Elektra Glide, Atari 8-bit

Elektra Glide is a futuristic first-person racing game written by Adam Billyard and published by English Software in 1985. Well, you could call it a “racing” game, but you’re not actually racing against other cars – just a timer.

The aim of the game is to drive down the three available tracks (Britain, Australia, and the USA), to stay on the track, not crash into anything, and to reach the tunnel at the end of each section before the timer runs out.

The game follows a set pattern whereby your main aim is to drive along a twisting road, avoiding bouncing spheres and cubes; then a plane flies overhead, dropping columns onto the road in front of you, which of course you have to avoid, and then a tunnel to the next section will appear at some point. Inside the tunnel you have to avoid touching the walls (otherwise you’ll slow to stop), then you emerge at the other end onto a new section of road. Crashing into anything will stop you dead, although touching the sides of the road, or driving through puddles or patches of oil will merely slow you down.

Elektra Glide is one of those games that looks better in stills than actually playing the game. I remember looking at magazine adverts for it as a teenager and thinking “wow!“, but then eventually getting to play it and wondering what all the fuss was about.

Playing Elektra Glide now is a frustrating experience as it doesn’t require much skill to make progress – luck is more of a deciding factor. You can slow down, not drive at full speed all the time, and be more careful, but if you do that you risk not making it to the tunnel in time. Plus: slowing down doesn’t make steering left and right any easier it seems. The vehicle you drive can be adjusted before you start driving, but it doesn’t seem to make a great deal of difference other than to make the game more unplayable.

Elektra Glide seems more like a tech demo than a game. The lack of cars on the road and the utterly simple gameplay make it feel a bit empty. Which it is. Other than playing out of curiosity, to see some nice use of colour on the Atari 8-bit, it’s not really a game that I would recommend to anyone.

More: Elektra Glide on Wikipedia

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