The off-roading genre has grown quite popular in the last several years. One of the most popular and lucrative series in this genre has been the Test Drive line from Infogrames. Their off-roading titles have gained significant credibility from fans of the genre, and now the company is bringing their hit franchise to the Playstation 2. Test Drive Off-Road Wide Open looks to take the series to new heights with the most technically advanced hardware available. The game is being developed by Angel Studios, which has had its hands full for the Playstation 2; working on not only this title but also Midnight Club and Smuggler's Run. If those two games are any indication, then Infogrames' series is in good hands. This title has received some hype in the past month or so, and it's probably well deserved. The series has been successful in the past, and it's being developed by a very able company in Angel Studios, and off-roading fans or not, many gamers have had their eye on this title for quite some time.
Test Drive Off-Road Wide Open will feature some amazing environments in which to wreak havoc. The game features three locales in which to race, including Moab, Utah; Yosemite, California; and last but most certainly not least, the big island of Hawaii. The mentioned locales will boast approximately ten tracks each. These tracks include circuit races, as well as regular, straight-forward tracks. The game will feature sixteen licensed vehicles from the world of off-roading, some of which are the AM General Humvee, the AM General Hummer, the Jeep Wrangler, the Ford F-150, the Ford Bronco, the Dodge Ram 2500 and the Dodge Shelby Durango. Nuclear Strike didn't feature so many weapons of destruction. Each vehicle has its own unique advantages and detriments, and choosing carefully depending on the course is one of the biggest factors in the outcome of your race. Each set of wheels is customizable down to the smallest detail, including cosmetic factors like paint, as well as the more important
options like tires and wheels, lift bars, and many other customizations that are sure to be possible in time for the game's release. The game is also to feature new driving mechanics, meaning the actual races will be more realistic than those seen in previous installments.
The game's visuals are coming along quite well. One should probably expect that by now from a Playstation 2 title, but the visuals in Test Drive Off-Road Wide Open really do look good. The screenshots we've seen so far bear some resemblance to Smuggler's Run; also developed by Angel studios. The game is also set to feature a soundtrack, but minimal details have been released as to that yet.
Infogrames and Angel Studios are shooting for a summer of 2001 release, so all you off-roading fans should keep your eyes on this one.
10/24/2000 Bryan Keers