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

One of the major downfalls of this game is the lack of multiplayer support. The game totally screams out for large gaming feasts over the internet, hopefully, a patch will address this issue.

Intelligence is extremely weak in the game. The opponents have little if any intelligence of what is occurring around them. Racers will typically just race on the track and just continue to pull on the race and try to finish first. They don't have any tactics to push a player aside, no strategy to cut in front of them. The only method of intelligence is to move along the road. On the various difficulty settings, the opponents just have improvement in maintaining higher speeds and rounding corners better than before with less collisions. Often, opponents will just be extremely clumsy and run off the road and get stuck in a corner or on a hill just trying to get up, when all they need to do is shift into low gear and climb up the hill. The difficulty of the game is rather simple and is easy to master. After about two or three races, the player will probably catch on and win every race from there on out.

Paintings On the Wall
Runaway Truck Ramp?
Wonder Where Off the Road Leads

For the most part, controlling and pickup up the controls of racing games are fairly easy. This game is no exception with the relatively few controls used in the game, mainly consisting of accelerate, brake, and turn. Moving the car around is responsive. The game works well with nearly all game devices, keyboard and gamepad alike.

The interface, believe it or not, is one of the most poorly designed and programmed interfaces in any game. The interface is combined with simple menus of text that can be accessed through a few clicks on the mouse. The load times aren't too bad, installation size is rather small, but configuration options to choose options is a little lacking. Controls are configurable at least, not the most easy to configure them, however. The interface has one really major flaw, half of the most important texts are cut in half with the top portion of all text cut and making some text non readable.

Cutting Them Off
Climb, Climb, Climb
Down the Winding Road

In today's 3D Accelerated world, tons of new gaming engines are being revved up and served with lots of new graphical splendor and additions to graphical flare with features like environmental bump mapping, dynamic lighting, and hardware T&L just to name a few new features. However, Test Drive Off-Road 3 doesn't feel or look like a game made in 1999, rather, it feels like a game that was made back in 1996. The graphics are simply not up to today's standards of 3D Acceleration. Most of the textures are all very blocky, bland, and pixelated. Special particle effects like dirt, dust, and grass coming off the tires of the cars are all extremely slow, blocky, and pixelated as well. Most of the objects like trees, grass, water, and other structures are all either flat textures standing straight up or are sprite based, resulting in extremely blocky looking objects that are awful looking. Most of the car models are very poor looking, they lack a lot of detail and look like blocks of polygons put together and moving as one. One redeeming fact about the graphics are that some of the locations look like they really should. Red Rocks and the Canadian Rockies, also the more fun tracks to play, have some decent textures and colors to make them feel more accurate. To top it off, the game only runs in 640x480x16-Bit and the game is extremely choppy. It made me wonder if the game was rendered on a 3D Accelerator or not because the G400 is a rather fast 3D Accelerator.

Look Back Peek
Don't Fall Over
Riding the Wall

Driving games usually have the same lineup of sound effects, horns, crashes, and engine sounds. The problem in this game is even though these sounds are here, there are very few sounds. All of the engines have the same sound, all the horns sound the same, all the crashes sound the same. Nothing is different. The music features a lot of different hard rock/alternative bands like Blink 182, Eve 6, Girls Against Boys, Incubus, and Diesel Boy. The music is cool, but the soundtrack is extremely out of place in a game like this. The coolest part though is that the music can be played on a regular stereo, which is cool.

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Added:  Sunday, November 07, 1999
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Page: 3/5

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