Game Over Online ~ Test Drive 6

GameOver Game Reviews - Test Drive 6 (c) Infogrames, Reviewed by - jube

Game & Publisher Test Drive 6 (c) Infogrames
System Requirements Pentium 200, 32MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 68%
Date Published Wednesday, November 24th, 1999 at 09:23 PM

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Right from the start of Test Drive 6 it is obvious that Pitbull and Infogrames were not content to just let this latest offering float on brand recognition alone. Rather than reducing development budgets and shrinking staff, they seem to have really made a push to make this year the best Test Drive yet. And it shows. A multitude of licensed sports cars, occasionally crisp graphics, and surprisingly realistic driving physics all show that there is still plenty of life in this sequence of driving games.

The graphics in Test Drive 6 are a bizarrely mixed bag. On one hand, the car models are colorful, detailed and reflective. On the other hand, and it’s a big fucking hand, are the trees. Not only am I sick and tired of looking at pixilated 2D trees, the ones in Test Drive 6 have a jagged thick black outline around them. If you happen to go off course and come in contact with them, they mysteriously turn like revolving doors at the mall. Then again, I’ve never actually been to Europe, and that’s where a majority of the tracks are set. Perhaps that’s how the vegetation is over there, so give Pitbull points for that little bit of realism.

Speaking of Europe, does it rain like, constantly there? It rained five out of the seven times I raced in Paris, England and Rome, respectively. Even when the rain decided to stop falling, the skies and scenery remained a bland shade of gray. Other the other hand, which would be the first hand for those of you playing at home, the New York race takes place right at sunset, with a beautiful red and orange horizon. Though a major improvement from the flat graphics of Test Drive 5, Test Drive 6 comes nowhere close to the highly detailed, highly stylized graphics of its main competition, Need For Speed.

Lackluster sound effects, dull engine roars, and a dorky 3-2-1 announcer make the sound category mediocre at best. Perhaps the worst and most annoying sound effect of all is the engine road sound effect that plays every fucking time you do anything in the menu system. I can’t believe any play tester in his right mind let that pass through quality control.

Borrowing a page or two from the Need For Speed series, Test Drive 6 features all the now standard modes of racing. Quick race a few locations, career competition racing for better cars and parts, cop get-away mode, split screen racing, all the typical stuff is here. With that said, and I’m sure you can figure out what I am going to say next, where’s the rest of the game? Hey guys, why not try coming up with something original for Test Drive. Rather than sticking their neck out and flexing a little creative muscle, Pitbull seems content to just let EA and Need For Speed dictate the features they need to include in their games. Not that originality is the end all for a game to be entertaining or successful. But if you are planning on ripping off an idea, you had better do a damn fine job of it.

I have no complaints with the traffic and computer racer AI. Traffic will attempt to swerve out of your way when possible, but oncoming traffic has the tendency to swerve in the lane you were heading into. Cross traffic and aggressive police result in some pretty spectacular crashes, points for adding steam and fire to damaged traffic. Negative points for not including racing car damage. Yes, I do realize this isn’t the fault of the designers, I am directing my disrespect towards the car manufacturers themselves. Apparently these guys believe that I base my automotive purchases on computer representations of their cars, and apparently seeing a few door dings in the game is going to sway my buying interests. Mmmkay.

Save for the split screen racing, Test Drive 6 is pretty thin on multiplayer action. The cop/bad guy game is pretty entertaining, with one person playing the law and the other as the getaway driver. Obviously a result of direct console porting, multiplayer in Test Drive 6 is nothing short of lacking. Back to the drawing board on this one, guys.

Contrary to popular belief, the sixth time isn’t a charm. Though steadily improving year after year, the Test Drive series still manages to lag behind the competition in this, its sixth version. I must give credit to Pitbull for having the gumption to give it one more go, this time under the publisher Infogrames. Though I have never considered myself a fan of the series, this year’s Test Drive did manage to exceed my (admittedly low) expectations. And though I cringe at the thought of a seventh entry, who knows what a few more dollars, and a few more hours would do for this game.


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