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Over Top (Arcade) artwork

Over Top (Arcade) review


"Over Top, an overhead racer, is very deceiving. First impressions would be that it's a cute, casual title, with seven small stages to drive through. For gamers that have actually experienced this release in arcades, it probably did come off as a casual distraction, serving as a break from fighting games that bloated the scene during the mid 1990s. However, for those that didn't just play it once, failed to complete it, and had a good laugh, for those that actually wanted to finish Over..."



Over Top, an overhead racer, is very deceiving. First impressions would be that it's a cute, casual title, with seven small stages to drive through. For gamers that have actually experienced this release in arcades, it probably did come off as a casual distraction, serving as a break from fighting games that bloated the scene during the mid 1990s. However, for those that didn't just play it once, failed to complete it, and had a good laugh, for those that actually wanted to finish Over Top, in first, no less, experienced something different.

For such a small game, it packs some punch for anyone fighting to reach the finish line, but not particularly in a good way. Normal video game logic would dictate the difficulty would continue to rise the further you get into a game. In Over Top, the difficulty is a bit unbalanced; after completing a simple, early stage, the track layout suddenly becomes harder to navigate, with a normal example being having to attempt to survive three tough turns in quick succession. You assume things would get more bumpy down the road (*canned laughter*), but the following stage is just a set of easy corners and ramps. Then it gets abnormally fast and hard again... I'm sure that was intentional, but that doesn't make it any less irritating.

As if that wasn't enough, you'll notice other annoying problems the more you play Over Top: you can't tell where the track borders end, some turn indicators pop up as the turn happens, rivals automatically speed away during checkpoint segments, the weather randomly changes at the best (ie worst) moments, and the final stretch is ten seconds of nothing, causing many fits if you have less left on the timer. But even with these issues, completing the race is very doable. It's just going to take several playthroughs to get everything right. And, while it may not feel like it at first, you can finish with all available vehicles, even with their differing terrain attributes. Also, to help push you closer to the goal, there are some shortcuts littered throughout Over Top, but most are well hidden, so you'll need to look hard for them. Chances are, though, you'll find them by complete accident.

Now, here's the thing... with all these challenges and obstacles to overcome, it brings up a point about the game as a whole: Why should you put this much time and effort into Over Top? It's not a terrible game, flaws and all, but, it's only five minutes long. To ask players to put so much investment into a release that can be completed in that time-frame is all kinds of absurd. Most games' first levels usually last that long. This point would be moot if it had followed in the footsteps of older titles, looping the whole race when you cross the finish line. Also, and it's shocking that something this obvious wasn't included, a split-screen two-player mode would have added a ton of replay value to Over Top.

Unfortunately, we're stuck with the hand the developers dealt, and we can only view this as a game that had so much potential to be a fun experience, but fell short in many areas. There are plenty of arcade racers to choose over this, that last longer, have similar learning-curves, includes multiplayer, and are just more worth your time.

Rating: 4/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (May 10, 2010)

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Feedback

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fleinn posted May 10, 2010:

"...but, it's only five minutes long."

Heheh. Nice review. Like the merciless: "if the game was made today, the developers would have been lazy!".

..It might seem unclear when you read it at first, if the game just ends after five minutes, or if you can complete it in five minutes (on a quarter), if you're really, really good.

"Problems help elevate the situation, as well: you can't tell where the track borders end,"

.."Elevation makes racing problematic..".. "Elevation raises problems with".. something like that....?
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pickhut posted May 10, 2010:

Thanks for reading. I thought it was a neat game I played once or twice in a Japanese arcade back when it came out, but came to a different conclusion when I had a go with it recently.

And yeah, I could have been much clearer on both those parts. I'll add or rewrite for both. For the first, I meant you can complete the whole game in five minutes. The second one was suppose to feed off the issue talked about in the previous paragraph. I dunno why I thought using the word 'elevate', or using it in that manner, would be a good idea...

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