Gran Turismo is the latest title to come trailing clouds of hype from Japan - a racing simulator on a console that spawns driving games like a rash. Yet, for once, this is a game that surpasses all the praise that has been heaped on it.

There are two main ways to play the game - either arcade mode, which provides fast and furious action and immediate access to a load of hot cars, or simulator mode, where the heart of the game lies. In the latter, you start off with 10,000 credits with which you can buy a measly second- hand car from one of the manufacturers around town - including Aston Martin, Toyota and Mazda . Then you have to get your first licence before you are allowed anywhere near a race track. Finally you get to race, upgrading your car along the way, while you try to earn enough for one of the sports cars you wish you could have afforded in the first place. There are 11 main tracks - from forests to night-time cityscapes - which all have soundtracks by the likes of Ash and Garbage.

The graphics are the first thing to knock you out. Everything has a solidity which is lacking in many PlayStation games, and a host of little touches, such as accurate reflections on the windscreen and an extraordinary replay mode, confirm its classic status.

Also, even if you've never looked under a car bonnet before, you needn't worry about the simulator aspect. The manual contains detailed instructions and, more importantly, you can detect a real difference on the race track as you tweak your car.

There's not enough space to fully describe Gran Turismo, so go out and discover it for yourself.

On release, pounds 44.99