“ Based on the highly popular European Touring Car Series. Network play for up to 8 players, Three circuits plus hidden tracks & cars, 2 player split screen option, Choice of 4 cars. Supports Microsoft Force Feedback. System: P90, Windows 95, 16Mb ram, 4 speed drive, 40Mb hard disk space. „
Sega Touring Car Championship, available on the XPLOSIV budget label. The title is getting on a bit and boy, does it show.
This is an arcade conversion that features both the original coin-op and a new version featuring a few new features, such as a Time Attack mode, where you have no opposition but yourself (a ghost car can be switched on so you can gauge exactly how you are doing compared to the previous lap). Basically though this game is all about driving some very powerful cars extremely quickly round a track. You get a choice of Alfa Romeo 155 V6 Ti, AMG Mercedes C-Class, Opel Calibra V6 and Toyota Supra, and off you go
You start off with a qualifying lap and then get thrown into the race against 7 other cars. In traditional arcade style, you have to cross the line before the time runs out in order to get a time extension and carry on racing. And well, thats it really. It is an arcade-style racing game, pure and simple, in keeping with its coin-op roots. If you want a realistic simulation then forget it.
Unfortunately the age of this game really does make itself manifest once you start playing. The graphics really do look very old and blocky, and though the sound isnt that bad, there really isnt much of it. On the plus side, however, those blocky graphics shoot along at a pretty impressive rate and convey much more of a feeling of speed than many games with far more impressive graphics. The game itself is quite fun but lacks depth after all its one thing to sit in a coin-op clutching a steering wheel racing against your friend who is clutching the steering wheel to your right quite another to just play the game on the computer. The extras that have been added just arent enough to keep you interested though in truth very few people are going to be able to see beyond the stone-age graphics There arent many tracks or cars to choose from, though apparently there are hidden tracks and cars in the game if youre much more patient than me, I guess you might find them! The car handling is a little fiddly but you get used to it quickly, while the physics seem relatively accurate (for an arcade game!).
I cant really complain too much though as the game cost me just one pound (from um.. .the Pound Store! in the Pallisaides in Birmingham City Centre, if anyone wants to go cheap game hunting) and despite looking ancient is actually still quite fun to play. (I also like retro gaming, so that helps!) You can play two-player over a data link, or on the same computer individually trying to get the best time, or together on a split screen. A number of peripherals are supported though I just used the keyboard on this one (adding to the retro feel!).
Theres really not much more to say about it. If you have fond memories of the original coin-op or want a really retro gaming experience for very little money, this will fit the bill nicely. If nothing about the previous sentence relates to you, then youd be far better off avoiding this one.
Having enjoyed the old Sega Rally and the recent Sega Rally 2 I had no hesitation in buying the 1998 Touring Car Championship when I came across it on the budget re-release label ‘Expert Software’. It comes in a nice big box covered in lovely graphics but I noticed it didn’t weigh much. When I looked inside I found the box to be empty with the exception of the Jewell case containing the CD. The thirty page manual, they informed me, is stored in PDF format on the disc. How kind. Installation is easy enough, it’s largely automated with very few choices to be made along the way save for a ‘Compact’ or ‘Full’ installation option. The interface relies on the full extent of the function keys with very small menus being attached to each. This becomes very tiresome when setting preferences and all the options could easily have been placed on one screen called up via just the one key. The game was never going to be as slick as Sega Rally 2, after all the minimum requirement asked only for a Pentium 90 and 16MB of RAM. I thought I’d get a good looking game nonetheless, if it had enough options to take advantage of my extra processing power, 3DFX card and 128MB of memory. I was therefore a little disappointed when I found there was no 3DFX support on the version I had bought. The Expert Software website address was provided so I went there in search of a patch. I can tell you there is no support for this game at all on that site. I had to make a general search via Lycos and eventually found a 400K file to upgrade the game giving it a 3DFX capability, Force Feedback support and a solution to a few minor bugs. The game supports analogue steering wheels and pedals as well as the usual joystick and keyboard facilities. The game itself plays in an almost identical manner to the first Sega Rally. The graphics aren’t much improved, even with the 3DFX patch they are simply
216;smoothed over’, and the sound effects are particularly dated. Only the modern CD soundtrack tells you that you are playing a newer game. A limited selection of four touring cars, namely those from Mercedes, Alfa Romeo, Opel and Toyota, are provided with the two rally cars from Sega Rally guesting as the ‘Hidden cars’. There are a good selection of tracks, racing modes and car set-up modes. The real strength of the game lies in it’s multi-player abilities. It features split screen play with both players being able to use the keyboard if required. Up to 8 players can play via TCP/IP, modem and serial connections. The game has lots more options and depth than Sega Rally but at the end of the day it doesn’t look any better, doesn’t play any better and feels immediately dated. Reviewed on Pentium 2 350 unit with 128MB Ram and Voodoo 2 Graphics card. Disc version 2.0