An enhanced port of Sega's arcade racing game, Touring Car Championship offers a choice of four licensed vehicles for play on three progressively challenging courses. Slip behind the wheel of an Alpha Romero 155 V6T, an AMG Mercedes C-Class, the Opel Calibra V6, or a Toyota Supra before engaging seven rivals across multiple laps. Courses are rated by difficulty and are inspired by real-world European locales. You'll compete in a novice circuit, an intermediate mountain course, and an advanced downtown city race. Select a manual or automatic transmission type and track both user records and overall rankings. Play modes include Championship, Time Attack, Versus Race, and Multiplayer. The PC version also includes the ability to tune cars in such areas as suspension, handling, tires, brakes, and gear ratio.
Even though it was pretty entertaining in arcades, the PC version of Sega Touring Car Championship has finally arrived, and it's not all the coin-op version's cracked up to be. What we've got here is just another entry into Sega's endless line of PC conversions, one that's not even close to being the best of the bunch. Considering that Sega did such a good job on other racing titles like Rally Championship, I'm sure you're wondering how they went wrong on this one, so read on.
Mainly the game's problems are due to the fact that it's a very limited racer in both scope and ingenuity. For starters, you are only given the option to drive three different vehicles, all of which are fairly similar and amazingly dull. Then there are the courses, which are horribly designed, unoriginal, and downright laughable. Something has definitely been lost in the move from a "sit-down, hold the wheel, and enjoy the ride" version to a computer game. It's just not the same, and the gameplay is a far cry from what we've come to expect out of Sega.
Let's talk about the game modes. Championship mode lets you run a series of races for the championship title. Before each race, you must make a qualifying run in order to determine what position you start in. This is almost more important than how you perform in the actual race, because if you get a clean start, then you don't have to worry about the computer bozos messing with your game since the AI that controls them is poor to say the least. For those who like racing against their best lap times, Time Trial mode lets you in a race against the clock for practice. Finally you have the Versus mode which pits you and a friend against each other in a no holds barred racing match.
My main problem with the game concerns how it actually plays. On one hand we have the stupid computer drivers who make placing in the race easier, but on the other hand you've got incredibly poor handling which makes things more difficult. Subtle turns are totally lost on Sega Touring Car. It's either all the way or nothing, there is no in between, which results in numerous crashes and trips off of the pavement. Far be it from me to speak for everyone, but call it a hunch that I don't think most people will find this a lot of fun. The game tries to have a fun and exciting theme to it, but winds up showing symptoms of all the most frustrating parts of the worst simulations and all the problems of the poorest arcade racers.
If there's one thing going for the game, it has to be the graphics, which are the one redeeming feature it possesses. The cars and the courses were well defined and decent looking. In-game animation was a little bit slow, but that is understandable with the impressive graphics trying to run at full speed. Some Direct3D or 3DFX support would have helped a lot, but per usual Sega has left it out of the original package, and the game suffers for the lack thereof. In contrast to the nice graphics, the sound effects fell very short of the mark, so I recommend turning off your speakers unless you're keen on listening to annoying noises over and over until it makes you want to puke.
We'll skip the bull and get right to the point. I could not stand this game. It is perhaps the worst racer that I have ever played, and I am left wondering how this ever passed the beta testing stage. If you want an arcade style racing game that will provide some fun, try Sega Rally Championship, it plays a lot better.
People who downloaded Sega Touring Car Championship have also downloaded:
Sega Rally 2 Championship, Sega GT, Sega Rally Championship, SimCity 4, OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast, Need for Speed: Underground, Sports Car GT, Rally Championship 2000
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