March 16, 2013
Not a racing game per se, Enduro is more of a driving game. Pitting players against the passage of time, changing weather conditions, and an endless amount of traffic, the objective of Enduro is to drive forever. To do so, players must pass a requisite amount of cars before the end of the day. Should this objective not be met, it’s game over.
Driving in tougher weather conditions was challenging. The snow blanketed everything around while the early morning fog shrouded the road and gave little time to evade traffic. The weather changed abruptly and it was kind of funny to all of a sudden see the environment turn stark white.
With my brief time playing Enduro, I didn’t develop a fondness for it as I have with other Activision games. It’s still a well-made game and with more time, I’m sure I’d enjoy it more. If I’m looking to play a racing/driving game on the Atari 2600 though, I’ll stick with Dragster.
Enduro was designed by Larry Miller and released for the Atari 2600 in 1983. Driving 250 miles or more in the Activision Anthology version will unlock the “Roadbusters” patch. The original requirement was to drive 5 days or more.
March 5, 2013
Designed by David Crane and released for the Atari 2600 in 1982, Grand Prix is a very fast moving racing game that I didn’t have enough patience for.
Lacking acceleration off of the starting grid, I wouldn’t have imagined that my race car would attain the speeds it did after a few seconds. This car was booking it to the other side of the screen unlike anthing else I’ve seen on the Atari 2600. Dodging other racers, oil slicks, and traversing bridges was no easy task and this is how I crashed and burned with Grand Prix.
From what little of the game that I played, I couldn’t tell if the four tracks were based on preset patterns of racers and obstacles or if they were random. This would make success dependent on either memorization or luck/skill. When going balls to the wall, these obstacles and competitors appeared on screen with little time to react. Albeit, I didn’t spend the proper amount of time to develop any skills or techniques. Should I have devoted more time to the game, I might’ve unlocked the related commercial and patch in Activision Anthology.
May 10, 2012
Indy 500 is the sole racing title on Tiger’s Game.com. Like Fighters Megamix and many other Game.com games, Indy 500 is based off of a “big brother” title. Also like Fighters Megamix, Indy 500 is based off of a Sega game.
It seems that every game on the Game.com that has on-screen movement will suffer from horrible blurring. It’s not game-ending in Indy 500 though because the car I drove remained mostly stationary while the background and fellow racers passed me by. Racing around the seemingly infinite circle track grew old fast thanks to the poor handling of my car.
Turning to the left was an ordeal in Indy 500. If I went too fast in a corner, the game would halt so it could show my car spinning out of control as I collided with the wall. I learned to feather my car around corners until they weren’t a problem. Next on my agenda was passing. This I never quite got the hang of. If I so much as looked another car wrong, the game would halt so it could my car spinning out of control as I collided with another driver. The animation of my car spinning out of control probably had more animations to it than the rest of the game! The visibility was terrible too. Thinking back, I don’t remember being able to see the nose of my car! Kidding aside, visibility was an issue as I got closer to cars ahead of me. Fortunately, upcoming turns were indicated by arrows. Needless to say, I never got a pole position in this awful excuse of a racing game.
April 25, 2012
Imagine that you’re watching the nineties cartoon show The Adventures of Batman & Robin, also known as Batman: The Animated Series. Instead of being treated to the admired artwork, you’re instead greeted by grainy, low-quality video. Now imagine that after every few minutes, you’re forced to drive the Batmobile through endlessly crowded environments such as the city streets of Gotham or a devious race track of the Joker’s. This sounds familiar? Well then, you must’ve played the Sega CD version of The Adventures of Batman & Robin.
I bet that when you began playing, you didn’t expect the game to consist solely of driving, with the exception of the finale where you got to pilot the Batwing. Now I only bring this up because I remember how you complained during the first mission. You got frustrated very quickly when you kept getting killed when fighting the bosses of the mission. You had to dodge a plethora of hard-to-miss attacks all while trying to take out the baddies. It upset you so much because it took you many tries to get to this point at all. The driving portion consisted of congested city streets that required pinpoint timing; otherwise you wouldn’t be able to get to your destination before time ran out.
Sure, it took you a long time to get your groove, but when you did you were able to blow through much of the game on your first try. Then again, the game really only tested your reflexes. I do remember you enjoying the later missions; the ones that took place on a casino-style game board of the Riddler’s, a circus-style race track of the Joker’s, and the high-flying Batwing level through bridges. Well, never mind, you only liked the last one because it was slightly different. Speaking of differences, the animation and story was unique to this game, being referred to as “the lost episode”. It featured the aforementioned villains as well as Robin, Poison Ivy, and Rupert Thorne and you liked that part of the game, besides the low-quality video.
So you said you grew up on the classic cartoon show, what did you think of the Sega CD game? Oh, well, that’s about right. I mean, I’ve pretty much discussed the game in detail and I wasn’t super positive, so that makes sense. I wouldn’t play the game again, or recommend it to others either. It’s a shame Clockwork Tortoise and Sega couldn’t put out a more polished game.
October 20, 2011
It’s been ages since I’ve played a Need for Speed game, Need for Speed: Carbon from 2006 was the last one I played through. Although I’ve been absent from the series for half a decade, I’ve kept informed and like some of the ideas Electronic Arts has implemented. Most notably, I think the autolog feature, which compares your friend’s scores immediately after a race, is quite cool. The series has diversified itself over the past few years, with EA creating a simulation style offshoot, Shift, while continuing to release a more traditional Need for Speed experience.
The upcoming Need for Speed: The Run, falls into the latter category. Portraying a cannonball run sort of race, the main character in the game wants to receive the huge payout for winning. He has to race from San Francisco to New York City and the thought of a video game around this concept is very appealing to me.
I played the demo which consisted of two races. The first was in the deserts of Nevada and tasked me with passing ten opponents before the end of the race. I failed the first time, but grew more accustomed to the game my second time. I had two choices for a car, a Lamborghini or a Porsche; preferring the stats of the Lamborghini I chose it.
The second race took place in the snowy mountains of Colorado. It was just me and another racer in this stage and it was easy to see why. The road was covered in snow and ice, resembling a racetrack for snowboarders rather than racecar drivers. The people shooting flares into the mountainside creating avalanches didn’t help the situation either. It was exhilarating to slide around at one hundred-plus miles per hour and dodge falling debris nonetheless.
Both races were fun but I really liked the over-the-top nature of the second race. The concept of a cannonball run race video game seems like a no-brainer and I wonder if this is the first example. I’m intrigued by the concept and want to see where the races take place. Need for Speed: The Run was developed by EA Black Box and will be published by EA on November 15, 2011 for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC. Different versions of the game were also developed for the Wii, 3DS, and iOS platforms.
October 11, 2011
Simulation racing games are not my favorite genre but I’ve dabbled with them in the past. I was very big into Gran Turismo 4 and spent a fair amount of time with Forza Motorsport 2; I still get the urges to get back into it, but that’s pretty much it for sim racing games. But perhaps it’s time for me to pick another one up. Forza Motorsport 4 was released today but I have only played its demo.
The demo consisted of one track, a beautiful one set in the Alps, and a few cars. The cars, and the game for that matter, were absolutely gorgeous. The track was scenic and idealistic, as were the cars; you’ll never find one with paint as glossy as it is here.
As has become standard for the series, the user interface is very easy to interpret and navigate. Matched with a minimalistic soundtrack and it’s a very modern game. Also standard for the series are the helpful driving assists. Driving and braking lines are available to help find the best path as well as more technical assists, upping the difficulty, and the rewards when turned off.
Racing around the Alps was fun, but I found the AI a little easy. I quickly gained the lead and kept it. To be fair, I probably didn’t have the difficulty adjusted too hard. The feature I got the most enjoyment out of the demo however was the rival races.
In these races, I tried to beat the time trial set by someone on my friends list. They could challenge me and I would drive the car they picked and try to post a faster time. When I raced I saw their ghost and once I beat their time, I could send them a message challenging them to beat my time. It was nice to be able to immediately notify them to make sure they knew to attempt it.
Forza Motorsport 4 is a killer racing game and continues to represent simulation racing games well. The game looked really nice and it wasn’t too hard to get sucked into the thrill of racing against my friends. I wish the demo had a glimpse of the Autovista feature where Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear fame talks about a car, but I don’t need a demo to let me know that’ll be fantastic. To the right person, Forza Motorsport 4 will be a metaphoric supercar, the pinnacle of racing games and an opportunity to spend hundreds of hours competing against like-minded people. For me, it’s a chance to sucked into a sim racing game again. Forza Motorsport 4 was developed by Turn 10 Studios and published by Microsoft Studios today for the Xbox 360.
September 13, 2011
SkyDrift is a downloadable game released last week for Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and the PC. It’s a racing game featuring airplanes and power ups, think Mario Kart and I thought it was pretty good. It was developed and published by the Hungarian studio Digital Reality; they also published Dead Block.
I played through SkyDrift’s tutorial learning how to maneuver my airplane as well as what the power ups did. It took me a few races before I really got used to controlling my airplane. I had to learn to plan my turns about a second before the actual turn. What helped was going knife-edge by turning with both analog sticks.
There was a decent blend of variety within the power ups. They were mostly focused on attacks but there were a couple of defense-oriented ones. I could hold two power ups at a time and if flew over a power up that I already had, that power up would level up and become stronger. Similar to Wipeout, if I didn’t want a power up, I could recycle it for boost. There were alternate ways to receive boost too. I got more for damaging and taking out other players or for flying close to the ground.
The demo also featured a multiplayer component but I forgot to try it out. There was only one stage in the demo, but it looked very nice. The demo ended touting a few more environments but I wonder how different the stages are visually. The soundtrack was very noticeable and it was rocking and upbeat, matching the tone of the races. There wasn’t much style to SkyDrift’s design; it seemed like everything was created realistically, but like I said, it looked very nice. I enjoy this type of racing game and SkyDrift seems like a fully featured power up-based racing game.
September 12, 2011
So I was at a local game store the other day when I glanced in one of their display cases and noticed sitting front and center in a stack of Sega Game Gear games was OutRun Europa. Having recently spent some time with OutRun Online Arcade I decided to pick it up and see what it was like.
First off, the game is not developed by Sega, nor was it even published by them. The game was developed by Probe Software (a British studio no longer around) and published by U.S. Gold (a British publishing house that shares the same fate). It came out on a variety of platforms in the early nineties, mostly British computers but it also saw release on the Sega Master System and the Game Gear, the version I purchased.
Rather than simply driving, OutRun Europa features a very light story element. All I could gather from the game however was I had had my vehicle stolen, so I stole someone’s motorcycle to chase down the thieves, which is ironic since by doing so, I was a thief, whatever. I guess there is a different vehicle for each stage, but I wasn’t able to make it past the first stage, and it isn’t the game’s fault.
Alas my Game Gear was pretty much useless. The sole speaker on the system didn’t work and the headphone jack didn’t give me the full soundtrack. This is a shame because I watched clips of different versions of the game on YouTube and the soundtrack was good. The major problem with my Game Gear was the screen however. It was hardly legible and adjusting the contrast didn’t help. I could barely read the heads-up display or even see the pickups on the road.
So I didn’t get to play a lot of OutRun Europa, but I was able to piece more and more of it together from playing it a few more times and scouring the internet for information. I did like the handling of the motorcycle from what I played although I could’ve done without the pickups. These pickups gave me shields, boost, and maybe ammunition in later stages. There was a fork in the first stage but it doesn’t have a format similar to most other OutRun games, that is to say it doesn’t have multiple branching paths. I wished I could’ve played more to see the different stages and vehicles (a Jet Ski?!) but I won’t be able to until I get another Game Gear or a different version.
September 5, 2011
OutRun Online Arcade, a downloadable racing game for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 won’t be available to purchase soon. It has already been delisted from PlayStation Network and will be delisted from Xbox Live Arcade in December. It’s the most recent release in the long-running racing series, although it’s basically OutRun 2 SP, a previous game in the series. It’s my first experience with the series however and I think it’s a fun racing game that’s not too serious. It was developed by Sumo Digital and published by Sega in April 2009.
OutRun is a series focused on driving Ferraris, and Online Arcade is no exception, which is also why the game is being delisted; Sega’s license with Ferrari is expiring soon. There are a handful of different Ferraris to choose from, but these seem like the most popular lot.
In the main gameplay mode, OutRun mode, I raced against the clock aiming to reach checkpoints to extend the timer. There are multiple, branching routes to take, another hallmark of the series, and I had to complete five in any order. Before each checkpoint, I had the option of taking a left route or a right route, leading me through different locations; all together totaling fifteen stages. Besides simply finishing, I was aiming for a high score; the faster I completed the mode and the more cars I passed, the better my score.
Besides, OutRun mode there was Time Attack, Continuous Race, and Heart Attack. Time Attack is just as it sounds: a race against the clock, unlike OutRun mode however, there is no traffic. Continuous Race had me racing through all fifteen stages in either OutRun mode or Time Attack mode. Lastly was Heart Attack mode. This was OutRun mode, but I had to do special actions that my passenger would request of me. After each checkpoint, I was graded on how well I did them. And as the title suggests there’s also an online mode, but I was lucky to find two other people online.
OutRun Online Arcade’s roots are in the arcade; as such the gameplay is quick-paced and great for short gameplay sessions. Whenever I played, I played a few races at a time, aiming to get a specific achievement. OutRun Online Arcade doesn’t have a lot of content to offer, seeing everything won’t take long, but I found the achievements to be challenging and provided enough incentive for me to replay the game often, attempting to shave a few more seconds off my best time. I think it’s worth checking out before it is delisted permanently.
August 10, 2011
The demo for Driver: San Francisco was just released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and I had the chance to play through it today. It’s not my first exposure to the series though; I played some of Driver 2 way back when on the PlayStation. Driver: San Francisco had me resuming the role of Tanner, but this time with a bizarre ability.
Tanner and his partner Jones have pursued long-time bad guy Jericho to San Francisco. While attempting to catch him Tanner gets in a wreck and enters a coma. Upon waking from this coma Tanner realizes he has the ability to shift into other people’s bodies. So even though everything else in the game is attempting to purvey something similar to the real world, Tanner has this unrealistic, albeit fun, ability.
The demo has three missions, the first titled Prove It. In it Tanner explains to Jones his ability. Rightfully so Jones thinks he’s full of it, so, Tanner proves it. As Tanner I had to get close enough to someone driving and shift into them. After pressing the shift button the game slowed down and I moved a cursor to select the car I wished to shift to. I then did a few stunts that Tanner told his Jones he would do.
The second mission was Team Colors. Tanner was assisting a father-daughter racing team, helping them to finish in first and second place. Early on it seemed like it would be difficult to get a one-two finish because the person I wasn’t controlling drove noticeably slower. However, in the back half of the race, my opposition had wrecked, each at least once, making it easier than I thought.
The final mission, I believe Escapist, had me possessing a driver working for Jericho. Tanner’s plan was to have this driver progress up Jericho’s chain of drivers, aiming to gain knowledge from the passengers this driver was transporting. I pretty much had to outrun the police and get to a rendezvous point within a time limit here. I failed the first time I attempted it, but found a few cheap methods of losing the police the second time around. During the mission Tanner chatted up the passenger, who wasn’t interested. The dialogue between the two became annoying since Tanner kept prodding, and the passenger kept getting annoyed.
While I have no knowledge of the streets of San Francisco, I can attest that the city and the game for that matter looked fantastic. The different vehicles I drove seemed to handle differently, and they were all modeled nicely, and for the first time in the series, after real vehicles. I thought the concept of shifting was ridiculous especially in a game attempting to recreate the real world, but it was fun and could be put good use when Driver: San Francisco comes out on September 6, 2011.