Supercar Challenge Preview
Not to be confused with a PlayStation 2 game with a similar name, Supercar Challenge is actually a follow-up to last year's very solid Ferrari Challenge, a game we believed to have been widely overlooked. The brainchild of System 3, and developed by Eutechnyx, Ferrari Challenge boasted a superb physics engine, solid visuals, great sense of speed, fantastic support for the G25 wheel, and even Tiff Needell.
The groundwork for a superb sequel is already here, so my expectations for Supercar Challenge are already rather high. As you can see, this time around System 3 has access to more than just one license as they've now acquired the rights to use the Lamborghini, Aston Martin, McLaren, and many other supercar names for a total that will add up to over 40 cars. You can expect to see legends such as the McLaren F1, on top of newer breeds like the Ferrari FXX and the Lamborghini Mucielago RGT.
To put to use these 40-plus vehicles will be 20-plus tracks, one of which is the epic Nurburgring, in addition to Silverstone, Spa, and Mugello. To connect you with the tarmac is the same game engine that powered Ferrari Challenge, albeit with enhancements made to the physics for even more realism, while boasting an arcade-like option for novices. As was the case with the previous game, there will be driving assists to turn on and off, and the dynamic A.I. will remain too, so expect a challenge (no pun intended).
System 3 states that one of the goals of the game is to take a novice racer and have him graduate as an expert, and to help you along your path is, once again, Fifth Gear's Tiff Needell. That implies that a practice mode full of challenges will return to help you hone your skills. When you've honed your skills enough, show it off to 15 others in the game's 16-player online races.
Either that, or go all out in the single-player experience on the Legendary difficulty setting. But, like Ferrari Challenge, Supercar Challenge will also boast downloadable content such as cars and tracks, so the game will allow you to keep going.
Visually, Supercar Challenge looks about the same as Ferrari Challenge, which is neither bad or good. Ferrari Challenge was a decent looking game last year, which should make Supercar a decent looker, as well. But, on the other hand, no game engine should go unpolished for a sequel, so if the final game does end up looking like its predecessor, it'll be a step backwards for the series. Unless Eutechnyx is bumping the framerate up to 60, then that's acceptable.
Supercar Challenge has a few months left in development for its European spring release, Americans can expect to see it at the end of the summer.
1/30/2009 Arnold Katayev