ACA NeoGeo: Over Top

Review: ACA NeoGeo: Over Top

Welcome to an Arcade Archives review, N-Europe’s verdict on the updated Neo Geo titles being released on the Nintendo Switch eShop on a regular basis. Written by Sam C Gittins

What's this I see before me? An arcade style top-down, partially isometric perspective racing game which I've yet to play! Well this is certainly a pleasant surprise, especially as this is yet another new genre within the ACA Neo Geo range of games which just goes to show that in a short space of time Hamster have provided the Switch with a solid selection of titles which really show off the unique qualities of the now very collectable and expensive arcade hardware at a fraction of the price.   

So without further ado, on with the review! 


Price: GB £6.29, EU €6.99
Publisher: Hamster
Developer: ADK
Released: 1996
System: Neo Geo

In all the time I've been a gamer growing up, I always fondly remember being interested in racing games since playing a pack-in version of Burnin' Rubber on the Amstrad 6128+ way back in 1990 which has had me hooked on the genre to this day, whenever I discover a new game involving driving in a style similar to that of Outrun, Rock 'n Roll Racing, Micro Machines or really anything between that's even close I just have to take it for a spin. So naturally all these years later I find that there is a Neo Geo title in similar vein to those games called Over Top which has completely passed me by until now - and with very good reason when you take into account its price for the physical game - it's perhaps understandable for me to be more than a little bit intruiged at getting the chance to finally experience it as part of the ACA Neo Geo series.

Developed by Alpha Denshi as an unofficial sequel to Thrash Rally which was the game that paved the roads for this title, Over Top gives you a choice of vehicles to race as including two types of sports car, a pickup truck, utility vehicle, rally car and even a bike, so at least you can get a good bit of mileage by choosing different modes of transport each time. There is but one course you race on which is broken up into stages which include City, Jungle, Desert, Snow and Town locations all of which have different weather effects to contend with.

Of course the objective is to race through these locations as you try to get to each checkpoint before your three rivals while trying not to run out of time as if you do then it's Game Over for you so you'll probably want to make use of those credits you can add at the title screen with the left shoulder button just as I did because the chances are you will probably be needing them. Keeping the controls simple with just one button for acceleration, the other for your braking while controlling your vehicle with either the control stick or the highly recommended D-Pad which still reigns supreme as the best control method for these classic arcade games.

OverTopImage1A decent amount of detail on even the most barren piece of track.

It took me a few failed runs just to get used to how the game plays, also I would advise making use of the bespoke control mappings by changing accelerate to "A" with "B" as your brake which at least makes things manageable, it's quite easy to veer off into the edge of the course which doesn't result in damage as such but you do get some nice crash animations as you then frantically try to catch up with the other racers. Amusingly I ended up finding a shortcut by just forgetting to turn at a certain point as instead of crashing I went through onto a dirt track where the game then directed me back to the main track after I'd shaved valuable seconds from my time; there are plenty of shortcuts to discover as well which adds a bit of excitement to a race which is essentially set across one race-track which can take minutes to complete if you know what you are doing, but with the learning curve you'll need to take on it's always going to be the small differences which will keep you coming back even if it's just for a quick go once in a while.

All of the environments contained within the one track based on this solitary island are all suitably detailed, the visuals might not compare well to some modern day racers but personally I happen to think that there is a lot of charm to them and I like how all of the textures making up the roads which can be dirt, tarmac, mud or snow-based all give a good idea of what it would be like to drive across them while affording lots of nice details along the sides of the track such as sprites showing crowds of people or rows of cones, even a few exploding barrels as well; the vehicles themselves are well animated which again adds a bit more depth to it all.

OverTopImage2Don't come adrift in the snow like I did, Drive Safe, save seconds!

There are a few music tracks which play as you're racing, though instead of taking the Outrun method of letting you choose which piece you'd like to listen to, from what I can tell it seems to be random each time so at least there's some more variation. One track in particular had just enough of an edge to it which helped complement the racing mood which another was more plodding, with a couple of other tracks sat somewhere in the middle; all of them make decent use of the hardware which would have been available to them at the time and while I can't say that they stuck with me, contextually they certainly serve their purpose as do the substantial sound effects.

Considering that this is a substantially expensive title in its original form, I would advise that this is worth picking up even if you're a little bit curious about it as this is what the ACA Neo Geo series is all about, making well-known titles and hidden gems more accessible to modern day gaming platform owners. You'll likely need to be the type of gamer who enjoys bettering their performance on the racetrack in addition to finding all of the shortcuts to get the most out of it, even purely as a pick up and play arcade title which you might pass the controller between friends with, it's worth taking a chance for the level of enjoyment it will hopefully provide you with.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Delivers a decent racing experience providing you're not expecting more than an arcade thrill which is best suited to being played in short bursts. Over Top is worth picking up for fans of the Arcade Racing genre.

  • Gameplay3
  • Playability4
  • Visuals4
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan3
Final Score



Enjoyable top-down racing
Discoverable shortcuts
Nice selection of vehicles
Solid animation & track detail


Takes a while to adjust to
Not much in the way of replay value

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