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Game Over Online ~ Viper Racing

GameOver Game Reviews - Viper Racing (c) Sierra Sports, Reviewed by - Jube / Lil Grrrr /

Game & Publisher Viper Racing (c) Sierra Sports
System Requirements P200 16mb RAM
Overall Rating 66%
Date Published Monday, November 9th, 1998 at 04:35 PM


Divider Left By: Jube Divider Right

Well my friends, it has been a busy week. Just when we thought we could settle-down in our vibrating gaming chairs and have a rousing session of Grim Fandango the naughty Release Fairy brought us another truckload to sort and report. So the adventures of Manny will have to be put on hold for the time being as the GO staff kick into high gear. Well I will skip the preliminaries, I have a lot to write and you have a lot to read.

Let's be honest. Viper Racing is a mediocre game with would only entertain a niche market of gamers who own or admire the Dodge Viper. And it may not even do that. While I have never actually driven a Dodge Viper in real life, I am confident that it would not lose traction and peel out while turning at 17mph. So it is very possible with that glaring insult to the handing those who own and appreciate the Viper will be offended by this bland attempt at a simulation racing game.

The most annoying and constantly nerve-wracking element of Viper Racing is the total lack of handling and control on your vehicle. Using all the default settings the car basically skids with any slight turning of the wheels once you reach the blazingly fast speed of 17mph. Apparently the AI cars do not suffer from this same control issue, they seem to glide along the tracks on rails, literally. Very rarely will a computer-controlled vehicle acknowledge your presence on the track. This leaves you the driver in an annoying predicament. Either respect the AI cars and never challenge position in close range, or just chance it all on surviving the ensuing wreak and hope to come out pointed in the right direction.

I found that the former of these strategies was the preferred, as the tracks are often much larger than they should be. The turns of many of the circuit style tracks are wide enough to go 6 or 7 cars wide, when in reality most real race tracks fit three. And this disproportion is mirrored throughout the whole game. Buildings, trees and fences are all mismatched in size and length. This leads to distortion of game physics and it severely screws with the feeling of speed.

Graphically Viper Racing gets about half a thumb up. It does support 3dfx, but I am sure most of the game could be rendered with DirectX. There are no flares, no light sources and very little shading. A few mildly reflective surfaces here and there, but nothing impressive or remotely unique. Oh and on top of all that the frame rate was low. Need for Speed 3 ran smoother with more eye candy and effects. The tracks them selves look like they were inspired by Monster Truck Madness 1. There are about eight tracks total, and I doubt you can unlock any more. They are open range (you can drive pretty much anywhere) and sparsely dotted with signs, bushes and the occasional fence. Be careful not to try and cut corners by driving over these objects, they have some serious presence. A two-foot tall hedge will stop your Viper cold if you happen to drive into it.

The cars themselves are fairly puny and forgettable. In no way does it convey the kind of strong lines and unique shape that a Dodge Viper's are known for. However Viper Racing does allow you to fully customize the paintjob on the body of your car, which is probably the best feature about the entire game. (Notice in the screenshots our official "GO Mobile.") There are a few semi-hidden cars with can be accessed through the options menu, under the Hack tab. They range from the sports sedan to the.. Bright red plane. (yes.. what the fuck?) It's a plane, it flies, but you cant really control it. Further proof the developers got bored trying, futilely, to make the game not suck and coded a flying race plane.

As far as the audio goes, be prepared to listen to the sound of squealing tires, constantly. All the skidding while trying to turn translates into lots of high-pitched reminders of why this game sucks. There is no music, there is no play by play (which, sorry to disagree with ya umax, can be done right and can add to a game). The sound of two cars smashing into each-other is a bit too passive, lacking any crunch or "oomph." And that basically goes for the rest of the game: the sounds are there, sorta, but they really don't stand out or enhance the game.

Multiplay is the second best part about this game, it is easy to setup and has surprisingly low latency. This really adds to the "fun factor" overall. Having a ghost car and various other options make the multiplayer portion of this game its saving grace, well almost. This is not the first time this type of thing has come up. Many game elements can take a back seat if the multiplay is good enough, Subspace for example. Even with smooth multiplayer Viper Racing comes up short in many areas. It just does not compete with the caliber of racing games that have recently been released. It might have been competitive had it been released two years ago, when the stand for which racing games are judged was lower. But the fact is that with less than two months until 1999 this game is below par in the Graphics, Sound and Gameplay categories. Therefore, I can't recommend Viper Racing to any gamer. And for those who also own Dodge Viper, I suggest you pass as well. Experiencing the "interpretation" of the Vipers handling and physics might force you to sue Sierra for slander.

Highs
Viper mania!
Customizable Cars
Low latency multiplay
Interesting camera angles

Lows
Little or no feeling of speed
Little or no feeling of traction (!)
Bland graphics
Car/Track/Scenery not proportional
That stupid red plane


 

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Rating
63%
 

 

 
 

 

 

Divider Left By: Lil Grrrr Divider Right

With the plethora of racing games for the PC, a game must be really special to stand out. In the past we have seen great racing games such as Need for Speed III, Ultim@te Race Pro do exactly that. Is Viper Racing to stand out from the crowd? In my opinion, it falls into the category of mediocrity. It offers too little innovation and falls short in some areas to make it a great racing game.

The graphics itself is nothing special, but that is not to say that it is at all bad. Supporting most 3D cards through D3D and 3DFX's own Glide, the graphics are fast. Any decent system should reach 30+ fps with ease. With a PII 400 and a Matrox G200, I reached 63fps with ease. As for the quality of the graphics, it is a mixed bag. The graphics looks very clean. What is not found in this game are the disgusting looking trees, made from sprites, found in many other racing games. The overall effect, however, is bland. There are just too little details to make the environment somewhat interesting. The other counterpart to a game's presentation, the sound, in this particular game, is much like the graphics, boring and uninteresting. It consists of the usual gas pumping, tires screeching, etc. sound FX. Even the annoying person that tells you what turn is coming up or what lap you are in is non evident. All in all, the presentation is mediocre.

As for the gameplay, it offers some new and interesting concepts, but not much. As you may have noticed from the title, this game showcases the Dodge Viper, the Dodge Viper GTS-R to be exact. This, in my opinion, turned out to be a flaw, albeit not a major one. Because the only car in the game is the Viper GTS-R (They didn't even include the lower end Vipers, the Viper RT-10 and the Viper GTS), when racing against opponents, it would just be Vipers racing against each other. I would much rather prefer the variety found in Need For Speed III, Test Drive 4/5, etc. Like Ultim@te Race Pro, it gets monotonous after a while. The one thing that is lacking from any racing game I've played since Nascar Racing is the damage system. Viper Racing offers you the option to have realistic damage. This means, like in real life, if you bump anything while going 150mph, your car is going to get trashed. Now if the glass can be smashes or cracks instead of bending, and the tires weren't invincible, it would be the perfect damage system for a simulation game. The other option I haven't seen since Nascar Racing is the Paint. Viper Racing lets you paint your own car any way you want. It's not a great addition but a welcomed one in my opinion. The third option, I personally haven't seen in any other racing games but there is a very good reason for it. Viper Racing has a wheelie button ("W"). Press "W" and your car will flip up for a wheelie. Press "W" for more than one second and your car will flip out all over the place. Holding "W" makes your car suspend in the air flipping, only to come down and get a trashing. All in all, it is a pretty useless feature.

The one nagging flaw I found within this game is the sense of speed. Although the game runs smooth, there is almost no sense of speed making it unrealistic as the Viper GTS-R can run at an estimated top speed of 225mph.

The game can be played through 3 different ways, Quick Race, Career, and Multiplayer. The Career mode is lacking in that you cannot buy new cars, just parts. You're basically stuck with the Viper GTS-R throughout your career. For people that enjoy this game, the amount of tracks should be aplenty. There are 2 easy tracks, 3 medium tracks, and 3 hard tracks. As for multiplayer, it supports Modem, LAN, TCP/IP and Direct Connections. I didn't get to try this in Multiplayer for various reasons therefore, in this aspect, I am gonna trust Jube's judgement.

In summary, it is not the worst racing game out there, but it is nothing special, or good for that matter.


 

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Rating
63%
 

 

 
 

 

 

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