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£5 Online Racer!
Toy Racer (DC)
Member Name: Dave Robinson
Toy Racer (DC)
Date: 21/01/01, updated on 21/01/01 (102 review reads)
Advantages: £4.99 price tag, £1 of which goes to charity, smooth framerate with no lag online, 24 different vehicles, house setting, fast online connection
Disadvantages: No option to play offline against CPU controlled opponents, only 4 tracks
Toy Racer is a game in which you race miniature vehicles (there are a total of 24 to choose from) around 4 different locations within a house: the bathroom, attic, kitchen and kids' bedroom.
This is only the third online-playable Dreamcast game to be released, after Chu Chu Rocket and Quake 3 Arena. However, Sega seem to have at last delivered their promise of "up to 6 billion players", extremely well through a 33k modem which many thought would simply not be up to the job of fast, smooth online gaming.
Playing online is an absolute joy. It is unbelievably simple to get connected and start playing, and IMO is a far better experience than on a PC. You load up the GD-ROM, select "network" and the DC's modem starts dialing. This is silent, and within about a minute you are connected and it asks you to input your usual Dreamarena password. Once you have done this, you are taken to the "select a country" screen. You select your country, then wait as few seconds and you are in the main chat room area. Here, you can either join someone else's game, or create your own and wait for people to join. This is all very painless, and you get to choose which track, number of laps, and weapons you wish to use if you decide to create your own game. If you join someone else's game then you can only decide which car you want. You can chat to the other people in your game, which is a great feature, even though it is rather fiddly using the on-screen keyboard.
The game itself features 4 tracks and you can reverse them to play them the othet way round, if you wish. You can choose to do between 1-5 laps. You then race aginst up to 4 others, and there are loads of power-ups littered around the track randomly. As with all games of this type, the power-ups make it a lot more fun - there are speed boosts, shells which make others or yourself go slower for 10 seconds (although it seems a lot longer!), fo
g, ice, tornados, guns etc. The graphics are OK, very smooth, but they by no means push the Dreamcast to its limits, as they lack detail found in other games such as Metropolis Street Racer, and generally do not really look anything really special. However, this may have been done to ensure the game has a fast framerate both offline and online, which it most certainly does.
With most new games costing £39.99, £4.99 is a ridiculously low price for any game, never mind a new, online playable one. Therefore, I would recommend this game even though it only has 4 tracks, as for the price it's a bargain. However, had it been priced at £39.99 I would not have recommended it as there are loads of better racers out there for this price. It is also currently the only online playable racing game available for any console, which is something special.
Sega and No Cliche have really astonished me with this game and the Dreamcast online in general, you really will be amazed by what it's like online. Sega have mastered the art of maximising the rather crude 33k modem, and it really behaves like a broadband connection it is that good. Keep it up!