With XCar: Experimental Racing, Bethesda has pulled out all the stops to create a racing simulation that defies all the rules. In this game, you race using a finely tuned racing vehicle that does not conform to any existing rules of racing. Tweak your car any way you like, and race at incredible speed on any of ten tracks modeled after real race courses. You may race at Lime Rock Park, Mid-Ohio, Putnam, and more. Choose from any of a number of pre-configured racing vehicles, then modify it to suit your needs. Alter the engine, gears, brakes, suspension, and tons of other options. Modifying the car tunes it to your racing needs.
XCar is based on Bethesda's proprietary Xngine technology, seen in their Future Shock and SKYnet games. This is a good example of how useful the engine is, since this is not a 3D action game. It works very well. Graphics are supported from 320x200 up to 800x600 resolution. Many texturing and detail options are also configurable, texture the roads, buildings, grass, put in smoke effects, even affect the weather. The look is excellent, and if you have the processing muscle, you can really make for a realistic environment.
Sound effects are quite good, and the music is pretty good as well. All sound options may be turned on or off to suit your needs. The simulation aspects are excellent, you really get a sense of speed as you zoom along the various courses. You may race in preseason, a single track race, qualifying, or circuit racing. XCar may be configured as an arcade racing game, or a realistic simulation.
In realistic mode, it is extremely difficult to control the vehicle. This IS experimental racing, isn't it? At speeds approaching 200 MPH, the vehicles can get out of control very easily, and it actually becomes a chore correcting for it. In arcade mode, the game is not as realistic, but it is a LOT of fun. I am glad Bethesda put that option into the game, as I feel computer racing fans will get a lot of use out of the arcade mode. You may adjust the settings so that you car cannot take damage, or even reduce the amount of damage the car will take. In other words, the configuration options within the game will certainly allow you to customize the game any way you prefer - from as real as possible to simple arcade racing with no damage or need for repair.
A paint shop is included with XCar, you may use it to create your own personal vehicle and decorate it any way you like. Unfortunately, you will need the full install option to save any vehicles.
Multiplayer options include IPX Network play or direct connection via modem. Native TCP/IP Internet play is not included. XCar has many options trying to please everyone, and in many ways it succeeds. True realism in the game is extremely difficult, even frustrating. But almost every aspect of the game may be modified to your own personal taste.
Bottom Line: Excellent graphics, and a host of options so you can modify the game to suit almost anyone's needs.
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