Saturday 28 February 1998
Rock 'n' Roll Racing 2
The original Rock 'n' Roll Racing appeared on the SNES many moons ago, when the next generation consoles were no more than twinkles in their designers' eyes, and now, after a major revamp, the sequel has pitched up on the PlayStation.
The game casts you as an intergalactic racing driver who must compete in no-holds-barred races against some of the worst scum in the universe. You are given a certain amount of money at the start with which to purchase a vehicle, and, from then on, you can only earn more cash if you win races.
Many of the features which made the original such a success have been retained; the rock 'n' roll is still there, as is the racing, and, what's more, you get 50 per cent extra violence for free. No longer do you have to content yourself with mere homing missiles, now you can blow your enemies away with plasma guns and flame-throwers to name but two. It's also much faster than the first game, and is sure to satisfy your need for speed.
Clearly, the game has all the ingredients necessary to make it a must- have title, but unfortunately it doesn't make the grade. There is no one single aspect which lets it down; rather it is spoiled by a combination of minor failings. For one thing, the cars tend to spin out several times a lap for no reason, which disrupts the flow of the game. Then there's the dreadful heavy metal music, the lack of engine noise, the fiddly aiming system...
This had great potential, but it's not a patch on its predecessor.
On release, pounds 44.99
Sega Touring Car
(Sega Sports) cd-rom
Racing of a different variety is on offer to PC owners in the shape of Sega Touring Car Championship. Choose one of four finely tuned saloon cars and put the pedal to the metal as you go all out to be crowned world champion. Sounds good, but does it have what it takes to beat TOCA Touring Car Championship to the chequered flag?
With it's textured 3D graphics, it may look like a dedicated attempt to simulate what is arguably the most exciting brand of motorsport there is, but underneath it is a pure arcade racer. Everything in the game has been kept as simple as possible so there's nothing to distract you from the high-speed action. There's one key for the brakes, one for the accelerator and two for the steering. If you want to complicate matters, you can choose to play with a manual gearbox, though most players should be able to handle the introduction of two extra controls without having a breakdown.
But there is one big problem with this game; you need an extremely powerful PC to get anything out of it. Sega's commitment to producing games compatible with MMX technology is all very well, but it means their products aren't really accessible to the average PC owner. With the screen resolution turned up to the max it looks great but moves painfully slowly, and if you reduce the resolution it moves a lot faster but looks like garbage.
If you have a PC with an MMX processor then Sega Touring Car Championship is definitely worth a look. If you don't, then give it a miss.
On release, pounds 29.99
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