& Driver Present's Grand Tour Racing '98 (let's just call it GTR
for the remainder of this review), is an arcade style driving tour
de force that attempts to cross or cover several genres of racing in
To bring all of this together, you have your choice of
selecting from eight international teams, 40 different vehicles and
three styles of racing (Rally, Sports and Buggy) across six
obstacle-filled environmentally realistic worlds. Each of these six
locations has secret paths and additional roadways that are unlocked
as players win a race on the courses.
What this amounts to is roughly 36 tracks to race on!
So buckle-up, start your engines and get ready to experience a
world of driving unlike anything before!
is an arcade racer that gives players the opportunity to experience
many different types of racing environments with appropriate
vehicles to navigate your way through them.
uses a very sophisticated 3-D graphics engine that takes gamers
through a wonderfully depicted graphical environment. After having
already previewed this game a little ways back, I was looking
forward to the completed version to see just how far Eutechnyx would
fine-tune their baby. The preview was nice
version is just plain awesome. Here are some of the "eye-candy"
highlights you can expect to witness from the game:
- There is virtually no pop-up to be found anywhere in this
game. Backgrounds are pre-plotted flawlessly and never blink in and
out of existence. Everything appears as it should and about the only
distractions players can expect to be sidetracked with while driving
is all of the beautiful scenery flying past you.
- Special effects include liberal use of light-sourcing while
driving at night or in the fog; rain, complete with water splashing
off of the car tires, incredible snow effects blanketing the scenery
all around your car and, dust and sand being kicked up everywhere
while traversing the desert locales. The effect's are all quite well
done and add a great deal of realism to the game. Oh, there are also
streams that you drive throw, kicking up water and slowing your car
down when you go throw them. The effect is very reminiscent of Rally
- Background objects that move about the scenery like a
helicopter flying around the track area and an enclosed gondola
drifting along the mountain side to name a few.
The frame rate is fast and furious at the later levels of the
game with no slow-down at all. Even in the two-player split screen
mode, there is no loss of frame rate or graphic detail. The 3-D
engine performs flawlessly.
The tracks in the game are graphically diverse and supposedly
accurate to their real-life environments. It becomes quite obvious
that a great amount of care was taken to present the lush scenery of
each and every track.
The only minus I could come up with on the graphic side is the
occasional polygon clipping that rears it's ugly head every so
often. This happens rarely, so it really isn't much of a problem and
doesn't hinder game-play in the least.
from the first menu screen you a presented with a solid, driving,
bottom end heavy rock & roll sound track. The musical score
accents the racing theme perfectly and gets your blood appropriately
The sound effects are all very nicely reproduced as well. Each
style car has a suitable engine sound that's raises in pitch as your
speedometer climbs. Good scraping sounds as you rub against another
car or a wall and nice skidding sounds as you wipe out the car.
It should be mentioned that the sound effects and music could
be individually adjusted to suit your preference. The only thing I
found wrong here was that even with the music turned almost all the
way down, the sound effects were still not as prominent as I would
have liked. They always seemed to kind of hang in the background for
some reason. Oh, and one other thing
I sure wish game designers
would consistently include Dolby Surround in their games. This game
gives you the choice of stereo or mono. I want Dolby!!!
was surprised when I had noticed several reviews circulating around
the net indicating that this game should have focused on just one
style of racing, because it did a bad job covering them all. I find
this to be far from the truth. Hey, if you are looking for an
accurate, "down to the tire pressure" simulation style
game then don't get this one
it's an arcade racer, plain and
simple! With that off my chest, I'll now tell you my impressions of
First things first...GTR makes excellent use of the new Sony
analog controller. There are four configuration options, all using
both of the analog thumb pads. Not only do the thumb pads control
braking, acceleration and steering, but also a simple press of one
pad yields a hand brake and the other your cars horn. The hand brake
is especially useful in tight corners and is easy to use in this
Okay, this game offers you the choice of eight official Car &
Driver racing teams. Each team has five cars in their stable for a
total of forty cars. Quite a nice selection. Each team has their own
strengths and weaknesses. It's pretty much up to you to discover
which one works best for each particular track. The supplied manual
provides some helpful tips in this area.
The five cars that are used by each team are the Buggy class,
the Dakar class, the Rally class, the Sport car class and the Indy
class. You are given the performance specs for each car prior to the
start of the race. Depending on what track you select to race on,
the appropriate style car is automatically picked for you. Too bad,
it would have been neat to try out a Buggy class car through the
streets of Moscow. Oh well, guess I can't have everything. Each car
handles very differently as well. I found the Rally class to be one
of the more difficult cars to control. With the extremely sensitive
analog control that this game provides, I was often swerving out of
control smacking back and forth into the lovely walls. After a bit
of practice you begin to compensate and it's off you go!
The six main racecourses you have to choose from have been
modeled from locations around the world. There is Moscow - a track
that features some nice long straight-aways. Scotland - with its
pain-in-the-neck twisty, winding bends. Egypt - complete with sandy
dunes and hairpin turns. Hong Kong - another high speed course that
really roakcs with the Indy cars. Switzerland - provides the gamer
with treacherous snow filled roads, and finally Easter Island - a
beautiful course set in the South Pacific.
As you win each course, another section or sections of track is
opened for the player. In some instances the tracks are also driven
in reverse. Oh, the designers didn't stop there either...various
obstacles are also strewn about the road to really test your driving
prowess. After spending a good deal of time trying to beat the 1st
Scotland track (for some reason this track drove me insane), the
next variation has you driving in mirror mode. No problem I
figured...heck I had the track memorized down to the last pixel at
this point, all I have to do is drive it backwards. Well, after
barreling around a blind turn that I knew like the back of my hand I
found myself confronted with a pile of boulders that were
conveniently added for track #2. Ahhh!...All said and done, there
are six variations for every location, each offering varying weather
conditions depending on which track you are driving on. This comes
out to a total of 36 tracks...not too shabby!
While all of this may sound great to you, it doesn't mean squat
if the game-play isn't there. Well, good news...the game plays
great! The AI of the other cars is just plain brutal. Not only do
the cars try to block your passage, but in a lot of instances they
wait for you to come up along side of them and then proceed to bash
you into a wall or off of the course entirely. Which brings up my
next point. If you happen to driven into deep waters, lava, off a
cliff, etc...you die! Yep, game over...how's that for realism. To
make matters worse (or better if you like this kind of stuff), on
some of the later tracks, guardrails on tight mountainous turns are
removed making it even harder to complete the course. By the later
levels on some tracks, most of the environment is open to
explore...leaving it up to you to either find a shortcut or go
plummeting down a ravine.
The sense of speed on some of the earlier courses is somewhat
of a let down but as you progress, especially in the Indy Class, the
swiftness rises to almost insanity levels. This is one of the few
racing games that I actually had to train myself to use the brakes!
The tracks are quite long (multiple laps) so the game also does
a nice job of keeping you in the race for the most part unless you
really can't control the car, or veer way off course. The screen
displays the amount of time the nearest car behind you is as well as
the car in front you...something this reviewer never had to worry
about (yeah, right!). It ends up being one of those rare racers
where if you lose a race, you know it was your own fault and you
know what needs to be corrected next time to win...so it keeps you
picking up the controller for just one more stab at first place.
You can also play the game against a friend in split-screen
mode or race head-to-head as each person starts the race heading in
the opposite direction from their opponent. The only problem, as in
so many other racers is that the rest of the pack is gone. I guess
the other cars need to be eliminated to keep the frame rate up in
the split screen mode. Too bad. There is also a link options
enabling four players to race!
Overall, this is a very competent arcade racer that will keep
you coming back for more. I highly recommend this one.
40 cars and 36 tracks to experiment with here, you won't run out of
action too quickly with this one. There is also a time trial mode
that let's you try to beat the best track times, just for kicks. The
game is also a blast in two-player split-screen or four player
linked modes. For a racer, it offers a great deal of variety and
I thought it was a very good idea to try and blend various genres of
racing. Each car has it's own unique handling characteristics that
must be mastered to win each race. The track designs are a work of
art and provide just the proper touch of challenge and variety. In
my opinion it's easily one of the best overall racers available
right now for the Playstation or any other console for that matter.
Check it out and see for yourself!
has been a long time coming but the finished product was well worth
the wait. I played this racer some six months ago at Eutechnyx
studios and the improvements are remarkable. The graphics have been
tightened up and now reach a standard that equals, if not betters,
V-Rally. You can see far into the distance with no redraw
whatsoever. Controlling your car will take a little practice since
you must combine the directional pad with the shoulder buttons but
this soon becomes natural and actually makes it easier to handle the
cars. However, the Analog pad is a little over-sensitive and will
take days to master. I loved the idea of uncovering the secret
tracks by driving off the race track, into the woods and through a
glowing warp. Very Novel. If you own a link cable then GTR becomes a
'must buy' as the four player, split-screen, link up will knock your