The late ’80s was the era of the pseudo-3D racer, with games like Outrun, Chase HQ, and (the one that originally popularised the genre) Pitstop. None of these games could be said to be enormously different from each other, but each slowly evolved the genre. So too does “Ocean Drive Challenge”, in its own way, slowly advance the genre a little further. And boy, does it look good doing it.
The first thing I noticed about the gameplway was that, perhaps taking its cue from (of all things) modern bullet-hell shooters, the “hit box” around the car is just oh-so-slightly smaller than the car itself. It’s a move away from realism, and a move towards awesome-ism: it gives you that sense of just barely squeaking through when it looks like you can’t, and gives you that feeling of being an elite driver better than a pixel-perfect hit box would. It was an unexpected and, as far as I can tell, intentional feature. You have a choice between three cars, and each handles differently: one is the fastest, one is the most nimble, and the third one is the most balanced between those extremes. Gameplay is otherwise what you would expect, but in a good way; something that invokes the feel of the genre, rather than cloning it.
As I mentioned before, the game looks good, but the presentation stands out in other ways. The music is tremendous, including some (apparently) licenced tunes which is a surprising feature for an 80 Microsoft Point game. The game has a real personality, with characters talking in word balloons at the top of the screen (which can optionally be turned off). Everything about this game oozes quality and is well deserving of your dollar (or, insert local currency here).
Here’s what the developer (need1D) has to say about the game:
“Classic arcade racing game in a flashy 80′s look. The race course combines the most stunning landscapes of the world and gives you some marvellous views. Choose all characters and see how their personal stories unwined and intertwine. Listen to great music and enjoy the ride!”