||Test Drive 6
Remember when Test Drive was actually good? - Review By Fragmaster
Much like Police Academy, the Test Drive series has been around forever, and seems to get worse and worse as time goes on. Test Drive 6 promises the "ultimate thrill ride" with over forty licensed vehicles, from today's most pricey Jaguars to the classic Dodge muscle cars of yesteryear.
But with a bunch of great racing games already on the market, is Test Drive 6 worth even a split second of your precious gaming time? Well…
Test Drive 6 has a lot of cars and a lot of gameplay modes, although many of the cars and tracks need to be unlocked by winning races, championships, and tournaments.
Some of the track designs are interesting. The tracks are relatively large, have multiple paths, and feature smatterings of traffic. There's even busy intersections, which makes running a red light a little risky. Tracks feature "interactive" objects such as breakable barriers, and the auto paint system makes it easy to create a unique looking ride.
Test Drive 6 looks great... for a first generation N64 game, that is. But in the age of the Dreamcast, that kind of quality just won't suffice. The frame-rate is sluggish and chops up when too many cars are on the screen at the same time, there's significant clipping, and the cars look like plastic toys. The tracks don't fare much better, as they're poorly textured, boring, and lack ambience.
Test Drive's graphics may have been good enough a couple years ago, but now...
The controls are similar to any other Dreamcast racer, with the big difference being that TD6's controls are crappier. Unresponsive, frustrating, and totally unrealistic are just a few of the words I'd use to help describe them. It doesn't feel like you're driving a car, but more like you're pushing a
skateboard. Part of this is due to the wacky arcadish physics.
Gameplay modes include practice, race, and two-player. Practice is self-explanatory. In two-player mode you and a buddy can compete in a single race, cop chase, quad race, or pink slip. Cop chase involves chasing your buddy down and "arresting" them, and then switching sides at the end of the race. Quad race is just four single races strung together, and in Pink Slip players bet their saved cars against each other, with the winner taking home both vehicles. None of these modes are particularly entertaining, and two-player mode is hampered by oodles of pop-in and the same chunky frame rate seen in the single player game. Race mode is the main single player portion of the game, and includes single race, tournament race, cop chase, challenges, and garage. You can earn money by winning tournaments, betting in races, beating challenges, or chasing down criminals as a cop. Then you use your winnings in the garage to buy and sell new cars, upgrade engine, brakes, tires, and suspension, or change your transmission.
Yawn. Try to stay awake.
Sound like it might be fun? Well, it could be, except for the fact that the actual racing is boring with a capital B. The tracks are big and lack character, the controls are trash, and since the AI races almost flawlessly, one or two mistakes will knock you out of the race.
There isn't much fun to be had in Test Drive 6, even two-player mode manages to be lame.
The interface is clunky, ugly, and inconsistent. There's no auto save, it's sometimes impossible to see what kind of car you're selecting, and there are too many levels of menus. It's also impossible to skip some of the introductory developer\publisher plugs.
The sound and music aren't godawful, but they're bad enough to be kept out of "The Good" section. The sound effects are weak, average at best, and the licensed tracks from Eve 6, Fear Factory, Lunatic Calm, and Empirion (among others) really managed to get on my nerves after a little while. If I hear Fear Factory's "Cars" one more time, someone will get severely injured. Not only is that song used in the introductory movie, but it's also used within the game, and, to top it all off, they included the music video too! If only they had spent more time making the game fun instead of worrying about what music they were going to license…
The Final Word
Test Drive 6 might be worth renting if you really like racing games or thought Test Drive 5 was cool, but come on, there's a bunch of superior racers already on the Dreamcast. Almost everything Test Drive 6 does, somebody else already does better. What's the point? If I had to sum up this game with one word, I'd just say "Blah" and stick out my tongue. Not much else would need to be said.
Developer: Pitbull Syndicate
Highs: Some interesting track design, lots of cars.
Lows: Looks and plays like crap.
Other: 1-2 players, Race Controller Compatible, Arcade Stick Compatible, VGA Cord Compatible.
(out of a possible 10)
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