Thought I'd pick up this game and give it a try since the box looked neat and the cost was 25 bucks. That's about all I did is try it for about 1-2 hours. I tried to be objective about this game, but after driving the SCGT game for many hours, this game falls way short of even coming close to it. It does have a few good points, but it is not even close to being a true simulator type game. This game gives the player 8 cars in which only two of the slower cars can be selected on start of game. The other cars(GT2 and GT1) can only be retrieved by winning races in the championship mode. There are 8 different tracks and the mirror of them to race on(none are hidden). The game has two modes of operation which are simulation and arcade which will be explained later. The garage settings(very minimal) for the cars are more for an arcade game than a simulation.
As I got into the game at first, I was fascinated by the graphics of the tracks and cars which they put allot of detail into them. Racing the two cars they gave me and driving around the tracks felt pretty smooth as they went around the tracks during practice sessions. The cars had the sense of dynamics of leaning in the turns like a real car should and allot of special graphics effects for rain, snow, fog, etc as I drove the cars. The cars slowed down as they got off the track and would spin out if I took the corners to fast.
Then when I got into racing them I found these things out about the game. First, there is no cockpit view in this game, just behind the car or down on the track. There are other car views which they give the player, but they are somewhat useless having them in a racing mode. The car sounds are terrible with its constant engine whining along as the race goes on. The AI cars are also not very intelligent when I raced against them. When I pass them going down the straight, they immediately RAM into me in the corners. They seem to randomly go off the track at times. The automatic shifting mode or manual mode shifting of the cars has something to be desired also. I could not push the car to its limits around the tracks without either the REVs dropping way down or the car loosing a great deal of speed is certain parts of the track in the high gears. It just didn't seem to be consistent in the way the gearing worked to drive with any speed to get fast lap times.
The game does not work very well with my Sidewinder FF wheel controller in analog mode. There is feedback sent back to the controller but it seems to cause many hesitations in the game about every 10-15 seconds. At this time, I have sent in an email to Empire to see if FF wheels work and what I am missing.
This game looked like it would be a promising game as I started playing with it, but it seems they just didn't carry that extra two yards to make it a fantastic game and compare it to what the other games can do. I will discuss more as I get into the game descriptions.
The game installed very easy on my system with no problems getting it to run. I am running the game on a 450 MHz Pentium 2, Voodoo 2 3DFX video card, SBLIVE sound card, 64 Meg of RAM, Thrustmaster PRO wheel controller, and displaying the game on a 100" by 100" projection screen. It does require Direct 6.0 or above capability on your computer and if you have a 3D accelerator card is a plus also. The game does not state that it is 3DFX. The game worked fine with my Thrustaster PRO and TSW wheel with analog controller selected, and works with the Sidewinder FF wheel(analog mode) but not very good.
There are two patches out for the game which I have listed below. They tend to fix some graphic bugs in the game which there is a text file explaining what they do.
Starting of the game
The game starts up with a graphic intro which you see part of it up at the top of this review. There is also a sound of a GT car for about 15 seconds(no video with this game). The game then comes up into the main menu for selection of all game options, cars, tracks, race options, and then to go to race the track. Menus of the the game are very simple and easy to use.
Picture - Main Game Menu
When the player selects the game options, it performs the standard options that all the other games do. The player can select and setup the standard controller and audio options. The game options provide the replay mode, and allows the player to quit the game. Not sure why the quit game is not on the Grand Touring main menu. There is also a small demo of one of the tracks and shows who developed the game
Picture - Game Options Menu
Racing Mode Selections
As I mentioned earlier, the game provides both Arcade and Simulator modes. The Arcade mode gives only two options which are checkpoint racing and multiplayer. The simulation mode menu allows single race, championship, and a strange autotest mode.
The checkpoint mode is nothing more than get your car to next timed barrier before the time runs out. This option seems more surviving to beat the time, rather than trying to keep up with the other cars. With the default settings of the slower cars, It is very tough, because I just barely made it through 2 of barriers, and the third one I could never make.
The single race mode is pretty much what it means. It takes the what ever you select for track, vehicle, weather, and time of day, and that's what you race with.
The championship mode is kind of strange in the way they do the selection of practice, qualify, and race modes. The game seems to just jump the player right into practice without going to any selection menu first. The player cannot go directly to the race event in championship mode like most other games. Doesn't seem to be any control of what weather or time of day you race in this mode. First championship race I ran in was at night.
The autotest mode is nothing more than zig zagging through a bunch of road cones to see how your car turns. Interesting, but don't know how that tests the car with the few garage parameters they give us.
The multiplayer mode allows running the game on a local LAN(IPX), modem, and direct serial connection. There does not seem to be any internet option(TCP/IP) in this game. Another item missing in the game.
The vehicle selection menu is pretty straight forward. It allows to select one of eight cars. There are only two cars available at the start of the game. The faster GT2 and GT1 cars you can't race until you win some races in the championship mode. It also allows the player to select color style and automatic or manual shifting.
Picture - Vehicle Select Menu
The track selection menus have the same menu structure as the vehicles. It allows the player to select one of 8 tracks. All tracks may be accessed at the beginning of the game. You can select the mirror of each track, the weather(sunny, rain, and snow), and night driving here. Tracks themselves have no fictitious names assigned to them.
Picture - Track Selection Menu
Option Menus while Racing
I am surprised they put parts of these menus at this point and time while racing(see pictures below) instead of creating a graphics option in the games options menus. These menus mainly deal with graphics effects, camera angles, and rear view mirror settings. They also allow control of quitting the race, etc. Another strange thing , when you turn on the rear view camera option, the player will see their whole car in a mirror looking display at the top. It is truly not a mirror but camera of your car looking backwards at the track. The players car takes up about 80% of the viewing area, so it is sometimes hard to pick out other cars coming up behind you.
The following are some of the cheats for the Grand Touring game. Most of these cheats deal with unlocking the cars. These are typed in where the player name is entered. Be sure to type the ENTER key after you type in the entire cheat.
That's about it for this game. If I find out more in the game that I may have missed, I will add the information. It has some good ideas and good graphics, but it does not quite meet the needs of the true SIM racing world. Below are some images of one of my races. Some of the pictures may not have come out the greatest in my screen captures, because the visual graphics of the game is pretty good.