Game Over Online ~ Toca 2 Touring Card

GameOver Game Reviews - Toca 2 Touring Card (c) Codemasters, Reviewed by - Umax

Game & Publisher Toca 2 Touring Card (c) Codemasters
System Requirements Pentium 133, 16MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 84%
Date Published Tuesday, April 13th, 1999 at 03:54 PM


Divider Left By: Umax Divider Right

It was once said that, "the sun never sets on the British Empire", meaning the British Empire spanned the globe. This was a long time ago and that man was probably trying to sound more prophetic then he really was, but in modern times Britain’s worldly contributions have dwindled somewhat. Some people might even have you believe that the only UK-born influences on North American culture in recent times have been; the Spice Girls, some large advances in dental technology and teeth cleaning, and a foodstuff known as bangers n’ mash. I feel that these people are all out idiots.

For a long time most people in America had no idea what Super Touring Racing was, until they began seeing something known as the BTCC (British Touring Car Championship) on Speed-Vision or TSN. So exactly what is it? The BTCC is made up of semi-stock sedans and coupes made mostly by European auto manufacturers such as Volvo, Audi, Ford, Honda, Renault etc. These cars are tuned by the teams to very precise specifications and have to fall within extremely tight regulations to be race-worthy. Sounds a lot like nearly every other type of racing, right? Wrong. BTCC racing (TOCA is another, more general form of BTCC) is fast, and takes place on very tight, twisting tracks. (As opposed to very fast ovals.) Often times to pass a car, one must literally bump or ram it out of the way, as the real drivers do. This all plays out brilliantly on our TV sets, but how well can a gaming company like CodeMasters replicate it on the PC? Read onů

TOCA2 is, obviously, a sequel. The original game was met with less enthusiasm then the makers would have liked, but it was in no way a bad game. It had some slight control problems, but it was graphically good for it’s time, and with a good controller the game played out and offered the gamer enough enjoyment to prolong the CD’s life. With the sequel, the makers seem to have taken suggested improvements not only from the original TOCA to heart, but also I would imagine from Colin McRae Rally. Enough yakking, on with the game.

The first time I loaded the game up I found the menu was extremely simple to navigate. This may seem like a strange observation, but recently many game makers have enjoyed making a task out of just loading a game. When loading a single race the player can choose the car they wish to drive, the paint scheme for that car (to some degree), the track they wish to race on, number of opponents, weather conditions, and opponent AI levels. I had already played the demo of the game and thought I knew what to expect of the final, but I was wrong. The controls seem to me to have improved over those in the demo. Steering sensitivity is adjustable, and depending on the skill level you choose to play, the car you drive will spin out at different stages in high-speed maneuvers. The tracks are all varied in their layout, but are essentially all the same in what they offer the racer. One isn’t much more challenging then the other, so when you’ve mastered one, you’ve nearly mastered them all. They are still fun to drive though, and do occasionally catch you off guard with a turn that you forget was there. Opponent drivers are aggressive, and willing to take chances like ramming other cars to gain a position. For the most part they stay away from the player, but if they cause a large crash you can easily be involved. Don’t try ramming cars too hard though, because you get three warnings for dangerous driving before you get ejected from the race. Depending upon the difficulty level you chose to race at, the opponents will only drive at a certain top speed. (All cars incidentally have 138mph as their top speed.) The harder the difficulty level at which you drive, the closer opponent cars will drive to that magic number, until you reach expert level at which point you won’t do much passing in the straight aways because of straight line drag racing. Driving the cars in TOCA2 is a very different affair to driving those in IndyCar or Nascar Racing, so don’t be surprised if you experience frustration if those games are the only types you play, or you can’t find your way around Watkens Glen. Every track in TOCA2 is made up of some medium sized straight aways followed by many fast, tight, twisting turns, and you have to know how to use your brakes. In addition to the different tracks, there are different ways to play them. The first is the most obvious, single race. It is exactly what it’s name says: a single race on any of the tracks you have available to you in any of the cars you have access to.

The next type of game is Championship mode. This too is the same as in every other league type racing game. The player races through the tracks in ‘weekends’ (a weekend consists of two races) in sequential order. Weather becomes a bigger factor in Championship mode because the player has no control over it, and it can change half way through a race rendering the player’s tires useless in the new conditions. As the player advances through one difficulty level in Championship mode, they gain access to new cars and new tracks through passwords. The next form of gameplay was one I’ve never heard of before. Known as "Support Car Championship", it is basically a version of Championship mode, except the player drives cars ranging from a suped up Ford Fiesta to a Lister Storm and a Jaguar XJ220! The player starts out with access to only the Fiesta and a lightweight Formula car, but gains additional cars as a reward for winning. The final major type of gameplay in TOCA2 is Challenge. In Challenge mode the player races around the tracks as they would in Championship mode, except that the tracks are divided up into sections and the player has decreasing amounts of time to cover those sections. If the player runs out of time in a specific section before the race ends, the game is over. I liked this form of arcade-style gameplay a lot, and felt it added some time until this game hits the shelf. One relatively unique aspect to TOCA2 is the weather effects inside the game. These range from dry conditions, to light rain, to hard storm rain and each has a different effect on the cars.

TOCA2 plays fairly well, and remains true to it’s real life counterpart, but does it look the part? The answer is a resounding - "SORTA!" TOCA2 doesn’t in any way have horribly bad graphics. It looks good, and all the special effects you’d expect in a racing game of this type are present. However, the graphics aren’t astounding either. I couldn’t tell for sure, but I think that this game is based on the same engine that Colin McRae Rally was. While it does look a bit crisper than CMR, and it does have better dust/grass effects, the cars and reflections and sky all look out of date compared to their contemporaries. What of the special effects though? As I said, all the normal effects are here including flying grass, dust, sparks, clouds reflecting in windows, and skid marks, and all are rendered with reasonable quality as the screenshots show. The weather conditions in the game also make for some interesting effects such as your headlights reflecting in the wet tarmac, and the dark clouds rolling in to replace the clear sky. The end result of all of these special effects, combined with the weather effects gave the game a bit more atmosphere than games like Nascar 99, Nascar Revolution etc. The only real large complaint I had with the graphics in TOCA2 was the pit crew. When you pit your car for a tire change or more gas, the pit crew is apparently 2 dimensional and frozen in your headlights. They don’t move at all! Your car lifts and you hear the sounds of wheels and torque wrenches going on, but you see no movement. This doesn’t detract much from overall gameplay, but it would have been nice to seem maybe SOME detail paid to this small part of the game. Sound is the standard affair in TOCA2, and includes speech from the pit crew. This isn’t just random chatter though, your pit crew will be telling you such things as whether or not the car in front of you has pitted, how you’re doing in the race, lap positions and more. The engines all roar, or rather whine, realistically, and sounds like skids and squeals are all present and occur at the right times. I found it annoying though how the skid sounds were the same, and repeated themselves over and over because of how twisting most of the tracks are. In addition each of the additional "support cars" has it’s own distinct sounds.

Basically, TOCA2 is a good racing simulation. It isn’t in any way an arcade game, and isn’t in any way an oval racing game, so I expect many people won’t like how much you need to use brakes. The game requires the gamer to understand how to take corners, cut apexes and other such in-depth physics. Some people will like this, some will not. I suggest you try the demo to at least see what the tracks are like before rushing out to buy the game, it will give you a better idea of what to expect. If, however, you like grand prix / grand touring style racing then by all means go ahead and get this game!

Highs: Unique gameplay, unique subject matter, unique cars, several types of gameplay to suit nearly every gamer, average graphics, nice weather effects, excellent car physics, good sound, reasonable multiplayer.

Lows: Many people will find the different type of racing frustrating until they learn how to use their brakes, graphics aren’t what they could have been.

 

See the Game Over Online Rating System


Rating
84%
 

 

 
 

 

 

Screen Shots
Screen Shot
Screen Shot
Screen Shot
Screen Shot
Screen Shot
Screen Shot
Screen Shot
Screen Shot
Screen Shot
Screen Shot

Back to Game Over Online