A brand new commercial game. Who said nobody produces Atari games any more? Power Up is a racing car game from MC Soft. It was inspired by Rally Speedway on the Atari 800, although the result is of course far superior making full use of the enhanced capabilities of the more modern TOS based machines. Power Up has been in development for four years and the quality simply shines through. This game is the result of a collaboration between the programmer, two graphic artists and a music man. A fifth programmer was responsible for the excellent track editor.
The game is seen from an overhead perspective looking down on the track. Five cars participate in each race, two of which can be player controlled. Control is by keyboard or joystick and is much more responsive than similar games of this type. Your objective is simple, to be the fastest driver on the track! Having said that, you don't need to come first to qualify, provided you complete the lap within the required qualifying time, you may proceed.
Each of the sixty (no kidding, the game comes complete with 60 tracks on which to compete!) supplied tracks have different features and the number of laps required on each circuit varies. As soon as the scenery changes, so do certain external factors such as braking, oversteering and example skids. Even if you're the kind of player who has the 'Need for Speed', you'll find Power Up to be quite a formidable challenge!
Surely it must be impossible to complete 60 tracks in a single session, even YOU can't be that good! The authors have of course thought of this and the game includes a well thought out password system. Each level has its own password. When you start a new level you will be given its password. Write this down for future reference. When you enter a level password, it remains active for the duration of the session unless you decide to change it to a different password. This means that every game will resume from the same starting track unless you decide differently. Working your way through all 60 is going to take months of perseverance! Even then, you can design your own tracks painlessly using the supplied Track Editor.
There are several modes of play in Power Up. One player mode allows you to compete against four computer controlled cars. Two player mode gives a split screen display where you compete against each other and three computer controlled opponents. Duel mode is as you would expect, a straight contest between two players. Finally, duel special offers duel mode but with other cars on the track just to get in your way! The latter two modes have no qualifying times so you can effortlessly work your way through all 60 levels. The only catch is that you don't get the level passwords, these need to be earned in the one or two player modes!
Everything in Power Up can be customised. You can easily spend ten minutes going through all the user definable options! Having said that, the default settings are sensible so you can just accept them and play without further ado. If you do customise the game, you can save your preferences, making them the new defaults for future games. Power Up offers three difficulty levels, we advise everyone to select Novice for starters!
As for music, the game features its own originally composed soundtracks. You can listen to them using the old faithfully soundchip or, if you have an STe, TT or Falcon, in glorious stereo. In addition, if you own an ST Replay, Replay Professional, Prosound Designer, Playback or MV16 cartridge you can output the music directly to your Hi-Fi for optimum quality. You can of course switch off the music and have sound effects only. Even these can be switched off, but why would you want to do that?
Power Up is feature packed with stereo sound (when supported by your hardware), end of level animations, a special Turbo mode for crazy drivers and much more. It runs on any ST, STe, TT or Falcon with 1Mb of memory and displays 32 colours on screen, even on an ST! Control is by joystick, joypad (STe, TT or Falcon only) or keyboard. Power Up is hard drive installable (although minimal disk swapping is needed on floppy based systems) and is supplied with a well written 32 page printed manual. Power Up is the sort of game you would have happily paid thirty pounds for about two years ago! It is available now for a very reasonable twelve pounds + P&P (UK one pound, Europe two pounds, ROW three pounds). Payment can be made by credit card (Visa, Access, Mastercard, Eurocard accepted) or UK cheque/PO. Overseas customers not paying by credit card should make payment in UK pounds sterling using a cheque drawn on a UK bank, International Money Order, Post Giro, American Express Money Order or Canadian Postal Order.