STORY / GAMEPLAY
This is a racing game and the action takes place on planet Jupiter and its surrounding moons. The aim is to drive a powerful car around a series of circuits and attempt to outwit your opponents (human or computer controlled), finishing on top three and awarded with money prize. Before racing you are presented with a graphic of Jupiter and its moons. Clicking on one of the moons will allow you to practice that particular circuit or if you select Jupiter the MasterDrive tournament will begin (there are 18 tracks to try your skills on). Fortunately, there aren't any rules, so a cannon and other weapons are acceptable and between races you may increase the performance of your vehicle. During racing, apart from the other opponents, you need to check your armor and fuel levels as fuel is getting lower as you race around and the armor is decreased when crashing on the protective side-bars, onto the other opponents or other obstacles scattered around. Fortunately you can pick up armor and fuel bonuses and also buy upgrades for your vehicle, enhancing it with more powerful engines, missiles, a bigger tank fuel, speed boosts and so on.
The courses range from a basic oval type track to very complex ones like tracks under different weather conditions. Racing on ice requires great attention as the cars tend to slide easier than normal.
There are a few bonus stages to select, that have two competitors racing around a maze, to collect bonus objects (the first to collect 10 bonuses receives extra cash to shop goodies for his car). Saving up cash and going for the biggest upgrade first is cheaper in the long term but it must be spent wisely.
The gameplay is simple and straightforward, but may get quite difficult at times, as it is rather hard to beat each opponent. The cars run too fast when boosted and it's tricky to be controlled and the tracks are unpredictable enough to keep drivers on the edge of their seats. Add to that some confusing routes that will easily make you go through the wrong way resulting you smashing, bashing and crashing onto something. Overall, Jupiter's MasterDrive is an enjoyable game that is certainly worth trying, much like the Nitro and the Super Cars 2 title. GRAPHICS / SOUND
The Atari ST version looks great and it seems that there's been a lot of attention paid to detail although the only 16 colors on-screen. Each circuit has different layout, obstacles and driving characteristics. There are also ice tracks, deserts and desolate crater-strewn landscapes to negotiate with. The cars move quickly and smoothly and slide about in an impressive fashion.
The sound on the ST consists of an introductory title tune and several (but not sampled) sound effects that cover the car engine throttles, missile-firing and explosions.