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TOCA World Touring Cars
"If you loved everything about the last 2 Touring Car games then you may find this a little strange at first due to the new car and track dynamics, but rest assured the changes are for the better."
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Developer  Codemasters Game Type  Racing
Distributor  Codemasters Review Date  Sep 00
 
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Review:
 
Toca World Touring Cars is the third in a series of motor racing simulations that features some of the most powerful production cars competing on many of the worlds top circuits.

So how does it look.

While Toca WTC looks far better than most of the racing games out there, its only fair to say that games such as Gran Turismo, Ridge Racer 4 and Colin McCrae 2 all have a definite edge over this game in the overall visual department. However, with memorable inclusions such as fully animated drivers visible inside each car, shattering glass, body panels that distort and hang off after impact, cars that flip over and billow with black smoke when they get into trouble, break disks that glow red when used excessively and of course the fact that there are TWELVE cars on track in each race... This game beats them all in many, many ways.

The addition of a dynamically rotating track map that sits in the bottom left corner of the screen during each race allows you to judge the severity of approaching corners and vastly improves how quickly you learn the circuits. Another nice new touch is the big red overtaking arrow that appears behind your car when someone is trying to get past you (cleverly indicating both where and how close they are), allowing you to defend your position with ease.

Being a racing game the sounds are pretty much limited to engine, tyre and of course impact noises. All in all they are of mixed quality with some of the cars sounding great and some pretty lame. The English commentary seems to have been thrown together in a hurry, with the American announcer and pit crew often sounding disjointed and amateurish when compared to the last game in this series.

When it comes to the actual gameplay I feel its only fair to tell all those owners of previous versions of this game that they are in for a mighty big shock as the game plays VERY differently from both TOCA 1 and 2, thanks to the car handling routines being completely re-written from scratch. So if you enjoyed getting to grips with the 'on-the-edge' twitchy nature of the cars, or loved the challenge of mastering unforgiving tracks then you may well be a little disappointed when first playing WTC as these aspects of the game have been greatly dampened down to the point where it now feels far more pick up and play (or dare I say Arcade-like) than those before it.

To be fair, this opens up the game to a far larger audience than previous games, but after being encouraged to learn how to 'powerslide' around tight corners in true 'Ridge Racer' style, noticing that with many cars you can use the grass as an extension of the track without much loss of control, I must admit to initially being left a little cold by this new style of driving.

Thankfully, what saves this from becoming a kiddies game is the truly wonderful RACING action its-self that overshadows Gran Turismo 2, Ridge Racer 4 and F1 2000 by quite a margin. The tracks are mostly narrow and there are enough cars on the grid to make sure that on virtually every lap of every race you will be either fighting to overtake or swerving to defend your current position. Add to that the fact that contact between cars is inevitable (maybe even encourageable), with them blocking and barging you off the track (and even taking themselves off) and you can hopefully see how much more FUN this game is with the cars a little easier to drive allowing you to stay in amongst the action rather than avoiding it for fear of losing control.

The championship mode is the jewel in this games crown, taking you all over the world. You must first qualify to join a national league with a test drive and once you are accepted you will be given a specific target for the season that must be accomplished to avoid being fired. These vary from simply getting above a specific points total to finishing ahead of a rival team in each race. Winning is rewarded with career points that are used to unlock new cars and special cheat modes.

Features:
 
23 Real Tracks from all over the world

Over 40 of the worlds most desirable cars to race

Real time damage effects

Night racing and multiple weather conditions

2 player split screen racing with a full grid of opponents

4 player split screen option

Pit lane support, telemetry info and multiple car setup options

Options:
 
• Number of Disks: 1
• Number of blocks used on Memory card per save: 1
• Maximum number of Players (without a multi-tap): 2
• Multi-tap compatible (max players): Yes (4)
• Link-cable compatible (max players): No
• Split screen multi-player option (max players): Yes (4)
• Other accessories: MadCatz Wheel and NeGcon
• Dual Shock Pad Digital Button compatible: Yes
• Dual Shock Pad Analog Stick compatible: Yes
• Dual Shock Pad Vibration compatible: Yes
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Summary
Steve   "If you loved everything about the last 2 Touring Car games then you may find this a little strange at first due to the new car and track dynamics, but rest assured the changes are for the better as they allow you to concentrate on the fantastic in-game racing action rather than just staying on the track.

If you found the previous games too hard, or too frustrating then I urge you to check this out as you will find it an altogether more playable game this time around. "
Graphics  17/20
Playability  50/50
Sound  7/10
Lastability  19/20
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