I've never seen the attraction of owning a performance car if you've got nowhere to drive one. I mean, who needs four wheel drive when all you do is toddle along to the shops and back? What difference is a post-200mph top speed if the police give you a ticket when they catch you doing eighty? And performance cars are not exactly legendary in the comfort stokes.
But forget all of the restrictions of modern life, like speed limits, petrol prices, insurance and gravity (more of that later ..), because this isn't the real thing - it's better. 4D Sports Driving gives you the chance you've always dreamed of; a list of cars a mile long, a blank cheque to buy one with and a choice of tracks, littered with stunts that would put Evil Kineval's teeth on edge and make Eddie Kidd take up hang-gliding.
Before you race, you've got to choose a track and, more importantly, a car to drive around it. Taking the latter option first, there's twelve different sets of wheels to tempt you; from the rather down-to-earth Audi Quattro, through a Lancia Delta Integrate and various racing cars, up to a Porsche March Indy nutter illegitimate offspring (0-60mph in 2.3 seconds). Each car is shown in 3D rotating graphics, with all of the specifications listed alongside and a graph of their powerbands.
You can change the colour of your car if you really feel it's going to make it any easier to handle. Then it's onto the track. Here I would strongly advise sticking with the initial track to begin with, else the twisted minds which created the others might have an evil influence upon you. If you thought traffic wardens were nasty pieces of work, think again. If none of the tracks take your fancy, never fear. You can build your own, using the track editor like a massive Scalextric set.
Once you've opted for joystick/keyboard or mouse control, you can start learning, the hard way, that more grunt is not always on advantage. The doors of your car transporter open and you're lowered onto the track, engine purring with untold latent power. Seatbelts on and away you go! The graphics fly out of the screen in glorious 3D. What's more, the full graphics mode is playably quick, depending on which camera angle (a la 4D Sports Boxing) you opt for.
Turn off some of the incidental background graphics and the game fairly flies along. The game makes a valiant effort to convince you that it's a motor car, by making engine-like purring and howling noises as you thrash the car about a bit. Don't touch the camera angles and you'll be instantly reminded of Stunt Car Racer. Whereas the stunt car in that classic was made to take impacts, yours is not, so don't go running into walls or off of high places.
And what a lot of scope there is to crash. Just the curves are hard enough to keep control of. You'll soon find that it's pointless to just plant your right foot on the accelerator and hope thot you'll make it through the bend. You'll have to work hard to keep the racing line. Even when you've mastered the curves, they won't have prepared you for the stunts.
Ever wanted to loop-the-loop in a racing car? Neither have I. But you're going to have to learn how, and quickly, because there's one approaching you, fast. What's that pipe and why are there concrete blocks in the road? Someone forgot to finish that bridge. If the elevated section of the M4 had hairpin bends on it as well it'd have on even worse reputation than it already does. Add icy and muddy road to the equation and you'll probably begin to see that there's more to life than driving ambition (groan).
40 Sports Driving is tough and there's plenty of scope for expansion. With six skill levels of driver or the clock to race against, you're not going to finish this particular racing challenge on first loadup. But this strong point is also a weakness: the car is very hard to control with any sort of accuracy. It's fine while you're on the straight and narrow. However, skid off course and you'll soon be waltzing with the best Come Dancing contestants.
If you've got the courage and determination to continue to practise through all of the failures, then you may well get a lot out of 4D Sports Driving. I found it just a little too frustrating to be very addictive. But there's no doubt that this game scores very high in the variety department.
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