Format War :: arguing the toss over which machine is better
Main review :: written by Jason 

Described in the manual as the "first fantasy racing epic", Elektra Glide is a futuristic cross-country dash from point A to B; although the Mastertronic re-release appears to be under the impression that the game is about a Harley Davidson Electra Glide, the in-game console and the opening sequence on the Atari 8-bit and Amstrad CPC versions where the vehicle throttles up its engines before pulling off all leans towards the Elektra Glide being a futuristic vehicle of some kind. Possibly one with jet engines that hovers or something.

And as it bursts into the sunlight from the first tunnel the race is on across one of three selectable countries which are all rather surprisingly close to being deserted. That emptiness doesn't mean there aren't hazards however, along with puddles that affect the handling there are spinning cubes that sit smack in one of the two lanes, columns dropped by an overflying jet to weave between and large balls that bounce back and forth that must be faked out - all of these obstacles will either slow or stop the craft in its tracks, losing precious seconds of racing time which can only be topped up by the tunnel entrances that act as checkpoints.

The visuals on the Atari 8-bit are excellent, everything hammers along at a serious pace and, although the in-game objects are sparse and indeed rather abstract in nature, they still look decent whilst whizzing past the windscreen. That overall look has to a degree been replicated on the other two platforms with a few concessions; the Y junctions have disappeared from the Amstrad's tracks and the council workers painting road markings were on strike for the C64.

The very presentable sound effects are accompanied by a solid in-game soundtrack, which was provided by a professional musician working under the pseudonym Yekao on the Atari, whilst the C64 and Amstrad CPC get an extended remix produced by music stalwart David Whittaker that somehow lacks the punch of the original due to the choice of sounds.

Critical opinion of Elektra Glide has been somewhat Marmite; Zzap! 64 were scathing about the C64 version, saying that there was "nothing racey about this race game" whilst awarding just 38% overall in issue 13, a score that tallies with the verdict of 4/10 over at CPC Game Reviews and the 41% issued by issue 16 of CPC magazine Amtix. The Atari version fared significantly better, garnering a good 7.6/10 from Atari Mania's visitors, an Atari Star award and the bulk of the positive press response.

There's absolutely no doubt that the Atari 8-bit version wins by a mile because, along with being a technical tour de force for the machine, it's the only version that is actually entertaining to play! So the question becomes which of the two lacklustre conversions gets the second place, will it be the Amstrad CPC which slows down when dealing with large objects so the bouncing balls are almost impossible to dodge or the rough, glitchy movement of the C64 without a centre line on the road which is close to essential for judging where objects are to circumnavigate them?

In both cases the controls feel soggy and unresponsive and, unlike the Atari where each country is selected and then raced to the end, the three stages are joined together and loop infinitely with the C64 not even bothering to report the transition between areas. In the end, the CPC just about manages to claw back enough entertainment to beat the C64 into bronze position, but it isn't a lot more enjoyable to play and any right-thinking gamer should be looking at the Atari version.



Format 8-Bit Computer
Publisher English Software
Released 1985
Price £8.95
Review Jason
A8 In-game
A8 In-game
Top Atari 8-bit
2nd Amstrad CPC
3rd Commodore 64
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