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Reviewed: Test Drive Off-Road 3
Author: Chris Kim       Date: November 7th 1999
Page: 2

Continuing a long line of videogames, Infogrames puts the Test Drive Off-Road series through another game, this time in the third installment of the spin off series from the original Test Drive game. Test Drive Off-Road 3 has some of the main features that have been carried throughout the whole series, licensed vehicles, real world locations, various rugged terrain, and lots of jumps, bumps, and hills. However, all the rest of the series has been marred with mediocracy, not having enough varied gameplay, horrible physics, or other hindrances that kept Test Drive Off-Road from being the great game it can be. Does Test Drive Off-Road 3 take a new direction in the face of gaming to make a radical change and break free of the bland gameplay behind it?

What the Hell are Those?
Can I Make It?
Whep, Don't Fall

Mainly the game focuses on all the off-road mayhem and carnage that most racers aren't accustomed too. Various types of terrain will be encountered with snow, mud, sand, water, and other earth particles. The game has a total of eleven different tracks from various different locations such as Yellowstone, Mt. Fuji, and Red Rocks, combined with twenty seven different licensed real world cars, including the world famous Hummer. The various different tracks that are available at the hand of the player have different styles of tracks from speed tracks, suspension tracks, to handling tracks. Each track has a different set of attributes from which the player has the best suited car to race on. All tracks have a very unique and distinct method of racing, from tons of bumps and large formations to go over or simply maneuvering past various obstacles. About half of the track designs are interesting while the other half are pretty plain and bland. The extreme hilly and bumpy tracks like Red Rocks and Canadian Rockies are probably the most fun tracks to play on due to the massive amount of jumps and hilly places to drive over.

Through the Woods
Not So Bumpy...
Man Was I Wrong!

There are two game modes to play, neither is truly satisfying. There is an arcade mode and a world championship mode. The arcade mode is quite simply put, a single race mode where the player gets to choose a car of their choice and race on the track of their choice. Pretty simple, no permanent records, money awards, or point awards are credited towards the player for winning or losing the race. From the name alone, arcade mode, it's quite obvious that this game is not in anyway a simulation mode, nor should it be mistaken to be one. The world championship mode is the equivalent to a season mode where the player will do the full monty of purchasing cars and winning places in cups to gather money and move up to the more advanced races. It the is fairly organized in the way the cups are setup. Each cup has a special attribute that makes it grouped together, for instance cup one of the division three championship is a handling race group where the most important attribute to a racer is how well a car can handle or maneuver around objects. All racers will do is race around tracks upgrading their cars. Nothing totally special, can had some fun, but mostly it's just racing.

Air Time
Hope Nobody Is Bungie Jumping
Into the Water

Being an arcade racer, the physics are bound to be a bit on the relaxed side, but this is not the case. Rather than being relaxed, the physics are nearly non existent. There are almost no driving physics at all, every move made in the game hardly has little, if any effect on how the cars will react or perform in a given situation. A car might jump off of a high cliff and land the jump flat on the surface with no bounce, and absorb the shock of the jump completely and maintain a 50MPH speed. Cars will often hug the ground like nothing else, they will never spin out, never lose traction on the ground, and won't even jump off curbs. Sometimes a player will completely fly off a place, while other times they will just zoom right on down the side of the road. The cars will almost never topple over, in all the times I played the game, I only tipped over or rolled over once the whole time. There is no racing damage model, so cars aren't affected by crashes or other collisions with other objects. Collisions with other objects will create hardly any reaction at all, players will probably just absorb the hit and keep right on going. Sometimes, the track is bound by invisible boundaries that don't even exist, some tracks have almost no logical ending, they just have a wall of stone or something in the middle of the road. Most often, the "off-road" fashion of the game is essentially following a track due to the difficult to maneuver ground around.

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Added:  Sunday, November 07, 1999
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Page: 2/5

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