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Touring Car Challenge
"Offering all the realism of Gran Turismo but with more cars on track, more tracks to race and cars that can be damaged and flipped" Image Loading...
Developer: Codemasters
Distributor: Codemasters
Game Type: Racing Sim
Review Date: Nov 99
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Setting the Scene:
      Before we get started, pin back your ears and listen very carefully, as I will say this only once...

If you are one of those people that hates Gran Turismo because the cars are too difficult to control and the thought of memorising track layouts, braking points and racing lines leaves you quaking with fear, then you may as well get off this ride right now. This racing game is a simulation... Take the corners too fast and you will lose the car, choose the wrong tires and your lap times will be affected - get the idea..?

Right now that we have got rid of the Wimps, lets begin...

Image Loading...Touring (or Sports) Car racing is often far more interesting to watch than Indycar or Formula 1 due to the fact that they feature standard production cars that could be driven on the street by you or me. Better still, its accepted that contact between cars is inevitable and while you won't get away with driving like you are in a destruction derby, you can quite happily nudge, push and rub your way past your opponents.

TOCA 2 was a massive success throughout Europe and so Codemasters have thankfully re-worked the game for the USA market and renamed it 'Touring Car Challenge'. Taking on board comments from respected gamers in this market, they have altered the settings of the cars to make the learning curve much more gradual than appeared in the PAL version, making it far easier to get into.

Sound and Vision:
Image Loading...      The level of detail on each of the cars is nothing short of stunning, when you consider that the game is running in the Playstations 512*240 hi-resolution mode AND there are 16 cars on the track at the same time. Each of the cars are fully decorated in their official sponsors decals and if you look real carefully into the inside of the car you can actually see the driver steering the car in real time..!

The tracks are admittedly quite open and the lack of many large trackside objects means that pop-up, although evident, is not really an issue in this game.

Image Loading...The engine used for the cars looks to have been imported from Colin McRae Rally, in that the body of the car can be dented and distorted in the same way. A high speed front end collision will see glass spraying from the windshield, a bent front hood from which smoke bellows and a detached bumper left behind you on the track.

There are several in and out of car views all of which feature a number of different types of rear view mirror. The feeling of speed that is generated in all of these views is very impressive.

This game now looks so good that you cant help watch the full race replays over and over again..!

Image Loading...At last, a racing game where the commentary actually enhances the game rather than providing the usual annoying repetition. The only words you hear are from your pit crew as they advise you of vital information during the race.

The in-race effects are all better than average. The engine noise as you change up through the gears is brilliant, however it sounds a little lame when you hit top speed and you hear the same high pitched sound sample of your engine replayed over and over.

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