a rendered CG intro screen (one of the few found on the Neo Geo). Like other fine racing games, once you've picked a vehicle, you may select from an assortment of colors (which all look smashing). The tracks are drawn to encourage you to explore; you won't immediately notice all of the shortcuts the programmers hid throughout.
The music and sounds effects of Overtop are also much better than Thrash Rally, but they are not quite as much of a jump as the graphics. The music is pleasant for driving down the tracks, the engines all hum appropriately for the vehicle you picked
I was pleased to see that the programmers at ADK had improved on Thrash Rally's already good playability. Each of the different cars handled very well with the expected differences in handling. I was amazed at how fast the track blew by when I chose to drive the Ferrari (almost too fast I might add). In fact, each car involves a totally new way of tackling the race since some cars cannot operate on certain terrains as well as others: i.e. While the Ferrari tore by the truck on the pavement, it would end up getting passed when it came to snow or dirt areas. The only serious caveat I have with the game is the limited amount of tracks: There is only one, big track with multiple sections. While you get to race on just about everything on this mega-track, I would have loved to have seen more. Then again, it is easy to see that they did spend an good amount of time making the one track a good track -with many secret paths that are up to the player to find.
If you're into racing games, track down Overtop. Unfortunately, it does get rather pricey on both home-cart and MVS (relatively), but if this is your thing I don't think you'll too disappointed. The game has excellent replay value, I played it over and over in order to try and beat it with the different vehicles and find all the shortcuts. An excellent vindication for ADK.
Replay Value: Good
Bobak!, contrary to what you might have heard, is not the messiah.
More Reviews of This Game:
by Kazuya_UK - Courtesy of Kazuya's
Collection | Master
List | AES
Price Guide | MVS
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