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Driven to distraction

Thinking of treating yourself to one last quality PlayStation game before the developers completely turn their creative talents over to the PS2? Well, if you are, Driver 2 does not fall into the category you’re looking for!

I’ll just sort of list the faults this full price game has; The frame rate and draw distance are horrendous – the fog in Tony Hawks first outing was a far better solution to the problem than buildings appearing out of nowhere. It has so much pop up it should carry an epilepsy warning. The gameplay for the most part is trial and error – one mistake most missions will mean you have to start again. Did I mention starting again? Well, you cant skip the much improved video sequences – hence by your 20th attempt at some shit mission where an armoured truck can out drive your car, you’ll be sick of it. You can reel someone in by driving at break-neck speed accross a city – only to discover that your car can then only go at exactly the same speed as the car you are pursuing – likewise, if you’re driving a big slow bus, your foe will suddenly find his gettaway vehicle handicapped in a similar fashion.

Add to this that the game will also freeze from the ridiculously bad slowdown, meaning that you have no control over your car for the brief second it can take for you to hit one of the invisible walls that jut out from road side buildings.

As a PS2 owner, this will probably be the last PS1 game I buy, so it really pisses me off to pay full price for a game that falls short by such a margin. They might argue that it’s the limits of the PS1 – which is true, the PS1 is now a very dated console. But I would argue that I don’t build huge, graphically intensive websites and then blame it on the limitations of the web when it’s slower than a tortoise in Night Nurse. At the end of the day, developers should design a game to work to a high standard on the given hardware.

The PS1 is not a PC – we cannot turn off options like detail level and lighting effects just so that the game will run at a decent speed. Of course, you do have the option of turning off Driver 2 and playing a game with decent coding, like TOCA World Touring Cars or Gran Tourismo 2.

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WipeOut 3 : Special Edition

At the weekend there I finally completed all the tracks at Phantom level. After I’d crossed the line, “curly” (the race starting character) appeared on a billboard and said something cheerleader style. But I missed it!

By the time I’d turned the tv volume up she’d disappeared. So, if you know what was said, I’d be grateful if you could drop me a mail and let me know – it beats doing it all over again!

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Having a quick go of TOCA World Touring Cars last night, I couldn’t help but notice the amazing quality of sound output in replay mode.

This was the first time I’d played it with the surround sound speakers connected to my TV and the engine sounds and squeeling tyres seemed to be coming from everywhere!

I decided to load up one of my saved replays to demonstrate this newly discovered audio excellence to my flat-mate.

The replay was one of a race at Monza in the dark, where I overtook the first placed car with an audacious move in the last chicane, as I remember it. Sadly, the memory is all I have because the replay was screwed! My car got caught up in an accident in the first chicane, which I didn’t remember happening, then spent the rest of the replay driving into the wall at the side of the track. Occasionally the wheels would twitch from side to side to indicate corners that the car thought it was driving around. Weird!

I remember this happening with a replay in WipeOut 3 when I first got the game, but hadn’t seen it since.

It’s a bit of a shame, really – as the bug takes the shine off of an otherwise cracking game.

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