Virtua Racing


Time Warner Interactive

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Virtua Racing for the arcades is now available for home use on the Sega Saturn with the original three race tracks plus many new tracks and vehicles.

This 3D polygon game will provide a great deal of gaming excitement but doesn't have any exceptional graphics when compared to games such as Sega Rally. This is expected since the arcade version as well as the Saturn version have polygons that are not textured. This causes the game to look a little too geometric, but game play remains very fast which may have not been the case with better graphics. However, it would have been nice to have had the game comprise textured graphics as it was very difficult to drive using the cockpit view. Unless you learn the tracks by heart, it is very unsuitable to see where the turns are in the road thus resulting in very badly taken curves. Fortunately a total of four playing views are available with the other three being the follow, float, and fly views. I found that the float and fly views were the easiest for preparing yourself for an upcoming turn, but sometimes because of tunnels and other objects, the fly view was unfit because you would lose site of your vehicle.

The distant backgrounds of the game are 2D textured images that are quite fitting for each of the tracks. You'll see mountains, lakes, cities, and various clouds within blue skies. The 3D area of the game incorporates the race track, landscape, animals, bridges, trees, and buildings. The race track is shaded with blocks of grey, some of which have skid marks on them, with the edges of a much lighter shade of grey. Some of the animals you may see are kangaroos along side of the roads in Australia or birds flying off the roadway while you approach them. The VR blimp is sometimes visible from the sky as well as many air balloons. When you crash into a tree, a coconut will tumble to the ground.

Seven new Grand Prix tracks have been added to the original arcade version giving a total of ten tracks for you to race ranging from easy to expert. There are tracks in North America, Australia, Europe, South America, Greece, and Japan with the names of the tracks being Pacific, Diablo, Bay Bridge, Speedway, Surfer, Amazon Falls, Big Forest, Alpine, Acropolis and Metropolis. An introduction of the track is given before each race with a complete view of the track from start to finish and a women's voice describing the layout to you.

You will be able to choose from a selection of five different cars for racing. They are the Go Kart, Coupe, F-160, GTP, and the F-1, with speed limits ranging from 90 mph to 230 mph. There are also sixteen teams for you to join or race against, each having different team colors and alternative names.

From the main menu you'll be able to choose up to three different types of games. The first one, Arcade, is a mode where you race against the clock trying to get from one check point to another. Only the three original tracks are available in this mode. The second method is the Grand Prix races that takes you through a whole season. Here you'll start off with the Go Kart and work your way up to the F-1. Points are given if you place between frist and sixth, and if you gather up enough points you will graduate to the next level. For example, to graduate to the Coupe you'll have to make 20 points with your Go Kart, and since first place is worth 10 points, you'll just need to place first twice. Once you get to the GTP car, you'll require 50 points to graduate to the F-1. If after racing the ten tracks you still haven't acquired the amount of points necessary to graduate to the next level, you'll be able to watch a visual interpretation of what is what like when you arrived at the finish line. You'll see the winners coming across the finish line and receiving their trophies, and then sunset and nightfall. In the dark, you'll hear an engine approaching the finish line and a voice in a nerdy voice saying, "Hello, Hello, did I win?". The last option for playing the game is the two player mode where you can race against your friends in a split screen.

On the screen you'll be able to view your total time, lap time, RPMs, current gear, speed and position, the total number of cars in the race, the name of the track, and your position on the track via the radar. Eighteen different records are kept for each track in the High Score tables. Records are kept for both total times and lap times.

During the race, you'll be able to pull into the pit to have your tires changed. When approaching vehicles that are ahead of you, it seems as if the computer will try and position the car to be in your way forcing you to move your car to get around them. Be careful though, as when you hit them from behind, both cars will go into a spin and lose precious time. At then of your race you'll be able to watch a replay with many different camera views.

The sound effects and music in the game are nothing to get excited about. There is almost no music during the game except for short little tunes that repeat on and off. There are 40 CD audio tunes and they are quite enjoyable to listen to and fit well with the game. Unfortunately they only last for about 10 seconds each, and most of your game consists of hearing the engine of your car. The engine is just a constant buzzing type of sound, much like what you would hear if a child was imitating the sound of a car.


Overall, Virtua Racing is an excellent game for racing and provides plenty of challenges with its four levels of difficulty. But if you are looking for stunning graphics and superb sounds, then maybe you should go for something else.




In North America:

Time Warner Interactive,
2210 West Olive Avenue,
Burbank, CA 91506.

In Europe:

In UK:

Time Warner Interactive,
1 Rushmills, Bedford Road,
Northampton, NN4 7YH.

Technical Support: +44-171-391-4323

In France:

Time Warner Interactive,
49 Avenue Kleber,
75016 Paris.

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